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Inhibition of acid-sensing ion channels in articular chondrocytes by amiloride attenuates articular cartilage destruction in rats with adjuvant arthritis

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The aim of this study was to examine whether drugs such as amiloride that block acid sensing ion channels (ASICs) could attenuate articular cartilage destruction in adjuvant-induced arthritis (AA).


Articular chondrocytes were isolated from the normal rats, and intracellular calcium ([Ca2+]i) was analyzed with laser scanning confocal microscopy. The cell injury was analyzed with lactate dehydrogenase release assay and electron microscopy. Amiloride or phosphate buffered saline was administered daily to AA rats for 1 week from the time of arthritis onset. Morphology of the articular cartilage was examined by hematoxylin and eosin staining, and Mankin score was calculated. The expression level of type II collagen (COII) and aggrecan mRNA and proteins in the articular cartilage was evaluated by real-time PCR and Western blotting, respectively.


The rapid decrease in extracellular pH (6.0) induced a conspicuous increase in [Ca2+]i in the articular chondrocytes. Amiloride reduced this increase in [Ca2+]i, and inhibited acid-induced articular chondrocyte injury. Amiloride significantly decreased Mankin scores in the articular cartilage in AA rats. COII and aggrecan mRNA and protein expression in the articular cartilage was significantly increased by amiloride.


These findings represent some experimental evidence of a potential role for ASICs in the pathogenesis of articular cartilage destruction in rheumatoid arthritis.

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This work was supported by the China National Science Foundation grants No. 30901526 and No. 30873080.

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Correspondence to Fei-Hu Chen.

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Responsible Editor: J. Di Battista.

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Yuan, FL., Chen, FH., Lu, WG. et al. Inhibition of acid-sensing ion channels in articular chondrocytes by amiloride attenuates articular cartilage destruction in rats with adjuvant arthritis. Inflamm. Res. 59, 939–947 (2010).

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