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1.  Resistin in Amniotic Fluid and its Association with Intra-amniotic Infection and Inflammation 
Intra-amniotic infection/inflammation (IAI) is one of the most important mechanisms of disease in preterm birth. Resistin is an adipocytokine that has been linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity and inflammation. The objective of this study was to determine if resistin is present in amniotic fluid (AF) and if its concentration changes with gestational age, in the presence of labor, and in IAI in patients with spontaneous preterm labor (PTL) and intact membranes, preterm prelabor rupture of membranes (PPROM), and clinical chorioamnionitis.
Study design
This cross-sectional study included 648 patients in the following groups: 1) women in the mid-trimester of pregnancy (14-18 weeks) who underwent amniocentesis for genetic indications and delivered a normal neonate at term (n=61); 2) normal pregnant women at term with (n=49) and without (n=50) spontaneous labor; 3) patients with an episode of PTL and intact membranes who were classified into: a) PTL who delivered at term (n=153); b) PTL who delivered preterm (<37 weeks gestation) without IAI (n=108); and c) PTL with IAI (n=84); 4) women with PPROM with (n=47) and without (n=44) IAI; and 5) patients with clinical chorioamnionitis at term with (n=22) and without (n=30) microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity. Resistin concentration in AF was determined by enzyme-linked immunoassay. Non-parametric statistics were used for analyses.
1) Resistin was detected in all AF samples; 2) the median AF resistin concentration at term was significantly higher than in the mid-trimester (23.6 ng/mL vs. 10 ng/mL; p<0.001); 3) among patients with PTL, the median AF resistin concentration was significantly higher in patients with IAI than in those without IAI (144.9 ng/mL vs. 18.7 ng/mL; p<0.001) and those with PTL and intact membranes who delivered at term (144.9 ng/mL vs. 16.3 ng/mL; p<0.001); 4) patients with PPROM with IAI had a significantly higher median AF resistin concentration than those without IAI (132.6 ng/mL vs. 13 ng/mL; p<0.001); 5) no significant differences were observed in the median AF resistin concentration between patients with spontaneous labor at term and those at term not in labor (28.7 ng/mL vs. 23.6 ng/mL; p=0.07); and 6) amniotic fluid resistin concentration ≥37 ng/mL (derived from a ROC curve) had a sensitivity of 85.4% and a specificity of 94.3% for the diagnosis of intra-amniotic inflammation.
Resistin is a physiologic constituent of the amniotic fluid, and its concentrations in amniotic fluid: 1) is significantly elevated in the presence of intra-amniotic infection/inflammation; 2) increases with advancing gestation; and 3) does not change in the presence of spontaneous labor at term. We propose that resistin may play a role in the innate immune response against intra-amniotic infection.
PMCID: PMC3174736  PMID: 19065463
preterm labor; preterm delivery; preterm prelabor rupture of membranes; PPROM; pregnancy; amniocentesis; microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity; MIAC; adipokines; cytokines; chorioamnionitis
2.  Resistin in idiopathic inflammatory myopathies 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2012;14(3):R111.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare the serum levels and local expression of resistin in patients with idiopathic inflammatory myopathies to controls, and to determine the relationship between resistin levels, inflammation and disease activity.
Serum resistin levels were determined in 42 patients with inflammatory myopathies and 27 healthy controls. The association among resistin levels, inflammation, global disease activity and muscle strength was examined. The expression of resistin in muscle tissues from patients with inflammatory myopathies and healthy controls was evaluated. Gene expression and protein release from resistin-stimulated muscle and mononuclear cells were assessed.
In patients with inflammatory myopathies, the serum levels of resistin were significantly higher than those observed in controls (8.53 ± 6.84 vs. 4.54 ± 1.08 ng/ml, P < 0.0001) and correlated with C-reactive protein (CRP) levels (r = 0.328, P = 0.044) and myositis disease activity assessment visual analogue scales (MYOACT) (r = 0.382, P = 0.026). Stronger association was observed between the levels of serum resistin and CRP levels (r = 0.717, P = 0.037) as well as MYOACT (r = 0.798, P = 0.007), and there was a trend towards correlation between serum resistin and myoglobin levels (r = 0.650, P = 0.067) in anti-Jo-1 positive patients. Furthermore, in patients with dermatomyositis, serum resistin levels significantly correlated with MYOACT (r = 0.667, P = 0.001), creatine kinase (r = 0.739, P = 0.001) and myoglobin levels (r = 0.791, P = 0.0003) and showed a trend towards correlation with CRP levels (r = 0.447, P = 0.067). Resistin expression in muscle tissue was significantly higher in patients with inflammatory myopathies compared to controls, and resistin induced the expression of interleukins (IL)-1β and IL-6 and monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 in mononuclear cells but not in myocytes.
The results of this study indicate that higher levels of serum resistin are associated with inflammation, higher global disease activity index and muscle injury in patients with myositis-specific anti-Jo-1 antibody and patients with dermatomyositis. Furthermore, up-regulation of resistin in muscle tissue and resistin-induced synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines in mononuclear cells suggest a potential role for resistin in the pathogenesis of inflammatory myopathies.
PMCID: PMC3446487  PMID: 22577940
3.  Efficacy of Antioxidant Treatment in Reducing Resistin Serum Levels: A Randomized Study 
PLoS Clinical Trials  2007;2(5):e17.
Few in vitro studies have examined the participation of resistin, a recently discovered adipokine, in oxidative processes. We investigated whether in vivo treatment with the antioxidant vitamin C might affect resistin serum levels.
Randomized prospective open trial.
San Giovanni Battista Hospital, Turin, Italy.
Eighty healthy individuals.
Administration of 2 g of ascorbic acid orally for 2 wk (n = 40; experimental group) or no supplementation (n = 40; control group).
Outcome measures:
The primary end point was the between-group difference in the before–after change in resistin serum level after vitamin C supplementation. Secondary endpoints were the within- and between-group changes in glucose, insulin, lipid parameters, C-reactive protein fasting values, and markers of oxidative stress.
In the experimental group, vitamin C supplementation was significantly associated with both resistin concentration reduction (from 4.3 ± 1.5 to 2.9 ± 0.8 ng/ml; 95% confidence interval [CI] −1.87, −1.03) and ascorbic acid level increase (from 9.4 ± 2.9 to 19.0 ± 5.2 mg/l; 95% CI 7.9, 11.2). In the control group, resistin levels did not change significantly (from 4.2 ± 1.0 to 4.3 ± 0.9 ng/ml; 95% CI −0.07, 0.37). The between-group differences were highly significant (p < 0.001). Vitamin C supplementation was also associated with a statistically significant reduction in nitrotyrosine level and incremental increase in reduced glutathione. In a linear regression model, within-individual changes in vitamin C concentrations were inversely correlated with changes in resistin levels in both groups (each unit increase of vitamin C corresponded to a decrease of about 0.10 units of resistin levels (95% CI 0.13, 0.08; p < 0.001).
This is to our knowledge the first randomized trial in humans that has demonstrated that short-term vitamin C supplementation could significantly reduce resistin levels, independent of changes in inflammatory or metabolic variables. Future investigations of resistin participation in oxidative processes are warranted.
Editorial Commentary
Background: Resistin is a hormone that is produced by fat cells. Much of the work on resistin has been done in mice, and as a result of this research the hormone was thought to explain the link between obesity and development of diabetes. In obese mice, higher levels of resistin are seen, and this hormone seems to interfere with the normal role of insulin in reducing blood sugar levels. However, the exact biochemical pathways in mice and humans seem to be very different, and it is not obvious whether resistin plays the same role in the development of diabetes in humans as it does in mice. At the same time, some researchers have suggested links between resistin and oxidative stress, which is thought to be involved in the development of certain diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease. The researchers here wanted to more fully explore these links by finding out whether an antioxidant, vitamin C, affected levels of resistin in blood. The researchers carried out a trial in healthy human participants, who were randomized to receive 2 g of vitamin C daily for two weeks, or no treatment. The primary outcome of the trial was the change in resistin levels in blood, and the researchers also looked at the levels of other biochemical variables in blood, such as fasting glucose, insulin, cholesterol, fatty acids, and nitrotyrosine.
What the trial shows: The researchers recruited 80 participants into the trial, and 40 were randomized to receive 2 g of vitamin C supplementation for two weeks. Forty individuals acted as “controls” and received no intervention over the two weeks of the trial. Outcomes were assessed for all but two individuals in the control group. Overall, levels of resistin in blood fell substantially over the course of the trial among the individuals in the vitamin C supplementation group, but not in the control arm of the trial, and this difference between groups was statistically significant. The levels of many other biochemical markers in blood, such as glucose, cholesterol, fatty acids, and insulin, did not show statistically significant changes between the randomized groups. However, levels of two markers of oxidative stress did change: levels of nitrotyrosine, which is associated with cell damage and inflammation, seemed to drop in the vitamin C group relative to the control group, and levels of reduced glutathione (an antioxidant) seemed to increase in the vitamin C group relative to the control group.
Strengths and limitations: In this trial, all individuals were randomized at once to the two study groups. While this is unconventional (normally, participants are randomized one by one, as they are screened and deemed eligible for a study), the process would be likely to prevent bias in allocation of individuals to the study groups. Although participants were not blinded to which study group they were assigned to, the laboratory staff measuring biochemical marker levels in blood were blinded to the study groups. A key limitation of this study is that the participants in the control arm did not receive placebo tablets, but rather received no treatment. A placebo control group would have enabled the researchers to blind participants as to whether they received vitamin C or no active intervention. Participants' knowledge of their group assignment (e.g., to receive vitamin C or no intervention) may have affected their response in the trial. Finally, the trial was conducted on a small group of healthy individuals, and no clinical outcomes were examined. Therefore, although the findings are intriguing, their clinical meaning is not clear.
Contribution to the evidence: There are few other studies that have been carried out in humans examining the possibility of a link between resistin levels and oxidative stress. This study suggests that vitamin C administration reduces blood levels of resistin in humans. This finding does not yet clearly point to a specific role for resistin in disease processes or human disease, but raises questions for further study.
PMCID: PMC1865087  PMID: 17479165
4.  Active synovial matrix metalloproteinase-2 is associated with radiographic erosions in patients with early synovitis 
Arthritis Research  2000;2(2):145-153.
Serum and synovial tissue expression of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and -9 and their molecular regulators, MMP-14 and TIMP-2 was examined in 28 patients with inflammatory early synovitis and 4 healthy volunteers and correlated with the presence of erosions in the patients. Immunohistological staining of MMP-2, MMP-14 and TIMP-2 localized to corresponding areas in the synovial lining layer and was almost absent in normal synovium. Patients with radiographic erosions had significantly higher levels of active MMP-2 than patients with no erosions, suggesting that activated MMP-2 levels in synovial tissue may be a marker for a more aggressive synovial lesion.
In cancer the gelatinases [matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9] have been shown to be associated with tissue invasion and metastatic disease. In patients with inflammatory arthritis the gelatinases are expressed in the synovial membrane, and have been implicated in synovial tissue invasion into adjacent cartilage and bone. It is hypothesized that an imbalance between the activators and inhibitors of the gelatinases results in higher levels of activity, enhanced local proteolysis, and bone erosion.
To determine whether the expression and activity levels of MMP-2 and MMP-9, and their regulators MMP-14 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP), are associated with early erosion formation in patients with synovitis of recent onset.
Patients and method:
A subset of 66 patients was selected from a larger early synovitis cohort on the basis of tissue availability for the study of synovial tissue and serum gelatinase expression. Patients with peripheral joint synovitis of less than 1 years' duration were evaluated clinically and serologically on four visits over a period of 12 months. At the initial visit, patients underwent a synovial tissue biopsy of one swollen joint, and patients had radiographic evaluation of hands and feet initially and at 1year. Serum MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-9, MMP-14, and TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 levels were determined, and synovial tissue was examined by immunohistology for the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9, and their molecular regulators. Gelatinolytic activity for MMP-2 and MMP-9 was quantified using a sensitive, tissue-based gel zymography technique. Four healthy individuals underwent closed synovial biopsy and their synovial tissues were similarly analyzed.
Of the 66 patients studied, 45 fulfilled American College of Rheumatology criteria for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), with 32 (71%) being rheumatoid factor positive. Of the 21 non-RA patients, seven had a spondylarthropathy and 14 had undifferentiated arthritis. Radiographically, 12 of the RA patients had erosions at multiple sites by 1 year, whereas none of the non-RA patients had developed erosive disease of this extent. In the tissue, latent MMP-2 was widely expressed in the synovial lining layer and in areas of stromal proliferation in the sublining layer and stroma, whereas MMP-9 was expressed more sparsely and focally. MMP-14, TIMP-2, and MMP-2 were all detected in similar areas of the lining layer on consecutive histologic sections. Tissue expression of MMP-14, the activator for pro-MMP-2, was significantly higher in RA than in non-RA patients (8.4 ± 5 versus 3.7 ± 4 cells/high-power field; P = 0.009). In contrast, the expression of TIMP-2, an inhibitor of MMP-2, was lower in the RA than in the non-RA samples (25 ± 12 versus 39 ± 9 cells/high-power field; P = 0.01). Synovial tissue expressions of MMP-2, MMP-14, and TIMP-2 were virtually undetectable in normal synovial tissue samples. The synovial tissue samples of patients with erosive disease had significantly higher levels of active MMP-2 than did those of patients without erosions (Fig. 1). Tissue expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9, however, did not correlate with the serum levels of these enzymes.
With the exception of serum MMP-2, which was not elevated over normal, serum levels of all of the other MMPs and TIMPs were elevated to varying degrees, and were not predictive of erosive disease. Interestingly, MMP-1 and C-reactive protein, both of which were associated with the presence of erosions, were positively correlated with each other (r = 0.42; P < 0.001).
MMP-2 and MMP-9 are thought to play an important role in the evolution of joint erosions in patients with an inflammatory arthritis. Most studies have concentrated on the contribution of MMP-9 to the synovitis, because synovial fluid and serum MMP-9 levels are markedly increased in inflammatory arthropathies. Previously reported serum levels of MMP-9 have varied widely. In the present sample of patients with synovitis of recent onset, serum MMP-9 levels were elevated in only 21%. Moreover, these elevations were not specific for RA, the tissue expression of MMP-9 was focal, and the levels of MMP-9 activity were not well correlated with early erosions. Although serum MMP-2 levels were not of prognostic value, high synovial tissue levels of MMP-2 activity were significantly correlated with the presence of early erosions. This may reflect augmented activation of MMP-2 by the relatively high levels of MMP-14 and low levels of TIMP-2 seen in these tissues. We were able to localize the components of this trimolecular complex to the synovial lining layer in consecutive tissue sections, a finding that is consistent with their colocalization.
In conclusion, we have provided evidence that active MMP-2 complexes are detectable in the inflamed RA synovium and may be involved in the development of early bony erosions. These results suggest that strategies to inhibit the activation of MMP-2 may have the potential for retarding or preventing early erosions in patients with inflammatory arthritis.
PMCID: PMC17808  PMID: 11062605
early synovitis; erosion; metalloproteinase; matrix metalloproteinase-2; rheumatoid arthritis
5.  Serum resistin levels in critically ill patients are associated with inflammation, organ dysfunction and metabolism and may predict survival of non-septic patients 
Critical Care  2009;13(3):R95.
Blood glucose levels and insulin resistance in critically ill patients on admission to intensive care units (ICUs) have been identified as factors influencing mortality. The pathogenesis of insulin resistance (IR) in critically ill patients is complex and not fully understood. Resistin is a hormone mainly derived from macrophages in humans and from adipose tissue in rodents, which regulates glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. In non-critically ill patients, resistin was found to be related to impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Therefore, resistin might represent a link between inflammation, acute phase response and insulin resistance in critically ill patients. We aimed to examine the correlation of serum resistin concentrations to parameters of inflammation, organ function, metabolism, disease severity and survival in critically ill patients.
On admission to the Medical ICU, 170 patients (122 with sepsis, 48 without sepsis) were studied prospectively and compared with 60 healthy non-diabetic controls. Clinical data, various laboratory parameters, metabolic and endocrine functions as well as investigational inflammatory cytokine profiles were assessed. Patients were followed for approximately three years.
Resistin serum concentrations were significantly elevated in all critical care patients compared with healthy controls, and significantly higher in sepsis than in non-sepsis patients. Serum resistin concentrations were not associated with pre-existing type 2 diabetes or obesity. For all critically ill patients, a correlation to the homeostasis model assessment index of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was shown. Serum resistin concentrations were closely correlated to inflammatory parameters such as C-reactive protein, leukocytes, procalcitonin, and cytokines such as IL6 and TNF-α, as well as associated with renal failure and liver synthesis capacity. High resistin levels (> 10 ng/ml) were associated with an unfavourable outcome in non-sepsis patients on ICU and the overall survival.
Serum resistin concentrations are elevated in acute inflammation due to sepsis or systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). The close correlation with other acute phase proteins suggests a predominant, clinically relevant resistin release from macrophages in ICU patients. Moreover, resistin could potentially serve as a prognostic biomarker in non-sepsis critically ill patients.
PMCID: PMC2717467  PMID: 19545363
6.  Measurement of Salivary Resistin Level in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes 
Serum resistin was initially hypothesized as a link between obesity and insulin resistance in mice. The latest evidence suggests that serum resistin is proinflammatory cytokines. Inflammation plays a key role in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Many reports have previously identified changed serum resistin levels in patients with T2DM, but little is known of the levels of resistin in saliva. In our study, saliva and serum samples were collected from 38 patients with newly diagnosed T2DM at each time point of OGTT and 35 nondiabetic controls at fasting state. Resistin concentrations were measured using ELISA. We have demonstrated the presence of resistin in saliva of T2DM and nondiabetic subjects. Saliva resistin levels of T2DM are significantly higher than those of nondiabetic controls. Resistin levels in saliva are not affected by eating activity and correlated with serum resistin levels at any time points of OGTT. A positive correlation of serum and salivary resistin with BMI and HOMA-IR existed in T2DM. Measurement of resistin in saliva is a simple, noninvasive and may be an acceptable alternative to blood sampling for evaluatinginflammation/obesity/insulin resistance state.
PMCID: PMC3437284  PMID: 22969799
7.  The relationship between hepatic resistin overexpression and inflammation in patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis 
BMC Gastroenterology  2014;14:39.
The relationship between resistin and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is not clear, some studies claimed that serum resistin levels were associated with neither the presence of NASH nor its severity, others declared that serum resistin was related with inflammation and fibrosis in NASH. Our animal study verified that the distribution of resistin in the liver is correlated with inflammation in NASH. However, there is no pertinent study in humans.
Thirty patients with NASH, 28 simple steatosis, and 43 controls were recruited. Blood was collected for resistin, liver chemistries, fasting insulin and some metabolic parameters. Liver histology was scored according to NAFLD activity scoring system. Hepatic resistin expression was examined by real-time polymerase chain reaction, immunohistochemistry. Resistin protein expression was confirmed by western blotting in 13 patients with concomitant NAFLD and gallstone.
Serum resistin was significantly elevated in both NASH and simple steatotic subjects compared with controls (all P < 0.05). Hepatic resistin was significantly increased in NASH patients in both mRNA and protein levels than those in simple steatosis and control subjects (all P < 0.05). Both serum and hepatic resistin had a correlation with obesity, but not with insulin resistance. The distribution of resistin positive cells was predominantly in perisinusoidal cells (such as Kupffer cells and hepatic stellate cells) in human NASH. Multivariate analysis revealed that waist-hip ratio, higher serum triglyceride, and hyperresistinemia were independent factors related to higher grade of steatosis; whereas hepatic resistin and serum cytokeratin predict NASH and severity of liver fibrosis.
Hepatic resistin overexpression in NASH patients is associated with the severity of liver inflammation and fibrosis. Liver-derived resistin may be involved in the pathogenesis of human NASH.
PMCID: PMC3942781  PMID: 24559185
Resistin; Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Inflammation; Adipokine
8.  Ectopic Lymphoid Structures Support Ongoing Production of Class-Switched Autoantibodies in Rheumatoid Synovium 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(1):e1.
Follicular structures resembling germinal centres (GCs) that are characterized by follicular dendritic cell (FDC) networks have long been recognized in chronically inflamed tissues in autoimmune diseases, including the synovium of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, it is debated whether these ectopic structures promote autoimmunity and chronic inflammation driving the production of pathogenic autoantibodies. Anti-citrullinated protein/peptide antibodies (ACPA) are highly specific markers of RA, predict a poor prognosis, and have been suggested to be pathogenic. Therefore, the main study objectives were to determine whether ectopic lymphoid structures in RA synovium: (i) express activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), the enzyme required for somatic hypermutation and class-switch recombination (CSR) of Ig genes; (ii) support ongoing CSR and ACPA production; and (iii) remain functional in a RA/severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) chimera model devoid of new immune cell influx into the synovium.
Methods and Findings
Using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and quantitative Taqman real-time PCR (QT-PCR) in synovial tissue from 55 patients with RA, we demonstrated that FDC+ structures invariably expressed AID with a distribution resembling secondary lymphoid organs. Further, AID+/CD21+ follicular structures were surrounded by ACPA+/CD138+ plasma cells, as demonstrated by immune reactivity to citrullinated fibrinogen. Moreover, we identified a novel subset of synovial AID+/CD20+ B cells outside GCs resembling interfollicular large B cells. In order to gain direct functional evidence that AID+ structures support CSR and in situ manufacturing of class-switched ACPA, 34 SCID mice were transplanted with RA synovium and humanely killed at 4 wk for harvesting of transplants and sera. Persistent expression of AID and Iγ-Cμ circular transcripts (identifying ongoing IgM-IgG class-switching) was observed in synovial grafts expressing FDCs/CD21L. Furthermore, synovial mRNA levels of AID were closely associated with circulating human IgG ACPA in mouse sera. Finally, the survival and proliferation of functional B cell niches was associated with persistent overexpression of genes regulating ectopic lymphoneogenesis.
Our demonstration that FDC+ follicular units invariably express AID and are surrounded by ACPA-producing plasma cells provides strong evidence that ectopic lymphoid structures in the RA synovium are functional and support autoantibody production. This concept is further confirmed by evidence of sustained AID expression, B cell proliferation, ongoing CSR, and production of human IgG ACPA from GC+ synovial tissue transplanted into SCID mice, independently of new B cell influx from the systemic circulation. These data identify AID as a potential therapeutic target in RA and suggest that survival of functional synovial B cell niches may profoundly influence chronic inflammation, autoimmunity, and response to B cell–depleting therapies.
Costantino Pitzalis and colleagues show that lymphoid structures in synovial tissue of patients with rheumatoid arthritis support production of anti-citrullinated peptide antibodies, which continues following transplantation into SCID mice.
Editors' Summary
More than 1 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis, an “autoimmune” condition that affects the joints. Normally, the immune system provides protection against infection by responding to foreign antigens (molecules that are unique to invading organisms) while ignoring self-antigens present in the body's own tissues. In autoimmune diseases, this ability to discriminate between self and non-self fails for unknown reasons and the immune system begins to attack human tissues. In rheumatoid arthritis, the lining of the joints (the synovium) is attacked, it becomes inflamed and thickened, and chemicals are released that damage all the tissues in the joint. Eventually, the joint may become so scarred that movement is no longer possible. Rheumatoid arthritis usually starts in the small joints in the hands and feet, but larger joints and other tissues (including the heart and blood vessels) can be affected. Its symptoms, which tend to fluctuate, include early morning joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, and feeling generally unwell. Although the disease is not always easy to diagnose, the immune systems of many people with rheumatoid arthritis make “anti-citrullinated protein/peptide antibodies” (ACPA). These “autoantibodies” (which some experts believe can contribute to the joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis) recognize self-proteins that contain the unusual amino acid citrulline, and their detection on blood tests can help make the diagnosis. Although there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, the recently developed biologic drugs, often used together with the more traditional disease-modifying therapies, are able to halt its progression by specifically blocking the chemicals that cause joint damage. Painkillers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce its symptoms, and badly damaged joints can sometimes be surgically replaced.
Why Was This Study Done?
Before scientists can develop a cure for rheumatoid arthritis, they need to know how and why autoantibodies are made that attack the joints in this common and disabling disease. B cells, the immune system cells that make antibodies, mature in structures known as “germinal centers” in the spleen and lymph nodes. In the germinal centers, immature B cells are exposed to antigens and undergo two genetic processes called “somatic hypermutation” and “class-switch recombination” that ensure that each B cell makes an antibody that sticks as tightly as possible to just one antigen. The B cells then multiply and enter the bloodstream where they help to deal with infections. Interestingly, the inflamed synovium of many patients with rheumatoid arthritis contains structures that resemble germinal centers. Could these ectopic (misplaced) lymphoid structures, which are characterized by networks of immune system cells called follicular dendritic cells (FDCs), promote autoimmunity and long-term inflammation by driving the production of autoantibodies within the joint itself? In this study, the researchers investigate this possibility.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers collected synovial tissue from 55 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and used two approaches, called immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR, to investigate whether FDC-containing structures in synovium expressed an enzyme called activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), which is needed for both somatic hypermutation and class-switch recombination. All the FDC-containing structures that the researchers found in their samples expressed AID. Furthermore, these AID-containing structures were surrounded by mature B cells making ACPAs. To test whether these B cells were derived from AID-expressing cells resident in the synovium rather than ACPA-expressing immune system cells coming into the synovium from elsewhere in the body, the researchers transplanted synovium from patients with rheumatoid arthritis under the skin of a special sort of mouse that largely lacks its own immune system. Four weeks later, the researchers found that the transplanted human lymphoid tissue was still making AID, that the level of AID expression correlated with the amount of human ACPA in the blood of the mice, and that the B cells in the transplant were proliferating.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the ectopic lymphoid structures present in the synovium of some patients with rheumatoid arthritis are functional and are able to make ACPA. Because ACPA may be responsible for joint damage, the survival of these structures could, therefore, be involved in the development and progression of rheumatoid arthritis. More experiments are needed to confirm this idea, but these findings may explain why drugs that effectively clear B cells from the bloodstream do not always produce a marked clinical improvement in rheumatoid arthritis. Finally, they suggest that AID might provide a new target for the development of drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Rene Toes and Tom Huizinga
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has a page on rheumatoid arthritis (in English and Spanish). MedlinePlus provides links to other information on rheumatoid arthritis (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices information service has detailed information on rheumatoid arthritis
The US National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases provides Fast Facts, an easy to read publication for the public, and a more detailed Handbook on rheumatoid arthritis
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an overview on rheumatoid arthritis that includes statistics about this disease and its impact on daily life
PMCID: PMC2621263  PMID: 19143467
9.  Gingival crevicular fluid and serum levels of resistin in obese and non-obese subjects with and without periodontitis and association with single nucleotide polymorphism at −420 
Resistin is an adipocytokine, which have been studied for its role in insulin resistance and recently in inflammation. The present study was designed to study the gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) and serum levels of resistin in obese and non-obese subjects with and without periodontitis and to further study the association of single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) −420 with these levels.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 90 subjects were divided based on gingival index (GI), probing pocket depth (PPD), clinical attachment level (CAL), body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) into: Non-obese healthy (Group 1, n = 30, BMI ≤ 22.9 and WC < 90 for male subjects and < 80 for female subjects, PPD ≤ 3 mm, CAL = 0, GI = 0), non-obese periodontitis (Group 2, n = 30, BMI ≤ 22.9 and WC < 90 for male subjects and < 80 for female subjects, PPD ≥ 5 mm, CAL ≥ 3, GI ≥ 1) and obese periodontitis (Group 3, n = 30, BMI ≥ 25.0 and WC ≥ 90 for male subjects and ≥ 80 for female subjects, PPD ≥ 5 mm, CAL ≥ 3, GI ≥ 1). The GCF and serum levels of resistin were quantified using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and compared amongst the study groups. Further, the association of the resistin levels with periodontal inflammation and SNP at −420 was studied.
The mean resistin levels were highest in Group 3 (14.66 ± 5.93 ng/ml and 9.99 ± 7.22 μg/ml), followed by Group 2 (12.34 ± 4.31 ng/ml and 7.47 ± 3.94 μg/ml) and least in Group 1 (7.09 ± 3.34 ng/ml and 6.05 ± 3.61 μg/ml) in serum and GCF respectively. The levels positively correlated with GI, PPD, CAL, BMI, WC and waist-hip ratio (r < 0.6). The SNP at −420 showed that GG genotype was associated with Group 2 and 3 i.e. periodontitis, while CC genotype was associated with periodontal health. The GG genotype was also associated with high serum resistin levels as compared to CC and CG genotypes.
Resistin levels increased with periodontal inflammation indicating its possible inflammatory role in periodontitis. GG genotype at −420 is associated with increased serum resistin and with periodontal disease. Thus, further research is needed to study GG genotype and increased serum and GCF resistin levels as putative risk factors for periodontal diseases.
PMCID: PMC4239742  PMID: 25425814
420; gingival crevicular fluid; obesity; periodontitis; resistin; single nucleotide polymorphism
10.  Changes in plasma levels of fat‐derived hormones adiponectin, leptin, resistin and visfatin in patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2006;65(9):1198-1201.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory condition characterised by polyarthritis and severe change in body mass and neuroendocrine environment.
To investigate plasma levels of adipocytokines (leptin, adiponectin, visfatin and resistin) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and to compare them with levels in healthy controls.
Adiponectin, resistin, visfatin and leptin concentrations were measured in 31 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 18 healthy controls by using specific enzyme‐linked immunosorbent assays.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis showed considerably higher plasma levels of leptin, adiponectin and visfatin than healthy controls. No marked difference was observed in resistin levels between patients and controls.
A marked increase in plasma levels of leptin, adiponectin and visfatin was noted in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, whereas resistin levels were similar to those observed in healthy controls. Coordinated roles for adiponectin, leptin and visfatin are suggested in the modulation of the inflammatory environment in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, whereas the lack of modulation in resistin levels is predictive of an irrelevant role for this peptide, suggesting that resistin level is probably not one of the main signals associated with the pathogenesis of this disease.
PMCID: PMC1798289  PMID: 16414972
11.  Macrophage-derived human resistin exacerbates adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance in mice 
Resistin is an adipokine that contributes to insulin resistance in mice. In humans, however, studies investigating the link between resistin and metabolic disease are conflicting. Further complicating the matter, human resistin is produced mainly by macrophages rather than adipocytes. To address this important issue, we generated mice that lack adipocyte-derived mouse resistin but produce human resistin in a pattern similar to that found in humans, i.e., in macrophages (humanized resistin mice). When placed on a high-fat diet, the humanized resistin mice rapidly developed accelerated white adipose tissue (WAT) inflammation, leading to increased lipolysis and increased serum free fatty acids. Over time, these mice accumulated lipids, including diacylglycerols, in muscle. We found that this resulted in increased Pkcq pathway activity, leading to increased serine phosphorylation of Irs-1 and insulin resistance. Thus, although the site of resistin production differs between species, human resistin exacerbates WAT inflammation and contributes to insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC2648673  PMID: 19188682
12.  Resistin in serum and gingival crevicular fluid as a marker of periodontal inflammation and its correlation with single-nucleotide polymorphism in human resistin gene at −420 
Contemporary Clinical Dentistry  2013;4(2):192-197.
Resistin is an adipocytokine, which have been studied for its role in insulin resistance and recently in inflammation. The aim of the present study is to assess the concentration of resistin in serum and gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) and to compare the levels between subjects with and without periodontitis and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and to further correlate the resistin levels with the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) at −420.
Setting and Designs:
A total of 96 subjects (48 males and 48 females) were divided on the basis of gingival index (GI), probing pocket depth (PD), clinical attachment level (CAL) and hemoglobin A1c levels into healthy (group 1, n = 24), uncontrolled-diabetes related periodontitis (group 2, n = 24), controlled-diabetes related periodontitis (group 3, n = 24) and chronic periodontitis without T2DM (group 4, n = 24).
Materials and Methods:
The GCF and serum levels of resistin were quantified using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and compared among the study groups. Further, the association of the resistin levels with periodontal inflammation and SNP at −420 was studied.
Results and Conclusion:
The resistin levels in GCF and serum from patients with periodontitis or diabetes mellitus related periodontitis (controlled or uncontrolled) were higher than that of healthy subjects and correlated positively with GI. Further, subjects with GG genotype at −420 showed significantly higher GI, PD, CAL as compared with genotype group CC. Resistin was detected in all serum and GCF samples and was significantly higher in periodontitis. Further, GG genotype at −420 was associated significantly with periodontal inflammation and resistin levels.
PMCID: PMC3757881  PMID: 24015008
Biomarker; diabetes mellitus; periodontitis; resistin
13.  Diabetes and hypertension markedly increased the risk of ischemic stroke associated with high serum resistin concentration in a general Japanese population: the Hisayama Study 
Resistin, secreted from adipocytes, causes insulin resistance in mice. The relationship between resistin and coronary artery disease is highly controversial, and the information regarding resistin and ischemic stroke is limited. In the present study, the association between serum resistin concentration and cardiovascular disease (CVD) was investigated in a general Japanese population.
A total of 3,201 community-dwelling individuals aged 40 years or older (1,382 men and 1,819 women) were divided into quintiles of serum resistin, and the association between resistin and CVD was examined cross-sectionally. The combined effect of either diabetes or hypertension and high serum resistin was also assessed. Serum resistin was measured using ELISA.
Compared to those without CVD, age- and sex-adjusted mean serum resistin concentrations were greater in subjects with CVD (p = 0.002) or ischemic stroke (p < 0.001), especially in those with lacunar and atherothrombotic infarction, but not elevated in subjects with hemorrhagic stroke or coronary heart disease. When analyzed by quintile of serum resistin concentration, the age- and sex-adjusted odds ratio (OR) for having CVD and ischemic stroke increased with quintile of serum resistin (p for trends, 0.02 for CVD, < 0.001 for ischemic stroke), while such associations were not observed for hemorrhagic stroke or coronary heart disease. Compared to the first quintile, the age- and sex-adjusted OR of ischemic stroke was greater in the third (OR = 3.54; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.17-10.67; p = 0.02), fourth (OR = 4.48; 95% CI, 1.53-13.09; p = 0.006), and fifth quintiles (OR = 4.70; 95% CI, 1.62-13.61; p = 0.004). These associations remained substantially unchanged even after adjustment for other confounding factors including high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. In the stratified analysis, the combination of high serum resistin and either diabetes or hypertension markedly increased the risk of ischemic stroke.
Elevated serum resistin concentration appears to be an independent risk factor for ischemic stroke, especially lacunar and atherothrombotic infarction in the general Japanese population. The combination of high resistin and the presence of either diabetes or hypertension increased the risk of ischemic stroke.
PMCID: PMC2790441  PMID: 19922611
14.  Resistin Increases Monolayer Permeability of Human Coronary Artery Endothelial Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e84576.
Resistin has been linked to obesity, insulin resistance, atherosclerosis, and the development of cardiovascular disease. Nevertheless, the effects and the molecular mechanisms of resistin on endothelial permeability, a key event in the development of atherosclerosis, inflammation, and vascular disease, are largely unknown. In order to determine the effect of resistin on endothelial permeability, human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAECs) were treated with clinically relevant concentrations of resistin and the endothelial permeability was measured using the Transwell system with a Texas-Red-labeled dextran tracer. The permeability of HCAEC monolayers treated with resistin (80 ng/mL) was 51% higher than the permeability of control monolayers (P<0.05). The mRNA levels of tight junction proteins zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) and occludin in resistin-treated cells were 37% and 42% lower, respectively, than the corresponding levels in untreated cells. The protein levels of these molecules in resistin-treated cells were significantly reduced by 35% and 37%, respectively (P<0.05), as shown by flow cytometry and Western blot analysis. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimetic MnTBAP effectively blocked the resistin-mediated reduction of ZO-1 and occludin levels in HCAECs. In addition, superoxide anion production was increased from 21% (untreated cells) to 55% (cells treated with 40 ng/mL resistin), and 64% (resistin, 80 mg/mL) (P<0.05). The natural antioxidant Ginkgolide A effectively inhibited resistin-induced increase in permeability and the increase in superoxide anion production in HCAECs. Furthermore, resistin treatment significantly activated p38 MAPK, but not ERK1/2. Pretreatment of HCAECs with a p38 inhibitor effectively blocked resistin-induced permeability. These results provide new evidence that resistin may contribute to the vascular lesion formation via increasing endothelial permeability through the mechanism of oxidative stress and the activation of p38 MAPK.
PMCID: PMC3874001  PMID: 24386395
15.  Resistin in Rodents and Humans 
Diabetes & Metabolism Journal  2013;37(6):404-414.
Obesity is characterized by excess accumulation of lipids in adipose tissue and other organs, and chronic inflammation associated with insulin resistance and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases are major health concerns. Resistin was first discovered as an adipose-secreted hormone (adipokine) linked to obesity and insulin resistance in rodents. Adipocyte-derived resistin is increased in obese rodents and strongly related to insulin resistance. However, in contrast to rodents, resistin is expressed and secreted from macrophages in humans and is increased in inflammatory conditions. Some studies have also suggested an association between increased resistin levels and insulin resistance, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Genetic studies have provided additional evidence for a role of resistin in insulin resistance and inflammation. Resistin appears to mediate the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis by promoting endothelial dysfunction, vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, arterial inflammation, and formation of foam cells. Indeed, resistin is predictive of atherosclerosis and poor clinical outcomes in patients with coronary artery disease and ischemic stroke. There is also growing evidence that elevated resistin is associated with the development of heart failure. This review will focus on the biology of resistin in rodents and humans, and evidence linking resistin with type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3881324  PMID: 24404511
Adipocytes; Atherosclerosis; Cardiovascular diseases; Diabetes mellitus, type 2; Inflammation; Insulin resistance; Macrophages; Obesity; Polymorphism, genetic; Resistin
16.  Expression of the adipocytokine resistin and its association with the clinicopathological features and prognosis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma 
Oncology Letters  2012;4(5):960-964.
Fat tissue is viewed as an active endocrine organ that secretes a variety of bioactive substances. Resistin, an adipocyte-secreted factor, is thought to be closely related to obesity, insulin resistance and inflammation, the three most significant risk factors for the progression of pancreatic cancer. However, the association between resistin and pancreatic cancer is still unknown. In this study, pancreatic tumor samples from 45 patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma were analyzed with immunohistochemistry for the expression of resistin. The correlation between resistin expression and clinicopathological features and prognosis were evaluated. Resistin staining was observed in 48.9% (22 of 45) of the cases. Resistin expression was more frequent in poorly differentiated tumors (9 of 9, 100%) compared to moderately differentiated tumors (11 of 28, 39.3%) and well-differentiated tumors (2 of 8, 25%) (p<0.01). The incidence of resistin expression in patients with Japan Pancreas Society stages III–IV (18 of 27, 66.7%) was significantly higher than in subjects with stages I–II (4 of 18, 22.2%) (p<0.01). Patients with resistin-stained tumors had significantly shorter relapse-free survival times (median, 9 months) than patients with negative tumors (median, 18 months) (p<0.05). In addition, multivariate analysis showed that resistin expression was an independent prognostic factor for relapse-free survival of patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (p<0.05). These results demonstrate that resistin may influence the progression of pancreatic tumors and may be a useful predictor of relapse-free survival in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3499500  PMID: 23162631
resistin; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; adipocytokine
17.  Specificity of T cells in synovial fluid: high frequencies of CD8+ T cells that are specific for certain viral epitopes 
Arthritis Research  2000;2(2):154-164.
CD8+ T cells dominate the lymphocyte population in synovial fluid in chronic inflammatory arthritis. It is known that these CD8+ T cells are often clonally or oligoclonally expanded, but their specificity and their relevance to the pathogenesis of joint disease has remained unclear. We found that as many as 15.5% of synovial CD8+ T cells may be specific for a single epitope from an Epstein-Barr virus lytic cycle protein. The virus-specific T cells within the joint showed increased expression of markers of activation and differentiation compared with those in the periphery, and retained their functional capacity to secrete proinflammatory cytokines on stimulation. These activated, virus-specific CD8+ T cells could therefore interact with synoviocytes, either by cell-cell contact or by a cytokine network, and play a 'bystander' role in the maintenance of inflammation in patients with arthritis.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is transmitted orally, replicates in the oropharynx and establishes life-long latency in human B lymphocytes. T-cell responses to latent and lytic/replicative cycle proteins are readily detectable in peripheral blood from healthy EBV-seropositive individuals. EBV has also been detected within synovial tissue, and T-cell responses to EBV lytic proteins have been reported in synovial fluid from a patient with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This raises the question regarding whether T cells specific for certain viruses might be present at high frequencies within synovial fluid and whether such T cells might be activated or able to secrete cytokines. If so, they might play a 'bystander' role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory joint disease.
To quantify and characterize T cells that are specific for epitopes from EBV, cytomegalovirus (CMV) and influenza in peripheral blood and synovial fluid from patients with arthritis.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and synovial fluid mononuclear cells (SFMCs) were obtained from patients with inflammatory arthritis (including those with RA, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis and reactive arthritis). Samples from human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-A2-positive donors were stained with fluorescent-labelled tetramers of HLA-A2 complexed with the GLCTLVAML peptide epitope from the EBV lytic cycle protein BMLF1, the GILGFVFTL peptide epitope from the influenza A matrix protein, or the NLVPMVATV epitope from the CMV pp65 protein. Samples from HLA-B8-positive donors were stained with fluorescent-labelled tetramers of HLA-B8 complexed with the RAKFKQLL peptide epitope from the EBV lytic protein BZLF1 or the FLRGRAYGL peptide epitope from the EBV latent protein EBNA3A. All samples were costained with an antibody specific for CD8. CD4+ T cells were not analyzed. Selected samples were costained with antibodies specific for cell-surface glycoproteins, in order to determine the phenotype of the T cells within the joint and the periphery. Functional assays to detect release of IFN-γ or tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α were also performed on some samples.
The first group of 15 patients included 10 patients with RA, one patient with reactive arthritis, one patient with psoriatic arthritis and three patients with osteoarthritis. Of these, 11 were HLA-A2 positive and five were HLA-B8 positive. We used HLA-peptide tetrameric complexes to analyze the frequency of EBV-specific T cells in PBMCs and SFMCs (Figs 1 and 2). Clear enrichment of CD8+ T cells specific for epitopes from the EBV lytic cycle proteins was seen within synovial fluid from almost all donors studied, including patients with psoriatic arthritis and osteoarthritis and those with RA. In donor RhA6, 9.5% of CD8+ SFMCs were specific for the HLA-A2 restricted GLCTLVAML epitope, compared with 0.5% of CD8+ PBMCs. Likewise in a donor with osteoarthritis (NR4), 15.5% of CD8+ SFMCs were specific for the HLA-B8-restricted RAKFKQLL epitope, compared with 0.4% of CD8+ PBMCs. In contrast, we did not find enrichment of T cells specific for the HLA-B8-restricted FLRGRAYGL epitope (from the latent protein EBNA3A) within SFMCs compared with PBMCs in any donors. In selected individuals we performed ELISpot assays to detect IFN-γ secreted by SFMCs and PBMCs after a short incubation in vitro with peptide epitopes from EBV lytic proteins. These assays confirmed enrichment of T cells specific for epitopes from EBV lytic proteins within synovial fluid and showed that subpopulations of these cells were able to secrete proinflammatory cytokines after short-term stimulation.
We used a HLA-A2/GILGFVFTL tetramer to stain PBMCs and SFMCs from six HLA-A2-positive patients. The proportion of T cells specific for this influenza epitope was low (<0.2%) in all donors studied, and we did not find any enrichment within SFMCs.
We had access to SFMCs only from a second group of four HLA-A2-positive patients with RA. A tetramer of HLA-A2 complexed to the NLVPMVATV epitope from the CMV pp65 protein reacted with subpopulations of CD8+ SFMCs in all four donors, with frequencies of 0.2, 0.5, 2.3 and 13.9%. SFMCs from all four donors secreted TNF after short-term incubation with COS cells transfected with HLA-A2 and pp65 complementary DNA. We analyzed the phenotype of virus-specific cells within PBMCs and SFMCs in three donors. The SFMC virus-specific T cells were more highly activated than those in PBMCs, as evidenced by expression of high levels of CD69 and HLA-DR. A greater proportion of SFMCs were CD38+, CD62L low, CD45RO bright, CD45RA dim, CD57+ and CD28- when compared with PBMCs.
This work shows that T cells specific for certain epitopes from viral proteins are present at very high frequencies (up to 15.5% of CD8+ T cells) within SFMCs taken from patients with inflammatory joint disease. This enrichment does not reflect a generalized enrichment for the 'memory pool' of T cells; we did not find enrichment of T cells specific for the GILGFVFTL epitope from influenza A or for the FLRGRAYGL epitope from the EBV latent protein EBNA3A, whereas we found clear enrichment of T cells specific for the GLCTLVAML epitope from the EBV lytic protein BMLF1 and for the RAKFKQLL epitope from the EBV lytic protein BZLF1.
The enrichment might reflect preferential recruitment of subpopulations of virus-specific T cells, perhaps based on expression of selectins, chemokine receptors or integrins. Alternatively, T cells specific for certain viral epitopes may be stimulated to proliferate within the joint, by viral antigens themselves or by cross-reactive self-antigens. Finally, it is theoretically possible that subpopulations of T cells within the joint are preferentially protected from apoptotic cell death. Whatever the explanation, the virus-specific T cells are present at high frequency, are activated and are able to secrete proinflammatory cytokines. They could potentially interact with synoviocytes and contribute to the maintenance of inflammation within joints in many different forms of inflammatory arthritis.
PMCID: PMC17809  PMID: 11062606
CD8+ T cell; Epstein-Barr virus lytic cycle; human leucocyte antigen peptide tetrameric complex; rheumatoid arthritis; viral immunity
18.  Effects of over-expressing resistin on glucose and lipid metabolism in mice*  
Resistin, a newly discovered peptide hormone mainly secreted by adipose tissues, is present at high levels in serum of obese mice and may be a potential link between obesity and insulin resistance in rodents. However, some studies of rat and mouse models have associated insulin resistance and obesity with decreased resistin expression. In humans, no relationship between resistin level and insulin resistance or adiposity was observed. This suggests that additional studies are necessary to determine the specific role of resistin in the regulation of energy metabolism and adipogenesis. In the present study, we investigated the effect of resistin in vivo on glucose and lipid metabolism by over-expressing resistin in mice by intramuscular injection of a recombinant eukaryotic expression vector pcDNA3.1-Retn encoding porcine resistin gene. After injection, serum resistin and serum glucose (GLU) levels were significantly increased in the pcDNA3.1-Retn-treated mice; there was an obvious difference in total cholesterol (TC) level between the experiment and the control groups on Day 30. In pcDNA3.1-Retn-treated mice, both free fatty acid (FFA) and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels were markedly lower than those of control, whereas HDL cholesterol and triglyceride (TG) levels did not differ between the two groups. Furthermore, lipase activity was expressly lower on Day 20. Our data suggest that resistin over-expressed in mice might be responsible for insulin resistance and parameters related to glucose and lipid metabolism were changed accordingly.
PMCID: PMC2170468  PMID: 18196612
Resistin; Glucose; Lipid; Metabolism
19.  Adipocytokines, Insulin Resistance and Coronary Atherosclerosis in Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(5):1259-1264.
Subclinical coronary atherosclerosis is increased in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and is associated with insulin resistance. Adipocytokines are associated with obesity, insulin resistance, inflammation and coronary heart disease in the general population. We examined the hypothesis that adipocytokines affect insulin resistance and coronary atherosclerosis among patients with RA.
Coronary calcium, insulin resistance (HOMA) and serum adipocytokine concentrations (leptin, adiponectin, resistin and visfatin) were measured in 169 patients with RA. The independent effect of each adipocytokine on HOMA and coronary artery calcification determined by electron beam CT was assessed adjusting for age, race, sex, BMI, traditional cardiovascular risk factors and inflammatory mediators. We also examined whether the effect of HOMA on coronary calcium is moderated by adipocytokines throughan interaction analysis.
Leptin was associated with higher HOMA, even after adjusting for age, race, sex, BMI, traditional cardiovascular risk factors and inflammatory mediators (p<0.001), but visfatin (p=0.06), adiponectin (p=0.55) and resistin (p=0.98) were not. None of the adipocytokines were independently associated with coronary calcium (all p>0.05). Serum leptin concentrations interacted with HOMA (multivariate p interaction=0.02). Increasing leptin concentrations attenuated the increased risk of coronary calcification related to HOMA. The other adipocytokines and HOMA did not interact significantly (p>0.05).
Leptin is associated with insulin resistance in patients with RA but paradoxically attenuated the effects of insulin resistance on coronary calcification.
PMCID: PMC2910412  PMID: 20213808
Rheumatoid Arthritis; Adipocytokines; Atherosclerosis; Insulin Resistance; Leptin; Adiponectin; Resistin; Visfatin
20.  Inflammatory Induction of Human Resistin Causes Insulin Resistance in Endotoxemic Mice 
Diabetes  2011;60(3):775-783.
Although adipocyte-derived murine resistin links insulin resistance to obesity, the role of human resistin, predominantly expressed in mononuclear cells and induced by inflammatory signals, remains unclear. Given the mounting evidence that obesity and type 2 diabetes are inflammatory diseases, we sought to determine the relationship between inflammatory increases in human resistin and insulin resistance.
To investigate the role of human resistin on glucose homeostasis in inflammatory states, we generated mice lacking murine resistin but transgenic for a bacterial artificial chromosome containing human resistin (BAC-Retn), whose expression was similar to that in humans. The metabolic and molecular phenotypes of BAC-Retn mice were assessed after acute and chronic endotoxemia (i.e., exposure to inflammatory lipopolysaccharide).
We found that BAC-Retn mice have circulating resistin levels within the normal human range, and similar to humans, lipopolysaccharide markedly increased serum resistin levels. Acute endotoxemia caused hypoglycemia in mice lacking murine resistin, and this was attenuated in BAC-Retn mice. In addition, BAC-Retn mice developed severe hepatic insulin resistance under chronic endotoxemia, accompanied by increased inflammatory responses in liver and skeletal muscle.
These results strongly support the role of human resistin in the development of insulin resistance in inflammation. Thus, human resistin may link insulin resistance to inflammatory diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3046838  PMID: 21282361
21.  Kinesin-like protein CENP-E is upregulated in rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts 
Arthritis Research  1999;1(1):71-80.
Our aim was to identify specifically expressed genes using RNA arbitrarily primed (RAP)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for differential display in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In RA, amplification of a distinct PCR product suitable for sequencing could be observed. Sequence analysis identified the PCR product as highly homologous to a 434 base pair segment of the human centromere kinesin-like protein CENP-E. Differential expression of CENP-E was confirmed by quantitative reverse transcription PCR, immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. CENP-E expression was independent from prednisolone and could not be completely inhibited by serum starvation. RAP-PCR is a suitable method to identify differentially expressed genes in rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts. Also, because motifs of CENP-E show homologies to jun and fos oncogene products and are involved in virus assembly, CENP-E may be involved in the pathophysiology of RA.
Articular destruction by invading synovial fibroblasts is a typical feature in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Recent data support the hypothesis that key players in this scenario are transformed-appearing synovial fibroblasts at the site of invasion into articular cartilage and bone. They maintain their aggressive phenotype toward cartilage, even when first cultured and thereafter coimplanted together with normal human cartilage into severe combined immunodeficient mice for an extended period of time. However, little is known about the upregulation of genes that leads to this aggressive fibroblast phenotype. To inhibit this progressive growth without interfering with pathways of physiological matrix remodelling, identification of pathways that operate specifically in RA synovial fibroblasts is required. In order to achieve this goal, identification of genes showing upregulation restricted to RA synovial fibroblasts is essential.
To identify specifically expressed genes using RNA arbitrarily primed (RAP)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for differential display in patients with RA.
RNA was extracted from cultured synovial fibroblasts from 10 patients with RA, four patients with osteoarthritis (OA), and one patient with psoriatic arthritis. RAP-PCR was performed using different arbitrary primers for first-strand and second-strand synthesis. First-strand and second-strand synthesis were performed using arbitrary primers: US6 (5' -GTGGTGACAG-3') for first strand, and Nuclear 1+ (5' -ACGAAGAAGAG-3'), OPN28 (5' -GCACCAGGGG-3'), Kinase A2+ (5' -GGTGCCTTTGG-3')and OPN24 (5' -AGGGGCACCA-3') for second-strand synthesis. PCR reactions were loaded onto 8 mol/l urea/6% polyacrylamide-sequencing gels and electrophoresed.Gel slices carrying the target fragment were then excised with a razor blade, eluated and reamplified. After verifying their correct size and purity on 4% agarose gels, the reamplified products derived from the single-strand confirmation polymorphism gel were cloned, and five clones per transcript were sequenced. Thereafter, a GenBank® analysis was performed. Quantitative reverse transcription PCR of the segments was performed using the PCR MIMIC® technique.In-situ expression of centromere kinesin-like protein-E (CENP-E) messenger (m)RNA in RA synovium was assessed using digoxigenin-labelled riboprobes, and CENP-E protein expression in fibroblasts and synovium was performed by immunogold-silver immunohistochemistry and cytochemistry. Functional analysis of CENP-E was done using different approaches (eg glucocorticoid stimulation, serum starvation and growth rate analysis of synovial fibroblasts that expressed CENP-E).
In RA, amplification of a distinct PCR product suitable for sequencing could be observed. The indicated complementary DNA fragment of 434 base pairs from RA mRNA corresponded to nucleotides 6615-7048 in the human centromere kinesin-like protein CENP-E mRNA (GenBank® accession No. emb/Z15005).The isolated sequence shared greater than 99% nucleic acid (P = 2.9e-169) identity with the human centromere kinesin-like protein CENP-E. Two base changes at positions 6624 (A to C) and 6739 (A to G) did not result in alteration in the amino acid sequence, and therefore 100% amino acid identity could be confirmed. The amplification of 10 clones of the cloned RAP product revealed the presence of CENP-E mRNA in every fibroblast culture examined, showing from 50% (271.000 ± 54.000 phosphor imager arbitrary units) up to fivefold (961.000 ± 145.000 phosphor imager arbitrary units) upregulation when compared with OA fibroblasts. Neither therapy with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs such as methotrexate, gold, resochine or cyclosporine A, nor therapy with oral steroids influenced CENP-E expression in the RA fibroblasts. Of the eight RA fibroblast populations from RA patients who were receiving disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, five showed CENP-E upregulation; and of the eight fibroblast populations from RA patients receiving steroids, four showed CENP-E upregulation.
Numerous synovial cells of the patients with RA showed a positive in situ signal for the isolated CENP-E gene segment, confirming CENP-E mRNA production in rheumatoid synovium, whereas in OA synovial tissue CENP-E mRNA could not be detected. In addition, CENP-E expression was independent from medication. This was further confirmed by analysis of the effect of prednisolone on CENP-E expression, which revealed no alteration in CENP-E mRNA after exposure to different (physiological) concentrations of prednisolone. Serum starvation also could not suppress CENP-E mRNA completely.
Since its introduction in 1992, numerous variants of the differential display method and continuous improvements including RAP-PCR have proved to have both efficiency and reliability in examination of differentially regulated genes. The results of the present study reveal that RAP-PCR is a suitable method to identify differentially expressed genes in rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts.
The mRNA, which has been found to be upregulated in rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts, codes for a kinesin-like motor protein named CENP-E, which was first characterized in 1991. It is a member of a family of centromere-associated proteins, of which six (CENP-A to CENP-F) are currently known. CENP-E itself is a kinetochore motor, which accumulates transiently at kinetochores in the G2 phase of the cell cycle before mitosis takes place, appears to modulate chromosome movement and spindle elongation,and is degraded at the end of mitosis. The presence or upregulation of CENP-E has never been associated with RA.
The three-dimensional structure of CENP-E includes a coiled-coil domain. This has important functions and shows links to known pathways in RA pathophysiology. Coiled-coil domains can also be found in jun and fos oncogene products, which are frequently upregulated in RA synovial fibroblasts. They are also involved in DNA binding and transactivation processes resembling the situation in AP-1 (Jun/Fos)-dependent DNA-binding in rheumatoid synovium. Most interestingly, these coiled-coil motifs are crucial for the assembly of viral proteins, and the upregulation of CENP-E might reflect the influence of infectious agents in RA synovium. We also performed experiments showing that serum starvation decreased, but did not completely inhibit CENP-E mRNA expression. This shows that CENP-E is related to, but does not completely depend on proliferation of these cells. In addition, we determined the growth rate of CENP-E high and low expressors, showing that it was independent from the amount of CENP-E expression. supporting the statement that upregulation of CENP-E reflects an activated RA fibroblast phenotype. In summary, the results of the present study support the hypothesis that CENP-E, presumably independently from medication, may not only be upregulated, but may also be involved in RA pathophysiology.
PMCID: PMC17776  PMID: 11056662
arthritis; centromere; differential display; immunohistochemistry; in situ hybridization; RNA fingerprinting
22.  Comparative study of the synovial histology in rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthropathy, and osteoarthritis: influence of disease duration and activity 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2000;59(12):945-953.
OBJECTIVES—To compare the macroscopic and microscopic characteristics of synovial tissue in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), spondyloarthropathy (SpA), and osteoarthritis (OA) after exclusion of possible biases induced by disease duration or activity, or both.
METHODS—Synovial biopsy specimens were obtained by needle arthroscopy in patients with early RA (n=16), late RA (n=14), early SpA (n=23), and OA (n=12). Macroscopic and microscopic features were scored on a four point scale and analysed as a function of disease duration (early versus late RA), local and systemic disease activity, and diagnosis.
RESULTS—Except for the maximal synovial lining thickness, no significant differences were seen between early and late RA. For disease activity, synovial histology was only weakly correlated with C reactive protein in RA, but seemed to be strongly dependent on effusion of the biopsied joint in all disease groups. After stratification for local disease activity, no disease related differences were found in patients without joint effusion. In contrast, important differences were found between patients with RA and SpA with active joint effusion. Synovial vascularity was macroscopically increased in SpA versus RA (p=0.017). A straight vessel pattern was only seen in RA, while tortuous vessels were preferentially seen in SpA. Vascularity was also microscopically increased in SpA compared with RA (p=0.031), and correlated with the macroscopic vascularity (rs=0.36, p=0.036). CD3+ (p=0.008), CD4+ (p=0.008), and CD20+ (p=0.024) lymphocytes were overrepresented in RA compared with SpA. The integrin expression in RA was characterised by a decrease of αVβ3 in the synovial lining (p=0.006) and an increase of αVβ5 in the sublining (p<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS—The immune architecture of the synovial membrane is more dependent on local disease activity than on disease duration. Synovium obtained from clinically affected joints shows important histological differences between RA and SpA.

PMCID: PMC1753054  PMID: 11087697
23.  Acute-phase serum amyloid A production by rheumatoid arthritis synovial tissue 
Arthritis Research  2000;2(2):142-144.
Acute-phase serum amyloid A (A-SAA) is a major component of the acute-phase response. A sustained acute-phase response in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with increased joint damage. A-SAA mRNA expression was confirmed in all samples obtained from patients with RA, but not in normal synovium. A-SAA mRNA expression was also demonstrated in cultured RA synoviocytes. A-SAA protein was identified in the supernatants of primary synoviocyte cultures, and its expression colocalized with sites of macrophage accumulation and with some vascular endothelial cells. It is concluded that A-SAA is produced by inflamed RA synovial tissue. The known association between the acute-phase response and progressive joint damage may be the direct result of synovial A-SAA-induced effects on cartilage degradation.
Serum amyloid A (SAA) is the circulating precursor of amyloid A protein, the fibrillar component of amyloid deposits. In humans, four SAA genes have been described. Two genes (SAA1 and SAA2) encode A-SAA and are coordinately induced in response to inflammation. SAA1 and SAA2 are 95% homologous in both coding and noncoding regions. SAA3 is a pseudogene. SAA4 encodes constitutive SAA and is minimally inducible. A-SAA increases dramatically during acute inflammation and may reach levels that are 1000-fold greater than normal. A-SAA is mainly synthesized in the liver, but extrahepatic production has been demonstrated in many species, including humans. A-SAA mRNA is expressed in RA synoviocytes and in monocyte/macrophage cell lines such as THP-1 cells, in endothelial cells and in smooth muscle cells of atherosclerotic lesions. A-SAA has also been localized to a wide range of histologically normal tissues, including breast, stomach, intestine, pancreas, kidney, lung, tonsil, thyroid, pituitary, placenta, skin and brain.
To identify the cell types that produce A-SAA mRNA and protein, and their location in RA synovium.
Materials and methods:
Rheumatoid synovial tissue was obtained from eight patients undergoing arthroscopic biopsy and at joint replacement surgery. Total RNA was analyzed by reverse transcription (RT) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for A-SAA mRNA. PCR products generated were confirmed by Southern blot analysis using human A-SAA cDNA. Localization of A-SAA production was examined by immunohistochemistry using a rabbit antihuman A-SAA polyclonal antibody. PrimaryRA synoviocytes were cultured to examine endogenous A-SAA mRNA expression and protein production.
A-SAA mRNA expression was detected using RT-PCR in all eight synovial tissue samples studied. Figure 1 demonstrates RT-PCR products generated using synovial tissue from three representative RA patients. Analysis of RA synovial tissue revealed differences in A-SAA mRNA levels between individual RA patients.
In order to identify the cells that expressed A-SAA mRNA in RA synovial tissue, we analyzed primary human synoviocytes (n = 2). RT-PCR analysis revealed A-SAA mRNA expression in primary RA synoviocytes (n = 2; Fig. 2). The endogenous A-SAA mRNA levels detected in individual primary RA synoviocytes varied between patients. These findings are consistent with A-SAA expression in RA synovial tissue (Fig. 1). Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) levels were relatively similar in the RA synoviocytes examined (Fig. 2). A-SAA protein in the supernatants of primary synoviocyte cultures from four RA patients was measured using ELISA. Mean values of a control and four RA samples were 77.85, 162.5, 249.8, 321.5 and 339.04 μg/l A-SAA, respectively, confirming the production of A-SAA protein by the primary RA synoviocytes. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed to localize sites of A-SAA production in RA synovial tissue. Positive staining was present in both the lining and sublining layers of all eight RA tissues examined (Fig. 3a). Staining was intense and most prominent in the cells closest to the surface of the synovial lining layer. Positively stained cells were evident in the perivascular areas of the sublining layer. In serial sections stained with anti-CD68 monoclonal antibody, positive staining of macrophages appeared to colocalize with A-SAA-positive cells (Fig. 3b). Immunohistochemical studies of cultured primary RA synoviocytes confirmed specific cytoplasmic A-SAA expression in these cells. The specificity of the staining was confirmed by the absence of staining found on serial sections and synoviocyte cells treated with IgG (Fig. 3c).
This study demonstrates that A-SAA mRNA is expressed in several cell populations infiltrating RA synovial tissue. A-SAA mRNA expression was observed in all eight unseparated RA tissue samples studied. A-SAA mRNA expression and protein production was demonstrated in primary cultures of purified RA synoviocytes. Using immunohistochemical techniques, A-SAA protein appeared to colocalize with both lining layer and sublining layer synoviocytes, macrophages and some endothelial cells. The detection of A-SAA protein in culture media supernatants harvested from unstimulated synoviocytes confirms endogenous A-SAA production, and is consistent with A-SAA mRNA expression and translation by the same cells. Moreover, the demonstration of A-SAA protein in RA synovial tissue, RA cultured synoviocytes, macrophages and endothelial cells is consistent with previous studies that demonstrated A-SAA production by a variety of human cell populations.
The RA synovial lining layer is composed of activated macrophages and fibroblast-like synoviocytes. The macrophage is the predominant cell type and it has been shown to accumulate preferentially in the surface of the lining layer and in the perivascular areas of the sublining layer. Nevertheless, our observations strongly suggest that A-SAA is produced not only by synoviocytes, but also by synovial tissue macrophage populations. Local A-SAA protein production by vascular endothelial cells was detected in some, but not all, of the tissues examined. The reason for the variability in vascular A-SAA staining is unknown, but may be due to differences in endothelial cell activation, events related to angiogenesis or the intensity of local inflammation.
The value of measuring serum A-SAA levels as a reliable surrogate marker of inflammation has been demonstrated for several diseases including RA, juvenile chronic arthritis, psoriatic arthropathy, ankylosing spondylitis, Behçet's disease, reactive arthritis and Crohn's disease. It has been suggested that serum A-SAA levels may represent the most sensitive measurement of the acute-phase reaction. In RA, A-SAA levels provide the strongest correlations with clinical measurements of disease activity, and changes in serum levels best reflect the clinical course.
A number of biologic activities have been described for A-SAA, including several that are relevant to the understanding of inflammatory and tissue-degrading mechanisms in human arthritis. A-SAA induces migration, adhesion and tissue infiltration of circulating monocytes and polymorphonuclear leukocytes. In addition, human A-SAA can induce interleukin-1β, interleukin-1 receptor antagonist and soluble type II tumour necrosis factor receptor production by a monocyte cell line. Moreover, A-SAA can stimulate the production of cartilage-degrading proteases by both human and rabbit synoviocytes. The effects of A-SAA on protease production are interesting, because in RA a sustained acute-phase reaction has been strongly associated with progressive joint damage. The known association between the acute-phase response and progressive joint damage may be the direct result of synovial A-SAA-induced effects on cartilage degradation.
In contrast to noninflamed synovium, A-SAA mRNA expression was identified in all RA tissues examined. A-SAA appeared to be produced by synovial tissue synoviocytes, macrophages and endothelial cells. The observation of A-SAA mRNA expression in cultured RA synoviocytes and human RA synovial tissue confirms and extends recently published findings that demonstrated A-SAA mRNA expression in stimulated RA synoviocytes, but not in unstimulated RA synoviocytes.
PMCID: PMC17807  PMID: 11062604
acute-phase response; rheumatoid arthritis; serum amyloid A; synovial tissue
24.  Resistin - the link between adipose tissue dysfunction and insulin resistance in patients with obstructive sleep apnea 
Resistin is an adipocytokine, associated with obesity and inflammation. Its exact role in insulin resistance and diabetes in the general population is still controversial. The relation between resistin plasma levels, insulin resistance and risk of impaired glucose metabolism in OSA patients has not been investigated.
Materials and methods
Plasma levels of resistin were measured in 67 patients with OSA and impaired glucose metabolism. 34,7% (23/67) had diabetes; 40% (27/67) patients had impаired glucose tolerance(IGT); 25,3%(17/67) had normal glucose metabolism (NGM). The association between resistin, BMI, obesity, markers of insulin resistance, oxidative stress and sleep study characteristics was analysed. The different groups of patients were compared in regards to glucometabolic parameters and biomarkers of oxidative stress – isoprostanes and insulin resistance – free fatty acids (FFA).
Plasma levels of resistin were higher in patients with diabetes (6,12 ±5,93ng/ml), compared to those with IGT (3,85±2,81ng/ml, p-0,021) and NGM (3,77±3,23, p-0,043). Resistin did not differ between patients with IGT and NGM (p-0,954). In OSA patients with BMI>40 resistin plasma levels correlated neither to the clinical parameters (BMI, IRI, HOMA-I, HbA1C, AHI, desaturation index), nor to the biomarkers of oxidative stress and insulin resistance. Free fatty acids (0,232>0,177mmol/l, p-0,037) were higher in diabetics in comparison to NGM.
Plasma resistin levels in OSA patients with BMI>40 are independent of insulin resistance and are not associated with the parameters, characterising the oxidative stress or severity of OSA. Resistin could be used in a multiple panel of clinical and biomarkers to discern patients with diabetes from those with IGT; in OSA patients with BMI >40 resistin together with HbA1C could discern patients with diabetes from those with NGM. In OSA patients with BMI >40 FFA and HbA1C are useful clinical markers in assessing the risk of dysglycaemia among patients with normal and IGT.
PMCID: PMC3598160  PMID: 23497617
Resistin; Insulin resistance; OSA; Diabetes; Normal glucose metabolism; Impaired glucose tolerance
25.  An Inflammatory Cascade Leading to Hyperresistinemia in Humans 
PLoS Medicine  2004;1(2):e45.
Obesity, the most common cause of insulin resistance, is increasingly recognized as a low-grade inflammatory state. Adipocyte-derived resistin is a circulating protein implicated in insulin resistance in rodents, but the role of human resistin is uncertain because it is produced largely by macrophages.
Methods and Findings
The effect of endotoxin and cytokines on resistin gene and protein expression was studied in human primary blood monocytes differentiated into macrophages and in healthy human participants.
Inflammatory endotoxin induced resistin in primary human macrophages via a cascade involving the secretion of inflammatory cytokines that circulate at increased levels in individuals with obesity. Induction of resistin was attenuated by drugs with dual insulin-sensitizing and anti-inflammatory properties that converge on NF-κB. In human study participants, experimental endotoxemia, which produces an insulin-resistant state, causes a dramatic rise in circulating resistin levels. Moreover, in patients with type 2 diabetes, serum resistin levels are correlated with levels of soluble tumor necrosis factor α receptor, an inflammatory marker linked to obesity, insulin resistance, and atherosclerosis.
Inflammation is a hyperresistinemic state in humans, and cytokine induction of resistin may contribute to insulin resistance in endotoxemia, obesity, and other inflammatory states.
Inflammatory stimuli affect resistin expression in human macrophages and raise serum resistin levels in healthy volunteers
PMCID: PMC529430  PMID: 15578112

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