Hyaluronan (HA)-binding protein involved in HA depolymerization (HYBID), also called cell migration-inducing protein (CEMIP; alias KIAA1199), plays a key role in the degradation of HA in skin and arthritic synovial fibroblasts, but its functions in osteoarthritic (OA) cartilage remain elusive. Here, we investigated the expression and roles of HYBID in human OA cartilage. HYBID was highly expressed by chondrocytes in the HA-depleted area of OA cartilage, and HYBID immunoreactivity was correlated with Mankin score, the histopathologic severity of OA lesions of cartilage. Real-time quantitative PCR indicated that HYBID expression was significantly higher in OA cartilage than in control cartilage. In addition, OA chondrocytes exhibited HA-degrading activity, which was abolished by knock-down of HYBID by siRNAs. Although OA chondrocytes also expressed certain levels of hyaluronidases 1 and 2 and CD44, knock-down of these molecules exhibited negligible effects on HA degradation. Double immunostaining of HYBID and clathrin heavy chain revealed that HYBID was localized in the clathrin-coated vesicles, and HA was endocytosed within the vesicles of OA chondrocytes. Among eight factors including cytokines and growth factors examined, only tumor necrosis factor α stimulated OA chondrocytes to overexpress HYBID. These data are the first to demonstrate that HYBID is up-regulated in OA cartilage, and suggest that tumor necrosis factor α–stimulated HYBID plays a role in HA degradation in OA cartilage.
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