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Joint lubrication, synovial fluid conservation and many pathophysiological processes depend on hyaluronan (HA). Intra-articular HA injection and exercise, which stimulates articular HA production, ameliorate osteoarthritis. We therefore investigated the pathways regulating movement-stimulated articular HA secretion rate ( ) in vivo. Endogenous HA was removed from the knee joint cavity of anaesthetised rabbits by washout. Joints were then cycled passively or remained static for 5 h, with/without intra-articular agonist/inhibitor, after which newly secreted HA was harvested for analysis. Movement almost doubled . Similar or larger increases were elicited in static joints by the intra-articular Ca(2+) ionophore ionomycin, prostaglandin E(2), cAMP-raising agents, serine/threonine phosphatase inhibitor and activation of protein kinase C (PKC). PKC-stimulated secretion was inhibited by the PKC inhibitor bisindolylmaleimide I and inhibitors of the downstream kinases MEK-ERK (U0126, PD98059). These agents inhibited movement-stimulated secretion of HA (MSHA) only when the parallel p38 kinase path was simultaneously inhibited by SB203580 (ineffective alone). The phospholipase C inhibitor U73122 almost fully blocked MSHA (P = 0.001, n = 10), without affecting static . The ENaC channel blocker amiloride inhibited MSHA, whereas other inhibitors of stretch-activated channels (Gd(3+), ruthenium red, SKF96365) did not. It is proposed that MSHA may be mediated by PLC activation, leading to activation of parallel PKC-MEK-ERK and p38 kinase pathways.

Original publication




Journal article


J Physiol

Publication Date





4361 - 4376


Animals, Calcium, Hyaluronic Acid, Joints, Movement, Phospholipases, Rabbits, Signal Transduction, Synovial Membrane