Age-related changes in cartilage endogenous osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1)

Susan Chubinskaya, Bhavna Kumar, Charis Merrihew, Katherine Heretis, David C. Rueger, Klaus E. Kuettner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Articular cartilage has a poor reparative capacity. This feature is exacerbated with aging and during degenerative joint conditions, contributing to loss of motion and impairment of quality of life. This study focused on osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1) and its ability to serve as a repair-stimulating factor in articular cartilage. The purpose of this work was to develop a quantitative method for the assessment of the content of OP-1 protein in extracts from human articular cartilage and to investigate the changes in OP-1 mRNA expression and protein levels with aging of normal adult cartilage. Full thickness cartilage was dissected from femoral condyles of donors with no history of joint disease within 24 h of death. Levels of OP-1 mRNA expression were measured by a semi-quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method; concentration of OP-1 protein was detected by new sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); qualitative changes in OP-1 forms were evaluated by Western blots with various anti-OP-1 antibodies. The sensitivity of the ELISA method allowed the detection of picogram quantities of OP-1 in cartilage extracts. We found that (1) concentration of OP-1 in normal cartilage is within the range of biological activity of OP-1 in vitro; and (2) during aging of human adult, articular cartilage, levels of OP-1 protein and message are dramatically reduced (more than 4-fold; p<0.02). The major qualitative changes affected primarily mature OP-1. The results of the current study suggest the possibility that OP-1 may be critical for chondrocytes to maintain their normal homeostasis and could also serve as a repair factor during joint disease or aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-134
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 20 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Bone morphogenetic protein
  • Human articular cartilage
  • Osteogenic protein-1
  • PCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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