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1.  The Efficacy of Shikonin on Cartilage Protection in a Mouse Model of Rheumatoid Arthritis 
The potential therapeutic action of shikonin in an experimental model of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was investigated. As a RA animal model, DBA/1J mice were immunized two times with type II collagen. After the second collagen immunization, mice were orally administered shikonin (2 mg/kg) once a day for 35 days, and the incidence, clinical score, bone mineral density (BMD), bone mineral content (BMC) and joint histopathology were evaluated. BMD in the proximal regions of the tibia largely increased in the shikonin treatment group compared with the control group. We also examined the effect of shikonin on inflammatory cytokines and cartilage protection. Shikonin treatment significantly reduced the incidence and severity of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), markedly abrogating joint swelling and cartilage destruction. Shikonin also significantly inhibited the production of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 and up-regulated tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1 in mice with CIA. In conclusion, shikonin exerted therapeutic effects through regulation of MMP/TIMP; these results suggest that shikonin is an outstanding candidate as a cartilage protective medicine for RA.
PMCID: PMC2933435  PMID: 20827333
Shikonin; Bone mineral density; Bone mineral contents; MMP-1; TIMP-1
2.  Local expression of matrix metalloproteinases, cathepsins, and their inhibitors during the development of murine antigen-induced arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2004;7(1):R174-R188.
Cartilage and bone degradation, observed in human rheumatoid arthritis (RA), are caused by aberrant expression of proteinases, resulting in an imbalance of these degrading enzymes and their inhibitors. However, the role of the individual proteinases in the pathogenesis of degradation is not yet completely understood. Murine antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) is a well-established animal model of RA. We investigated the time profiles of expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP), cathepsins, tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMP) and cystatins in AIA. For primary screening, we revealed the expression profile with Affymetrix oligonucleotide chips. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analyses were performed for the validation of array results, for tests of more RNA samples and for the completion of the time profile. For the analyses at the protein level, we used an MMP fluorescence activity assay and zymography. By a combination of oligonucleotide chips, real-time PCR and zymography, we showed differential expressions of several MMPs, cathepsins and proteinase inhibitors in the course of AIA. The strongest dysregulation was observed on days 1 and 3 in the acute phase. Proteoglycan loss analysed by safranin O staining was also strongest on days 1 and 3. Expression of most of the proteinases followed the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. TIMP-3 showed an expression profile similar to that of anti-inflammatory interleukin-4. The present study indicates that MMPs and cathepsins are important in AIA and contribute to the degradation of cartilage and bone.
PMCID: PMC1064893  PMID: 15642138
Affymetrix oligonucleotide chips; cathepsins; cytokines; matrix metalloproteinases; murine antigen-induced arthritis
3.  Locomotion and muscle mass measures in a murine model of collagen-induced arthritis 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by chronic poly-arthritis, synovial hyperplasia, erosive synovitis, progressive cartilage and bone destruction accompanied by a loss of body cell mass. This loss of cell mass, known as rheumatoid cachexia, predominates in the skeletal muscle and can in part be explained by a decreased physical activity. The murine collagen induced arthritis (CIA) model has been proven to be a useful model in RA research since it shares many immunological and pathological features with human RA. The present study explored the interactions between arthritis development, locomotion and muscle mass in the CIA model.
CIA was induced in male DBA/1 mice. Locomotion was registered at different time points by a camera and evaluated by a computerized tracing system. Arthritis severity was detected by the traditionally used semi-quantitative clinical scores. The muscle mass of the hind-legs was detected at the end of the study by weighing. A methotrexate (MTX) intervention group was included to study the applicability of the locomotion and muscle mass for testing effectiveness of interventions in more detail.
There is a strong correlation between clinical arthritis and locomotion. The correlations between muscle mass and locomotion or clinical arthritis were less pronounced. MTX intervention resulted in an improvement of disease severity accompanied by an increase in locomotion and muscle mass.
The present data demonstrate that registration of locomotion followed by a computerized evaluation of the movements is a simple non invasive quantitative method to define disease severity and evaluate effectiveness of therapeutic agents in the CIA model.
PMCID: PMC2700074  PMID: 19493332
4.  Cystatin C influences the autoimmune but not inflammatory response to cartilage type II collagen leading to chronic arthritis development 
Collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) is a mouse model for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and is induced after immunization with type II collagen (CII). CIA, like RA, is an autoimmune disease leading to destruction of cartilage and joints, and both the priming and inflammatory phases have been suggested to be dependent on proteases. In particular, the cysteine proteases have been proposed to be detrimental to the arthritic process and even immunomodulatory. A natural inhibitor of cysteine proteases is cystatin C.
Cystatin C-deficient, sufficient and heterozygous mice were tested for onset, incidence and severity of CIA. The effect of cystatin C-deficiency was further dissected by testing the inflammatory effector phase of CIA; that is, collagen antibody-induced arthritis model and priming phase, that is, T cell response both in vivo and in vitro. In addition, in order to determine the importance of T cells and antigen-presenting cells (APCs), these cell populations were separated and in vitro T cell responses determined in a mixed co-culture system. Finally, flow cytometry was used in order to further characterize cell populations in cystatin C-deficient mice.
Here, we show that mice lacking cystatin C, develop arthritis at a higher incidence and an earlier onset than wild-type controls. Interestingly, when the inflammatory phase of CIA was examined independently from immune priming then cystatin C-deficiency did not enhance the arthritis profile. However, in line with the enhanced CIA, there was an increased T cell and B cell response as delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction and anti-CII antibody titers were elevated in the cystatin C-deficient mice after immunization. In addition, the ex vivo naïve APCs from cystatin C-deficient mice had a greater capacity to stimulate T cells. Interestingly, dendritic cells had a more activated phenotype in naïve cystatin C-deficient mice.
The lack of cystatin C enhances CIA and primarily affects in vivo priming of the immune system. Although the mechanism of this is still unknown, we show evidence for a more activated APC compartment, which would elevate the autoimmune response towards CII, thus resulting in an enhanced development of chronic arthritis.
PMCID: PMC3132044  PMID: 21443774
5.  In vivo model of cartilage degradation--effects of a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1995;54(8):662-669.
OBJECTIVES--To develop a model of cartilage degradation that (i) enables the testing of synthetic, small molecular weight matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitors as agents to prevent cartilage erosion, (ii) permits the direct assay of the principal constituents of the extracellular matrix (collagen and proteoglycan) in both the non-calcified articular cartilage and the calcified cartilage compartments, and (iii) is mediated by a chronic, granulomatous tissue that closely apposes intact articular cartilage, and in this respect resembles the pannus-cartilage junction of rheumatoid arthritis. METHODS--Femoral head cartilage was obtained from donor rats, wrapped in cotton and implanted subcutaneously into recipient animals. After a two stage papain digestion procedure, the proteoglycan and collagen contents were measured by assaying for glycosaminoglycans and hydroxyproline, respectively, in both the non-calcified cartilage that comprises the articular surface layer and the calcified cartilage compartment. The incorporation in vitro of [35S]-sulphate into glycosaminoglycans was assayed as a measure of proteoglycan biosynthesis. An osmotic minipump was cannulated to the implanted femoral head cartilage and synthetic MMP inhibitors (MI-1 and MI-2) were infused continuously over a 14 day period. RESULTS--The implanted, cotton wrapped femoral head cartilages provoked a granulomatous response that resulted in the removal of collagen and proteoglycan from the cartilage matrix. The removal of proteoglycan and collagen was exclusively from the non-calcified articular cartilage, whereas the proteoglycan and collagen content of the calcified compartment increased during the experiments. MI-1 reproducibly reduced the degradation of proteoglycan and collagen in implanted femoral head cartilage. CONCLUSIONS--We have described an in vivo model of cartilage degradation that permits the measurement of proteoglycan and collagen in both non-calcified articular cartilage and calcified cartilage compartments. The model can be used to test the effects of agents of unknown systemic bioavailability and pharmacokinetic profile by infusing them directly to the site of cartilage degradation. The removal of cartilage extracellular matrix by granulomatous tissue was inhibited by an MMP inhibitor, thus proving the involvement of this family of proteinases in cartilage catabolism in this model.
PMCID: PMC1009964  PMID: 7677443
6.  Matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors in rheumatic diseases 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2001;60(Suppl 3):iii62-iii67.
The rheumatic diseases continue to represent a significant healthcare burden in the 21st century. However, despite the best standard of care and recent therapeutic advances it is still not possible to consistently prevent the progressive joint destruction that leads to chronic disability. In rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis this progressive cartilage and bone destruction is considered to be driven by an excess of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) enzymes. Consequently, a great number of potent small molecule MMP inhibitors have been examined. Several MMP inhibitors have entered clinical trials as a result of impressive data in animal models, although only one MMP inhibitor, Ro32-3555 (Trocade), a collagenase selective inhibitor, has been fully tested in the clinic, but it did not prevent progression of joint damage in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
  The key stages and challenges associated with the development of an MMP inhibitor in the rheumatic diseases are presented below with particular reference to Trocade. It is concluded that the future success of MMP inhibitors necessitates a greater understanding of the joint destructive process and it is hoped that their development may be accompanied with clearer, more practical, outcome measures to test these drugs for, what remains, an unmet medical need.

PMCID: PMC1766680  PMID: 11890658
7.  Sequential changes of parathyroid hormone related protein (PTHrP) in articular cartilage during progression of inflammatory and degenerative arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2004;63(8):917-922.
Objective: To investigate immunolocalisation of parathyroid hormone related protein (PTHrP) in two sequential models of experimental cartilage damage (inflammatory and degenerative) in order to elucidate differences in chondrocyte response to the disease.
Methods: Immunohistochemistry with a polyclonal rabbit antiserum to the N-terminal domain of PTHrP was used to detect this protein in two different rabbit models sharing progressive cartilage damage: antigen induced arthritis (AIA) and osteoarthritis (OA) secondary to partial medial meniscectomy. Cartilage specimens from early (2 days in AIA; 8 weeks in experimental OA) and late (3 weeks in AIA; 52 weeks in OA) disease were compared.
Results: Cell and matrix PTHrP staining in early AIA and OA was similar to that in controls. Late AIA cartilage showed a significant decrease in PTHrP positive cells and in the cartilage matrix. In contrast, at late OA stages, distinct PTHrP positivity was detected in proliferating cell clones, as assessed by proliferating cell nuclear antigen staining around cartilage damaged areas.
Conclusion: PTHrP staining of hyaline articular cartilage shows a different pattern during progression of each type of arthritis: an overall decrease associated with the inflammatory disease, and an increase in the proliferating chondrocyte clones with degenerative arthritis.
PMCID: PMC1755102  PMID: 15249318
8.  Protective effect of vasoactive intestinal peptide on bone destruction in the collagen-induced arthritis model of rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2005;7(5):R1034-R1045.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease of unknown etiology, characterized by the presence of inflammatory synovitis accompanied by destruction of joint cartilage and bone. Treatment with vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) prevents experimental arthritis in animal models by downregulation of both autoimmune and inflammatory components of the disease. The aim of this study was to characterize the protective effect of VIP on bone erosion in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in mice. We have studied the expression of different mediators implicated in bone homeostasis, such as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB (RANK), receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL), osteoprotegerin (OPG), IL-1, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-11 and IL-17. Circulating cytokine levels were assessed by ELISA and the local expression of mediators were determined by RT-PCR in mRNA extracts from joints. VIP treatment resulted in decreased levels of circulating IL-6, IL-1β and TNFα, and increased levels of IL-4 and IL-10. CIA-mice treated with VIP presented a decrease in mRNA expression of IL-17, IL-11 in the joints. The ratio of RANKL to OPG decreased drastically in the joint after VIP treatment, which correlated with an increase in levels of circulating OPG in CIA mice treated with VIP. In addition, VIP treatment decreased the expression of mRNA for RANK, iNOS and COX-2. To investigate the molecular mechanisms involved, we tested the activity of NFκB and AP-1, two transcriptional factors closely related to joint erosion, by EMSA in synovial cells from CIA mice. VIP treatment in vivo was able to affect the transcriptional activity of both factors. Our data indicate that VIP is a viable candidate for the development of treatments for RA.
PMCID: PMC1257432  PMID: 16207319
9.  The Effect of Human Placental Extract on Rheumatoid Arthritis in an Animal Model 
Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine  2012;36(2):197-206.
To assess the efficacy of human placental extract (HPE) in an animal model of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
We used (i) KRN C57BL/6 TCR transgenic x NOD mice (KBx/N) serum transfer arthritis and (ii) collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) mice to evaluate the effi cacy of HPE (1 ul or 100 ul, intra-peritoneal, three times per week) on RA. Incidence, severity of arthritis, and hind-paw thickness were quantifi ed. Joint destruction was analyzed using modifi ed mammographic imaging. Histopathological analysis for inflammation, cartilage, and osteoclasts was performed using Hematoxylin-eosin (H-E), safranin-O, and tartrate-resistant acidic phosphatase (TRAP). ELISAs were used for detection of various cytokines in serum and joint tissue.
There were no significant differences in incidence of arthritis, clinical scores of arthritis, and hind-paw thickness between HPE-treated and vehicle-treated groups for up to 2 weeks in the KBx/N serum transfer arthritis model. Histopathological analysis also showed no differences 2 weeks after treatment. Levels of TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-10, and RANKL in serum and joint tissues were similar in all groups. Furthermore, there were no differences in clinical, radiological, and histological parameters between HPE-treated and vehicle-treated group for 3 weeks in the CIA model.
Systemic treatment with HPE has no beneficial effects on arthritis in animal models of RA. Therefore, indiscreet use of HPE in RA should be forbidden.
PMCID: PMC3358675  PMID: 22639743
Human placental extract (HPE); Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
10.  The Arthritis Severity Locus Cia5d Is a Novel Genetic Regulator of the Invasive Properties of Synovial Fibroblasts 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2008;58(8):2296-2306.
The synovial fibroblast, or fibroblast-like synoviocyte (FLS), has a central role in pannus invasion and destruction of cartilage and bone in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, regulation of the FLS remains incompletely understood. The aim of this study was to determine whether the invasive properties of FLS are genetically regulated by arthritis severity loci.
DA rats (arthritis susceptible) and rat strains congenic for arthritis-protective intervals were studied. Primary FLS cell lines were generated from each strain and used in a well-established FLS invasion model through a collagen-rich barrier. Cells or culture supernatants were analyzed for gene expression, activity of different matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), cytoskeleton integrity, and cell proliferation.
The median number of FLS from DA.F344(Cia5d) rats that invaded through the collagen-rich barrier was reduced 86.5% compared with the median number of invading FLS from DA rats. Histologic examination showed that DA.F344(Cia5d) rats preserved a normal joint without pannus, hyperplasia, or erosions. FLS from DA.F344(Cia5d) rats produced significantly lower levels of active MMP-2 compared with FLS from DA rats, but the levels of proMMP-2 and MMP-2 messenger RNA in DA.F344(Cia5d) rats were similar to those in DA rats. Treatment of FLS from DA rats with an MMP-2 inhibitor reduced cell invasion to a level similar to that in DA.F344(Cia5d) rats, demonstrating that MMP-2 activity accounted for the difference between FLS from these 2 strains. Analysis of MMP-2–activating pathways revealed increased levels of soluble membrane type 1 (MT1)–MMP in DA rats compared with DA.F344(Cia5d) rats.
These data represent the first evidence for a genetic component in the regulation of FLS invasion. A gene located within the Cia5d interval accounts for this effect and operates via the regulation of soluble MT1-MMP production and MMP-2 activation. These observations suggest novel potential pathways for prognostication and therapy.
PMCID: PMC2714698  PMID: 18668563
11.  Effect of type II collagen treatment on the antioxidant status in immune tissues of adjuvant induced arthritic rats 
Adjuvant induced arthritis (AIA) is a model widely used to study Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In the present study, lipid peroxides level in spleen and thymus of AIA rats was observed to be significantly high compared to normal rats. A significant decrease in ascorbic acid (ASA), reduced glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase activity (SOD) was also observed in spleen and thymus of AIA rats compared to normal rats. There was also a steady increase in the circulating immune complex level (CIC) throughout the experimental period in serum of AIA rats. In the present investigation, it was decided to study the effect of pre and post treatment with TYPE II collagen on the antioxidant status and the circulating immune complex level in AIA rats. The results from the present work indicates that the pretreatment with TYPE II collagen was effective in bringing significant changes on all the parameters studied in AIA rats. The post treatment with TYPE II collagen was effective in bringing significant changes on the CIC immune complex level and GSH content in the thymus tissue of AIA rats. The present work suggests that the pre treatment with TYPE II collagen was more effective in suppressing the disease than the post treatment.
PMCID: PMC3453862  PMID: 23105415
Adjuvant arthritis; antioxidants; type II collagen; tolerance
12.  Rodent Preclinical Models for Developing Novel Antiarthritic Molecules: Comparative Biology and Preferred Methods for Evaluating Efficacy 
Rodent models of immune-mediated arthritis (RMIA) are the conventional approach to evaluating mechanisms of inflammatory joint disease and the comparative efficacy of antiarthritic agents. Rat adjuvant-induced (AIA), collagen-induced (CIA), and streptococcal cell wall-induced (SCW) arthritides are preferred models of the joint pathology that occurs in human rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Lesions of AIA are most severe and consistent; structural and immunological changes of CIA best resemble RA. Lesion extent and severity in RMIA depends on experimental methodology (inciting agent, adjuvant, etc.) and individual physiologic parameters (age, genetics, hormonal status, etc.). The effectiveness of antiarthritic molecules varies with the agent, therapeutic regimen, and choice of RMIA. All RMIA are driven by overactivity of proinflammatory pathways, but the dominant molecules differ among the models. Hence, as with the human clinical experience, the efficacy of various antiarthritic molecules differs among RMIA, especially when the agent is a specific cytokine inhibitor.
PMCID: PMC3022224  PMID: 21253435
13.  Inhibition of synovitis and joint destruction by a new single domain antibody specific for cyclophilin A in two different mouse models of rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2013;15(6):R208.
Cyclophilin A (CypA) is implicated in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pathogenesis. We studied whether a novel anti-CypA single domain antibody (sdAb) treatment would modulate the severity of the disease in two different animal models of RA.
A novel sdAb, named sdAbA1, was screened from an immunized camel sdAb library and found to have a high binding affinity (KD = 6.9 × 10-9 M) for CypA. The SCID-HuRAg model and the collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in mice were used to evaluate the effects of sdAbA1 treatment on inflammation and joint destruction. For in vitro analysis, monocytes/macrophages were purified from synovial fluid and peripheral blood of patients with RA and were tested for the effect of anti-CypA sdAb on metalloproteinase (MMP) production. Human monocyte cell line THP-1 cells were selected and western blot analyses were performed to examine the potential signaling pathways.
In the CIA model of RA, the sdAbA1 treatment resulted in a significant decrease in clinical symptoms as well as of joint damage (P <0.05). In the SCID-HuRAg model, treatment with anti-CypA antibody sdAbA1 significantly reduced cartilage erosion, inflammatory cell numbers and MMP-9 production in the implanted tissues (P <0.05). It also significantly reduced the levels of human inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-8 in mouse serum (P <0.05). No toxic effects were observed in the two animal models. In vitro results showed that sdAbA1 could counteract CypA-dependent MMP-9 secretion and IL-8 production by interfering with the ERK-NF-κB pathway.
Blockade of CypA significantly inhibited synovitis and cartilage/bone erosion in the two tested animal models of RA. Our findings provide evidence that sdAbA1 may be a potential therapeutic agent for RA.
PMCID: PMC3978695  PMID: 24314202
14.  Quantitative Dynamic Models of Arthritis Progression in the Rat 
Pharmaceutical research  2008;26(1):196-203.
This comparison employs mathematical disease progression models to identify a rat model of arthritis with the least inter-animal variability and features lending to better study designs.
Arthritis was induced with either collagen (CIA) or mycobacterium (AIA) in either Lewis or Dark Agouti (DA) rats. Disease progression was monitored by paw edema and body weight. Models with production, loss, and feedback components were constructed and population analysis using NONMEM software was employed to identify inter-animal variability in the various disease progression parameters.
Onset time was the only parameter different within all four groups (DA–AIA 11.5 days, DA–CIA 16.5 days, Lewis–AIA 11.9 days, Lewis–CIA 13.9 days). The loss-of-edema rate constant was 20% slower in DA (0.362 h−1) than Lewis (0.466 h−1) rats. Most models exhibited peak paw edema 20 days post-induction. Edema in CIA returned to 150% of the initial value after the disease peaked. DA rats displayed more severe overall responses.
No statistical differences between groups were observed for inter-animal variation in disease onset, progression and severity parameters. Onset time varies and should be noted in the design of future studies. DA rats may offer a more dynamic range of edema response than Lewis rats.
PMCID: PMC3725549  PMID: 18758921
arthritis; disease; model; progression; rat
15.  Methotrexate ameliorates T cell dependent autoimmune arthritis and encephalomyelitis but not antibody induced or fibroblast induced arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2004;64(4):599-605.
Objective: To investigate the mode of action of methotrexate (MTX) in different types of models for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and multiple sclerosis (MS).
Methods: Models for RA and MS were selected known to have different pathogenesis—that is, fibroblast induced arthritis in SCID mice, collagen induced arthritis (CIA), anticollagen II antibody induced arthritis (CAIA), and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in (Balb/cxB10.Q)F1 and B10.Q mice, and Pristane induced arthritis in DA rats (PIA). The MTX treatment was started 1 day after the onset of disease and continued for 14 days to compare effects on the different models.
Results: All models known to be critically dependent on T cell activation (CIA, PIA, and EAE) were effectively down regulated by titrated doses of MTX. In contrast, no effects were seen on fibroblast induced arthritis or CAIA. No effects were seen on the levels of anticollagen II antibodies in the CIA experiment.
Conclusion: The data show that MTX has strong ameliorative effect on both classical models of RA, like CIA and PIA, but also on a model for MS, EAE. It also suggests that MTX operates only in diseases which are preceded by, and dependent on, T cell activation. A comparison of CAIA and CIA suggested that MTX operates independently of arthritogenic antibodies. These results demonstrate that different animal models reflect the complexity of the corresponding human diseases and suggest that several models should be used for effective screening of new therapeutic agents.
PMCID: PMC1755430  PMID: 15345503
16.  Interferon-γ inhibits interleukin-1β-induced matrix metalloproteinase production by synovial fibroblasts and protects articular cartilage in early arthritis 
The first few months after symptom onset represents a pathologically distinct phase in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We used relevant experimental models to define the pathological role of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) during early inflammatory arthritis.
We studied IFN-γ's capacity to modulate interleukin-1β (IL-1β) induced degenerative responses using RA fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS), a bovine articular cartilage explant (BACE)/RA-FLS co-culture model and an experimental inflammatory arthritis model (murine antigen-induced arthritis (AIA)).
IFN-γ modulated IL-1β driven matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) synthesis resulting in the down-regulation of MMP-1 and MMP-3 production in vitro. IFN-γ did not affect IL-1β induced tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) production by RA FLS but skewed the MMP/TIMP-1 balance sufficiently to attenuate glycosaminoglycan-depletion in our BACE model. IFN-γ reduced IL-1β expression in the arthritic joint and prevented cartilage degeneration on Day 3 of AIA.
Early therapeutic intervention with IFN-γ may be critical to orchestrate tissue-protective responses during inflammatory arthritis.
PMCID: PMC2888198  PMID: 20307272
17.  Deacetylase Inhibition Increases Regulatory T Cell Function and Decreases Incidence and Severity of Collagen-induced Arthritis 
Collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) is an established mouse model of disease with hallmarks of clinical rheumatoid arthritis. Histone/protein deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) are known to inhibit the pathogenesis of CIA and other models of autoimmune disease, although the mechanisms responsible are unclear. Regulatory T cell (Treg) function is defective in rheumatoid arthritis. FOXP3 proteins in Tregs are present in a dynamic protein complex containing histone acetyltransferase and HDAC enzymes, and FOXP3 itself is acetylated on lysine residues. We therefore investigated the effects of HDACi therapy on regulatory T cell function in the CIA model. Administration of an HDACi, valproic acid (VPA), significantly decreased disease incidence (p<0.005) and severity (p<0.03) in CIA. In addition, VPA treatment increased both the suppressive function of CD4+CD25+ Tregs (p<0.04) and the numbers of CD25+FOXP3+ Tregs in vivo. Hence, clinically approved HDACi such as VPA may limit autoimmune disease in vivo through effects on the production and function of FOXP3+ Treg cells.
PMCID: PMC2753738  PMID: 19577564
T cell; suppression; autoimmunity; rheumatoid arthritis
18.  Matrix metalloproteinase-8 deficiency increases joint inflammation and bone erosion in the K/BxN serum-transfer arthritis model 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(6):R224.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which joint inflammation leads to progressive cartilage and bone erosion. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) implicated in homeostasis of the extracellular matrix play a central role in cartilage degradation. However, the role of specific MMPs in arthritis pathogenesis is largely unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of Mmp-8 (collagenase-2) in an arthritis model.
Arthritis was induced in Mmp8-deficient and wildtype mice by K/BxN serum transfer. Arthritis severity was measured by a clinical index and ankle sections were scored for synovial inflammation, cartilage damage and bone erosion. cDNA microarray analysis, real-time PCR and western blot were performed to identify differential changes in gene expression between mice lacking Mmp8 and controls.
Mmp8 deficiency increased the severity of arthritis, although the incidence of disease was similar in control and deficient mice. Increased clinical score was associated with exacerbated synovial inflammation and bone erosion. We also found that the absence of Mmp8 led to increased expression of IL-1β, pentraxin-3 (PTX3) and prokineticin receptor 2 (PROKR2) in arthritic mice joints.
Lack of Mmp-8 is accompanied by exacerbated synovial inflammation and bone erosion in the K/BxN serum-transfer arthritis model, indicating that this Mmp has a protective role in arthritis.
PMCID: PMC3046537  PMID: 21190566
19.  Dichloroacetate alleviates development of collagen II-induced arthritis in female DBA/1 mice 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2009;11(5):R132.
Dichloroacetate (DCA) has been in clinical use for the treatment of lactacidosis and inherited mitochondrial disorders. It has potent anti-tumor effects both in vivo and in vitro, facilitating apoptosis and inhibiting proliferation. The pro-apoptotic and anti-proliferative properties of DCA prompted us to investigate the effects of this compound in arthritis.
In the present study, we used DCA to treat murine collagen type II (CII)-induced arthritis (CIA), an experimental model of rheumatoid arthritis. DBA/1 mice were treated with DCA given in drinking water.
Mice treated with DCA displayed much slower onset of CIA and significantly lower severity (P < 0.0001) and much lower frequency (36% in DCA group vs. 86% in control group) of arthritis. Also, cartilage and joint destruction was significantly decreased following DCA treatment (P = 0.005). Moreover, DCA prevented arthritis-induced cortical bone mineral loss. This clinical picture was also reflected by lower levels of anti-CII antibodies in DCA-treated versus control mice, indicating that DCA affected the humoral response. In contrast, DCA had no effect on T cell- or granulocyte-mediated responses. The beneficial effect of DCA was present in female DBA/1 mice only. This was due in part to the effect of estrogen, since ovariectomized mice did not benefit from DCA treatment to the same extent as sham-operated controls (day 30, 38.7% of ovarectomized mice had arthritis vs. only 3.4% in sham-operated group).
Our results indicate that DCA delays the onset and alleviates the progression of CIA in an estrogen-dependent manner.
PMCID: PMC2787291  PMID: 19723321
20.  Matrix Metalloproteinase-dependent turnover of cartilage, synovial membrane, and connective tissue is elevated in rats with collagen induced arthritis 
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease affecting the extracellular matrix of especially synovial joints. The thickness of the synovial membrane increases and surrounding tissue degrades, leading to altered collagen balance in the tissues. In this study, we investigated the altered tissue balance of cartilage, synovial membrane, and connective tissue in collagen induced arthritis (CIA) in rats.
Six newly developed ELISAs quantifying MMP-derived collagen degradation (C1M, C2M, and C3M) and formation (P1NP, P2NP, and P3NP) was used to detect cartilage turnover in rats with CIA. Moreover, CTX-II was used to detect alternative type II collagen degradation and as control of the model. 10 Lewis rats were injected with porcrine type II collagen twice with a 7 day interval and 10 rats was injected with 0.05 M acetic acid as control. The experiment ran for 26 days.
A significant increase in the degradation of type I, II, and III collagen (C1M, C2M, and C3M, respectively) was detected on day 22 (P = 0.0068, P = 0.0068, P < 0.0001, respectively), whereas no significant difference in formation (P1NP, P2NP, and P3NP) was detected at any time point (P=0.22, P=0.53, P=0.53, respectively). The CTX-II level increased strongly from disease onset and onwards.
A nearly total separation between diseased and control animals was detected with C3M, making it a good diagnostic marker. The balance of type I, II, and III collagen was significantly altered with CIA in rats, with favour of degradation of the investigated collagens. This indicates unbalanced turnover of the surrounding tissues of the synovial joints, leading to increased pain and degeneration of the synovial joints.
PMCID: PMC3551788  PMID: 22992383
Collagen balance; Rheumatoid arthritis; Matrix metalloproteinase; Synovial membrane; Cartilage; Connective tissue
21.  Effects of Calcium Gluconate, a Water Soluble Calcium Salt on the Collagen-Induced DBA/1J Mice Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Biomolecules & Therapeutics  2013;21(4):290-298.
This study examined the effects of calcium (Ca) gluconate on collagen-induced DBA mouse rheumatoid arthritis (CIA). A single daily dose of 200, 100 or 50 mg/kg Ca gluconate was administered orally to male DBA/1J mice for 40 days after initial collagen immunization. To ascertain the effects administering the collagen booster, CIA-related features (including body weight, poly-arthritis, knee and paw thickness, and paw weight increase) were measured from histopathological changes in the spleen, left popliteal lymph node, third digit and the knee joint regions. CIA-related bone and cartilage damage improved significantly in the Ca gluconate- administered CIA mice. Additionally, myeloperoxidase (MPO) levels in the paw were reduced in Ca gluconate-treated CIA mice compared to CIA control groups. The level of malondialdehyde (MDA), an indicator of oxidative stress, decreased in a dosedependent manner in the Ca gluconate group. Finally, the production of IL-6 and TNF-α, involved in rheumatoid arthritis pathogenesis, were suppressed by treatment with Ca gluconate. Taken together, these results suggest that Ca gluconate is a promising candidate anti-rheumatoid arthritis agent, exerting anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and immunomodulatory effects in CIA mice.
PMCID: PMC3819902  PMID: 24244814
Calcium gluconate; Rheumatoid arthritis; Anti-inflammation; Anti-oxidation; Immunomodulation
22.  Matrix metalloproteinases and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases in synovial fluids from patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2000;59(6):455-461.
OBJECTIVE—Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are expressed in joint tissues of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). The objective of this study was to define the steady state levels of seven different MMPs and two tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) as well as the potential metalloproteinase activity in the synovial fluid (SF) to provide more insight into the role of MMPs in cartilage destruction in RA and OA.
METHODS—Levels of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-7, MMP-8, MMP-9, MMP-13, TIMP-1, and TIMP-2 in SF aspirated from knee joints of 97 patients with RA and 103 patients with OA were measured by the corresponding one step sandwich enzyme immunoassays. Proteolytic activity of MMPs in these SFs was examined in an assay using [3H]carboxymethylated transferrin substrate in the presence of inhibitors of serine and cysteine proteinases after activation with p-aminophenylmercuric acetate (APMA). Destruction of RA knee joints was radiographically evaluated.
RESULTS—Levels of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-8, and MMP-9 were significantly higher in RA SF than in OA SF. MMP-7 and MMP-13 were detectable in more than 45% of RA SFs and in less than 20% of OA SFs, respectively. Among the MMPs examined, MMP-3 levels were extremely high compared with those of other MMPs. Direct correlations were seen between the levels of MMP-1 and MMP-3 and between those of MMP-8 and MMP-9 in RA SF. Although the levels of MMP-1 and MMP-3 increased even in the early stage of RA, those of MMP-8 and MMP-9 were low in the early stage and increased with the progression of RA. Molar ratios of the total amounts of the MMPs to those of the TIMPs were 5.2-fold higher in patients with RA than in OA, which was significant. APMA-activated metalloproteinase activity in SF showed a similar result, and a direct correlation was seen between the molar ratios and the activity in RA SF.
CONCLUSIONS—Our results show that high levels of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-8, MMP-9, and TIMP-1 are present in RA SF and suggest that once these MMPs are fully activated, they have an imbalance against TIMPs, which may contribute to the cartilage destruction in RA.

PMCID: PMC1753174  PMID: 10834863
23.  RANKL inhibition by osteoprotegerin prevents bone loss without affecting local or systemic inflammation parameters in two rat arthritis models: comparison with anti-TNFα or anti-IL-1 therapies 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2009;11(6):R187.
Rat adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA) and collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) feature bone loss and systemic increases in TNFα, IL-1β, and receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL). Anti-IL-1 or anti-TNFα therapies consistently reduce inflammation in these models, but systemic bone loss often persists. RANKL inhibition consistently prevents bone loss in both models without reducing joint inflammation. Effects of these therapies on systemic markers of bone turnover and inflammation have not been directly compared.
Lewis rats with established AIA or CIA were treated for 10 days (from day 4 post onset) with either PBS (Veh), TNFα inhibitor (pegsunercept), IL-1 inhibitor (anakinra), or RANKL inhibitor (osteoprotegerin (OPG)-Fc). Local inflammation was evaluated by monitoring hind paw swelling. Bone mineral density (BMD) of paws and lumbar vertebrae was assessed by dual X-ray absorptiometry. Markers and mediators of bone resorption (RANKL, tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase 5b (TRACP 5B)) and inflammation (prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), acute-phase protein alpha-1-acid glycoprotein (α1AGP), multiple cytokines) were measured in serum (day 14 post onset).
Arthritis progression significantly increased paw swelling and ankle and vertebral BMD loss. Anti-TNFα reduced paw swelling in both models, and reduced ankle BMD loss in AIA rats. Anti-IL-1 decreased paw swelling in CIA rats, and reduced ankle BMD loss in both models. Anti-TNFα and anti-IL-1 failed to prevent vertebral BMD loss in either model. OPG-Fc reduced BMD loss in ankles and vertebrae in both models, but had no effect on paw swelling. Serum RANKL was elevated in AIA-Veh and CIA-Veh rats. While antiTNFα and anti-IL-1 partially normalized serum RANKL without any changes in serum TRACP 5B, OPG-Fc treatment reduced serum TRACP 5B by over 90% in both CIA and AIA rats. CIA-Veh and AIA-Veh rats had increased serum α1AGP, IL-1β, IL-8 and chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2), and AIA-Veh rats also had significantly greater serum PGE2, TNFα and IL-17. Anti-TNFα reduced systemic α1AGP, CCL2 and PGE2 in AIA rats, while anti-IL-1 decreased systemic α1AGP, IL-8 and PGE2. In contrast, RANKL inhibition by OPG-Fc did not lessen systemic cytokine levels in either model.
Anti-TNFα or anti-IL-1 therapy inhibited parameters of local and systemic inflammation, and partially reduced local but not systemic bone loss in AIA and CIA rats. RANKL inhibition prevented local and systemic bone loss without significantly inhibiting local or systemic inflammatory parameters.
PMCID: PMC3003514  PMID: 20003323
24.  Inhibition of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Ameliorates Collagen-Induced Arthritis 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune synovitis characterized by the formation of pannus and the destruction of cartilage and bone in the synovial joints. Although immune cells, which infiltrate the pannus and promote inflammation, play a prominent role in the pathogenesis of RA, other cell types also contribute. Proliferation of synovial fibroblasts, for example, underlies the formation of the pannus, while proliferation of endothelial cells results in neovascularization, which supports the growth of the pannus by supplying it with nutrients and oxygen. The synovial fibroblasts also promote inflammation in the synovium by producing cytokines and chemokines. Finally, osteoclasts cause the destruction of bone. Here we show that erlotinib, an inhibitor of the tyrosine kinase EGFR, reduces the severity of established collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), a mouse model of RA—and that it does so by targeting synovial fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and osteoclasts. Erlotinib-induced attenuation of autoimmune arthritis was associated with a reduction in number of osteoclasts and blood vessels, and erlotinib inhibited the formation of murine osteoclasts and the proliferation of human endothelial cells in vitro. Erlotinib also inhibited the proliferation and cytokine production of human synovial fibroblasts in vitro. Moreover, EGFR was highly expressed and activated in the synovium of mice with CIA and patients with RA. Together, these findings suggest that EGFR plays a central role in the pathogenesis of RA and that EGFR inhibition may provide benefit in the treatment of RA.
PMCID: PMC3311775  PMID: 22393153
Rheumatoid Arthritis; Erlotinib; Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor; Synovial Fibroblast
25.  IL-17 derived from juxta-articular bone and synovium contributes to joint degradation in rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research  2001;3(3):168-177.
The origin and role of IL-17, a T-cell derived cytokine, in cartilage and bone destruction during rheumatoid arthritis (RA) remain to be clarified. In human ex vivo models, addition of IL-17 enhanced IL-6 production and collagen destruction, and inhibited collagen synthesis by RA synovium explants. On mouse cartilage, IL-17 enhanced cartilage proteoglycan loss and inhibited its synthesis. On human RA bone explants, IL-17 also increased bone resorption and decreased formation. Addition of IL-1 in these conditions increased the effect of IL-17. Blocking of bone-derived endogenous IL-17 with specific inhibitors resulted in a protective inhibition of bone destruction. Conversely, intra-articular administration of IL-17 into a normal mouse joint induced cartilage degradation. In conclusion, the contribution of IL-17 derived from synovium and bone marrow T cells to joint destruction suggests the control of IL-17 for the treatment of RA.
PMCID: PMC30709  PMID: 11299057
bone; cartilage; degradation; IL-17; rheumatoid arthritis

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