• Chondrocytes;
  • IGF2;
  • PI3K;
  • Akt;
  • TGFβ;
  • Aggrecan;
  • Versican


Insulin-like growth factor-2 (IGF2) is essential for fetal development as well as maintenance of adult organs such as brain and liver. Although genetic polymorphisms of IGF2 are linked to cytoskeletal variations little is known about the mechanisms of IGF2 action in proliferation and differentiation of chondrocytes for skeletal growth. A genome-wide mRNA expression analysis using C28/I2 chondrocyte cells studied potential signaling pathways underlying the responses to IGF2. Microarray data predicted involvement of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) signaling pathways. Protein analyses revealed IGF2 administration activated phosphorylation of Akt and GSK3β in the PI3K pathway. LY294002 (selective inhibitor of PI3K) blocked Akt phosphorylation and abolished IGF2-driven elevation of the mRNA levels of the proteoglycans, Aggrecan and Versican. LY294002 did not suppress upregulation of TGFβ mRNA induced by IGF2, so IGF2 activates PI3K and TGFβ pathways. IGF2-driven transcriptional activation of proteoglycan genes such as Aggrecan and Versican is mediated by the PI3K pathway.