Cartilage is an intrinsically mechanically sensitive tissue composed of chondrocytes as the only cell type. Chondrocyte mechanotransduction is not well understood, but recently we identified critical components of the mechanotransduction machinery demonstrating how mechanical stimulation of these cells can be converted into cellular calcium signals. Physiologic mechanical cues induce anabolic responses of (post-mitotic) chondrocytes via transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 ion channels, whereas injurious mechanical stress is transduced by Piezo1 jointly with Piezo2 ion channels. This chapter sheds light on the latter discovery and provides a rationale for follow-up questions, such as the nature of interaction between Piezo1 and Piezo2, and their tethering to the cytoskeleton. These recent insights can be leveraged toward translational medical progress to benefit diagnosis and treatment of osteoarthritis, representing a large and growing unmet medical need in the United States and large parts of the world.
- Piezo ion channel