The Second Kitasato Symposium: New Prospects for Cytokines brought together researchers and rheumatologists to consider the essential role of cytokines in health and their contributions to autoimmunity. Topics addressed during the Symposium - which was held in Berlin, Germany from 27 to 29 May 2010 - included established and new cytokine targets in arthritis and autoimmunity and innovative aspects of osteoimmunology as well as current perspectives from translational and clinical studies. The keynote lecture, delivered by George Kollias, focused on insights gained from animal models into the mechanisms of TNF function in chronic inflammation and autoimmunity. The presentations at the Symposium resulted in productive discussions regarding potential new targets for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders.
Cytokines play key roles in spontaneous CD4+ T cell–mediated chronic autoimmune arthritis in SKG mice, a new model of rheumatoid arthritis. Genetic deficiency in IL-6 completely suppressed the development of arthritis in SKG mice, irrespective of the persistence of circulating rheumatoid factor. Either IL-1 or TNF-α deficiency retarded the onset of arthritis and substantially reduced its incidence and severity. IL-10 deficiency, on the other hand, exacerbated disease, whereas IL-4 or IFN-γ deficiency did not alter the disease course. Synovial fluid of arthritic SKG mice contained high amounts of IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-1, in accord with active transcription of these cytokine genes in the afflicted joints. Notably, immunohistochemistry revealed that distinct subsets of synovial cells produced different cytokines in the inflamed synovium: the superficial synovial lining cells mainly produced IL-1 and TNF-α, whereas scattered subsynovial cells produced IL-6. Thus, IL-6, IL-1, TNF-α, and IL-10 play distinct roles in the development of SKG arthritis; arthritogenic CD4+ T cells are not required to skew to either Th1 or Th2; and the appearance of rheumatoid factor is independent of joint inflammation. The results also indicate that targeting not only each cytokine but also each cell population secreting distinct cytokines could be an effective treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Interleukin (IL)-6 is a cytokine featuring redundancy and pleiotropic activity. While IL-6, when transiently produced, contributes to host defense against acute environmental stress, continuous dysregulated IL-6 production plays a significant pathological role in several systemic autoimmune diseases. In response to the expectation that IL-6 blockade would constitute a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of these diseases, tocilizumab, a humanized anti-IL-6 receptor antibody, was developed. Clinical trials have verified the efficacy and the safety of tocilizumab for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, resulting in approval of this innovative biologic for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in more than 90 countries worldwide. Pathological analyses of the effect of IL-6 on the development of autoimmune diseases and a considerable number of case reports and pilot studies have also indicated the beneficial effects of this antibody on other systemic autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic sclerosis, polymyositis, and large-vessel vasculitis.
Two of the best ways to improve the quality of childhood nutrition are (a) more collaboration at the national, State, and local levels and (b) adoption of innovative and multimedia learning methods, according to the leaders of nutrition education. These themes were discussed at the 13th Annual Nutrition Symposium, which was held March 9, 1994, in Washington, DC. In recognition of National Nutrition Month, a collaborative effort of the Public Health Service's Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the meeting was attended by more than 300 public and private sector nutrition educators and public health professionals. Their assignment was to analyze school-based nutrition education programs and the research being conducted on nutrition. Keynote speaker Surgeon General M. Joycelyn Elders, MD, issued the challenge for all Federal and State agencies to work with schools and nutrition education professionals to overcome limited resources and children's current eating habits to improve the nutritional status of children. Responding to that challenge, speakers from the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency sponsoring the meeting, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Education, as well as from the Congress, business, and public schools addressed several initiatives.
The 13th meeting of the Signal Transduction Society was held in Weimar, from October 28 to 30, 2009. Special focus of the 2009 conference was "Aging and Senescence", which was co-organized by the SFB 728 "Environmentally-Induced Aging Processes" of the University of Düsseldorf and the study group 'Signal Transduction' of the German Society for Cell Biology (DGZ). In addition, several other areas of signal transduction research were covered and supported by different consortia associated with the Signal Transduction Society including the long-term associated study groups of the German Society for Immunology and the Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and for instance the SFB/Transregio 52 "Transcriptional Programming of Individual T Cell Subsets" located in Würzburg, Mainz and Berlin. The different research areas that were introduced by outstanding keynote speakers attracted more than 250 scientists, showing the timeliness and relevance of the interdisciplinary concept and exchange of knowledge during the three days of the scientific program. This report gives an overview of the presentations of the conference.
Progress in understanding mechanisms of disease are necessary to usher in major changes in treatment. A new era in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and related chronic autoimmune/inflammatory diseases is now beginning, with a variety of anti-TNFα treatments licensed for use in both RA and Crohn's disease. The rationale for this new treatment lies in an understanding that cytokines are critical, rate limiting molecules lying at the heart of the chronic autoimmune/inflammatory disease process. This understanding was developed from the critical evaluation of a hypothesis that was proposed linking cytokines, antigen presentation and autoimmunity in 1983. Detailed analysis focusing on the major site of the disease, the rheumatoid synovium was essential to developing indications that blockade of TNFα might be efficacious. This clue was validated using anti-TNFα treatment of an animal model of RA, murine collagen induced arthritis, and by immunohistochemical demonstration of upregulated TNF and TNF-R expression in the synovium. With this three pronged rationale, the authors were able to convince Centocor, Inc, which had developed a chimaeric anti-TNFα antibody for use in sepsis, to work with them to test the concept that TNFα blockade would be beneficial in RA. With the success of that first trial, other companies have subsequently tested their anti-TNF strategies successfully. Current interests extend to understanding the processes that regulate TNF production in the rheumatoid joint. Progress in this area is discussed, using adenoviruses to infect normal macrophages and rheumatoid synovium.
Biological therapies directed at proinflammatory cytokines have irrevocably changed the landscape of treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other autoimmune diseases. With the advances in our knowledge in cytokine signaling, the question emerges whether targeting intracellular signaling might also be a safe and efficacious strategy. Janus kinases or Jaks are critical for a large family of cytokines and the first Jak inhibitor has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of myelofibrosis. Late phase clinical trials have been completed for another Jakinib in RA. It is therefore timely to consider this new category of drugs and reflect on their potential roles, present and future, in the treatment of RA and related disorders.
IL-17 (also known as IL-17A) is the signature cytokine of the newly-described “Th17” T helper cell population, and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of numerous autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis. IL-17 is the founding member of a new subclass of cytokines that have highly pro-inflammatory properties. Studies in rodents, mammalian cell culture systems as well as clinical settings support a role for IL-17 in promoting rheumatoid arthritis. The history of the discovery of Th17 cells, the potential mechanisms of action of IL-17 in autoimmunity and perspectives for IL-17-targeted cytokine therapy are discussed.
Synovial tissue of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) spontaneously produces several cytokines, of which a fundamental role in joint inflammation and destruction has been established. However, the factors sustaining this phenomenon remain poorly understood. In a recent report, blockade of Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) was found to inhibit the spontaneous release of inflammatory cytokines by intact RA synovial explant cultures. Adding to the recent evidence implicating other TLRs (in particular, TLR4), this observation highlights the potential of TLRs as therapeutic targets to suppress the local production of multiple cytokines and to control the chronic inflammatory loop in RA.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease that is characterized by a defect in immune tolerance and exacerbated by both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune response. SLE-associated immune hyperactivity can be detected systemically as elevations in levels of cytokines along with their upregulated receptors expressed by hematopoietic cells. Importantly, increased levels of cytokines and their receptors can be observed in target organs, and it is clear that they have important roles in disease pathogenesis. Recent therapeutic strategies have focused on proximal cytokines, such as interferon-α, interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor as a result of the efficacious use of biologic agents for intervention in rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. Despite the recent advances in understanding the cytokine networks involved in autoimmune diseases and more specifically in SLE, the diagnosis and prognosis of lupus remain a challenge. Lupus is heterogeneous and unpredictable; moreover, the frequency and severity of flares can be difficult to determine and treat. A better understanding of the regulation of expression of key cytokines and their receptors can likely provide important clues to the pathogenic mechanisms underlying specific forms of SLE, and pave the way toward more effective therapeutics.
At its 2009 annual symposium, chaired by Dr. William (Bill) Pollett, the Canadian Association of University Surgeons brought together speakers with expertise in surgery and medical education to discuss the role of surgical simulation for improving surgical training and safety. Dr. Daniel Jones, of Harvard University and the 2009 Charles Tator Lecturer, highlighted how simulation has been used to teach advanced laparoscopic surgery. He also outlined how the American College of Surgeons is moving toward competency assessments as a requirement before surgeons are permitted to perform laparoscopic surgery on patients. Dr. Teodor Grantcharov, from the University of Toronto, highlighted the role of virtual reality simulators in laparoscopic surgery as well as box trainers. Dr. Peter Brindley from the University of Alberta, although a strong proponent of simulation, cautioned against an overzealous adoption without addressing its current limitations. He also emphasized simulation’s value in team training and crisis resource management training. Dr. Chris de Gara, also from the University of Alberta, questioned to what extent simulators should be used to determine competency. He raised concerns that if technical skills are learned in isolation, they may become “decontextualized,” and therefore simulation might become counterproductive. He outlined how oversimplification can have an “enchanting” effect, including a false sense of security. As a result, simulation must be used appropriately and along the entire education continuum. Furthermore, far more needs to be done to realize its role in surgical safety.
Cytokines are immune mediators that play an important role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease that targets the synovial joints. The cytokine environment in the peripheral lymphoid tissues and the target organ (the joint) has a strong influence on the outcome of the initial events that trigger autoimmune inflammation. In susceptible individuals, these events drive inflammation and tissue damage in the joints. However, in resistant individuals, the inflammatory events are controlled effectively with minimal or no overt signs of arthritis. Animal models of human RA have permitted comprehensive investigations into the role of cytokines in the initiation, progression, and recovery phases of autoimmune arthritis. The discovery of interleukin-17 (IL-17) and its association with inflammation and autoimmune pathology has reshaped our viewpoint regarding the pathogenesis of arthritis, which previously was based on a simplistic T helper 1 (Th1)-Th2 paradigm. This review discusses the role of the newer cytokines, particularly those associated with the IL-17/IL-23 axis in arthritis. Also presented herein is the emerging information on IL-32, IL-33, and IL-35. Ongoing studies examining the role of the newer cytokines in the disease process would improve understanding of RA as well as the development of novel cytokine inhibitors that might be more efficacious than the currently available options.
Th17 cells are implicated in human autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), although it has not been established whether this persistent destructive arthritis is driven by Th1 and/or Th17 cells. Interleukin-17A (IL-17A) contributes to the pathogenesis of arthritis as has been shown in several experimental arthritis models. Importantly, recent data from first clinical trials with anti-IL-17A antibody treatment in psoriatic arthritis patients and RA patients looks promising. This review summarizes the findings about the role of Th17 cells in arthritis and discusses the impact of the different Th17 cytokines in the pathogenesis of this disease. However, further studies are needed to unravel the interplay between IL-17A and other Th17 cytokines such as IL-17F, IL-22, and IL-21 in the pathoimmunological process of this crippling disease, in particular, whether regulating Th17 cell activity or specific combinations of Th17 cytokines will have additional value compared to neutralizing IL-17A activity alone. Moreover, tumor necrosis factor-positive Th17 cells are discussed as potential dangerous cells in driving persistent arthritis in human early RA.
Autoimmunity; Inflammation; T cells; IL-17A; IL-17F; IL-22
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease characterised by chronic joint inflammation and destruction. Interleukin (IL)‐17 is a T cell cytokine expressed in the synovium and synovial fluid of patients with RA. IL‐17 is a potent inducer of various cytokines such as tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and IL‐1. IL‐17 has been shown to have additive or even synergistic effects with TNF and IL‐1 during the induction of cytokine expression and joint damage in vitro and in vivo. TNFα and IL‐1 are considered powerful targets in the treatment of RA because of their leading role in driving the enhanced production of cytokines, chemokines, and degradative enzymes. Besides anti‐TNF and anti‐IL‐1 therapies, whose clinical efficacy is now established, new targets have been proposed for RA which is not responding to conventional treatments. This paper discusses the role of IL‐17 in experimental arthritis and its interrelationship with TNF and IL‐1, currently the most targeted cytokines in the treatment of RA. IL‐17 is involved in both initiation and progression of murine experimental arthritis. Studies have shown that IL‐17 not only synergises with TNF, but also enhances inflammation and destruction independent of IL‐1 and TNF. On the basis of these studies, the authors propose IL‐17 as an interesting additional target in the treatment of RA.
IL‐17; IL‐1; TNF; target; arthritis
In addition to their pivotal role in thrombosis and wound repair, platelets participate in inflammatory responses. We investigated the role of platelets in the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis. We identified platelet microparticles—submicrometer vesicles elaborated by activated platelets—in joint fluid from patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of inflammatory arthritis, but not in joint fluid from patients with osteoarthritis. Platelet microparticles were proinflammatory, eliciting cytokine responses from synovial fibroblasts via interleukin-1. Consistent with these findings, depletion of platelets attenuated murine inflammatory arthritis. Using both pharmacologic and genetic approaches, we identified the collagen receptor glycoprotein VI as a key trigger for platelet microparticle generation in arthritis pathophysiology. Thus, these findings demonstrate a previously unappreciated role for platelets and their activation-induced microparticles in inflammatory joint diseases.
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α is not just a proinflammatory cytokine. It has also been proposed to be an immunoregulatory molecule that can alter the balance of T regulatory cells. Anti-TNF-α therapies have been provided clinical benefit to many patients and introduced for treating moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and other chronic inflammatory disorders. However, their use also is accompanied by new or aggravated forms of autoimmunity, such as formation of autoantibodies, including antinuclear antibodies (ANAs), antidouble-stranded DNA (dsDNA) antibodies, and anticardiolipin antibodies (ACL). Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a disease with autoimmune disturbance and inflammatory damage. The role of TNF-α in human SLE is controversial. Here we review the role of TNF-α in the pathophysiological processes of SLE and the likely effects of blocking TNF-α in treatment of SLE.
The tumor necrosis factor–related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) induces apoptosis of tumor cells but not normal cells; its role in normal nontransformed tissues is unknown. We report here that chronic blockade of TRAIL in mice exacerbated autoimmune arthritis, and that intraarticular TRAIL gene transfer ameliorated the disease. In vivo, TRAIL blockade led to profound hyperproliferation of synovial cells and arthritogenic lymphocytes and heightened the production of cytokines and autoantibodies. In vitro, TRAIL inhibited DNA synthesis and prevented cell cycle progression of lymphocytes. Interestingly, TRAIL had no effect on apoptosis of inflammatory cells either in vivo or in vitro. Thus, unlike other members of the tumor necrosis factor superfamily, TRAIL is a prototype inhibitor protein that inhibits autoimmune inflammation by blocking cell cycle progression.
autoimmunity; inflammation; apoptosis; cytokine; TRAIL
The 2009 British Ecological Society's Annual Symposium entitled ‘Facilitation in Plant Communities’ was held at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, from 20 to 22 April 2009. This was the first ever international meeting dedicated to the rapidly expanding field of facilitation. The aim of the symposium was to assess the current ‘state-of-play’ by contrasting findings from different systems and by looking outwards in an attempt to integrate this field with other related fields. It was also aimed at understanding how knowledge of facilitation can help understand community dynamics and be applied to ecosystem restoration. The symposium identified several key areas where future work is likely to be most profitable.
community; competition; evolution; mutualism; positive interactions; restoration
A large number of cytokines are active in the joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is now clear that these cytokines play a fundamental role in the processes that cause inflammation, articular destruction, and the comorbidities associated with RA. Following the success of TNF-α blockade as a treatment for RA, other cytokines now offer alternative targets for therapeutic intervention or might be useful as predictive biomarkers of disease. In this Review, we discuss the biologic contribution and therapeutic potential of the major cytokine families to RA pathology, focusing on molecules contained within the TNF-α, IL-1, IL-6, IL-23, and IL-2 families.
Synovial tissues of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) include factors regulating bone resorption, such as receptor activator NF-κB ligand (RANKL), TNF-α, IL-6, IL-17, and IFN-γ. However, in addition to these cytokines, other factors expressed in synovial tissues may play a role in regulating bone resorption. In 2009, we demonstrated that novel peptides from T-cell leukemia translocation-associated gene (TCTA) protein expressed in synovial tissues from patients with RA inhibit human osteoclastogenesis, preventing cellular fusion via the interaction between TCTA protein and a putative counterpart molecule. Only a few studies on the role of TCTA protein have been reported. Genomic Southern blots demonstrated a reduced TCTA signal in three of four small cell lung cancer cell lines, suggesting the loss of one of the two copies of the gene. In the current paper, we reviewed the roles of TCTA protein in lung cancer cell lines and human osteoclastogenesis.
Interleukin (IL)-17 is a pro-inflammatory cytokine in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). Since interferon (IFN)-γ inhibits Th17 cell development, IFN-γ receptor knockout (IFN-γR KO) mice develop CIA more readily. We took advantage of this model to analyse the mechanisms of action of IL-17 in arthritis. The role of IFN-γ on the effector mechanisms of IL-17 in an in vitro system was also investigated.
IFN-γR KO mice induced for CIA were treated with anti-IL-17 or control antibody. The collagen type II (CII)-specific humoral and cellular autoimmune responses, myelopoiesis, osteoclastogenesis, and systemic cytokine production were determined. Mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEF) were stimulated with IL-17, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and the expression of cytokines and chemokines were determined.
A preventive anti-IL-17 antibody treatment inhibited CIA in IFNγR KO mice. In the joints of anti-IL-17-treated mice, neutrophil influx and bone destruction were absent. Treatment reduced the cellular autoimmune response as well as the splenic expansion of CD11b+ cells, and production of myelopoietic cytokines such as granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and IL-6. IL-17 and TNF-α synergistically induced granulocyte chemotactic protein-2 (GCP-2), IL-6 and receptor activator of NFκB ligand (RANKL) in MEF. This induction was profoundly inhibited by IFN-γ in a STAT-1 (signal transducer and activator of transcription-1)-dependent way.
In the absence of IFN-γ, IL-17 mediates its pro-inflammatory effects mainly through stimulatory effects on granulopoiesis, neutrophil infiltration and bone destruction. In vitro IFN-γ profoundly inhibits the effector function of IL-17. Thus, aside from the well-known inhibition of the development of Th17 cells by IFN-γ, this may be an additional mechanism through which IFN-γ attenuates autoimmune diseases.
This is a special issue of Genetica that has its origins in a symposium held in honor of Richard G. Harrison at Ithaca, New York on July 22–23. Former students of Rick Harrison organized the symposium and most of the speakers were former students, as well. The quality and breadth of the talks were a testament to Rick’s influence as a thinker, synthesizer, and mentor and it is only appropriate to reflect on Rick’s contributions to the fields of evolutionary ecology, systematics, and genetics in this preface to the symposium articles.