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Incubation with serum modulates the transporters that regulate intracellular pH (pH(i)) in articular chondrocytes, upregulating acid extrusion by Na(+)-H(+) exchange (NHE). There is stimulation of NHE1, together with induction of NHE3 activity. These isoforms exhibit differential responses to components of mechanical load experienced by chondrocytes during joint loading. The identity of the component(s) of serum responsible is unknown. A possibility, however, is insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), present in normal cartilage and found at enhanced levels in osteoarthritic tissue. In the present study, the effects of IGF-1 on pH(i) regulation have been characterized using fluorescence measurements of bovine articular chondrocytes, and the sensitivity of pH(i) regulation to hyperosmotic shock and raised hydrostatic pressure determined. For cells isolated in the absence of IGF-1, pH(i) recovery following acidification was predominantly mediated by NHE1. Recovery was enhanced when cells were incubated for 18 h with 20 ng mL(-1) IGF; this effect represented increased acid extrusion by NHE1, supplemented by NHE3 activity. NHE3 activity was not detected in IGF-1-treated cells that had been incubated with the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide, although NHE1 activity was unaffected. In the absence of IGF-1, suspension in hyperosmotic solutions or raised hydrostatic pressure enhanced pH(i) recovery of acidified cells. This response was missing in cells incubated with IGF-1. Unresponsiveness to hyperosmotic shock represented inhibition of NHE3 activity, and was prevented using the protein kinase A inhibitor KT5720. For raised hydrostatic pressure, a decrease in NHE1 activity was responsible, and was prevented by the protein kinase C inhibitor chelerythrine.

Original publication




Journal article


J Orthop Res

Publication Date





1428 - 1433


Animals, Benzophenanthridines, Carbazoles, Cartilage, Articular, Cation Transport Proteins, Cattle, Cells, Cultured, Chondrocytes, Cycloheximide, Drug Combinations, Enzyme Inhibitors, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Hydrostatic Pressure, Insulin-Like Growth Factor I, Male, Osmotic Pressure, Protein Synthesis Inhibitors, Pyrroles, Sodium-Hydrogen Antiporter