We report here that a 92-kD gelatinolytic metalloproteinase is expressed as protein and mRNA in human osteoarthritic cartilage, but not in normal adult articular cartilage. Western immunoblotting demonstrated that the 92-kD gelatinolytic activity corresponded to 92-kD type IV collagenase/gelatinase (gelatinase B); mRNA for gelatinase B was identified by Northern blotting. Chondrocytes from normal cartilage also exhibited mRNA for 72-kD type IV collagenase/gelatinase (gelatinase A), tissue collagenase, and stromelysin-1, and these mRNAs were increased in osteoarthritic cartilage. Regional analysis of osteoarthritic cartilage samples from four individuals revealed that gelatinase B mRNA was expressed in grossly fibrillated areas; two of four nonfibrillated cartilage samples failed to exhibit the mRNA, but did have increased levels of mRNA for other neutral metalloproteinases. IL-1 alpha treatment of normal human cartilage explants or isolated chondrocytes induced increased levels of gelatinase B and increased mRNA for tissue collagenase and stromelysin-1. Under identical conditions, mRNA levels for gelatinase A were not increased indicating that regulation of this enzyme in human articular chondrocytes is distinct from that of other metalloproteinases. Our data showing expression of gelatinase B in fibrillated cartilage suggest that it is a marker of progressive articular cartilage degradation in osteoarthritis.
M Mohtai, R L Smith, D J Schurman, Y Tsuji, F M Torti, N I Hutchinson, W G Stetler-Stevenson, G I Goldberg