Transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) is involved in upregulating interleukin-6 expression in osteoarthritic chondrocyte models

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Transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) is a membrane-bound ion channel found in neurons, where it mediates nociception and neurogenic inflammation. Recently, we have discovered that TRPA1 is also expressed in human osteoarthritic (OA) chondrocytes and downregulated by the anti-inflammatory drugs aurothiomalate and dexamethasone. We have also shown TRPA1 to mediate inflammation, pain, and cartilage degeneration in experimental osteoarthritis. In this study, we investigated the role of TRPA1 in joint inflammation, focusing on the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6). We utilized cartilage/chondrocytes from wild-type (WT) and TRPA1 knockout (KO) mice, along with primary chondrocytes from OA patients. The results show that TRPA1 regulates the synthesis of the OA-driving inflammatory cytokine IL-6 in chondrocytes. IL-6 was highly expressed in WT chondrocytes, and its expression, along with the expression of IL-6 family cytokines leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and IL-11, were significantly downregulated by TRPA1 deficiency. Furthermore, treatment with the TRPA1 antagonist significantly downregulated the expression of IL-6 in chondrocytes from WT mice and OA patients. The results suggest that TRPA1 is involved in the upregulation of IL-6 production in chondrocytes. These findings together with previous results on the expression and functions of TRPA1 in cellular and animal models point to the role of TRPA1 as a potential mediator and novel drug target in osteoarthritis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number87
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number1
Early online date23 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Chondrocyte
  • IL-6
  • Inflammation
  • Osteoarthritis
  • TRPA1

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


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