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      Chondrocyte Apoptosis in the Pathogenesis of Osteoarthritis

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          Apoptosis is a highly-regulated, active process of cell death involved in development, homeostasis and aging. Dysregulation of apoptosis leads to pathological states, such as cancer, developmental anomalies and degenerative diseases. Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common chronic joint disease in the elderly population, is characterized by progressive destruction of articular cartilage, resulting in significant disability. Because articular cartilage depends solely on its resident cells, the chondrocytes, for the maintenance of extracellular matrix, the compromising of chondrocyte function and survival would lead to the failure of the articular cartilage. The role of subchondral bone in the maintenance of proper cartilage matrix has been suggested as well, and it has been proposed that both articular cartilage and subchondral bone interact with each other in the maintenance of articular integrity and physiology. Some investigators include both articular cartilage and subchondral bone as targets for repairing joint degeneration. In late-stage OA, the cartilage becomes hypocellular, often accompanied by lacunar emptying, which has been considered as evidence that chondrocyte death is a central feature in OA progression. Apoptosis clearly occurs in osteoarthritic cartilage; however, the relative contribution of chondrocyte apoptosis in the pathogenesis of OA is difficult to evaluate, and contradictory reports exist on the rate of apoptotic chondrocytes in osteoarthritic cartilage. It is not clear whether chondrocyte apoptosis is the inducer of cartilage degeneration or a byproduct of cartilage destruction. Chondrocyte death and matrix loss may form a vicious cycle, with the progression of one aggravating the other, and the literature reveals that there is a definite correlation between the degree of cartilage damage and chondrocyte apoptosis. Because current treatments for OA act only on symptoms and do not prevent or cure OA, chondrocyte apoptosis would be a valid target to modulate cartilage degeneration.

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          Most cited references 113

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          Life and death partners: apoptosis, autophagy and the cross-talk between them.

          It is not surprising that the demise of a cell is a complex well-controlled process. Apoptosis, the first genetically programmed death process identified, has been extensively studied and its contribution to the pathogenesis of disease well documented. Yet, apoptosis does not function alone to determine a cell's fate. More recently, autophagy, a process in which de novo-formed membrane-enclosed vesicles engulf and consume cellular components, has been shown to engage in a complex interplay with apoptosis. In some cellular settings, it can serve as a cell survival pathway, suppressing apoptosis, and in others, it can lead to death itself, either in collaboration with apoptosis or as a back-up mechanism when the former is defective. The molecular regulators of both pathways are inter-connected; numerous death stimuli are capable of activating either pathway, and both pathways share several genes that are critical for their respective execution. The cross-talk between apoptosis and autophagy is therefore quite complex, and sometimes contradictory, but surely critical to the overall fate of the cell. Furthermore, the cross-talk is a key factor in the outcome of death-related pathologies such as cancer, its development and treatment.
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            Gene regulation by transcription factors and microRNAs.

             Oliver Hobert (2008)
            The properties of a cell are determined by the genetic information encoded in its genome. Understanding how such information is differentially and dynamically retrieved to define distinct cell types and cellular states is a major challenge facing molecular biology. Gene regulatory factors that control the expression of genomic information come in a variety of flavors, with transcription factors and microRNAs representing the most numerous gene regulatory factors in multicellular genomes. Here, I review common principles of transcription factor- and microRNA-mediated gene regulatory events and discuss conceptual differences in how these factors control gene expression.
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              Structure of Bcl-xL-Bak peptide complex: recognition between regulators of apoptosis.

              Heterodimerization between members of the Bcl-2 family of proteins is a key event in the regulation of programmed cell death. The molecular basis for heterodimer formation was investigated by determination of the solution structure of a complex between the survival protein Bcl-xL and the death-promoting region of the Bcl-2-related protein Bak. The structure and binding affinities of mutant Bak peptides indicate that the Bak peptide adopts an amphipathic alpha helix that interacts with Bcl-xL through hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions. Mutations in full-length Bak that disrupt either type of interaction inhibit the ability of Bak to heterodimerize with Bcl-xL.

                Author and article information

                Role: Academic Editor
                Int J Mol Sci
                Int J Mol Sci
                International Journal of Molecular Sciences
                30 October 2015
                November 2015
                : 16
                : 11
                : 26035-26054
                [1 ]Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital, Kyunggi 431-060, Korea; wazzup@ 123456hallym.ac.kr
                [2 ]Institute for Skeletal Aging, Hallym University, Chunchon 200-702, Korea
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: kimha@ 123456hallym.ac.kr ; Tel.: +82-31-380-1826; Fax: +82-31-381-8812
                © 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons by Attribution (CC-BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).



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