Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are involved in mediating cell activation on stimulation with microbial components. Our objective was to investigate the role of TLR-2 mediated by the NF-κB pathway in septic arthritic chondrocytes. TLR-1, -2, and -6 mRNA expression levels were investigated in septic and normal chondrocytes using real-time reverse transcription-PCR. TLR-2 and MMP-13 mRNA and protein levels were measured using real-time PCR and Western blot analysis, respectively. Blocking TLR-2 mRNA expression was performed using small interfering RNA (siRNA) against TLR-2 and subsequently MMP-3, MMP-13, IL-1β, and IL-6 mRNA levels, as well as p65 NF-κB, IkBα, and MMP-13 protein levels were evaluated using real-time PCR and Western blot analysis. IL-6 protein levels were measured using ELISA assay. We observed that TLR-1, -2, and -6 mRNA expression levels were significantly higher in septic compared to normal chondrocytes. MMP-13 mRNA and protein expressions were also significantly upregulated in septic arthritic cartilage. Blocking TLR-2 mRNA expression in septic chondrocytes resulted in significant increase of inactivated nonphosphorylated p65 NF-κB and IkBα protein levels and reduction in MMP-13, IL-1β, and IL-6 expression. Our findings suggest the pro-inflammatory and catabolic role of TLR-2 mediated by the NF-κB pathway in septic arthritis. Modulation of TLR-mediated signaling may be a potential therapeutic strategy for the prevention of postinfectious cartilage degradation in articular joints.





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