High-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid inhibits IL-1β-induced synovial inflammation and macrophage polarization through the GRP78-nf-κB signaling pathway

Chien Hsing Lee, Chi Fu Chiang, Feng Chih Kuo, Sheng Chiang Su, Chia Luen Huang, Jhih Syuan Liu, Chieh Hua Lu, Chang Hsun Hsieh, Chih Chien Wang, Chian Her Lee, Pei Hung Shen

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Recent evidence has suggested that synovial inflammation and macrophage polarization were involved in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis (OA). Additionally, high-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid (HMW-HA) was often used clinically to treat OA. GRP78, an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress chaperone, was suggested to contribute to the hyperplasia of synovial cells in OA. However, it was still unclear whether HMW-HA affected macrophage polarization through GRP78. Therefore, we aimed to identify the effect of HMW-HA in primary synovial cells and macrophage polarization and to investigate the role of GRP78 signaling. We used IL-1β to treat primary synoviocytes to mimic OA, and then treated them with HMW-HA. We also collected conditioned medium (CM) to culture THP-1 macrophages and examine the changes in the phenotype. IL-1β increased the expression of GRP78, NF-κB (p65 phosphorylation), IL-6, and PGE2 in primary synoviocytes, accompanied by an increased macrophage M1/M2 polarization. GRP78 knockdown significantly reversed the expression of IL-1β-induced GRP78-related downstream molecules and macrophage polarization. HMW-HA with GRP78 knockdown had additive effects in an IL-1β culture. Finally, the synovial fluid from OA patients revealed significantly decreased IL-6 and PGE2 levels after the HMW-HA treatment. Our study elucidated a new form of signal transduction for HMW-HA-mediated protection against synovial inflammation and macrophage polarization and highlighted the involvement of the GRP78-NF-κB signaling pathway. View Full-Text

Original languageEnglish
Article number11917
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2021


  • GRP78
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Macrophage
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Synoviocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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