Active rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by originating from few but affecting subsequently the majority of joints. Thus far, the pathways of the progression of the disease are largely unknown. As rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASFs) are key players in joint destruction and migrate in vitro, the current study evaluated the potential of RASFs to spread the disease in vivo. To simulate the primary joint of origin, healthy human cartilage was co-implanted subcutaneously into SCID mice together with RASFs. At the contralateral flank, healthy cartilage was implanted without cells. RASFs showed an active movement to the naïve cartilage via the vasculature independent of the site of application of RASFs into the SCID mouse, leading to a strong destruction of the target cartilage. These findings support the hypothesis that the characteristic clinical phenomenon of destructive arthritis spreading between joints is mediated, at least in part, by the transmigration of activated RASFs.
Objective: To analyse the functional response of p53 in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF) in vitro and in vivo and to investigate whether activation of p53 modulates the destructive process of RASF.
Methods: RASF and controls grown on chamber slides were either directly examined with DO7 anti-p53 antibodies by immunofluorescence or irradiated with 10 Gy x rays and analysed time dependently for the expression of p53. The percentage of positive cells was evaluated by a quantitative scoring system. RASF and normal (N) SF cultured in vitro were co-implanted with human cartilage in SCID mice for 60 days. Consecutively, the invasion score was evaluated, and the number of p53 positive cells was determined at the sites of invasion by immunohistochemistry. In addition, synovial tissues from RA, osteoarthritis, and normal synovia were stained with DO7 antibodies.
Results: In vitro the rate of expression of p53 in RASF was low (<5%), but transiently inducible by ionising irradiation (50%). In vitro low p53 expressing RASF disclosed, when invading articular cartilage, a nuclear p53 signal in 20% of the cells, indicating the induction of p53 in a distinct population of RASF during the invasive process.
Conclusions: These data suggest an inductive p53 response at sites of cartilage invasion during the destructive process driven by activated RASF.
The rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovium is characterised by the presence of an aggressive population of activated synovial fibroblasts (RASFs) that are prominently involved in the destruction of articular cartilage and bone. Accumulating evidence suggests that RASFs are relatively resistant to Fas-ligand (FasL)-induced apoptosis, but the data concerning tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) have been conflicting. Here, we hypothesise that the susceptibility of RASFs to receptor-mediated apoptosis depends on the proliferation status of these cells and therefore analysed the cell cycle dependency of FasL- and TRAIL-induced programmed cell death of RASFs in vitro.
Synovial fibroblasts were isolated from patients with RA by enzymatic digestion and cultured under standard conditions. Cell cycle analysis was performed using flow cytometry and staining with propidium iodide. RASFs were synchronised or arrested in various phases of the cell cycle with 0.5 mM hydroxyurea or 2.5 μg/ml nocodazol and with foetal calf serum-free insulin-transferrin-sodium selenite supplemented medium. Apoptosis was induced by stimulation with 100 ng/ml FasL or 100 ng/ml TRAIL over 18 hours. The apoptotic response was measured using the Apo-ONE® Homogenous Caspase-3/7 Assay (Promega GmbH, Mannheim, Germany) and the Cell Death Detection (ELISAPlus) (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) (Roche Diagnostics GmbH, Mannheim, Germany). Staurosporin-treated cells (1 μg/ml) served as a positive control. Expression of Fas and TRAIL receptors (TRAILR1-4) was determined by fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis.
Freshly isolated RASFs showed only low proliferation in vitro, and the rate decreased further over time, particularly when RASFs became confluent. RASFs expressed Fas, TRAIL receptor-1, and TRAIL receptor-2, and the expression levels were independent of the cell cycle. However, the proliferation rate significantly influenced the susceptibility to FasL- and TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Specifically, proliferating RASFs were less sensitive to FasL- and TRAIL-induced apoptosis than RASFs with a decreased proliferation rate. Furthermore, RASFs that were synchronised in S phase or G2/M phase were less sensitive to TRAIL-induced apoptosis than synchronised RASFs in G0/G1 phase.
Our data indicate that the susceptibility of RASFs to FasL- and TRAIL-induced apoptosis depends on the cell cycle. These results may explain some conflicting data on the ability of RASFs to undergo FasL- and TRAIL-mediated cell death and suggest that strategies to sensitise RASFs to apoptosis may include the targeting of cell cycle-regulating genes.
Synovial fibroblasts from rheumatoid arthritis show resistance to apoptotic stimuli, indicating they may be difficult to treat. To clearly understand these mechanisms of resistance, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF and OASF) were exposed to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress such as thapsigargin, Ca2+-ATPase inhibitor.
Fibroblasts were assessed microscopically for cell viability by trypan blue exclusion and for autophagic cells by LC-3II formation. Caspase-3 activity was measured as aminomethyl-coumarin (AMC) liberated from AC-DEVD-AMC. Immunoblotting was performed to compare protein expression in OASF and RASF.
ER stress caused cell death in OASF but not in RASF. Thapsigargin, a Ca2+-ATPase inhibitor, did not change the expression of GRP78, an ER chaperone in OASF and RASF, but induced another ER stress protein, CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP) homologous protein (CHOP) differently, showing high levels in OASF and low levels in RASF. Thapsigargin increased the autophagy response in RASF, with autophagosome formation, beclin expression, and LC3-II conversion. Transfection with beclin siRNA inhibited autophagy and increased the susceptibility to ER stress-induced cell death. On the other hand, CHOP siRNA increased autophagy and improved cell survival, especially in RASF, indicating that CHOP is involved in regulation of autophagy and cell death, but that low expression of CHOP protects RASF from apoptosis.
Autophagy induction and CHOP under-expression increases cell resistance against ER stress-induced cell death in fibroblasts from rheumatoid arthritis patients.
For some time synovial fibroblasts have been regarded simply as innocent synovial cells, mainly responsible for synovial homeostasis. During the past decade, however, a body of evidence has accumulated illustrating that rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASFs) are active drivers of joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis. Details regarding the intracellular signalling cascades that result in long-term activation and synthesis of proinflammatory molecules and matrix-degrading enzymes by RASFs have been analyzed. Molecular, cellular and animal studies have identified various interactions with other synovial and inflammatory cells. This expanded knowledge of the distinct role played by RASFs in the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis has moved these fascinating cells to the fore, and work to identify targeted therapies to inhibit their joint destructive potential is underway.
The repellent factor family of Slit molecules has been described to have repulsive function in the developing nervous system on growing axons expressing the Robo receptors. However, until today no data are available on whether these repellent factors are involved in the regulation of synovial fibroblast (SF) activity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
mRNA expression in primary synovial fibroblasts was quantified by quantitative reverse transcription PCR and protein expression was measured by fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis. Different functional assays were performed with rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF): proliferation, migration and a novel in-vitro cartilage destruction assay.
First, we found increased expression of Robo3 expression in RASF compared to normal SF. Interestingly, analysis of data from a recently published genome-wide association study suggests a contribution of ROBO3 gene polymorphisms to susceptibility of RA. Functional assays performed with RASF revealed induction of migration and cartilage destruction by Robo3 and increased matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)1 and MMP3 expression. Treatment of RASF in early passages with Slit3 led to inhibition of migration whereas RASF in later passages, having reduced Robo3 expression in cell culture, were not inhibited by Slit3 treatment. Here, reduction of Robo3 expression from passage 3 to 10 might reflect an important step in losing repulsive activity of Slit3.
Taken together, our data showed that deregulation of the Robo3 receptor in synovial fibroblasts in RA correlates with aggressiveness of the fibroblasts. Slit3 reduces the migratory activity of synovial cells from patients with RA, potentially by repulsion of the cells in analogy to the neuronal system. Further studies will be necessary to prove Slit activity in vivo.
Histone acetylation/deacetylation has a critical role in the regulation of transcription by altering the chromatin structure.
To analyse the effect of trichostatin A (TSA), a streptomyces metabolite which specifically inhibits mammalian histone deacetylases, on TRAIL‐induced apoptosis of rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF).
Apoptotic cells were detected after co‐treatment of RASF with TRAIL (200 ng/ml) and TSA (0.5, 1, and 2 μmol/l) by flow cytometry using propidium iodide/annexin‐V‐FITC staining. Cell proliferation was assessed using the MTS proliferation test. Induction of the cell cycle inhibitor p21Waf/Cip1 by TSA was analysed by western blot. Expression of the TRAIL receptor‐2 (DR5) on the cell surface of RASF was analysed by flow cytometry. Levels of soluble TRAIL were measured in synovial fluid of patients with RA and osteoarthritis (OA) by ELISA.
Co‐treatment of the cells with TSA and TRAIL induced cell death in a synergistic and dose dependent manner, whereas TRAIL and TSA alone had no effect or only a modest effect. RASF express DR5 (TRAIL receptor 2), but treatment of the cells with TSA for 24 hours did not change the expression level of DR5, as it is shown for cancer cells. TSA induced cell cycle arrest in RASF through up regulation of p21Waf1/Cip1. Levels of soluble TRAIL were significantly higher in RA than in OA synovial fluids.
Because TSA sensitises RASF for TRAIL‐induced apoptosis, it is concluded that TSA discloses sensitive sites in the cascade of TRAIL signalling and may represent a new principle for the treatment of RA.
trichostatin A; TRAIL; apoptosis; synovial fibroblasts; rheumatoid arthritis
MicroRNA (miRNA) are recognized as important regulators of a variety of fundamental biologic processes. Previously, we described increased expression of miR-155 and miR-146a in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and showed a repressive effect of miR-155 on matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression in RA synovial fibroblasts (RASFs). The present study was undertaken to examine alterations in expression of miR-203 in RASFs and analyze its role in fibroblast activation.
Differentially expressed miRNA in RASFs versus osteoarthritis synovial fibroblasts (OASFs) were identified by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR)–based screening of 260 individual miRNA. Transfection of miR-203 precursor was used to analyze the function of miR-203 in RASFs. Levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and MMPs were measured by real-time PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. RASFs were stimulated with IL-1β, tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and 5-azacytidine (5-azaC). Activity of IκB kinase 2 was inhibited with SC-514.
Expression of miR-203 was higher in RASFs than in OASFs or fibroblasts from healthy donors. Levels of miR-203 did not change upon stimulation with IL-1β, TNFα, or LPS; however, DNA demethylation with 5-azaC increased the expression of miR-203. Enforced expression of miR-203 led to significantly increased levels of MMP-1 and IL-6. Induction of IL-6 by miR-203 overexpression was inhibited by blocking of the NF-κB pathway. Basal expression levels of IL-6 correlated with basal expression levels of miR-203.
The current results demonstrate methylation-dependent regulation of miR-203 expression in RASFs. Importantly, they also show that elevated levels of miR-203 lead to increased secretion of MMP-1 and IL-6 via the NF-κB pathway and thereby contribute to the activated phenotype of synovial fibroblasts in RA.
Hypoxia stimulates synovial hypoperfusion in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). TXNDC5 stimulates cellular proliferation in hypoxic conditions. We previously detected increased TXNDC5 expression in synovial tissues and blood from RA patients and demonstrated that the gene encoding TXNDC5 increased RA risk. The present study investigated the pathogenic roles of TXNDC5 in RA. Transgenic mice that over-expressed TXNDC5 (TXNDC5-Tg) were generated using C57BL/6J mice and treated with bovine collagen II to induce arthritis (CIA). Synovial fibroblasts from RA patients (RASFs) were cultured and incubated with TXNDC5-siRNA or CoCl2, a chemical that induces hypoxia. CIA was observed in 80% of the TXNDC5-Tg, but only 20% of the wild-type mice (WT) developed CIA. The clinical arthritis scores reached 5 in the TXNDC5-Tg, but this index only reached 2 in the control mice. CIA TXNDC5-Tg exhibited clear pannus proliferation and bone erosion in joint tissues. A significant increase in CD4 T cells was observed in the thymus and spleen of TXNDC5-Tg during CIA. Serum levels of anti-collagen II IgG, IgG1 and IgG2a antibodies were significantly elevated in the mice. Increased cell proliferation, cell migration and TXNDC5 expression were observed in RASFs following incubation with 1 µM CoCl2. However, this effect was diminished when TXNDC5 expression was inhibited with 100 nM siRNA. TNF-alpha, IL-1α, IL-1β and IL-17 levels were significantly increased in the blood of TXNDC5-Tg mice, but the levels of these cytokines declined in the supernatant of RASFs that were treated with TXNDC5 siRNA. The expression of adiponectin, a cytokine-like mediator, decreased significantly in RASFs following TXNDC5 siRNA treatment. These results suggest that TXNDC5-over-expressing mice were susceptible to CIA. This study also suggests that hypoxia induced TXCNDC5 expression, which contributed to adiponectin expression, cytokine production and the cellular proliferation and migration of fibroblasts in RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, characterized by chronic inflammation of the joints with severe pain and swelling, joint damage and disability, which leads to joint destruction and loss of function. Despite extensive research efforts, the underlying cause for RA is still unknown and current therapies are more or less effective in controlling symptoms but still fail to cure the disease. In recent years, epigenetic modifications were found to strongly contribute to the development of RA by affecting diverse aspects of the disease and modifying gene expression levels and behavior of several cell types, first and foremost joint resident synovial fibroblasts (SF). RASF are the most common cell type at the site of invasion. Owing to their aggressive, intrinsically activated phenotype, RASF are active contributors in joint damage. RASF are characterized by their ability to secrete cytokines, chemokines and joint-damaging enzymes. Furthermore, these cells are resistant to apoptosis, leading to hyperplasia of the synovium. In addition, RASF have invasive and migratory properties that could lead to spreading of the disease to unaffected joints. Epigenetic modifications, including DNA methylation and post-translational histone modifications, such as histone (de)acetylation, histone methylation and histone sumoylation were identified as regulatory mechanisms in controlling aggressive cell activation in vitro and in disease outcome in animal models in vivo. In the last 5 years, the field of epigenetics in RA has impressively increased. In this review we consider the role of diverse epigenetic modifications in the development of RA, with a special focus on epigenetic modifications in RASF.
Several microRNA, which are ~22-nucleotide noncoding RNAs, exhibit tissue-specific or developmental stage–specific expression patterns and are associated with human diseases. The objective of this study was to identify the expression pattern of microRNA-146 (miR-146) in synovial tissue from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
The expression of miR-146 in synovial tissue from 5 patients with RA, 5 patients with osteoarthritis (OA), and 1 normal subject was analyzed by quantitative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry of tissue sections. Induction of miR-146 following stimulation with tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) of cultures of human rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASFs) was examined by quantitative PCR and RT-PCR.
Mature miR-146a and primary miR-146a/b were highly expressed in RA synovial tissue, which also expressed TNFα, but the 2 microRNA were less highly expressed in OA and normal synovial tissue. In situ hybridization showed primary miR-146a expression in cells of the superficial and sublining layers in synovial tissue from RA patients. Cells positive for miR-146a were primarily CD68+ macrophages, but included several CD3+ T cell subsets and CD79a+ B cells. Expression of miR-146a/b was markedly up-regulated in RASFs after stimulation with TNFα and IL-1β.
This study shows that miR-146 is expressed in RA synovial tissue and that its expression is induced by stimulation with TNFα and IL-1β. Further studies are required to elucidate the function of miR-146 in these tissues.
A surprising feature of the inflammatory infiltrate in rheumatoid arthritis is the accumulation of neutrophils within synovial fluid and at the pannus cartilage boundary. Recent findings suggest that a distinct subset of IL-17-secreting T-helper cells (TH17 cells) plays a key role in connecting the adaptive and innate arms of the immune response and in regulating neutrophil homeostasis. We therefore tested the hypothesis that synovial fibroblasts bridge the biological responses that connect TH17 cells to neutrophils by producing neutrophil survival factors following their activation with IL-17.
IL-17-expressing cells in the rheumatoid synovium, and IL-17-expressing cells in the peripheral blood, and synovial fluid were examined by confocal microscopy and flow cytometry, respectively. Peripheral blood neutrophils were cocultured either with rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF) or with conditioned medium from RASF that had been pre-exposed to recombinant human IL-17, TNFα or a combination of the two cytokines. Neutrophils were harvested and stained with the vital mitochondrial dye 3,3'-dihexyloxacarbocyanine iodide before being enumerated by flow cytometry.
TH17-expressing CD4+ cells were found to accumulate within rheumatoid synovial tissue and in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fluid. RASF treated with IL-17 and TNFα (RASFIL-17/TNF) effectively doubled the functional lifespan of neutrophils in coculture. This was entirely due to soluble factors secreted from the fibroblasts. Specific depletion of granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor from RASFIL-17/TNF-conditioned medium demonstrated that this cytokine accounted for approximately one-half of the neutrophil survival activity. Inhibition of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase and NF-κB pathways showed a requirement for both signalling pathways in RASFIL-17/TNF-mediated neutrophil rescue.
The increased number of neutrophils with an extended lifespan found in the rheumatoid synovial microenvironment is partly accounted for by IL-17 and TNFα activation of synovial fibroblasts. TH17-expressing T cells within the rheumatoid synovium are likely to contribute significantly to this effect.
Hyperplasia of synovial fibroblasts, infiltration with inflammatory cytokines, and tissue hypoxia are the major characteristics of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Interleukin 33 (IL-33) is a newly identified inflammatory cytokine exacerbating the disease severity of RA. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) showed increased expression in RA synovium and could regulate a number of inflammatory cytokine productions. Nevertheless, its correlation with IL-33 remains largely unknown. Here, we showed that elevated levels of IL-33 were demonstrated in RA patient synovial fluids, with upregulated expression of HIF-1α and IL-33 in the synovial fibroblasts. Knocking down HIF-1α compromised IL-33 expression in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF), while enforcing HIF-1α expression in RASF substantially upregulated IL-33 levels. HIF-1α promoted the activation of the signalling pathways controlling IL-33 production, particularly the p38 and ERK pathways. Moreover, we showed for the first time that IL-33 in turn could induce more HIF-1α expression in RASF, thus forming a HIF-1α/IL-33 regulatory circuit that would perpetuate the inflammatory process in RA. Targeting this pathological pathway and HIF-1α may provide new therapeutic strategies for overcoming the persistent and chronic inflammatory disease.
OBJECTIVES: To identify genes that are involved in the development and progression of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHODS: We used a multiple gene analysis system and a set of available genes participating in processes such as proliferation, differentiation, tumour progression, and metastasis, to identify their RA related expression. Synovial tissues from 22 patients with RA were evaluated in comparison with those from six patients with osteoarthritis and two patients with non-inflamed joints as controls, using northern blot and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction experiments. RESULTS: Our data confirm the role of c-fos and c-jun as constitutive signal transmitters in solid RA tissues, thus demonstrating the potential of the approach. Activation of both genes persisted through multiple passages of the cells in tissue cultures derived from the synovial lining of RA tissues. There was an increased expression of ets-2 in 30% of RA samples and an up to 30-fold decreased expression of the potential metastasis suppressor gene nm23-H1 in 90% of RA tissues, compared with control tissues. CONCLUSIONS: The data presented show for the first time a significant decrease of nm23-H1 expression in RA, which is possibly involved in local invasiveness, and a strong activation of the ets-2 nuclear oncogene in about one third of RA tissues, which may also be part of a pathway leading to advanced disease stages. The constitutive expression of c-fos and c-jun in RA tissue most probably results from a continuing inflammatory stimulus. These findings with cell cultures suggest an intrinsic activation mechanism of these early response genes in RA.
Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) are effective in treating malignant disorders and were lately suggested to have an impact on non-malignant diseases. However, in some inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) the in vivo effect seemed to be moderate. As most TKIs are taken up actively into cells by cell membrane transporters, this study aimed to evaluate the role of such transporters for the accumulation of the TKI Imatinib mesylates in RA synovial fibroblasts as well as their regulation under inflammatory conditions.
The transport and accumulation of Imatinib was investigated in transporter-transfected HEK293 cells and human RA synovial fibroblasts (hRASF). Transporter expression was quantified by qRT-PCR. In transfection experiments, hMATE1 showed the highest apparent affinity for Imatinib among all known Imatinib transporters. Experiments quantifying the Imatinib uptake in the presence of specific transporter inhibitors and after siRNA knockdown of hMATE1 indeed identified hMATE1 to mediate Imatinib transport in hRASF. The anti-proliferative effect of Imatinib on PDGF stimulated hRASF was quantified by cell counting and directly correlated with the uptake activity of hMATE1. Expression of hMATE1 was investigated by Western blot and immuno-fluorescence. Imatinib transport under disease-relevant conditions, such as an altered pH and following stimulation with different cytokines, was also investigated by HPLC. The uptake was significantly reduced by an acidic extracellular pH as well as by the cytokines TNFα, IL-1β and IL-6, which all decreased the expression of hMATE1-mRNA and protein.
The regulation of Imatinib uptake via hMATE1 in hRASF and resulting effects on their proliferation may explain moderate in vivo effects on RA. Moreover, our results suggest that investigating transporter mediated drug processing under normal and pathological conditions is important for developing intracellular acting drugs used in inflammatory diseases.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) comprise a promising tool for cellular therapy. These cells are usually culture expanded prior to their application. However, a precise molecular definition of MSC and the sequel of long-term in vitro culture are yet unknown. In this study, we have addressed the impact of replicative senescence on human MSC preparations. Within 43 to 77 days of cultivation (7 to 12 passages), MSC demonstrated morphological abnormalities, enlargement, attenuated expression of specific surface markers, and ultimately proliferation arrest. Adipogenic differentiation potential decreased whereas the propensity for osteogenic differentiation increased. mRNA expression profiling revealed a consistent pattern of alterations in the global gene expression signature of MSC at different passages. These changes are not restricted to later passages, but are continuously acquired with increasing passages. Genes involved in cell cycle, DNA replication and DNA repair are significantly down-regulated in late passages. Genes from chromosome 4q21 were over-represented among differentially regulated transcripts. Differential expression of 10 genes has been verified in independent donor samples as well as in MSC that were isolated under different culture conditions. Furthermore, miRNA expression profiling revealed an up-regulation of hsa-mir-371, hsa-mir-369-5P, hsa-mir-29c, hsa-mir-499 and hsa-let-7f upon in vitro propagation. Our studies indicate that replicative senescence of MSC preparations is a continuous process starting from the first passage onwards. This process includes far reaching alterations in phenotype, differentiation potential, global gene expression patterns, and miRNA profiles that need to be considered for therapeutic application of MSC preparations.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the profile of histone deacetylase (HDAC) expression in the synovial tissue of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) compared with that of normal control and osteoarthritis (OA), and to examine whether there is a link between HDAC activity and synovial inflammation.
HDAC activity and histone acetyltransferase (HAT) activity were determined in nuclear extracts of total synovial tissue surgically obtained from normal, OA and RA joints. The level of cytoplasmic tumor necrosis factor a (TNFα) fraction was measured by ELISA. Total RNA of synovial tissue was used for RT-PCR of HDAC1-8. In synovial fibroblasts from RA (RASFs), the effects of TNFα on nuclear HDAC activity and class I HDACs (1, 2, 3, 8) mRNA expressions were examined by quantitative real-time PCR. The protein expression and distribution of class I HDACs were examined by Western blotting.
Nuclear HDAC activity was significantly higher in RA than in OA and normal controls and correlated with the amount of cytoplasmic TNFα. The mRNA expression of HDAC1 in RA synovial tissue was higher than in OA and normal controls, and showed positive correlation with TNFα mRNA expression. The protein level of nuclear HDAC1 was higher in RA synovial tissue compared with OA synovial tissue. Stimulation with TNFα significantly increased the nuclear HDAC activity and HDAC1 mRNA expression at 24 hours and HDAC1 protein expression at 48 hours in RASFs.
Our results showed nuclear HDAC activity and expression of HDAC1 were significantly higher in RA than in OA synovial tissues, and they were upregulated by TNFα stimulation in RASFs. These data might provide important clues for the development of specific small molecule HDAC inhibitors.
To reduce culture artifacts by conventional repeated passaging and long-term culture in vitro, the isolation of synovial fibroblasts (SFB) was attempted from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial membranes by trypsin/collagenase digest, short-term in vitro adherence (7 days), and negative isolation using magnetobead-coupled anti-CD14 monoclonal antibodies. This method yielded highly enriched SFB (85% prolyl-4-hydroxylase+/74% Thy-1/CD90+ cells; <2% contaminating macrophages; <1% leukocytes/endothelial cells) that, in comparison with conventional fourth-passage RA-SFB, showed a markedly different phenotype and significantly lower proliferation rates upon stimulation with platelet-derived growth factor and IL-1β. This isolation method is simple and reliable, and may yield cells with features closer to the in vivo configuration of RA-SFB by avoiding extended in vitro culture.
isolation; phenotype/function; primary culture; rheumatoid arthritis; synovial fibroblasts
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, inflammatory and systemic autoimmune disease that leads to progressive cartilage destruction. Advances in the treatment of RA-related destruction of cartilage require profound insights into the molecular mechanisms involved in cartilage degradation. Until now, comprehensive data about the molecular RA-related dysfunction of chondrocytes have been limited. Hence, the objective of this study was to establish a standardized in vitro model to profile the key regulatory molecules of RA-related destruction of cartilage that are expressed by human chondrocytes.
Human chondrocytes were cultured three-dimensionally for 14 days in alginate beads and subsequently stimulated for 48 hours with supernatants from SV40 T-antigen immortalized human synovial fibroblasts (SF) derived from a normal donor (NDSF) and from a patient with RA (RASF), respectively. To identify RA-related factors released from SF, supernatants of RASF and NDSF were analyzed with antibody-based protein membrane arrays. Stimulated cartilage-like cultures were used for subsequent gene expression profiling with oligonucleotide microarrays. Affymetrix GeneChip Operating Software and Robust Multi-array Analysis (RMA) were used to identify differentially expressed genes. Expression of selected genes was verified by real-time RT-PCR.
Antibody-based protein membrane arrays of synovial fibroblast supernatants identified RA-related soluble mediators (IL-6, CCL2, CXCL1–3, CXCL8) released from RASF. Genome-wide microarray analysis of RASF-stimulated chondrocytes disclosed a distinct expression profile related to cartilage destruction involving marker genes of inflammation (adenosine A2A receptor, cyclooxygenase-2), the NF-κB signaling pathway (toll-like receptor 2, spermine synthase, receptor-interacting serine-threonine kinase 2), cytokines/chemokines and receptors (CXCL1–3, CXCL8, CCL20, CXCR4, IL-1β, IL-6), cartilage degradation (matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-10, MMP-12) and suppressed matrix synthesis (cartilage oligomeric matrix protein, chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan 2).
Differential transcriptome profiling of stimulated human chondrocytes revealed a disturbed catabolic–anabolic homeostasis of chondrocyte function and disclosed relevant pharmacological target genes of cartilage destruction. This study provides comprehensive insight into molecular regulatory processes induced in human chondrocytes during RA-related destruction of cartilage. The established model may serve as a human in vitro disease model of RA-related destruction of cartilage and may help to elucidate the molecular effects of anti-rheumatic drugs on human chondrocyte gene expression.
We compared human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs), expanded long term with and without fibroblast growth factor (FGF) supplementation, with respect to proliferation, and the ability to undergo chondrogenesis in vitro. hMSCs expanded in FGF-supplemented medium proliferated more rapidly than the control cells. Aggregates of FGF-treated cells exhibited chondrogenic differentiation at all passages tested although, in some preparations, differentiation was diminished after seventh passage. Aggregates made with control cells differentiated along the chondrogenic lineage after first passage but exhibited only marginal differentiation after fourth and failed to form cartilage after seventh passage. Microarray analysis of gene expression identified 334 transcripts differentially expressed in fourth passage control cells that had reduced chondrogenic potential, compared with the fourth passage FGF-treated cells that retained this capacity, and 243 transcripts that were differentially expressed when comparing them to the first passage control cells that were also capable of differentiating into chondrocytes. The intersection of these analyses yielded 49 transcripts differentially expressed in cells that exhibited chondrogenic differentiation in vitro compared with the cells that did not. Among these, angiopoietin 1, secreted frizzled-related protein 1, and six transmembrane epithelial antigen of the prostate 1 appear to be of higher relevance. These preliminary data must now be validated to verify whether different gene expression profiles translate into functional differences. In summary, these findings suggest that the chondrogenic potential of hMSCs is vulnerable to cell expansion and that care should be exercised when expanding these cells for cartilage tissue engineering applications. Supplementation with FGF-2 allows reaching target cell numbers more rapidly and extends the level of expansion within which these cells are useful for tissue-engineered cartilage repair.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune-disease of unknown origin that primarily affects the joints and ultimately leads to their destruction. Growing evidence suggests that synvovial fibroblasts play important roles in the initiation and the perpetuation of RA but underlying molecular mechanisms are not understood fully. In the present study, Illumina RNA sequencing was used to profile two human normal control and two rheumatoid arthritis synvovial fibroblasts (RASFs) transcriptomes to gain insights into the roles of synvovial fibroblasts in RA.
We found that besides known inflammatory and immune responses, other novel dysregulated networks and pathways such as Cell Morphology, Cell-To-Cell Signaling and Interaction, Cellular Movement, Cellular Growth and Proliferation, and Cellular Development, may all contribute to the pathogenesis of RA. Our study identified several new genes and isoforms not previously associated with rheumatoid arthritis. 122 genes were up-regulated and 155 genes were down-regulated by at least two-fold in RASFs compared to controls. Of note, 343 known isoforms and 561 novel isoforms were up-regulated and 262 known isoforms and 520 novel isoforms were down-regulated by at least two-fold. The magnitude of difference and the number of differentially expressed known and novel gene isoforms were not detected previously by DNA microarray.
Since the activation and proliferation of RASFs has been implicated in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis, further in-depth follow-up analysis of the transcriptional regulation reported in this study may shed light on molecular pathogenic mechanisms underlying synovial fibroblasts in arthritis and provide new leads of potential therapeutic targets.
RNA-seq; Next generation sequencing; Rheumatoid arthritis; Synovial fibroblasts; Transcriptional regulation
Dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) can be driven into odontoblast, osteoblast, and chondrocyte lineages in different inductive media. However, the differentiation potential of naive DPSCs after serial passaging in the routine culture system has not been fully elucidated.
DPSCs were isolated from human/rat dental pulps by the magnetic activated cell sorting based on STRO-1 expression, cultured and passaged in the conventional culture media. The biological features of STRO-1+ DPSCs at the 1st and 9th passages were investigated. During the long-term passage, the proliferation ability of human STRO-1+ DPSCs was downregulated as indicated by the growth kinetics. When compared with STRO-1+ DPSCs at the 1st passage (DPSC-P1), the expression of mature osteoblast-specific genes/proteins (alkaline phosphatase, bone sialoprotein, osterix, and osteopontin), odontoblast-specific gene/protein (dentin sialophosphoprotein and dentin sialoprotein), and chondrocyte-specific gene/protein (type II collagen) was significantly upregulated in human STRO-1+ DPSCs at the 9th passage (DPSC-P9). Furthermore, human DPSC-P9 cells in the mineralization-inducing media presented higher levels of alkaline phosphatase at day 3 and day 7 respectively, and produced more mineralized matrix than DPSC-P9 cells at day 14. In vivo transplantation results showed that rat DPSC-P1 cell pellets developed into dentin, bone and cartilage structures respectively, while DPSC-P9 cells can only generate bone tissues.
These findings suggest that STRO-1+ DPSCs consist of several interrelated subpopulations which can spontaneously differentiate into odontoblasts, osteoblasts, and chondrocytes. The differentiation capacity of these DPSCs changes during cell passaging, and DPSCs at the 9th passage restrict their differentiation potential to the osteoblast lineage in vivo.
CD4+ memory T cells (Tm) from rheumatoid arthritis peripheral blood (RAPB) or peripheral blood from normal donors produced IL-2, whereas fewer cells secreted IFN-γ or IL-4 after a brief stimulation. RAPB Tm contained significantly more IFN-γ producers than normal cells. Many rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial Tm produced IFN-γ alone (40%) and fewer cells produced IL-2 or IL-4. An in vitro model was employed to generate polarized T-helper (Th) effectors. Normal and RAPB Tm differentiated into both IFN-γ- and IL-4-producing effectors. RA synovial fluid (RASF) Tm demonstrated defective responsiveness, exhibiting diminished differentiation of IL-4 effectors, whereas RA synovial tissue (RAST) Tm exhibited defective generation of IFN-γ and IL-4 producers.
CD4+ T-helper cells; cytokines; rheumatoid arthritis
The present study was carried out to determine whether the p53 pathway played a role in the spontaneous immortalization of the SC-2 chicken embryo fibroblast (CEF) cell line that has been in continuous culture for over three years.
The SC-2 cell line emerged from an extended crisis period with a considerably slower growth rate than primary CEF cells. The phenotype of the SC-2 cells changed dramatically at about passage 80, appearing smaller than at earlier passages (e.g., passage 43) and possessing a small, compact morphology. This morphological change coincided with an increase in growth rate. Passage 43 SC-2 cells expressed undetectable levels of p53 mRNA, but by passage 95, the levels were elevated compared to primary passage 6 CEF cells and similar to levels in senescent CEF cells. However, the high level of p53 mRNA detected in passage 95 SC-2 cells did not correlate to functional protein activity. The expression levels of the p53-regulated p21WAF1 gene were significantly decreased in all SC-2 passages that were analyzed. Examination of the Rb pathway revealed that E2F-1 and p15INK4b expression fluctuated with increasing passages, with levels higher in passage 95 SC-2 cells compared to primary passage 6 CEF cells.
The present study suggests that altered expression of genes involved in the p53 and Rb pathways, specifically, p53 and p21WAF1, may have contributed to the immortalization of the SC-2 CEF cell line.
To evaluate the overall expression patterns of imprinted genes in human embryonic stem cells following long term culture and differentiation.
Materials and methods
Expression levels of 65 imprinted genes determined by PCR array were analyzed in one human embryonic stem cell line (cHES1) following prolonged passaging and differentiation.
Transcripts of 63 imprinted genes were detected in cHES1 cells. Expression levels of all but 5 imprinted genes did not correlate with passage numbers or differ in cells after passage 50 compared with those before passage 50. SLC22A2, SLC22A3, CPA, H19, COPG2IT1 and IGF2 expression were significantly increased in embryoid bodies compared with undifferentiated cells.
The global expression profiles of imprinted genes are generally stable in human embryonic stem cells after prolonged passaging and differentiation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10815-010-9524-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Embryoid bodies; Epigenetic; Human embryonic stem cells; Imprinted gene