Human neutrophils, when cultured with human articular cartilage coated with heal aggregated immunoglobulin G, degraded proteoglycan and inhibited its synthesis. Neutrophil‐mediated degradation of cartilage was potentiated by recombinant human tumour necrosis factor‐β (TNFβ), although TNFβ alone did not alter proteoglycan degradation. This effect was seen when TNFβ, neutrophils, and cartilage were incubated together, and also when neutrophils were preincubated with TNFβ and washed before being added to cartilage. Similar results were obtained with living and killed cartilage, in contrast, ptetreatment of neutrophils with TNFβ abrogated the neutrophil‐mediated inhibition of proteoglycan biosynthesis. There was no effect of TNFβ alone on synthesis of proteoglycan.
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