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Qi J.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Dmochowski J.M.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Banes A.N.,Flexcell International | Banes A.N.,North Carolina State University | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Applied Physiology | Year: 2012

Tenomodulin (Tnmd, also called Tendin) is classified as a type II transmembrane glycoprotein and is highly expressed in developing as well as in mature tendons. Along with scleraxis (scx), Tnmd is a candidate marker gene for tenocytes. Its function is unknown, but it has been reported to have anti-angiogenic properties. Results in a knockout mouse model did not substantiate that claim. It has homology to chondromodulin-I. Single nucleotide polymorphisms of TNMD have been associated with obesity, macular degeneration, and Alzheimer's disease in patients. In the present study, three Tnmd isoforms with deduced molecular weights of 20.3 (isoform II), 25.4 (isoform III), and 37.1 (isoform I) kDa were proposed and verified by Western blot from cells with green fluorescent protein-linked, overexpressed constructs, tissue, and by qPCR of isoforms from human tissues and cultured cells. Overexpression of each Tnmd isoform followed by immunofluorescence imaging showed that isoforms I and II had perinuclear localization while isoform III was cytoplasmic. Results of qPCR demonstrated differential expression of each Tnmd isoform in patient's specimens taken from flexor carpi radialis, biceps brachii, and flexor digitorum profundus tendons. Knockdown of Tnmd increased the expression of both scleraxis (scx) and myostatin, indicating a potential negative feedback loop between Tnmd and its regulators. Knockdown of all Tnmd isoforms simultaneously also reduced tenocyte proliferation. I-TASSER protein three-dimensional conformation modeling predictions indicated each Tnmd isoform had different structures and potential functions: isoform 1, modeled as a cytosine methyltransferase; isoform 2, a SUMO-1-like SENP-1 protease; and isoform 3, an α-Syntrophin, plextrin homology domain scaffolding protein. Further functional studies with each Tnmd isoform may help us to better understand regulation of tenocyte proliferation, tendon development, response to injury and strain, as well as mechanisms in tendinoses. These results may indicate novel therapeutic targets in specific tenomodulin isoforms as well as treatments for tendon diseases. Copyright © 2012 the American Physiological Society.

Qi J.,Flexcell International | Qi J.,North Carolina State University | Chi L.,Flexcell International | Bynum D.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Applied Physiology | Year: 2011

Mechanical stimuli play important roles in proliferation and differentiation of connective tissue cells, and development and homeostatic maintenance of tissues. However, excessive mechanical loading to a tissue can injure cells and disrupt the matrix, as occurs in tendinopathy. Tendinopathy is a common clinical problem in athletes and in many occupational settings due to overuse of the tendon. Moreover, interleukin (IL)-1β is generally considered to be a "bad" cytokine, activating NF-κb and cell death and inducing matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs 1, 2, 3) expression and matrix destruction. However, activated NF-κB can also drive a cell survival pathway. We have reported that cyclic strain induced tenocyte death in three-dimensional (3D) cultures, and IL-1β could promote cell survival under strain. Therefore, it was hypothesized that 1) cyclic strain could induce cell death in tenocytes as observed in pathologic tendons in vivo; 2) a gene expression profile indicative of tendinopathy could be identified; and 3) low-dose IL-1β could protect cells from strain-induced, tendinopathy- like changes. Human tenocytes were cultured in 3D type I collagen hydrogels and subjected to 3.5% elongation at 1 Hz for 1 h/day for up to 5 days with or without IL-1β. Real-time RT-PCR data showed that cyclic strain regulated the expression of tendinopathy marker genes in a manner similar to that found in pathological tendons from patients and that addition of IL-1β reversed the gene expression changes to control levels. Results of further studies showed that IL-1β may modulate cell survival through upregulating the expression of connexin 43, which is involved in the modulation of cell death/ survival in a variety of cells and tissues. The elucidation of the mechanisms underlying strain-induced cell death and recovery from strain injury will facilitate our understanding of the pathogenesis of tendinopathy and may lead to the discovery of new molecular targets for early diagnosis and treatment of tendinopathy. © 2011 the American Physiological Society.

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