High fat-diet and saturated fatty acid palmitate inhibits IGF-1 function in chondrocytes

S. A. Nazli, R. F. Loeser, S. Chubinskaya, J. S. Willey, R. R. Yammani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) promotes matrix synthesis and cell survival in cartilage. Chondrocytes from aged and osteoarthritic cartilage have a reduced response to IGF-1. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of free fatty acids (FFA) present in a high-fat diet on IGF-1 function in cartilage and the role of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Methods C57BL/6 male mice were maintained on either a high-fat (60% kcal from fat) or a low-fat (10% kcal from fat) diet for 4 months. Mice were then sacrificed; femoral head cartilage caps were collected and treated with IGF-1 to measure proteoglycan (PG) synthesis. Cultured human chondrocytes were treated with 500 μM FFA palmitate or oleate, followed by stimulation with (100 ng/ml) IGF-1 overnight to measure CHOP (a protein marker for ER stress) and PG synthesis. Human chondrocytes were pre-treated with palmitate or 1 mM 4-phenyl butyric acid (PBA) or 1 μM C-Jun N terminal Kinase (JNK) inhibitor, and IGF-1 function (PG synthesis and signaling) was measured. Results Cartilage explants from mice on the high fat-diet showed reduced IGF-1 mediated PG synthesis compared to a low-fat group. Treatment of human chondrocytes with palmitate induced expression of CHOP, activated JNK and inhibited IGF-1 function. PBA, a small molecule chemical chaperone that alleviates ER stress rescued IGF-1 function and a JNK inhibitor rescued IGF-1 signaling. Conclusions Palmitate-induced ER stress inhibited IGF-1 function in chondrocytes/cartilage via activating the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase JNK. This is the first study to demonstrate that ER stress is metabolic factor that regulates IGF-1 function in chondrocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1516-1521
Number of pages6
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • CHOP
  • Cartilage
  • Chondrocytes
  • ER stress
  • High-fat diet
  • IGF-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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