Nanofat lysate ameliorates pain and cartilage degradation of osteoarthritis through activation of TGF-β–Smad2/3 signaling of chondrocytes
Introduction: Nanofat is an effective cell therapy for osteoarthritis (OA). However, it has clinical limitations due to its short half-life. We developed Nanofat lysate (NFL) to overcome the defect of Nanofat and explore its anti-OA efficacy and mechanism. Methods: Monoiodoacetate (MIA) was employed to establish rat OA model. For pain assessment, paw withdrawal latency (PWL) and thermal withdrawal latency (TWL) were evaluated. Degeneration of cartilage was observed by histopathological and immunohistochemical examination. Primary chondrocytes were treated with TNF-α to establish the cellular model of OA. MTT, wound healing, and transwell assays were performed to assess effects of NFL on chondrocytes. RNA-seq, qPCR and Western blot assays were conducted to clarify the mechanism of NFL. Results and Discussion: The animal data showed that PWL and TWL values, Mankin’s and OARSI scorings, and the Col2 expression in cartilage were significantly improved in the NFL-treated OA rats. The cellular data showed that NFL significantly improved the proliferation, wound healing, and migration of chondrocytes. The molecular data showed that NFL significantly restored the TNF-α-altered anabolic markers (Sox9, Col2 and ACAN) and catabolic markers (IL6 and Mmp13). The RNA-seq identified that TGF-β-Smad2/3 signaling pathway mediated the efficacy of NFL, which was verified by qPCR and Western blot that NFL significantly restored the abnormal expressions of TGFβR2, phosphorylated-Smad2, phosphorylated-Smad2/3, Col2, Mmp13 and Mmp3. After long-term storage, NFL exerted similar effects as its fresh type, indicating its advantage of storability. In sum, NFL was developed as a new therapeutic approach and its anti-OA efficacy and mechanism that mediated by TGF-β-Smad2/3 signaling was determined for the first time. Besides, the storability of NFL provided a substantial advantage than other living cell-based therapies.