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Commentary

The role of HIF-1α in maintaining cartilage homeostasis and during the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis

David Pfander1*, Bernd Swoboda1 and Thorsten Cramer2

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Orthopaedic Rheumatology, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany

2 Department of Hepatology and Gastroenterology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Berlin, Germany

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2006, 8:104  doi:10.1186/ar1894

Published: 18 January 2006

Abstract

As a consequence of the avascular nature of cartilage the microenvironment in which chondrocytes must exist is characterized by hostile conditions, most prominently very low levels of oxygen (hypoxia). In recent years, a vast number of papers reporting on the role of hypoxia in cartilage development and disease has been published. It is well established today that the principal mediator of cellular adaptation to hypoxia, the transcription factor hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1, is of pivotal importance for survival and growth arrest of chondrocytes during cartilage development as well as energy generation and matrix synthesis of chondrocytes in healthy as well as osteoarthritic cartilage. With this commentary we aim to briefly discuss the recently published literature in this field.