Detection of mRNA transcripts of truncated opiate precursor (POMC) in human cartilage

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In the present study, we have investigated the presence of pro-opiomelanocortin C-terminal fragment derived-peptides in human articular cartilage and cultured chondrocytes. β-Lipotropin and β-endorphin were monitored in different cell cultures and biopsies using different techniques. Biopsies were taken from patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty due to osteoarthritis. Both fresh tissue sections and chondrocytes cultured in monolayer were used in the study. Immunohistochemistry, immunocytochemistry, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and qualitative Western blots were carried out. The results of the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction showed transcription of a truncated-form of mRNA for proopiomelanocortin in native cartilage and cultured chondrocytes. There was no detection of endogenous production of β-lipotropin or β-endorphin in human articular chondrocytes, either in situ or in vitro. Whether pro-opiomelanocortin-derived peptides of non-cartilaginous origin are present in articular cartilage itself still remains unclear.

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