Nitric oxide boosts TLR-4 mediated lipocalin 2 expression in chondrocytes

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Lipocalin 2 (LCN2) has recently emerged as a novel adipokine involved in different processes including arthritis and chondrocyte inflammatory response. However, little is known about its activity on chondrocyte homeostasis and its regulation by nitric oxide (NO) Hence, we performed a set of experiments aimed to achieve a better understanding of this relationship. Cell vitality was tested in the ATDC5 cell line by the MTT colorimetric assay. Protein expression and gene expression was evaluated by Western blot and real time RT-PCR, respectively. NO production (determined as nitrite accumulation) was assayed by the Griess reaction. First, we demonstrated that LCN2 decreased murine chondrocytes vitality. Next, LCN2 co-stimulation with LPS enhanced NOS2 protein expression by murine chondrocytes. In addition, inhibition of LPS-induced nitric oxide production by aminoguanidine, a selective NOS2 inhibitor, significantly reduced LPS-mediated LCN2 expression. In contrast, treatment of murine chondrocytes with sodium nitroprussiate (SNP), a classic NO donor, scarcely induced LCN2 expression. Intriguingly, SNP addition to LPS-challenged chondrocytes, treated with aminoguanidine, provoked a strong induction of LCN2 expression. Finally, murine ATDC5 cells, co-cultured with LPS pre-challenged macrophages, had higher LCN2 expression in comparison with murine chondrocytes co-cultured with non pre-challenged macrophages. In this work we have described for the first time that NO is able to exert a control on LCN2 expression, suggesting the existence of a feedback loop regulating its expression.

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