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Secretome analysis of chondroitin sulfate-treated chondrocytes reveals anti-angiogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-catabolic properties

Valentina Calamia1, Lucía Lourido1, Patricia Fernández-Puente1, Jesús Mateos1, Beatriz Rocha1, Eulalia Montell2, Josep Vergés2, Cristina Ruiz-Romero13* and Francisco J Blanco1*

Author affiliations

1 Osteoarticular and Aging Research Laboratory, Proteomics Unit - ProteoRed/ISCIII, Rheumatology Division, INIBIC - CHU A Coruña, As Xubias 84, A Coruña 15006, Spain

2 Medical Department, Bioibérica Pharma, Plaza Francesc Macià 7, Barcelona 08029, Spain

3 CIBER-BBN-ISCIII, CHU A Coruña, As Xubias 84, A Coruña 15006, Spain

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Citation and License

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:R202  doi:10.1186/ar4040

Published: 2 October 2012



Chondroitin sulfate (CS) is a symptomatic slow-acting drug for osteoarthritis (OA) widely used in the clinic. The aim of this work is to find proteins whose secretion from cartilage cells under proinflammatory stimuli (IL-1β) is regulated by CS, employing a novel quantitative proteomic approach.


Human articular chondrocytes released from three normal cartilages were grown in SILAC medium. When complete incorporation of the heavy isotope was achieved, chondrocytes were stimulated with IL-1β 5 ng/ml with or without CS pretreatment (200 µg/ml). Forty-eight hours later, chondrocyte secretomes were analyzed by nano-scale liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Real-time PCR, western blot and immunohistochemistry analyses were employed to confirm some of the results.


We could identify 75 different proteins in the secretome of human articular chondrocytes. Eighteen of these were modulated by CS with statistical significance (six increased and 12 decreased). In normal chondrocytes stimulated with IL-1β, CS reduces inflammation directly by decreasing the presence of several complement components (CFAB, C1S, CO3, and C1R) and also indirectly by increasing proteins such as TNFα-induced protein (TSG6). TSG6 overexpression correlates with a decrease in pro-matrix metalloproteinase activation (observed in MMP1 and MMP3 levels). Finally, we observed a strong CS-dependent increase of an angiogenesis inhibitor, thrombospondin-1.


We have generated a quantitative profile of chondrocyte extracellular protein changes driven by CS in the presence of IL-1β. We have also provided novel evidences of its anti-angiogenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-catabolic properties. Demonstration of the anti-angiogenic action of CS might provide a novel therapeutic approach for OA targeting.