Mechanical stretch increases Smad3-dependent CCN2 expression in inner meniscus cells

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27 Citations (Scopus)


The intrinsic zone-specific properties of the menisci are determined by biomechanical environments. In this study, we examined mechanical stretch-dependent expression of multifunctional growth factor CYR61/CTGF/NOV (CCN) 2, and investigated the role of CCN2 in meniscus cells. Uni-axial cyclic tensile strain (CTS) was applied using a STB-140 system. CTS-induced expression of CCN2 and α1(I) collagen (COL1A1) was assessed by quantitative real-time PCR analysis. The distribution of CCN2 and Smad2/3 in stretched cells was investigated by immunohistochemical analysis. Smad2/3-dependent CCN2 transactivation was measured by luciferase reporter assay. The relationship between Smad2/3 and CTS-induced CCN2 transcription was investigated by chromatin immunoprecipitation. CTS stimulated gene expression of CCN2 and COL1A1 in inner meniscus cells, but not in outer meniscus cells. Recombinant CCN2 increased COL1A1 expression only in inner meniscus cells. CCN2 synthesis and nuclear translocalization of phosphorylated Smad2/3 in inner meniscus cells were stimulated by CTS. The CCN2 promoter activity was synergistically enhanced by overexpressed Smad3 in stretched inner meniscus cells, but was not by Smad2. Chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed that CTS increased the association between Smad3 and the Smad-binding element on the CCN2 proximal promoter in inner meniscus cells. Our results suggest that stretch-induced CCN2 may have a crucial role in regulating COL1A1 expression in the inner meniscus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1738-1745
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • CCN2
  • Smad3
  • collagen
  • cyclic tensile strain
  • meniscus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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