Periostin (POSTN), a secretory matricellular matrix protein, plays a multitude of biologic functions. Various splice variants of POSTN have been described; however, their expression pattern and functional implications are not completely understood. This study was undertaken to decipher the differential expression pattern of POSTN and its splice variants in various tissues and cell types. We show that POSTN was more highly expressed in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) remnants compared with articular cartilage at the cellular and tissue level. Isoforms 1 and 8 were highly expressed only in articular chondrocytes, suggesting their splice-specific regulation in chondrocytes. To discern the role of total POSTN and full-length human POSTN isoform 1 (hPOSTN-001), we stably transfected human chondrosarcoma 1 (hCh-1) cell line with hPOSTN-001 using a pcDNA3.1–hPOSTN-001 construct. RNA-sequencing analysis of hCh-1 cells identified differentially expressed genes with a known role in chondrocyte function and osteoarthritis. Similar expression of a subset of candidate genes was revealed in ACL progenitor cells and chondrocytes as well as in ACL progenitor cells in which POSTN activity was altered by overexpression and by small interfering RNA gene knockdown. Cells expressing total POSTN, not isoform 1, exhibited increased cell adhesion potential. These findings suggest an important role for POSTN in the knee.—Cai, L., Brophy, R. H., Tycksen, E. D., Duan, X., Nunley, R. M., Rai, M. F. Distinct expression pattern of periostin splice variants in chondrocytes and ligament progenitor cells. FASEB J. 33, 8386–8405 (2019). www.fasebj.org.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8386-8405
Number of pages20
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • RNA-seq
  • anterior cruciate ligament
  • cartilage
  • osteoarthritis
  • periostin isoforms


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