Pathway analysis hints towards beneficial effects of long-term vibration on human chondrocytes


  • R. Lützenberg
  • K. Solano
  • C. Buken
  • J. Sahana
  • S. Riwaldt
  • S. Kopp
  • M. Krüger
  • H. Schulz
  • K. Saar
  • N. Huebner
  • R. Hemmersbach
  • J. Bauer
  • M. Infanger
  • D. Grimm
  • M. Wehland


  • Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry


  • Cell Physiol Biochem 47 (4): 1729-1741


  • BACKGROUND/AIMS: Spaceflight negatively influences the function of cartilage tissue in vivo. In vitro human chondrocytes exhibit an altered gene expression of inflammation markers after a two-hour exposure to vibration. Little is known about the impact of long-term vibration on chondrocytes. METHODS: Human cartilage cells were exposed for up to 24 h (VIB) on a specialised vibration platform (Vibraplex) simulating the vibration profile which occurs during parabolic flights and compared to static control conditions (CON). Afterwards, they were investigated by phase-contrast microscopy, rhodamine phalloidin staining, microarray analysis, qPCR and western blot analysis. RESULTS: Morphological investigations revealed no changes between CON and VIB chondrocytes. F-Actin staining showed no alterations of the cytoskeleton in VIB compared with CON cells. DAPI and TUNEL staining did not identify apoptotic cells. ICAM-1 was elevated and vimentin, beta-tubulin and osteopontin proteins were significantly reduced in VIB compared to CON cells. qPCR of cytoskeletal genes, ITGB1, SOX3, SOX5, SOX9 did not reveal differential regulations. Microarray analysis detected 13 differentially expressed genes, mostly indicating unspecific stimulations. Pathway analyses demonstrated interactions of PSMD4 and CNOT7 with ICAM. CONCLUSIONS: Long-term vibration did not damage human chondrocytes in vitro. The reduction of osteopontin protein and the down-regulation of PSMD4 and TBX15 gene expression suggest that in vitro long-term vibration might even positively influence cultured chondrocytes.