Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of relaxin (RLN) expression on fibrosis inhibition in synovial fibroblasts. Materials and methods: Tissue cells from patients with knee osteoarthritis and > 30° flexion contractures were utilised. Synovial fibroblasts were activated by TGF-β1 (two nanograms per millilitre) and then exposed to Ad-RLN as a therapeutic gene, adenovirus-lacZ construct as a marker gene, and SB505124 as an inhibitor for TGF-β1 signal for 48 h. The mRNA expression levels of collagens and MMPs were analysed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Also, fibronectin, phosphorylation of Smad2 and ERK1/2, alpha smooth muscle actin, TIMP-1, TIMP-2, MMP-1 and MMP-13 levels were estimated using western blotting, and the total collagen synthesis was assayed. Results: Ad-RLN-transduced synovial fibroblasts demonstrated 17%, 13%, and 48% reduction in collagen I, III and IV mRNA expression levels, respectively, and a 40% decrease in MMP-3, MMP-8, 20% decrease in MMP-9, MMP-13 mRNA expression, compared to non-Ad-RLN-transduced cells. In protein expression, Ad-RLN-transduced synovial fibroblasts demonstrated 46% increase in MMP-1, 5% decrease in MMP-2, 51% increase in MMP-9, and 22% increase in MMP-13, compared to non-Ad-RLN-transduced cells. Ad-RLN-transduced synovial fibroblasts showed a 25% decrease in TIMP-1 and 65% decrease in TIMP-2 protein expression at 48 h, compared to non-Ad-RLN-transduced cells. Ad-RLN-transduced synovial fibroblasts demonstrated a 45% inhibition of fibronectin in protein expression level and 38% decrease in total collagen synthesis at 48 h, compared to non-Ad-RLN-transduced cells. Conclusion: Relaxin expression exerted anti-fibrogenic effects on synovial fibroblasts from patients with knee osteoarthritis and flexion contractures. Therefore, relaxin could be an alternative therapeutic agent during the initial stage of osteoarthritis with flexion contracture by exerting its anti-fibrogenic effects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine