Obesity and associated metabolic factors are major risk factors for the development of osteoarthritis. Previously, we have shown that the free fatty acid palmitate induces endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and induces apoptosis in meniscus cells. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in these effects are not clearly understood. In our current study, we found that palmitate inhibits autophagy by modulating the protein levels of autophagy-related genes-5 (ATG5) that is associated with decreased lipidation of LC3 and increased activation of cleaved caspase 3. Pretreatment of meniscus cells with 4-phenyl butyric acid, a small molecule chemical chaperone that alleviates ER stress, or with MG-132, a proteasome inhibitor, restored normal levels of ATG5 and autophagosome formation, and decreased expression of cleaved caspase 3. Thus, our data suggest that palmitate downregulates autophagy in meniscus cells by degrading ATG5 protein via ER-associated protein degradation, and thus promotes apoptosis. This is the first study to demonstrate that palmitate-induced endoplasmic reticulum stress negatively regulates autophagy.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications – Elsevier
Published: Jul 20, 2018
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