Vol 50, No 1 (2012)
Original paper
Published online: 2012-04-25

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Increased apoptosis in human knee osteoarthritis cartilage related to the expression of protein kinase B and protein kinase Cα in chondrocytes

Qingzhi Chen, Bing Zhang, Tingting Yi, Chun Xia
DOI: 10.5603/FHC.2012.0020
Folia Histochem Cytobiol 2012;50(1):137-143.


Protein kinase B (Akt) and protein kinase Cα (PKCα) play important roles in the regulation of cell apoptosis. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of Akt and PKCa in chondrocytes of human knee osteoarthritic (OA) cartilage, further evaluating their role in chondrocyte apoptosis during OA progression. Human knee OA cartilages were obtained from 38 patients undergoing knee arthroplasty, which is the medium-late stage of OA. Healthy knee cartilages were obtained from 11 amputees. The samples taken from the condyle of femur were collected routinely for morphological, immunohistochemical and Western blot detection, respectively. Light microscopy and laser-scanning confocal microscopy were used for morphological observation. The optical density with computer image analysis evaluated the intensity of immunohistochemical reaction of Akt and PKCα in OA cartilage. Western blot detected the protein expression levels. The results indicated that Akt and PKCa were involved in OA progression, along with the increase of cell apoptosis. In OA cartilage, Akt decreased (p < 0.05) and PKCα increased (p < 0.05). There was a negative correlation and interaction between Akt and PKCα (r = –0.8). These results demonstrated that both Akt and PKCα are related to increased chondrocyte apoptosis in human OA cartilage. The correlation between human OA progression, the role of Akt and PKCα, and chondrocyte apoptosis allows for new therapeutic strategies to be considered.

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