A major question concerning the immunopathology of rheumatoid arthritis is why the disease is localized to particular joints. A possible explanation could be the presence within the synovium of cells that foster inflammation or easy accessibility of the synovium to migratory disease enhancing cells. Within both the bone marrow and the synovium, fibroblastic stromal cells play an important role in supporting the differentiation and survival of normal cells, and also contribute to the pathologic processes. Among fibroblastic stromal cells in synovial tissue and bone marrow, nurse-like cells are a unique population having the specific capacity to promote pseudoemperipolesis (adhesion and holding beneath) of lymphocytes, and also the ability to promote the growth and function of some populations of lymphocytes and monocytes. Nurse-like cells could therefore contribute to the immunopathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis, and may contribute to the localization of inflammation within specific joints. The present review considers the evidence that supports these possibilities.
The nucleic acid-binding protein YB-1, a member of the cold-shock domain protein family, has been implicated in the progression of breast cancer and is associated with poor patient survival. YB-1 has sequence similarity to LIN28, another cold-shock protein family member, which has a role in the regulation of small noncoding RNAs (sncRNAs) including microRNAs (miRNAs). Therefore, to investigate whether there is an association between YB-1 and sncRNAs in breast cancer, we investigated whether sncRNAs were bound by YB-1 in two breast cancer cell lines (luminal A-like and basal cell-like), and whether the abundance of sncRNAs and mRNAs changed in response to experimental reduction of YB-1 expression.
RNA-immunoprecipitation with an anti-YB-1 antibody showed that several sncRNAs are bound by YB-1. Some of these were bound by YB-1 in both breast cancer cell lines; others were cell-line specific. The small RNAs bound by YB-1 were derived from various sncRNA families including miRNAs such as let-7 and miR-320, transfer RNAs, ribosomal RNAs and small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNA). Reducing YB-1 expression altered the abundance of a number of transcripts encoding miRNA biogenesis and processing proteins but did not alter the abundance of mature or precursor miRNAs.
YB-1 binds to specific miRNAs, snoRNAs and tRNA-derived fragments and appears to regulate the expression of miRNA biogenesis and processing machinery. We propose that some of the oncogenic effects of YB-1 in breast cancer may be mediated through its interactions with sncRNAs.
Human interleukin-26 induces Th17 cells, is over-expressed in rheumatoid arthritis, and is thus a promising therapeutic target in chronic inflammatory disease.
Interleukin-26 (IL-26), a member of the IL-10 cytokine family, induces the production of proinflammatory cytokines by epithelial cells. IL-26 has been also reported overexpressed in Crohn's disease, suggesting that it may be involved in the physiopathology of chronic inflammatory disorders. Here, we have analyzed the expression and role of IL-26 in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic inflammatory disorder characterized by joint synovial inflammation. We report that the concentrations of IL-26 are higher in the serums of RA patients than of healthy subjects and dramatically elevated in RA synovial fluids compared to RA serums. Immunohistochemistry reveals that synoviolin+ fibroblast-like synoviocytes and CD68+ macrophage-like synoviocytes are the main IL-26-producing cells in RA joints. Fibroblast-like synoviocytes from RA patients constitutively produce IL-26 and this production is upregulated by IL-1-beta and IL-17A. We have therefore investigated the role of IL-26 in the inflammatory process. Results show that IL-26 induces the production of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1-beta, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha by human monocytes and also upregulates the expression of numerous chemokines (mainly CCL20). Interestingly, IL-26-stimulated monocytes selectively promote the generation of RORgamma t+ Th17 cells, through IL-1-beta secretion by monocytes. More precisely, IL-26-stimulated monocytes switch non-Th17 committed (IL-23R− or CCR6− CD161−) CD4+ memory T cells into Th17 cells. Finally, synovial fluids from RA patients also induce Th17 cell generation and this effect is reduced after IL-26 depletion. These findings show that IL-26 is constitutively produced by RA synoviocytes, induces proinflammatory cytokine secretion by myeloid cells, and favors Th17 cell generation. IL-26 thereby appears as a novel proinflammatory cytokine, located upstream of the proinflammatory cascade, that may constitute a promising target to treat RA and chronic inflammatory disorders.
Heat shock proteins (hsp) have been repeatedly implicated to participate in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Herein, we investigated the regulation of synovial hsp70 expression by analyzing the DNA-binding activity of heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1) as well as inducible hsp70 expression. Experiments were performed both on synovial tissue and on synovial fibroblast-like cells (SFC). Gel mobility shift analysis revealed increased HSF1 activation, and Western blotting and immunohistochemistry revealed increased hsp70 expression in RA synovial tissue, but not in synovial tissue derived from patients with osteoarthritis. Proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-1alpha, IL-6), but not IFN-gamma or TGF-beta, induced activation of HSF1-DNA binding and hsp70 expression in cultivated SFC. Activation of HSF1 in SFC was accompanied by hyperphosphorylation and nuclear translocation of HSF1. Furthermore, shear stress also induced a complete heat shock response in cultivated synovial cells. In contrast, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs triggered only an incomplete heat shock response, with HSF1 activation but not hsp70 induction, whereas steroids and immunosuppressive drugs did not affect the heat shock response at all. In summary, these data suggest that induction of hsp70 expression in rheumatoid synovial tissue is based on transcriptional activation of HSF1 due to the presence of proinflammatory cytokines (and possibly also shear stress).
OBJECTIVE—The aim of this study was to investigate in situ the expression of the classic vitronectin (VN) receptor consisting of the αv and β3 subunits in synovial lining cells (SLC) of chronic synovitis occurring in osteoarthritis (OA) and in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The expression and function of αv and β3 as VN receptor in cultured fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FBS) derived from patients with OA and RA was also compared.
METHODS—Expression of αv and β3 was examined immunohistochemically in normal synovial tissue and in synovial tisssue from patients with OA and RA. The effect of proinflammatory cytokines and of a synovial fluid of a patient with RA on the expression of the αv and β3 subunits of cultured FBS was determined by flow cytometry. Binding of OA and RA-FBS to VN was quantified using adhesion assays and the effect of interleukin 1β (IL1β) and tumour necrosis factor α (TNFα) on adhesion was measured. The specifity of the adhesion was tested by inhibition studies using monoclonal antibodies to integrin subunits.
RESULTS—In in situ studies normal SLC showed a parallel distribution of αv and β3 subunits. OA-SLC strongly and uniformly expressed αv whereas RA-SLC showed heterogeneous expression of αv. In situ both OA-SLC and RA-SLC lacked the expression of the integrin subunit β3. In in vitro studies, OA-FBS and RA-FBS did not differ as regards expression of αv and β3, and VN attachment. Binding of RA-FBS to VN was partially blocked by antibodies against αv, β1, and β3 subunits, whereas only antibodies against αv and β3 inhibited the binding of OA-FBS to VN. The proinflammatory cytokines TNFα and IL1β increased the expression of αv and β3, and the VN binding of OA-FBS, whereas αv and β3 expression, and VN binding were downregulated in RA-FBS. Similar effects were found when the synovial fluid of an RA patient was used.
CONCLUSION—The integrin subunit β3 seems to be one partner but not the major one with which the subunit αv forms functional vitronectin receptors in OA-FBS and RA-FBS. The interaction between synovial cells and inflammatory cytokines seems to be different for OA and RA; the basis for this difference, however, remains to be established.
Background. Cell signaling via Toll-like receptors (TLRs) leads to synovial inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We aimed to assess effects of TLR2 and TLR4 stimulation on proinflammatory cytokine production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from patients with recent-onset RA, osteoarthrosis (OA), and healthy control (HC).
Methods. PBMCs were stimulated with LPS, biglycan and cytokine mix. Cytokines were analyzed in supernatants with ELISA. Expression of toll-like receptors mRNA in leukocytes was analyzed using real-time qPCR.
Results. PBMCs from RA patients spontaneously produced less IL-6 and TNFα than cells from OA and HC subjects.
LPS increased cytokines' production in all groups. In RA patients increase was dramatic (30 to 48-fold and 17 to 31-fold, for respective cytokines) compared to moderate (2 to 8-fold) in other groups. LPS induced 15-HETE generation in PBMCs from RA (mean 251%) and OA patients (mean 43%), although only in OA group, the increase was significant. TLR2 and TLR4 gene expressions decreased in response to cytokine mix, while LPS enhanced TLR2 expression in HC and depressed TLR4 expression in OA patients.
Conclusion. PBMCs from recent-onset RA patients are overresponsive to stimulation with bacterial lipopolysaccharide.
TLR expression is differentially regulated in healthy and arthritic subjects.
Integrins play an important role in cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix and other cells. Upon ligand binding, signaling is initiated and several intracellular pathways are activated. This leads to a wide variety of effects, depending on cell type. Integrin activation has been linked to proliferation, secretion of matrix-degrading enzymes, cytokine production, migration, and invasion. Dysregulated integrin expression is often found in malignant disease. Tumors use integrins to evade apoptosis or metastasize, indicating that integrin signaling has to be tightly controlled. During the course of rheumatoid arthritis, the synovial tissue is infiltrated by immune cells that secrete large amounts of cytokines. This pro-inflammatory milieu leads to an upregulation of integrin receptors and their ligands in the synovial tissue. As a consequence, integrin signaling is enhanced, leading to enhanced production of matrix-degrading enzymes and cytokines. Furthermore, in analogy to invading tumors, synovial fibroblasts start invading and degrading cartilage, thereby generating extracellular matrix debris that can further activate integrins.
Proinflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin 1 (IL-1), mediate the joint destruction that characterizes rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Previous studies have shown that parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) is a member of the cascade of proinflammatory cytokines induced in parenchymal organs during lethal endotoxemia. To test the hypothesis that NH2-terminal PTHrP, a potent bone resorbing agent, could also be a member of the synovial cascade of tissue-destructive cytokines whose expression is induced in RA, PTHrP expression was examined in synovium and synoviocytes obtained from patients with RA and osteoarthritis (OA). PTHrP production, as determined by measurement of immunoreactive PTHrP(1-86) in tissue explant supernatants, was increased 10-fold in RA versus OA synovial tissue. Synovial lining cells and fibroblast-like cells within the pannus expressed both PTHrP and the PTH/PTHrP receptor, findings that were confirmed by in vitro studies of cultured synoviocytes. TNF-alpha and IL-1beta stimulated PTHrP expression in synoviocytes, while dexamethasone and interferon-gamma, agents with some therapeutic efficacy in the treatment of RA, inhibited PTHrP release. Treatment of synoviocytes with PTHrP(1-34) stimulated IL-6 secretion. These results suggest that proinflammatory cytokine-stimulated production of NH2-terminal PTHrP by synovial tissue directly invading cartilage and bone in RA may mediate joint destruction through direct effects on cartilage or bone, or, indirectly, via the induction of mediators of bone resorption in the tumor-like synovium.
Retinoic acid receptors (RAR) are expressed in inflammatory cells and, through ligand binding, play an important role in cell proliferation and differentiation, as well as in regulation of cytokine and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) production. Inflammatory cytokines and MMPs play a significant role in cartilage destruction in osteoarthritis (OA) and in joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the prototype of inflammatory arthritis. To determine if RARα is expressed in the synovial membrane (SM) of patients with OA and compare it with RA, SM biopsy samples were used in this study which were from 31 patients with late OA and 14 patients with late RA. Cryostat sections were studied by immunochemistry using a RARα-specific antibody. All SM samples from OA and RA patients exhibited cellular localization for RARα. Immunoreactivity was present in mononuclear inflammatory cells, endothelial cells, synovial lining cells, and fibroblasts. Inflammatory infiltrates were interstitial and nodular. Roughly one half of mononuclear cells in the inflammatory nodules in OA and RA were positive for RARα. The conclusion is that the presence of RARα in SM of patients with OA and RA suggests that RARs may play a role in the immunomodulation of synovial inflammation and therefore can be a potential target of therapeutic intervention in these arthritides.
osteoarthritis; rheumatoid arthritis; retinoic acid receptor; synovial membrane
Recently, it has been demonstrated that oxygen free radicals have an important role as a signaling messenger in the development of inflammation and osteoclastogenesis, suggesting the implication of oxygen free radicals in the pathogenesis of arthritis. The aim of this study was to examine the potential of a strong free-radical scavenger, water-soluble fullerene (C60), as a protective agent against synovitis in arthritis, both in vitro and in vivo. In the presence or absence of C60 (0.1, 1.0, 10.0 μM), human synovial fibroblasts, synovial infiltrating lymphocytes or macrophages were incubated with tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) (10.0 ng/mL), and the production of proinflammatory cytokines by the individual cells were analyzed. C60 significantly suppressed the TNF-α-induced production of proinflammatory cytokines in synovial fibroblasts, synovial infiltrating lymphocytes and macrophages in vitro. Adjuvant induced arthritic rats were used as an animal model of arthritis. Rats were divided into two subgroups: control and treatment with C60 at 10.0 μM. The left ankle joint was injected intraarticularly with water-soluble C60 (20 μl) in the C60-treated group, while, as a control, the left ankle joint in the control rats received phosphate-buffered saline (20 μl), once weekly for eight weeks. Ankle joint tissues were prepared for histological analysis. In adjuvant-induced arthritic rats, intra-articular treatment with C60 in vivo reduced synovitis and alleviated bone resorption and destruction in the joints, while control ankle joints showed progression of synovitis and joint destruction with time. These findings indicate that C60 is a potential therapeutic agent for inhibition of arthritis.
fullerene; inflammation; arthritis; synovitis; bone resorption
Leukocyte infiltration into the rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovium is a multistep process in which leukocytes leave the bloodstream and invade the synovial tissue (ST). Leukocyte transendothelial migration and adhesion to RA ST requires adhesion molecules on the surface of endothelial cells and RA ST fibroblasts. This study was undertaken to investigate the role of junctional adhesion molecule C (JAM-C) in mediating leukocyte recruitment and retention in the RA joint.
Immunohistologic analysis was performed on RA, osteoarthritis (OA), and normal ST samples to quantify JAM-C expression. Fibroblast JAM-C expression was also analyzed using Western blotting, cell surface enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and immunofluorescence. To determine the role of JAM-C in leukocyte retention in the RA synovium, in vitro and in situ adhesion assays and RA ST fibroblast transmigration assays were performed.
JAM-C was highly expressed by RA ST lining cells, and its expression was increased in OA ST and RA ST endothelial cells compared with normal ST endothelial cells. JAM-C was also expressed on the surface of OA ST and RA ST fibroblasts. Furthermore, we demonstrated that myeloid U937 cell adhesion to both OA ST and RA ST fibroblasts and to RA ST was dependent on JAM-C. U937 cell migration through an RA ST fibroblast monolayer was enhanced in the presence of neutralizing antibodies against JAM-C.
Our results highlight the novel role of JAM-C in recruiting and retaining leukocytes in the RA synovium and suggest that targeting JAM-C may be important in combating inflammatory diseases such as RA.
Activated fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) share many characteristics with tumour cells and are key mediators of synovial tissue transformation and joint destruction. The glycoprotein podoplanin is upregulated in the invasive front of several human cancers and has been associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition, increased cell migration and tissue invasion. The aim of this study was to investigate whether podoplanin is expressed in areas of synovial transformation in RA and especially in promigratory RA-FLS.
Podoplanin expression in human synovial tissue from 18 RA patients and nine osteoarthritis (OA) patients was assessed by immunohistochemistry and confirmed by Western blot analysis. The expression was related to markers of synoviocytes and myofibroblasts detected by using confocal immunofluoresence microscopy. Expression of podoplanin, with or without the addition of proinflammatory cytokines and growth factors, in primary human FLS was evaluated by using flow cytometry.
Podoplanin was highly expressed in cadherin-11-positive cells throughout the synovial lining layer in RA. The expression was most pronounced in areas with lining layer hyperplasia and high matrix metalloproteinase 9 expression, where it coincided with upregulation of α-smooth muscle actin (α-sma). The synovium in OA was predominantly podoplanin-negative. Podoplanin was expressed in 50% of cultured primary FLSs, and the expression was increased by interleukin 1β, tumour necrosis factor α and transforming growth factor β receptor 1.
Here we show that podoplanin is highly expressed in FLSs of the invading synovial tissue in RA. The concomitant upregulation of α-sma and podoplanin in a subpopulation of FLSs indicates a myofibroblast phenotype. Proinflammatory mediators increased the podoplanin expression in cultured RA-FLS. We conclude that podoplanin might be involved in the synovial tissue transformation and increased migratory potential of activated FLSs in RA.
Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) is an anti-inflammatory immunomodulatory neuropeptide with therapeutic potential demonstrated for collagen-induced arthritis. The aim of this study was to characterise its potential anti-arthritic effect on human monocytes, macrophages, T cells, and rheumatoid arthritis synovial membrane cells. Monocytes, macrophages, and T cells derived from human peripheral blood were treated with VIP and compared with other cAMP-elevating drugs for a range of activating stimuli. Cytokine production was assessed for cell cultures and, in addition, the ability of VIPs to activate cAMP response element binding protein. VIP partially suppressed monocyte- and macrophage-derived tumour necrosis factor α (TNF-α) with no effect on IL-10, whereas VIP fails to regulate IL-10 and TNF-α production by T lymphocytes. No such modulation of cytokine profile was observed for rheumatoid arthritis synovial membrane cells. Elevation of intracellular cAMP, on the other hand, potently suppressed macrophage TNF-α production and modulated T-cell response by inhibiting TNF-α and IFN-γ. VIP's lack of effect on IL-10 and its slight effect on TNF-α results from cAMP being rapidly degraded as the phosphodiesterase IV inhibitor, rolipram, rescues cAMP-dependent activation of cAMP response element binding protein. Interestingly, macrophages stimulated with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate/ionomycin displayed an augmented IL-10 response upon addition of dibutyryl cAMP, with corresponding downregulation in TNF-α, suggesting a complex interaction between protein kinase C and protein kinase A in cytokine regulation. In conclusion, VIP may represent an efficaceous anti-arthritic treatment modulating macrophage and T-cell cytokine profiles when used alongside a phosphodiesterase inhibitor.
IL-10; macrophage; T cells; TNF-α; VIP
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) remains a significant unmet medical need despite significant therapeutic advances. The pathogenesis of RA is complex and includes many cell types, including T cells, B cells, and macrophages. Fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) in the synovial intimal lining also play a key role by producing cytokines that perpetuate inflammation and proteases that contribute to cartilage destruction. Rheumatoid FLS develop a unique aggressive phenotype that increases invasiveness into the extracellular matrix and further exacerbates joint damage. Recent advances in understanding the biology of FLS, including their regulation regulate innate immune responses and activation of intracellular signaling mechanisms that control their behavior, provide novel insights into disease mechanisms. New agents that target FLS could potentially complement the current therapies without major deleterious effect on adaptive immune responses.
cytokines; rheumatoid arthritis; signaling protein; inflammation
Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovium is characterised by enhanced NF-κB activity and proinflammatory cytokines. Cryopyrin (CIAS-1, NALP-3, PYPAF-1) has been shown to regulate NF-κB and caspase-1 activation.
Objective: To study the expression of cryopyrin, its effector molecule ASC, and its putative antagonist pyrin in RA and osteoarthritis (OA) synovium, and the main two cellular constituents of synovial lining, cultured fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) and macrophages.
Methods: FLS and macrophages were cultured in the presence of inflammatory mediators. Real time polymerase chain reaction was used to quantify message levels in synovial biopsy specimens and cells. In situ hybridisation was employed to localise expression of cryopyrin mRNA.
Results: Cryopyrin mRNA was raised in RA synovium and detected in both lining and sublining regions. FLS from RA and OA tissue expressed low baseline levels of cryopyrin transcripts that were induced by tumour necrosis factor α (TNFα). In contrast, macrophages differentiated in vitro expressed relatively high cryopyrin levels, which were further induced by TNFα, but not by interleukin 1ß. ASC mRNA levels were comparable in RA and OA tissue, FLS, and macrophages, and were depressed by TNFα in macrophages. Pyrin expression was higher in RA synovium than in OA tissue, and virtually undetectable in FLS but high in macrophages where it was unchanged by TNFα treatment.
Conclusion: These results suggest that enhanced cryopyrin levels in RA synovium are due to a greater numbers of tissue macrophages, and demonstrate transcriptional regulation of cryopyrin in a chronic inflammatory disease.
The receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) is a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily being expressed as a cell surface molecule and binding a variety of ligands. One of these ligands is high-mobility group box chromosomal protein 1, a potent proinflammatory cytokine, expression of which is increased in synovial tissue and in synovial fluid of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. The interaction of high-mobility group box chromosomal protein 1 with cell-surface RAGE leads to an inflammatory response. In contrast, the presence of soluble RAGE (sRAGE) may abrogate cellular activation since the ligand is bound prior to interaction with the surface receptor.
Our aim was to analyse to what extent sRAGE is present in patients with chronic joint inflammation (RA) as compared with patients with non-inflammatory joint disease and with healthy subjects, and to assess whether there is an association between sRAGE levels and disease characteristics.
Matching samples of blood and synovial fluid were collected from 62 patients with RA with acute joint effusion. Blood from 45 healthy individuals, synovial fluid samples from 33 patients with non-inflammatory joint diseases and blood from six patients with non-inflammatory joint diseases were used for comparison. sRAGE levels were analysed using an ELISA.
RA patients displayed significantly decreased blood levels of sRAGE (871 ± 66 pg/ml, P < 0.0001) as compared with healthy controls (1290 ± 78 pg/ml) and with patients with non-inflammatory joint disease (1569 ± 168 pg/ml). Importantly, sRAGE levels in the synovial fluid of RA patients (379 ± 36 pg/ml) were lower than in corresponding blood samples and correlated significantly with blood sRAGE. Interestingly, a significantly higher sRAGE level was found in synovial fluid of RA patients treated with methotrexate as compared with patients without disease-modifying anti-rheumatic treatment.
We conclude that a decreased level of sRAGE in patients with RA might increase the propensity towards inflammation, whereas treatment with methotrexate counteracts this feature.
In a murine model, interleukin (IL)-17 plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of arthritis. There are controversies, however, regarding whether IL-17 is a proinflammatory mediator in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We previously established an ex vivo cellular model using synovial tissue (ST)-derived inflammatory cells, which reproduced pannus-like tissue growth and osteoclastic activity in vitro. Using this model, we investigated the effects of IL-17 on pannus growth and osteoclastogenesis in RA.
Inflammatory cells that infiltrated synovial tissue from patients with RA were collected without enzyme digestion and designated as ST-derived inflammatory cells. ST-derived inflammatory cells were cultured in the presence or absence of IL-17 or indomethacin, and the morphologic changes were observed for 4 weeks. Cytokines produced in the culture supernatants were measured by using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits. Osteoclastic activity was assessed by the development of resorption pits in calcium phosphate-coated slides.
Exogenous addition of IL-17 dramatically enhanced the spontaneous production of IL-6 and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) by the ST-derived inflammatory cells, while it had no effect on the production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF). Furthermore, IL-17 did not affect the spontaneous development of pannus-like tissue growth and osteoclastic activity by the ST-derived inflammatory cells. On the other hand, IL-17 enhanced pannus-like tissue growth, the production of TNF-α and M-CSF and the development of osteoclastic activity in the presence of indomethacin, an inhibitor of endogenous prostanoid production, while exogenous addition of PGE1 suppressed their activities.
The present study suggests that IL-17 induces negative feedback regulation through the induction of PGE2, while it stimulates proinflammatory pathways such as inflammatory cytokine production, pannus growth and osteoclastogenesis in RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by synovial lining hyperplasia, in which there may be an imbalance between the growth and death of fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs). Antibodies against citrullinated proteins are proposed to induce RA. This study aimed to investigate the pathogenic role of citrullinated fibronectin (cFn) in RA.
The distribution of fibronectin (Fn) and cFn in synovial tissues from RA and osteoarthritis (OA) patients was examined by immunohistochemical and double immunofluorescence analysis. FLSs were isolated from RA and OA patients and treated with Fn or cFn. Apoptosis was detected by flow cytometry and TUNEL assay. The expression of survivin, caspase-3, cyclin-B1, Bcl-2 and Bax was detected by real-time PCR. The secretion of proinflammatory cytokines was measured by ELISA.
Fn formed extracellular aggregates that were specifically citrullinated in synovial tissues of RA patients, but no Fn deposits were observed in those of OA patients. Fn induced the apoptosis of RA and OA FLSs while cFn inhibited the apoptosis of RA and OA FLSs. Fn significantly increased the expression of caspase-3 and decreased the expression of survivin and cyclin-B1 in FLSs from RA and OA patients. cFn significantly increased the expression of survivin in RA FLSs. Furthermore, cFn increased the secretion of TNF-α and IL-1 by FLSs.
cFn plays a potential pathophysiologic role in RA by inhibiting apoptosis and increasing proinflammatory cytokine secretion of FLSs.
B-cell accumulation and formation of ectopic germinal centers are characteristic changes in the diseased joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Earlier studies suggested that interactions between B lymphocytes and specialized synovial “nurse-like” cells peculiar to the RA synovium may be responsible for the homing and sustained survival of B cells in the synovium. However, in this study, we found that B cells spontaneously migrate beneath ordinary fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) and then experience prolonged survival. FLSs isolated from joints of patients with osteoarthritis also supported this activity, termed B-cell pseudoemperipolesis. We found that FLSs constitutively expressed the chemokine stromal cell–derived factor-1 (SDF-1), and that pertussis toxin or antibodies to the SDF-1 receptor (CXCR4) could inhibit B-cell pseudoemperipolesis. However, expression of SDF-1 is not sufficient, as dermal fibroblasts also expressed this chemokine but were unable to support B-cell pseudoemperipolesis unless previously stimulated with IL-4 to express CD106 (VCAM-1), a ligand for the α4β1 integrin, very-late-antigen-4 (VLA-4 or CD49d). Furthermore, mAb’s specific for CD49d and CD106, or the synthetic CS1 fibronectin peptide, could inhibit B-cell pseudoemperipolesis. We conclude that ordinary FLSs can support B-cell pseudoemperipolesis via a mechanism dependent upon fibroblast expression of SDF-1 and CD106.
Mechanisms whereby T lymphocytes contribute to synovial inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis are poorly understood. Here we review data that indicate an important role for cell contact between synovial T cells, adjacent macrophages and fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS). Thus, T cells activated by cytokines, endothelial transmigration, extracellular matrix or by auto-antigens can promote cytokine, particularly TNFα, metalloproteinase production by macrophages and FLS through cell-membrane interactions, mediated at least through β-integrins and membrane cytokines. Since soluble factors thus induced may in turn contribute directly to T cell activation, positive feedback loops are likely to be created. These novel pathways represent exciting potential therapeutic targets.
adhesion molecule; cell contact; cytokine; T lymphocyte; rheumatoid arthritis
Background: Leflunomide and its active metabolite A77 1726 reversibly inhibits the enzyme dihydro-orotate dehydrogenase, the rate limiting step in de novo synthesis of pyrimidines and progression of the cell cycle in different cell lines, mainly activated T lymphocytes.
Objective: To analyse in vitro the possible anti-inflammatory effects exerted by A77 1726, on cultured macrophages, obtained from the synovial tissues of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods: The effects of different doses of A77 1726 on intracytoplasmic expression and extracellular concentration of inflammatory cytokines (tumour necrosis factor α (TNFα), interleukin (IL) 1ß, IL6), as well as the influence on production and expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX-2) by primary cultures of synovial macrophages from patients with RA, were evaluated by immunocytochemistry and western blot analysis. The observations were made at four and 24 hours.
Results: A progressive and significant time and dose dependent decrease of the number of positive macrophages for intracellular TNFα and IL1ß, treated with different doses of A77 1726, was found in comparison with untreated cells. The extracellular concentration of TNFα was found to be significantly decreased in media containing cultured macrophages at 24 hours for all tested doses of A77 1726. At 24 hours, a significant time and dose dependent decrease of ICAM-1 and COX-2 expression by cultured macrophages after A77 1726 treatment was found.
Conclusions: In conclusion, the mechanism of antiproliferative activity exerted by leflunomide on activated T lymphocytes seems to be the same mechanism (alteration of the cell cycle progression) which interferes with the functions of other activated cells—namely, the monocytes/macrophages, which are strongly involved in the inflammatory reaction in RA synovial tissue. The positive clinical results seem to confirm that leflunomide exerts an anti-inflammatory action on phagocytic cells in short and long term treatment of RA.
OBJECTIVE--The distribution and production of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) was examined on the synovium from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). METHODS--The localisation of bFGF was determined by an immunohistochemical staining procedure using anti-bFGF monoclonal antibody. The expression of bFGF mRNA was detected by nonradioactive in situ hybridisation using bFGF antisense oligo DNA. RESULTS--The bFGF was found in the synovial lining cell, sublining stromal fibroblast-like cells, and vascular endothelial cells from patients with RA and OA. Little or no bFGF was found in non-inflamed synovium. Immunostaining of bFGF in the synovial cells was more extensive and intense in synovium of patients with RA than that of patients with OA. The nuclei of the synovial lining cell layer were also immunostained. These nuclear staining were more intense in the lining cell layer from RA patients with moderate or severe proliferation of synovial cells than in RA patients with mild proliferation. The bFGF mRNA was also detected in the synovial lining cell layer of the inflamed synovium. CONCLUSION--The synovial lining cells produced bFGF. The proliferation of synovial cells in the inflamed joints may be the results of stimulation by the bFGF in autocrine manner.
Recent data are presented which indicate a critical role for interleukin (IL)‐18 in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The T cells and macrophages invading the synovium or in the synovial fluid are the chief cellular targets of IL‐18 in RA. Neutrophils, dendritic cells and endothelial cells may also be cellular mediators of IL‐18. The direct effect of IL‐18 on fibroblast‐like synoviocytes or chondrocytes may not be essential or important. In RA, IL‐18, which is mainly produced by macrophages, activates T cells and macrophages to produce proinflammatory cytokines, chemokines, adhesion molecules and RANKL which, in turn, perpetuate chronic inflammation and induce bone and cartilage destruction.
Regulatory T cells have been clearly implicated in the control of disease in murine models of autoimmunity. The paucity of data regarding the role of these lymphocytes in human autoimmune disease has prompted us to examine their function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Regulatory (CD4+CD25+) T cells isolated from patients with active RA displayed an anergic phenotype upon stimulation with anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 antibodies, and suppressed the proliferation of effector T cells in vitro. However, they were unable to suppress proinflammatory cytokine secretion from activated T cells and monocytes, or to convey a suppressive phenotype to effector CD4+CD25− T cells. Treatment with antitumor necrosis factor α (TNFα; Infliximab) restored the capacity of regulatory T cells to inhibit cytokine production and to convey a suppressive phenotype to “conventional” T cells. Furthermore, anti-TNFα treatment led to a significant rise in the number of peripheral blood regulatory T cells in RA patients responding to this treatment, which correlated with a reduction in C reactive protein. These data are the first to demonstrate that regulatory T cells are functionally compromised in RA, and indicate that modulation of regulatory T cells by anti-TNFα therapy may be a further mechanism by which this disease is ameliorated.
T lymphocytes; tolerane; autoimmune disease; TNFα; cytokines
Recent studies of the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have revealed that both synovial fibroblasts and T cells participate in the perpetuation of joint inflammation as dynamic partners in a mutual activation feedback, via secretion of cytokines and chemokines that stimulate each other. In this study, we investigated the role of IL-17, a major Th1 cytokine produced by activated T cells, in the activation of RA synovial fibroblasts. Transcripts of IL-17R (IL-17 receptor) and IL-17RB (IL-17 receptor B) were present in fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) of RA patients. IL-17R responded with increased expression upon in vitro stimulation with IL-17, while the level of IL-17RB did not change. IL-17 enhanced the production of IL-6 and IL-8 in FLS, as previously shown, but did not affect the synthesis of IL-15. IL-17 appears to be a stronger inducer of IL-6 and IL-8 than IL-15, and even exerted activation comparable to that of IL-1β in RA FLS. IL-17-mediated induction of IL-6 and IL-8 was transduced via activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt and NF-κB, while CD40 ligation and p38 MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) are not likely to partake in the process. Together these results suggest that IL-17 is capable of more than accessory roles in the activation of RA FLS and provide grounds for targeting IL-17-associated pathways in therapeutic modulation of arthritis inflammation.
fibroblast-like synoviocytes; IL-17; phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase; rheumatoid arthritis