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Lysine-specific demethylase 1-mediated demethylation of histone H3 lysine 9 contributes to interleukin 1β-induced microsomal prostaglandin E synthase 1 expression in human osteoarthritic chondrocytes

Fatima Ezzahra El Mansouri12, Salwa-Sarah Nebbaki12, Mohit Kapoor12, Hassan Afif12, Johanne Martel-Pelletier12, Jean-Pierre Pelletier12, Mohamed Benderdour3 and Hassan Fahmi12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, University of Montreal, 2900 Édouard-Montpetit Boulevard, Montreal, QC H3T 1J4, Canada

2 Osteoarthritis Research Unit, University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM), 900 rue Saint-Denis, room R11-424, Montreal, QC H2X 0A9, Canada

3 Research Centre, Sacré-Coeur Hospital, 5400 Gouin Boulevard West, Montreal, QC H4J 1C5, Canada

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2014, 16:R113  doi:10.1186/ar4564

Published: 16 May 2014



Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase 1 (mPGES-1) catalyzes the terminal step in the biosynthesis of PGE2, a critical mediator in the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis (OA). Histone methylation plays an important role in epigenetic gene regulation. In this study, we investigated the roles of histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) methylation in interleukin 1β (IL-1β)-induced mPGES-1 expression in human chondrocytes.


Chondrocytes were stimulated with IL-1β, and the expression of mPGES-1 mRNA was evaluated using real-time RT-PCR. H3K9 methylation and the recruitment of the histone demethylase lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) to the mPGES-1 promoter were evaluated using chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. The role of LSD1 was further evaluated using the pharmacological inhibitors tranylcypromine and pargyline and small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated gene silencing. The LSD1 level in cartilage was determined by RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry.


The induction of mPGES-1 expression by IL-1β correlated with decreased levels of mono- and dimethylated H3K9 at the mPGES-1 promoter. These changes were concomitant with the recruitment of the histone demethylase LSD1. Treatment with tranylcypromine and pargyline, which are potent inhibitors of LSD1, prevented IL-1β-induced H3K9 demethylation at the mPGES-1 promoter and expression of mPGES-1. Consistently, LSD1 gene silencing with siRNA prevented IL-1β-induced H3K9 demethylation and mPGES-1 expression, suggesting that LSD1 mediates IL-1β-induced mPGES-1 expression via H3K9 demethylation. We show that the level of LSD1 was elevated in OA compared to normal cartilage.


These results indicate that H3K9 demethylation by LSD1 contributes to IL-1β-induced mPGES-1 expression and suggest that this pathway could be a potential target for pharmacological intervention in the treatment of OA and possibly other arthritic conditions.