Interleukin-17 (IL-17) has been characterized as a proinflammatory cytokine produced by CD4+ CD45RO+ memory T cells. Overproduction of IL-17 was detected in the synovium of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) compared with patients with osteoarthritis. This study examines differentially expressed genes after the stimulation of fibroblast-like synoviocytes of RA patients by IL-17. Among these genes we identified the following: tumor necrosis factor-stimulated gene-6 (TSG-6), IL-6, IL-8, GRO-β, and bone morphogenetic protein-6 with an expression 3.6–10.6-fold that in the unstimulated control. IL-17 augmented the expression of TSG-6, a hyaluronan-binding protein, in a time- and dose-dependent manner. IL-17 showed additive effects with IL-1β and tumour necrosis factor-α on the expression of TSG-6, IL-6 and IL-8. The mitogen-activated protein kinase p38 seems to be necessary for the regulation of TSG-6 expression by IL-17, as shown by inhibition with SB203580. Our results support the hypothesis that IL-17 is important in the pathogenesis of RA, contributing to an unbalanced production of cytokines as well as participating in connective tissue remodeling.
Keywords: fibroblast-like synoviocytes, interleukin-17, rheumatoid arthritis, TSG-6