Strangeways Research Laboratory,
The structural integrity of the matrix of human articular cartilage is maintained by a dynamic equilibrium between synthesis and degradation. In osteoarthritis (OA), synthesis may be inhibited by the presence of subnanogram quantities of the cytokine interleukin 1 (IL-1), leading in the longterm to loss of matrix and susceptibility to mechanical damage. IL-1 may also inhibit the potential for repair processes to take place in this cartilage if continued synthesis and secretion of the cytokine occurs. Evidence is presented that animal and human cartilages are sensitive to the action of certain nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAID) in inhibiting the synthesis of cartilage proteoglycan and also diminishing the repair activity of cartilage recovering after IL-1. In OA cartilage, the sensitivity to action of NSAID may depend on the state of the tissue in terms of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) turnover and GAG synthetic activity of the indigenous chondrocytes. Preliminary investigations of the prostaglandin analog misoprostol on the synthetic repair activities of animal and human cartilage in the presence of NSAID are reported.