Expression of granzyme B in human articular chondrocytes

Kiwamu Horiuchi, Seiji Saito, Ryohei Sasaki, Taisuke Tomatsu, Yoshiaki Toyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To investigate the expression of granzyme B (GrB) in normal and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) articular cartilage, and to analyze the relationship between the expression of GrB and apoptotic chondrocytes in RA cartilage. Methods. Normal cartilage samples were obtained from 9 resected joints and RA cartilage samples were obtained from 12 patients with RA during joint replacement surgery. Cartilage sections were analyzed by immunohistochemistry for the presence of GrB, and the mRNA expression of GrB in chondrocytes was analyzed by in situ hybridization and nonquantitative and semiquantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The expression of perforin (PFN) was also assessed. Apoptotic chondrocytes were detected using TUNEL staining and their morphology was examined using electron microscopy. Results. The immunohistochemical analyses revealed GrB and PFN expression in normal chondrocytes and a larger number of GrB and PFN-positive chondrocytes in RA cartilage. In situ hybridization and RT-PCR confirmed the expression of GrB and PFN mRNA, and semiquantitative RT-PCR showed elevated concentrations of GrB and PFN expression in RA chondrocytes. The distribution of GrB and PFN-positive cells in the RA cartilage samples was similar to that of apoptotic cells. Conclusion. GrB and PFN expression is present in normal human articular chondrocytes and elevated in RA chondrocytes. The targets and precise functions of GrB expressed in chondrocytes remain to be determined, but GrB may be involved in the remodeling mechanism of matrix macromolecules and the endogenous degradation of RA cartilage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1799-1810
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Aug 1


  • Cartilage degradation
  • Chondrocyte
  • Granzyme B
  • Perforin cartilage matrix remodeling
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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