Lentivirus-based shRNA of Caspase-3 gene silencing inhibits chondrocyte apoptosis and delays the progression of surgically induced osteoarthritis

Weicong Zhu, Xiaohong Yang, Shaojie Liu, Yiwen Wang, Wenxu Li, Qiguang Zhong, Lihua Zhang, Jiake Xu

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Abstract

Chondrocyte apoptosis is an important pathological feature of osteoarthritis (OA). Excessive apoptosis of chondrocytes disrupts the dynamic balance of cell proliferation and apoptosis, with a marked reduction in chondrocytes and cartilage matrix disintegration, which represents the main pathology of OA. Caspases, especially Caspase-3, play a central role in cell apoptosis. In this study, a lentiviral vector was used to transduce caspase-3 short hairpin RNA (shRNA) into rat chondrocytes (RCs), and the apoptotic and phenotypic genes of RCs were analyzed using real-time PCR and western blotting in vitro. In addition, in vivo intra-articular injection of Caspase-3 shRNA lentivirus was performed in a surgically induced OA rat model. Our results showed that Caspase-3 gene silencing could down-regulate the TNF-α-mediated inflammatory gene expression of TNFR1, FADD, and IL-1β, apoptotic gene expression of APAF1, Caspase-3, and Caspase-9, thereby attenuating the apoptotic pathway in vitro. Caspase-3 gene silencing also attenuated TNF-α-mediated decreased gene expression of ACAN, Col1-a1, and Col2-a1. Furthermore, Caspase-3 gene silencing could effectively reduce the OARSI score, and gene expression of Caspase-3, Caspase-9, MMP13, and TNF-α in a surgically induced OA rat model. Caspase-3 gene silencing may serve as a novel therapeutic strategy for cartilage injury and OA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2300031
JournalBiotechnology Journal
Volume19
Issue number1
Early online date26 Sept 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

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