Osteoarthritis (OA) is a progressive degenerative joint disorder characterized by synovial inflammation. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a key proinflammatory cytokine in OA progression. Particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) exposure increases the risk of different diseases, including OA. Up until now, no studies have described any association between PM2.5 and IL-6 expression in human OA synovial fibroblasts (OASFs). Here, our data show that PM2.5 concentration- and time-dependently promoted IL-6 synthesis in human OASFs. We also found that reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation potentiated the effects of PM2.5 on IL-6 production. ASK1, ERK, p38, and JNK inhibitors reduced PM2.5-induced increases of IL-6 expression. Treatment of OASFs with PM2.5 promoted phosphorylation of these signaling cascades. We also found that PM2.5 enhanced c-Jun phosphorylation and its translocation into the nucleus. Thus, PM2.5 increases IL-6 production in human OASFs via the ROS, ASK1, ERK, p38, JNK, and AP-1 signaling pathways. Our evidence links PM2.5 with OA progression.
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