DOI: 10.1002/jor.25828 ISSN: 0736-0266

Cigarette smoke extract exacerbates progression of osteoarthritic‐like changes in cartilage explant cultures

Emily Sawvell DiNicola, Andrea Vera Martinez, Lizzie Walker, Yongren Wu, Brian G. Burnikel, Jeremy Mercuri
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Established risk factors for osteoarthritis (OA) include obesity, joint injury, age, race, and genetics. However, the relationship between cigarette smoking and OA has yet to be established. In the present study, we have employed the use of cigarette smoke extract (CSE), the water‐soluble vapor phase of cigarette smoke, with porcine cartilage explants to investigate the effects of cigarette smoking on cartilage catabolism at the tissue level. Articular cartilage explants were first exposed to 2.5%, 5%, and 10% CSE to assess its effects on cartilage homeostasis. Following, the effects of CSE on OA‐like inflammation was observed by culturing explants with a combined treatment of IL‐1β and TNF‐α and 10% CSE (CSE + OA). Cartilage explants were assessed for changes in viability, biochemical composition, extracellular matrix (ECM) integrity, and equilibrium mechanical properties (aggregate modulus and hydraulic permeability). CSE alone leads to both a time‐ and dose‐dependent decrease in chondrocyte viability but does not significantly affect sGAG content, percent sGAG loss, or the ECM integrity of cartilage explants. When IL‐1β and TNF‐α were combined with 10% CSE, this led to a synergistic effect with more significant losses in viability, significantly more sGAG loss, and significantly higher production of ROS than OA‐like inflammation only. Cartilage explant equilibrium mechanical properties were unaffected. Within the timeframe of this study, CSE alone does not cause OA but when combined with OA‐like inflammation leads to worsened articular cartilage degeneration as measured by chondrocyte viability, sGAG loss, proteoglycan staining, and ROS production.

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