Indexed on: 05 Apr '16Published on: 05 Apr '16Published in: Scientific Reports
Osteoarthritis (OA) in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a common degenerative disease in adult, which is characterized by progressive destruction of the articular cartilage. To investigate the role of FGFR3 in the homeostasis of TMJ cartilage during adult stage, we generated Fgfr3(f/f); Col2a1-CreER(T2) (Fgfr3 cKO) mice, in which Fgfr3 was deleted in chondrocytes at 2 months of age. OA-like defects were observed in Fgfr3 cKO TMJ cartilage. Immunohistochemical staining and quantitative real-time PCR analyses revealed a significant increase in expressions of COL10, MMP13 and AMAMTS5. In addition, there was a sharp increase in chondrocyte apoptosis at the Fgfr3 cKO articular surface, which was accompanied by a down-regulation of lubricin expression. Importantly, the expressions of RUNX2 and Indian hedgehog (IHH) were up-regulated in Fgfr3 cKO TMJ. Primary Fgfr3 cKO chondrocytes were treated with IHH signaling inhibitor, which significantly reduced expressions of Runx2, Col10, Mmp13 and Adamts5. Furthermore, the IHH signaling inhibitor partially alleviated OA-like defects in the TMJ of Fgfr3 cKO mice, including restoration of lubricin expression and improvement of the integrity of the articular surface. In conclusion, our study proposes that FGFR3/IHH signaling pathway plays a critical role in maintaining the homeostasis of TMJ articular cartilage during adult stage.