A bovine nasal-cartilage culture system has been utilized to analyse the catabolic events occurring in response to interleukin-1β over a 14-day period. An early event following the start of interleukin-1 treatment was the release of glycosaminoglycan into the culture medium. This release was accompanied by the appearance in the tissue, and shortly thereafter also in the culture media, of a globular domain (G1)-containing aggrecan degradation product generated by the action of aggrecanase. Link protein was also released from the cartilage with a similar timeframe to that of the G1 fragment, although there was no evidence of its proteolytic degradation. By comparison with aggrecan, the small leucine-rich repeat proteoglycans decorin, biglycan and lumican showed a resistance to both proteolytic cleavage and release throughout the culture period. In contrast, fibromodulin exhibited a marked decrease in size after day 4, presumably due to proteolytic modification, but the major degradation product was retained throughout the culture period. Also in contrast with the early changes in the components of the proteoglycan aggregate, type II collagen did not display signs of extensive degradation until much later in the culture period. Collagen degradation products compatible with collagenase action first appeared in the medium by day 10 and increased thereafter. These data demonstrate that the leucine-rich repeat proteoglycans are resistant to proteolytic action during interleukin-1-stimulated cartilage catabolism, compared with aggrecan. This resistance and continued interaction with the surface of the collagen fibrils may help to stabilize the collagen fibrillar network and protect it from extensive proteolytic attack during the early phases of cartilage degeneration.
- aggrecan, decorin, biglycan, fibromodulin, lumican
- The Biochemical Society, London © 1999