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Matrilin-3 Induction of IL-1 receptor antagonist Is required for up-regulating collagen II and aggrecan and down-regulating ADAMTS-5 gene expression

Chathuraka T Jayasuriya1, Mary B Goldring2, Richard Terek1 and Qian Chen1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Orthopedics; Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence RI 02903, USA

2 Research Division, The Hospital for Special Surgery, and Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY 10021, USA

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Citation and License

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:R197  doi:10.1186/ar4033

Published: 11 September 2012



Deletion or mutation of the gene encoding the cartilage extracellular matrix (ECM) protein matrilin-3 (MATN3) results in the early onset of osteoarthritis (OA), suggesting chondroprotective properties of MATN3. To understand the mechanisms underlying these properties, we determined the effects of MATN3 protein on the expression of several key anabolic and catabolic genes involved in chondrocyte homeostasis, and the dependence of such regulation on the anti-inflammatory cytokine: IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra).


The effects of recombinant human (rh) MATN3 protein were examined in C28/I2 immortalized human chondrocytes, primary human chondrocytes (PHCs), and primary mouse chondrocytes (PMCs). Messenger RNA levels of IL-1Ra, COL2A1, ACAN, MMP-13, and ADAMTS-4 and -5 were determined using real-time RT-PCR. Knocking down IL-1Ra was achieved by siRNA gene silencing. IL-1Ra protein levels were quantified by ELISA and the Bio-Plex Suspension Array System. COL2A1 protein level was quantified using Western blot analysis. Statistic analysis was done using the two-tailed t-test or one-way ANOVA.


rhMATN3 protein induced gene expression of IL-1Ra in C28/I2 cells, PHCs, and PMCs in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Treatment of C28/I2 cells and PHCs with MATN3 protein stimulated gene expression of COL2A1 and ACAN. Conversely, mRNA levels of COL2A1 and ACAN were decreased in MATN3 KO mice. MATN3 protein treatment inhibited IL-1β-induced MMP-13, ADAMTS-4 and ADAMTS-5 in C28/I2 cells and PHCs. Knocking down IL-1Ra abolished the MATN3-mediated stimulation of COL2A1 and ACAN and inhibition of ADAMTS-5, but had no effect on MATN3 inhibition of MMP-13 mRNA.


Our findings point to a novel regulatory role of MATN3 in cartilage homeostasis due to its capacity to induce IL-1Ra, to upregulate gene expression of the major cartilage matrix components, and to downregulate the expression of OA-associated matrix-degrading proteinases in chondrocytes. The chondroprotective properties of endogenous MATN3 depend partly on its induction of IL-1Ra. Our findings raise a possibility to use rhMATN3 protein for anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective therapy.

Matrilin-3; interleukin-1; IL-1Ra; collagen 2; aggrecan; MMP-13; ADAMTS-4; ADAMTS-5; chondrocytes; osteoarthritis