Cartilage repair in degenerative osteoarthritis mediated by squid type II collagen via immunomodulating activation of M2 macrophages, inhibiting apoptosis and hypertrophy of chondrocytes.

PMID 30031224


Cartilage lesions in degenerative osteoarthritis (OA) are involved with pathological microenvironmental alterations induced by inflammatory macrophages, and apoptotic and/or hypertrophic chondrocytes. However, current non-operative therapies for cartilage repair in OA can rarely achieve long-term and satisfactory outcomes. This study aims to evaluate a newly developed squid type II collagen (SCII) for repairing OA-induced cartilage lesions. Our in vitro data show that SCII induces M2 polarization of macrophages, and activates macrophages to express pro-chondrogenic genes (TGF-β and IGF), which greatly improves the microenvironment around chondrocytes to produce type II collagen and glycosaminoglycan. In addition, glycine in SCII activates glycine receptors on inflammatory chondrocytes to decrease intracellular calcium concentration, leading to effective inhibition of chondrocyte apoptosis and hypertrophy. The in vitro effects of SCII are further confirmed in vivo. In a rat model of OA, SCII increases the ratio of M2 macrophages, elevates the levels of pro-chondrogenic cytokines (TGF-β1 and TGF-β3) in synovial fluid, and inhibits chondrocyte apoptosis and MMP13 production. Our findings show that SCII immunomodulates M2 activation of macrophages to skew the local OA microenvironment towards a pro-chondrogenic atmosphere, and promotes cartilage repair under inflammatory condition. It shows great potential for SCII to be a novel biomaterial for cartilage repair in OA.