Modulation of extracellular matrix gene expression in bovine high-density chondrocyte cultures by ascorbic acid and enzymatic resuspension

Thomas M. Hering, John Kollar, Tru D. Huynh, Judith B. Varelas, Linda J. Sandell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


To define the influence of time in culture on gene expression for extracellular matrix proteins we have examined the progression of changes in gene expression for chondrocyte extracellular matrix proteins from the time the chondrocytes are initially isolated from their native cartilaginous matrix through 13 days of highdensity culture. We have also determined the effect of matrix depletion and shape change by enzymatically resuspending cells after 6 days in culture and sampling the replated cells at intervals up to 13 days. Northern blots of chondrocyte RNA were hybridized with probes for collagen α1(II), α1(I), aggrecan, link protein, and decorin mRNA. The steady-state level of α1 (II) collagen mRNA dropped to 45% of the initial value within 24 h, with a further decrease to 21% by Day 3. A similar decline occurred, but less rapidly in ascorbate supplemented cultures with values of 78%, at 24 h and 62% at Day 3. Very low levels of α1(I)(I) collagen mRNA were detectible in cells maintained for 2 weeks without ascorbate supplementation. Type I collagen α1(I) mRNA was not detected in freshly isolated chondrocytes or at the earliest times in culture but was increasingly abundant from Days 5-13 in the presence of ascorbate. Ascorbic acid supplementation altered the pattern of aggrecan expression over time. Without ascorbate there was an increase in steadystate aggrecan mRNA with time in culture, but in the presence of ascorbate, aggrecan mRNA levels peaked at early culture times and progressively diminished. Decorin steady-state mRNA levels in cultures not supplemented with ascorbic acid steadily increased over time in culture following a lag of several days. In cultures treated with ascorbate, however, there was a progressive increase in decorin steady-state mRNA levels from the first day in culture. Resuspending chondrocytes by digestion of the cell layer with pronase and collagenase at Day 6, which resulted in a transient shape change as well as matrix depletion, resulted in a greater than 2-fold increase in α1(II) mRNA at Day 7 in ascorbate supplemented cultures. Only with ascorbate was there a small increase in decorin mRNA at Day 7 after resuspension. Aggrecan mRNA, however, showed a 3-fold increase without ascorbate and a 10-fold increase with ascorbate within 24 h of resuspension. Similarly, link protein steady-state mRNA showed an 8-fold increase without ascorbate and a 9-fold increase with ascorbate within 24 h after resuspension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-98
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1994


Dive into the research topics of 'Modulation of extracellular matrix gene expression in bovine high-density chondrocyte cultures by ascorbic acid and enzymatic resuspension'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this