IL-17, IL-1β and TNF-α stimulate VEGF production by dedifferentiated chondrocytes

Maria Cristina Honorati, Luca Cattini, Andrea Facchini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To verify the involvement of proinflammatory cytokines IL-17, IL-1β and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) in cartilage vascularization by stimulating the production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) by chondrocytes isolated from patients with osteoarthritis (OA), in comparison with patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and patients with femoral or humeral neck fracture (FP). Design: Chondrocytes isolated from patients with OA were maintained in monolayer culture for several passages. Chondrocyte dedifferentiation was monitored by the synthesis of cathepsin B by these cells. Chondrocytes freshly isolated at each subculture (subcultures 1-3) were stimulated with IL-17, IL-1β or TNF-α. Supernatants were collected, immunoassayed for the production of VEGF and cathepsin B and assayed as the source of VEGF on the VEGF sensible ECV304 cell line. The cells were used to quantify intracellular cathepsin B enzymatic activity. Results: In differentiated conditions IL-1β and TNF-α, but not IL-17, can inhibit the spontaneous secretion of VEGF by human OA, RA and FP chondrocytes, and IL-17 can restore the decrease in VEGF secretion caused by TNF-α. IL-17, together with IL-1β and TNF-α, can enhance VEGF secretion to various extents by dedifferentiated OA chondrocytes. This change in effect with respect to primary culture was observable for all cytokines at the beginning of dedifferentiation, when the production of VEGF by chondrocytes had dramatically fallen and the cathepsin B synthesis had increased. The amount of VEGF induced by cytokines on dedifferentiated chondrocytes never reached the amount of VEGF produced by differentiated chondrocytes. VEGF produced by chondrocytes stimulated the ECV304 cell line proliferation. Conclusions: These results indicate that dedifferentiated OA chondrocytes secrete VEGF after stimulation with proinflammatory cytokines. This event may be responsible for neovascularization found in OA cartilage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-691
Number of pages9
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2004


  • Dedifferentiated chondrocytes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Proinflammatory cytokines
  • VEGF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'IL-17, IL-1β and TNF-α stimulate VEGF production by dedifferentiated chondrocytes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this