2015 Volume 36 Issue 1 Pages 21-29
CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) β regulates chondrocyte differentiaion and proliferation during endochondral ossification. However, expression and function of other C/EBP family members in chondrocytes have not been fully understood. To understand the comprehensive regulation of chondrocyte differentiation by C/EBPs, we initially examined their expression levels. Among four members (C/EBPα, C/EBPβ, C/EBPδ and C/EBPε) with transactivation domain, expression of Cebpb and Cebpd was abundant compared to Cebpa, while Cebpe was hardly expressed in mouse isolated chondrocytes. Doxycycline (DOX)-inducible overexpression of each of the three C/EBPs (C/EBPα, C/EBPβ and C/EBPδ) in ATDC5 cells suppressed expressions of early differentiation markers including Col2a1, aggrecan and Sox9, enhanced those of late differentiation markers including Mmp13, Vegfa and Col10a1, and decelerated cell proliferation, indicating their overlapped functions in chondrocytes. In contrast, DOX-inducible overexpression of A-CEBP, which exerts a dominant-negative effect against all C/EBPs, increased expressions of early differentiation markers and decreased those of late differentiation markers. Finally, microarray and gene ontology analyses showed that A-CEBP altered many genes related with various events or tissues such as skeletal development, cartilage, cell cycle, inflammation and apoptosis. In conclusion, C/EBPα, C/EBPβ and C/EBPδ regulate proliferation and differentiation of chondrocytes and possibly is involved with apoptosis and inflammation. C/EBPs may play a variety of roles in the homeostasis of joint cartilage under physiological and pathological conditions.