Response of chondrocytes to shear stress: Antagonistic effects of the binding partners Toll-like receptor 4 and caveolin-1

Pu Wang, Fei Zhu, Zi Qiu Tong, Konstantinos Konstantopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Osteoarthritis (OA) is often a consequence of excessive mechanical loading of cartilage, which produces hydrostatic stress, tensile strain, and fluid flow. Application of high fluid shear to chondrocytes recapitulates the earmarks of OA, as evidenced by the induction of cyclooxygenase-2, prostaglandins (PGs), and interleukin-6 (IL-6). Here, we delineated the signaling pathway by which high fluid shear mediates the temporal regulation of IL-6 synthesis in human chondrocytes. We determined that Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and caveolin-1 are binding partners in chondrocytes. Their expression is temporally regulated by fluid shear via the sequential up-regulation of microsomal PGE synthase-1 (mPGES-1) and L-PGDS. High shear stress rapidly induces an 8-fold up-regulation of TLR4 expression via an mPGES-1-dependent pathway, whereas prolonged shear exposure concurrently downregulates TLR4 by >4-fold and up-regulates caveolin-1 expression by > 2.5-fold in an L-PGDS-dependent manner. TLR4 and caveolin-1 exert opposing effects on the activation of ERK1/2, PI3-K and PKA signaling pathways, which, in turn, regulate the NF-κB-dependent IL-6 synthesis in a time-dependent fashion. Reconstructing the signaling network regulating shear-induced IL-6 expression in chondrocytes may provide insights for developing therapeutic strategies to combat osteoarthritis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3401-3415
Number of pages15
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Interleukin-6
  • L-PGDS
  • mPGES-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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