Prg4 prevents osteoarthritis induced by dominant-negative interference of TGF-ß signaling in mice

Academic Article


  • © 2019 Chavez et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Objective Prg4, also known as Lubricin, acts as a joint/boundary lubricant. Prg4 has been used to prevent surgically induced osteoarthritis (OA) in mice. Surgically induced OA serves as a good model for post-traumatic OA but is not ideal for recapitulating age-related OA. Reduced expression of the TGF-β type II receptor (TGFβR2) is associated with age-related OA in clinical samples, so we previously characterized a mouse model that exhibits OA due to expression of a mutated dominant-negative form of TGFβR2 (DNIIR). Prg4 expression was significantly reduced in DNIIR mice. Furthermore, we showed that Prg4 was a transcriptional target of TGF-ß via activation of Smad3, the main signal transducing protein for TGF-ß. The objective of the present study was to determine whether maintenance of Prg4, a down-stream transcriptional target of TGF-ß, prevents OA associated with attenuated TGF-ß signaling in mice. Design Wild-type, DNIIR, and bitransgenic mice that express both DNIIR and Prg4, were compared. Mice were assessed with a foot misplacement behavioral test, μCT, histology, and Western blot. Results Compared to DNIIR mice, bitransgenic DNIIR+Prg4 mice missed 1.3 (0.4, 2.1) fewer steps while walking (mean difference (95% confidence interval)), exhibited a cartilage fibrillation score that was 1.8 (0.4, 3.1) points lower, exhibited cartilage that was 28.2 (0.5, 55.9) μm thicker, and exhibited an OARSI score that was 6.8 (-0.9, 14.5) points lower. However, maintenance of Prg4 expression did not restore levels of phosphorylated Smad3 in DNIIR mice, indicating Prg4 does not simply stimulate TGF-ß signaling. Conclusions Our results indicate that maintenance of Prg4 expression prevents OA progression associated with reduced TGF-β signaling in mice. Since there was no evidence that Prg4 acts by stimulating the TGF-ß signaling cascade, we propose that Prg4, a transcriptional target of TGF-ß, attenuates OA progression through its joint lubrication function.
  • Published In

  • PLoS ONE  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Chavez RD; Sohn P; Serra R
  • Volume

  • 14
  • Issue

  • 1