Background: Accumulation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) is involved in age-related osteoarthritis (OA). Glyoxalase (Glo)-1 is the main enzyme involved in the removal of AGE precursors, especially carboxymethyl-lysine (CML). We aimed to investigate the expression of several AGEs and Glo-1 in human OA cartilage and to study chondrocytic Glo-1 regulation by inflammation, mediated by interleukin (IL)-1beta.
Methods: Ex vivo, we quantified AGEs (pentosidine, CML, methylglyoxal-hydroimidazolone-1) in knee cartilage from 30 OA patients. Explants were also incubated with and without IL-1beta, and we assessed Glo-1 protein expression and enzymatic activity. In vitro, primary cultured murine chondrocytes were stimulated with increasing concentrations of IL-1beta to assess Glo-1 enzymatic activity and expression. To investigate the role of oxidative stress in the IL-1beta effect, cells were also treated with inhibitors of mitochondrial oxidative stress or nitric oxide synthase.
Results: Ex vivo, only the human cartilage CML content was correlated with patient age (r = 0.78, p = 0.0031). No statistically significant correlation was found between Glo-1 protein expression and enzymatic activity in human cartilage and patient age. We observed that cartilage explant stimulation with IL-1beta decreased Glo-1 protein expression and enzymatic activity. In vitro, we observed a dose-dependent decrease in Glo-1 mRNA, protein quantity, and enzymatic activity in response to IL-1beta in murine chondrocytes. Inhibitors of oxidative stress blunted this downregulation.
Conclusion: Glo-1 is impaired by inflammation mediated by IL-1beta in chondrocytes through oxidative stress pathways and may explain age-dependent accumulation of the AGE CML in OA cartilage.