The role of CCN family proteins has been proven to be of extreme importance in the process of cartilage development and endochondral ossification. The second member, CCN2, consists of 4 conserved modules that interact with a number of cofactors to display multiple functions. Although the potentially therapeutic effect of intact CCN2 on cartilage regeneration has been indicated by a number of studies, the regenerative effect of independent modules comprising CCN2 has never been evaluated before. This study aims to discover a more robust and effective CCN2 derivative to induce regeneration through assessing the effect of CCN2 independent modules on regeneration in vitro and in vivo, in comparison to the full length CCN2. In vitro evaluation using human chondrocytic cells showed a remarkable enhancing effect of several single modules on the gene expression of cartilaginous extracellular matrix components; whereas combinations of 2 or 3 modules rather diminished such effects. Interestingly, combination of all 4 modules redeemed the effect of intact CCN2 in vitro. Suspecting the re-assembly of the 4 modules, interaction among the modules was examined by surface plasmon resonance analysis. However, the results did not support the possible formation of a tetramodular complex. Next, the thrombospondin 1 type 1 repeat module (TSP1), which was found most promising in the experiments in vitro, and the combination of 4 modules were forwarded further to in vivo confirmation using 2 rat osteoarthritis (OA) models. As a result, TSP1 displayed more prominent regenerative effects than intact CCN2 on damaged cartilage. Unexpectedly, the combination of 4 modules showed limited effects in vivo. These results indicate the utility of TSP1 in the regenerative therapeutics of OA. Possible molecular mechanism that enables conditional reconstruction of CCN2 by 4 modules is discussed as well.
- CCN family
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism