04 January 2019
Pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) is an endogenous neuropeptide also secreted by non-neural cells, including chondrocytes. PACAP signaling is involved in the regulation of chondrogenesis, but little is known about its connection to matrix turnover during cartilage formation and under cellular stress in developing cartilage. We found that the expression and activity of hyaluronidases (Hyals), matrix metalloproteinases (MMP), and aggrecanase were permanent during the course of chondrogenesis in primary chicken micromass cell cultures, although protein levels changed daily, along with moderate and relatively constant enzymatic activity. Next, we investigated whether PACAP influences matrix destructing enzyme activity during oxidative and mechanical stress in chondrogenic cells. Exogenous PACAP lowered Hyals and aggrecanase expression and activity during cellular stress. Expression and activation of the majority of cartilage matrix specific MMPs such as MMP1, MMP7, MMP8, and MMP13, were also decreased by PACAP addition upon oxidative and mechanical stress, while the activity of MMP9 seemed not to be influenced by the neuropeptide. These results suggest that application of PACAP can help to preserve the integrity of the newly synthetized cartilage matrix via signaling mechanisms, which ultimately inhibit the activity of matrix destroying enzymes under cellular stress. It implies the prospect that application of PACAP can ameliorate articular cartilage destruction in joint diseases.