Interleukin-10 and interleukin-10 receptor in human osteoarthritic and healthy chondrocytes

F Iannone, Cosimo De Bari, F Dell'Accio, M Covelli, F P Cantatore, V Patella, G Lo Bianco, G Lapadula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the expression of interleukin-10 (IL-10) and interleukin-10 receptor (IL-10R) on chondrocytes from healthy, osteoarthritic, and foetal cartilage from human subjects. METHODS: Articular cartilage was obtained from 12 patients with osteoarthritis (OA) undergoing surgical knee replacement. Chondrocytes were isolated from the two zones of cartilage showing macroscopically and histologically the lowest (MIN) and highest (MAX) extent of osteoarthritic damage. Additional specimens of cartilage were obtained from 3 healthy donors and 3 human foetuses. IL-10 mRNA expression was determined by a reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). For detection of intracellular IL-10 protein, chondrocytes were permeabilized and then incubated with R-phycoerythrin (PE) conjugated rat anti-human IL-10 mAb. Cell surface IL-10R was detected by incubation with biotinylated recombinant human IL-10; after washing, bound IL-10 was revealed by fluorescein (FITC) conjugated streptavidin. Positive chondrocytes were analysed by flowcytometry. RESULTS: IL-10 mRNA expression was higher in osteoarthritic than in normal chondrocytes. IL-10 protein intracellular levels were significantly higher in MAX than in MIN osteoarthritic cartilage or in healthy cartilage. Cell surface IL-10R was expressed on osteoarthritic chondrocytes with no difference in the degree of cartilage damage. The highest levels of IL-10 protein and IL-10R were found in foetal cartilage. CONCLUSION: Human chondrocytes synthesise IL-10 and express on their surface IL-10R. Since IL-10 inhibits IL-1 and TNF-alpha expression, its upregulation in osteoarthritic chondrocytes may counteract the detrimental effects of these catabolic cytokines. However, the functions of IL-10 in cartilage may go beyond those activities established in the immunological setting. The high levels of IL-10 and IL-10R in foetal cartilage, an active growing tissue, suggest that IL-10 may play a role in controlling chondrocyte metabolism under physiological conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-145
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Aged
  • Cartilage, Articular
  • Chondrocytes
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Interleukin
  • Receptors, Interleukin-10


Dive into the research topics of 'Interleukin-10 and interleukin-10 receptor in human osteoarthritic and healthy chondrocytes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this