Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (LCPD) is a childhood ischemic osteonecrosis (ON) of the femoral head associated with the elevation of proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) in the synovial fluid. Currently, there is no effective medical therapy for patients with LCPD. In animal models of ischemic ON, articular chondrocytes produce IL-6 in response to ischemic ON induction and IL-6 receptor blockade improves bone healing. High-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) is a damage-associated molecular pattern released from dying cells. In addition, extracellular HMGB1 protein is a well-known proinflammatory cytokine elevated in the synovial fluid of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The purpose of this study was to investigate IL-6–related proinflammatory cytokines, including HMGB1, in the synovial fluid of patients with LCPD. Our working hypothesis was that HMGB1, produced by articular chondrocytes following ischemic ON, plays an important role in IL-6 upregulation. Here, HMGB1 protein levels were significantly higher in the synovial fluid of patients with LCPD by threefold compared with controls (p < 0.05), and were highly correlated with IL-6 levels (Pearson correlation coefficient 0.94, p < 0.001, R2 = 0.87). In the mouse model of ischemic ON, both HMGB1 gene expression and protein levels were elevated in the articular cartilage. In vitro studies revealed a significant elevation of HMGB1 and IL-6 proteins in the supernatants of human chondrocytes exposed to hypoxic and oxidative stresses. Overexpressed HMGB1 protein in the supernatants of chondrocytes synergistically increased IL-6 protein. Silencing HMGB1 RNA in human chondrocytes significantly repressed inteleukin-1β (IL-1β) gene expression, but not IL-6. Further, both IL-1β and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) protein levels in the synovial fluid of patients with LCPD were significantly correlated with IL-6 protein levels. Taken together, these results suggest that proinflammatory cytokines, HMGB1, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and IL-1β, are significantly involved with IL-6 in the pathogenesis of LCPD. This study is clinically relevant because the availability of multiple therapeutic targets may improve the development of therapeutic strategy for LCPD.
- HIGH-MOBILITY GROUP BOX 1
- ISCHEMIC OSTEONECROSIS
- LEGG-CALVÉ-PERTHES DISEASE
- PROINFLAMMATORY CYTOKINE
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine