Pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) is an evolutionarly conserved neuropeptide which is produced by various neuronal and non-neuronal cells, including cartilage and bone cells. PACAP has trophic functions in tissue development, and it also plays a role in cellular and tissue aging. PACAP takes part in the regulation of chondrogenesis, which prevents insufficient cartilage formation caused by oxidative and mechanical stress. PACAP knockout (KO) mice have been shown to display early aging signs affecting several organs. In the present work, we investigated articular cartilage of knee joints in young and aged wild-type (WT) and PACAP KO mice. A significant increase in the thickness of articular cartilage was detected in aged PACAP gene–deficient mice. Amongst PACAP receptors, dominantly PAC1 receptor was expressed in WT knee joints and a remarkable decrease was found in aged PACAP KO mice. Expression of PKA-regulated transcription factors, Sox5, Sox9 and CREB, decreased both in young and aged gene deficient mice, while Sox6, collagen type II and aggrecan expressions were elevated in young but were reduced in aged PACAP KO animals. Increased expression of hyaluronan (HA) synthases and HA-binding proteins was detected parallel with an elevated presence of HA in aged PACAP KO mice. Expression of bone related collagens (I and X) was augmented in young and aged animals. These results suggest that loss of PACAP signaling results in dysregulation of cartilage matrix composition and may transform articular cartilage in a way that it becomes more prone to degenerate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology