Effects of electromagnetic fields on proteoglycan metabolism of bovine articular cartilage explants

Monica De Mattei, Michela Pasello, Agnese Pellati, Giordano Stabellini, Leo Massari, Donato Gemmati, Angelo Caruso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure has been proposed for the treatment of osteoarthritis. In this study, we investigated the effects of EMF (75 Hz, 2,3 mT) on proteoglycan (PG) metabolism of bovine articular cartilage explants cultured in vitro, both under basal conditions and in the presence of interleukin-1β (IL-1β) in the culture medium. Proteoglycan synthesis and the residual PG tissue content resulted significantly higher in EMF-exposed explants than in controls, whereas no effect was observed on PG release and nitric oxide (NO) production. IL-1β induced both a reduction in PG synthesis and an increase in PG release, related to a strong stimulation of NO production, which resulted in a net loss of tissue PG content. In IL-1β-treated explants, EMF increased PG synthesis, whereas in spite of a slight stimulation of NO production EMF did not modify PG release. This resulted in the residual PG tissue content being maintained at the control level. In both experimental conditions, the effects of EMF were associated with an increase in lactate production. The results of our study show that EMFs are able to promote anabolic activities and PG synthesis in bovine articular cartilage explants. This effect also is maintained in the presence of IL-1β, thus counteracting the catabolic activity of the cytokine. Altogether, these data suggest that EMF exposure exerts a chondroprotective effect on articular cartilage in vitro.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-159
Number of pages6
JournalConnective Tissue Research
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Bovine
  • Cartilage
  • EMF
  • Proteoglycan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Nephrology
  • Cell Biology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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