Liu Lab for Translational Orthopaedic Research
Arthritis is a degenerative disease that affects more than 66 million individuals in the United States alone. The destruction of the extracellular matrix of cartilage and bone is thought to be mediated by excessive proteolytic activity and an imbalance between inflammatory cytokines and their antagonists. The discovery of matrix-degrading enzymes and the inhibitors that antagonize the actions of cytokines is therefore important from both a pathophysiological and a therapeutic standpoint.
In the Liu Lab, our studies have led to the identification of ADAMTS-7 and ADAMTS-12 as two metalloproteinases associated with cartilage destabilization and the pathogenesis of arthritis.
In addition to our investigation into the role of ADAMTS, we have turned our attention to progranulin (PGRN), an autocrine growth factor-like molecule with multiple functions, because it was originally isolated as both a chondrogenic and osteoarthritis-related growth factor in our laboratory. Importantly, we also identified PGRN as a novel binding partner of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptors, also known as TNFRs, which are implicated in the regulation of inflammation and autoimmunity.