Human Osteoarthritic Chondrocytes Express Nineteen Different TRP-Genes: TRPA1 and TRPM8 as Potential Drug Targets

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Transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels are expressed in neuronal and some non-neuronal cells and are involved particularly in pain and thermosensation. We previously showed that TRPA1 is functionally expressed in human osteoarthritic (OA) chondrocytes and mediates inflammation, cartilage degradation, and pain in monosodium-iodoacetate-induced experimental OA. In the present study, we explored the expression of TRP-channels in primary human OA chondrocytes and investigated whether drugs used in the treatment of OA, ibuprofen and glucocorticoids, have effects on TRP-channel expression. OA cartilage was obtained from knee replacement surgery and chondrocytes were isolated with enzyme digestion. NGS analysis showed the expression of 19 TRP-genes in OA chondrocytes, with TRPM7, TRPV4, TRPC1, and TRPM8 having the highest counts in unstimulated cells. These results were verified with RT-PCR in samples from a different group of patients. Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) significantly increased TRPA1 expression, while TRPM8 and TRPC1 expression was decreased, and TRPM7 and TRPV4 expression remained unaffected. Furthermore, dexamethasone attenuated the effect of IL-1β on TRPA1 and TRPM8 expression. The TRPM8 and TRPA1 agonist menthol increased the expression of the cartilage-degrading enzymes MMP-1, MMP-3, and MMP-13 and the inflammatory factors iNOS and IL-6 in OA chondrocytes. In conclusion, human OA chondrocytes express 19 different TRP-genes, of which the significant TRPM8 expression is a novel finding. Dexamethasone attenuated IL-1β-induced TRPA1 expression. Interestingly, the TRPM8 and TRPA1 agonist menthol increased MMP expression. These results support the concept of TRPA1 and TRMP8 as potential novel drug targets in arthritis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10057
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • chondrocyte
  • glucocorticoid
  • menthol
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug
  • osteoarthritis
  • TPR ion channel
  • TRPA1
  • TRPM8

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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