Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease characterized by hyperplasia of the synovial lining and destruction of cartilage and bone. Recent studies have suggested that a lack of apoptosis contributes to the hyperplasia of the synovial lining and to the failure in eliminating autoreactive cells. Mice lacking Fas or Bim, two pro-apoptotic proteins that mediate the extrinsic and intrinsic death cascades, respectively, develop enhanced K/BxN serum transfer-induced arthritis. Since the pro-apoptotic protein Bid functions as an intermediate between the extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways, we examined the role that it plays in inflammatory arthritis. Mice deficient in Bid (Bid-/-) show a delay in the resolution of K/BxN serum transfer-induced arthritis. Bid-/- mice display increased inflammation, bone destruction, and pannus formation compared to wild-type mice. Furthermore, Bid-/- mice have elevated levels of CXC chemokine and IL-1β in serum, which are associated with more inflammatory cells throughout the arthritic joint. In addition, there are fewer apoptotic cells in the synovium of Bid-/- compared to Wt mice. These data suggest that extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways cooperate through Bid to limit development of inflammatory arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by destruction of bone and cartilage, which is mediated, in part, by synovial fibroblasts. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a large family of proteolytic enzymes responsible for matrix degradation. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a cytokine that induces the production of a large number of proinflammatory molecules and has an important role in the pathogenesis of RA by promoting inflammation and angiogenesis.
In the present study, we determined the role of MIF in RA synovial fibroblast MMP production and the underlying signaling mechanisms. We found that MIF induces RA synovial fibroblast MMP-2 expression in a time-dependent and concentration-dependent manner. To elucidate the role of MIF in MMP-2 production, we produced zymosan-induced arthritis (ZIA) in MIF gene-deficient and wild-type mice. We found that MMP-2 protein levels were significantly decreased in MIF gene-deficient compared with wild-type mice joint homogenates. The expression of MMP-2 in ZIA was evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC). IHC revealed that MMP-2 is highly expressed in wild-type compared with MIF gene-deficient mice ZIA joints. Interestingly, synovial lining cells, endothelial cells, and sublining nonlymphoid mononuclear cells expressed MMP-2 in the ZIA synovium. Consistent with these results, in methylated BSA (mBSA) antigen-induced arthritis (AIA), a model of RA, enhanced MMP-2 expression was also observed in wild-type compared with MIF gene-deficient mice joints. To elucidate the signaling mechanisms in MIF-induced MMP-2 upregulation, RA synovial fibroblasts were stimulated with MIF in the presence of signaling inhibitors. We found that MIF-induced RA synovial fibroblast MMP-2 upregulation required the protein kinase C (PKC), c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), and Src signaling pathways. We studied the expression of MMP-2 in the presence of PKC isoform-specific inhibitors and found that the PKCδ inhibitor rottlerin inhibits MIF-induced RA synovial fibroblast MMP-2 production. Consistent with these results, MIF induced phosphorylation of JNK, PKCδ, and c-jun. These results indicate a potential novel role for MIF in tissue destruction in RA.
To investigate the role of IL-17RA signaling in the effector phase of inflammatory arthritis using the K/BxN serum-transfer model.
Wild-type and Il17ra−/− mice were injected with serum isolated from arthritic K/BxN mice and their clinical score was recorded daily. Mice were also harvested on days 12 and 21 and ankles were analyzed for cytokine and chemokine mRNA expression by qPCR on day 12 and for bone and cartilage erosions by histology on day 21, respectively. The induction of cytokine and chemokine expression levels by IL-17A in synovial-like fibroblasts was also analyzed using qPCR.
Il17ra−/− mice were partially protected from clinical signs of arthritis and had markedly fewer cartilage and bone erosions. The expression of several pro-inflammatory mediators, including the chemokines KC/CXCL1, MIP-2/CXCL2, LIX/CXCL5 MIP-1γ/CCL9, MCP-3/CCL7, MIP-3α/CCL20, the cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, RANKL and the matrix metalloproteinases MMP2, MMP3, and MMP13 were decreased in the ankles of Il17ra−/− mice compared to wild-type mice. Many of these proinflammatory genes attenuated in the ankles of Il17ra−/− mice were shown to be directly induced by IL-17A in synovial fibroblasts in vitro.
IL-17RA signaling plays a role as an amplifier of the effector phase of inflammatory arthritis. This effect is likely mediated by direct activation of synovial fibroblasts by IL-17RA to produce multiple inflammatory mediators, including chemokines active on neutrophils. Therefore, interrupting IL-17RA signaling maybe a promising pharmacological target for the treatment of inflammatory arthritis.
During immune-complex-mediated arthritis (ICA), severe cartilage destruction is mediated by Fcγ receptors (FcγRs) (mainly FcγRI), cytokines (e.g. IL-1), and enzymes (matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs)). IL-13, a T helper 2 (Th2) cytokine abundantly found in synovial fluid of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, has been shown to reduce joint inflammation and bone destruction during experimental arthritis. However, the effect on severe cartilage destruction has not been studied in detail. We have now investigated the role of IL-13 in chondrocyte death and MMP-mediated cartilage damage during ICA. IL-13 was locally overexpressed in knee joints after injection of an adenovirus encoding IL-13 (AxCAhIL-13), 1 day before the onset of arthritis; injection of AxCANI (an empty adenoviral construct) was used as a control. IL-13 significantly increased the amount of inflammatory cells in the synovial lining and the joint cavity, by 30% to 60% at day 3 after the onset of ICA. Despite the enhanced inflammatory response, chondrocyte death was diminished by two-thirds at days 3 and 7. The mRNA level of FcγRI, a receptor shown to be crucial in the induction of chondrocyte death, was significantly down-regulated in synovium. Furthermore, MMP-mediated cartilage damage, measured as neoepitope (VDIPEN) expression using immunolocalization, was halved. In contrast, mRNA levels of MMP-3, -9, -12, and -13 were significantly higher and IL-1 protein, which induces production of latent MMPs, was increased fivefold by IL-13. This study demonstrates that IL-13 overexpression during ICA diminished both chondrocyte death and MMP-mediated VDIPEN expression, even though joint inflammation was enhanced.
cartilage destruction; experimental arthritis; interleukin-13; Fcγ receptors; MMPs
The detailed cellular and molecular mechanisms leading to joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis, a disease driven by proinflammatory cytokines, are still unknown. To address the question of whether osteoclasts play a pivotal role in this process, transgenic mice that express human TNF (hTNFtg) and that develop a severe and destructive arthritis were crossed with osteopetrotic, c-fos–deficient mice (c-fos–/–) completely lacking osteoclasts. The resulting mutant mice (c-fos–/–hTNFtg) developed a TNF-dependent arthritis in the absence of osteoclasts. All clinical features of arthritis, such as paw swelling and reduction of grip strength, progressed equally in both groups. Histological evaluation of joint sections revealed no difference in the extent of synovial inflammation, its cellular composition (except for the lack of osteoclasts), and the expression of matrix metalloprotein-ase-3 (MMP-3) and MMP-13. In addition, cartilage damage, proteoglycan loss, and MMP-3, -9, and -13 expression in chondrocytes were similar in hTNFtg and c-fos–/–hTNFtg mice. However, despite the presence of severe inflammatory changes, c-fos–/–hTNFtg mice were fully protected against bone destruction. These data reveal that TNF-dependent bone erosion is mediated by osteoclasts and that the absence of osteoclasts alters TNF-mediated arthritis from a destructive to a nondestructive arthritis. Therefore, in addition to the use of anti-inflammatory therapies, osteoclast inhibition could be beneficial for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
A hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is invasion of the synovial pannus into cartilage and this step requires degradation of the collagen matrix. The aim of this study was to explore the role of one of the collagen-degrading matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), membrane-type 1 MMP (MT1-MMP), in synovial pannus invasiveness.
Expression and localization of MT1-MMP in human RA pannus were investigated by Western blot analysis of primary synovial cells and immunohistochemistry of RA joints specimens. The functional role of MT1-MMP was analyzed by 3D collagen invasion assays and a cartilage invasion assay in the presence or absence of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1, TIMP-2, or GM6001. The effect of adenoviral expression of a dominant negative MT1-MMP construct lacking a catalytic domain was also examined.
MT1-MMP was highly expressed at the pannus-cartilage junction of RA joints. Freshly isolated rheumatoid synovial tissues and isolated RA synovial fibroblasts invaded into a 3D collagen matrix in an MT1-MMP-dependent manner. Invasion was blocked by TIMP-2 and GM6001, but not by TIMP-1. It was also inhibited by the over-expression of a dominant negative MT1-MMP which inhibits collagenolytic activity and proMMP-2 activation by MT1-MMP on the cell surface. Synovial fibroblasts also invaded into cartilage in an MT1-MMP-dependent manner. This process was further enhanced by removing aggrecan from the cartilage matrix.
MT1-MMP is an essential collagen-degrading proteinase during pannus invasion in human RA. Specific inhibition of MT1-MMP-dependent invasion may form a novel therapeutic strategy for RA.
MT1-MMP; synovial pannus; rheumatoid arthritis
Neutrophils serve as a vanguard of the acute innate immune response to invading pathogens. Neutrophils are also abundant at sites of autoimmune inflammation, such as the rheumatoid joint, although their pathophysiologic role is incompletely defined and relevant effector functions remain obscure. Using genetic and pharmacologic approaches in the K/BxN serum transfer model of arthritis, we find that autoantibody-driven erosive synovitis is critically reliant on the generation of leukotrienes, and more specifically on leukotriene B4 (LTB4), for disease induction as well as perpetuation. Pursuing the cellular source for this mediator, we find via reconstitution experiments that mast cells are a dispensable source of leukotrienes, whereas arthritis susceptibility can be restored to leukotriene-deficient mice by intravenous administration of wild-type neutrophils. These experiments demonstrate a nonredundant role for LTB4 in inflammatory arthritis and define a neutrophil mediator involved in orchestrating the synovial eruption.
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.
Innate immune responses activate synoviocytes and recruit inflammatory cells into the rheumatoid joint. Type I interferons (IFN) play a role in autoimmunity and IFN gene transcription is activated by IFN-regulatory factors (IRF) in response to innate sensor recognition. This study examined the effect of genetic deficiency of IRF7 in a passive K/BxN serum transfer model of arthritis.
Passive transfer arthritis was induced in Irf7−/− mice and additional groups were treated with IFNβ or poly (I-C). Clinical arthritis scores, histology, microcomputed tomography, and synovial tissue Q-PCR were performed. Mouse serum was analyzed by ELISA.
In the K/BxN passive model, arthritis severity was significantly increased in Irf7−/− mice compared with wild type (WT). In addition, synovial and serum IFNβ expression was decreased, potentially contributing to increased arthritis. Irf7−/− mice injected with replacement IFNβ had a decrease in arthritis. Poly (I-C) treatment diminished arthritis in Irf7−/− mice, restored synovial IFNβ gene expression, and increased serum IFNβ. In vitro studies demonstrated that poly (I-C) stimulation of Irf7−/− fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) resulted in increased induction of pro-inflammatory gene expression compared with WT FLS; however, IFNβ expression was not significantly different. In contrast, Irf7−/− macrophages showed significantly less induction of IFNβ in response to poly (I-C) stimulation.
IRF7 deficiency exacerbated arthritis and replacement treatment with IFNβ or poly (I-C) decreased arthritis severity. Both macrophage and synoviocyte specific roles for IRF7 likely contribute to increased arthritis. IRF7 might play an anti-inflammatory role in passive transfer arthritis through regulation of macrophage IFNβ production.
transcription factors; signal transduction; inflammation; rheumatoid arthritis
OBJECTIVES--To investigate whether interstitial collagenase (MMP-1) concentration in synovial fluid can be useful as a marker for disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), to determine the main route by which collagenase degrades the matrix of articular cartilage, and to investigate if an imbalance between metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP) is responsible for the activity of MMPs in RA. METHODS--Collagenase concentrations were measured in synovial fluid and paired serum samples using a specific sandwich enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Collagenase activities were also assayed in synovial fluid samples. Synovial tissues obtained from the same patient were examined by immunohistochemical staining and the numbers of cells expressing collagenase were counted. RESULTS--Collagenase concentrations in synovial fluid did not correlate with C reactive protein and collagenase levels in serum, but did correlate positively with the degree of synovial inflammation, and increased with increasing numbers of cells identified as expressing collagenase in synovial tissue. Collagenase activities did not correlate with TIMP-1 concentrations, but did correlate strongly with the ratios of collagenase concentration to TIMP-1 (r = 0.73). CONCLUSION--The collagenase concentration in synovial fluid cannot be used as a marker for systemic disease activity, but can be used as a marker for the degree of synovial inflammation in the joint from which the sample is aspirated. In advanced RA, most of the collagenase is probably produced in synovial lining cells and released into synovial fluid, where it degrades the matrix of articular cartilage. An imbalance between MMP and TIMP may be of importance in the degradation of extracellular matrix of articular cartilage in RA.
Neutrophils represent a prominent component of inflammatory joint effusions and are required for synovial inflammation in mouse models, but mechanisms are poorly understood. We developed a system to test the importance of production of specific factors by neutrophils in a mouse model of arthritis.
Neutrophil-deficient Gfi-1−/− mice were sub-lethally irradiated, then engrafted with donor bone-marrow cells (BMC), which resulted in production of mature neutrophils within two weeks. By reconstituting with BMC from mice lacking selected pro-inflammatory factors, mice specifically lacking these factors on neutrophils were generated. Arthritis was initiated by transfer of K/BxN serum to identify the role of defined neutrophil factors on arthritis incidence and severity.
Neutrophils lacking the signaling chain of stimulatory Fc receptors (FcRγ −/−) were unable to elicit arthritis, but neutrophils lacking Fcγ RIII still did so. Neutrophils lacking the chemotactic or adhesion receptors C5aR or CD11a/LFA-1 also failed to initiate arthritis but could enter joints in which inflammation had been initiated by wild-type neutrophils. Neutrophils unable to produce interleukin-1 α and β (IL-1αβ −/−) or leukotrienes (5-LO−/−) produced arthritis of intermediate severity. Inability of neutrophils to make tumor necrosis factor (TNF), or to express receptors for TNF or IL-1, had no effect on arthritis.
A novel transfer system was developed to identify neutrophil production of FcRγ , C5aR, and CD11a/LFA-1 as critical components of autoantibody-mediated arthritis. Neutrophil production of IL-1 and leukotriene B4 likely contributes to inflammation but is not essential. Molecular requirements for neutrophil influx into joints become more permissive after inflammation is initiated.
arthritis; neutrophils; mouse model; inflammation; autoantibodies
Considerable evidence has associated the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) with the degradation of cartilage and bone in chronic conditions such as arthritis. Direct evaluation of MMPs' role in vivo has awaited the development of MMP inhibitors with appropriate pharmacological properties. We have identified butanediamide, N4- hydroxy-2-(2-methylpropyl)-N1-[2-[[2-(morpholinyl)ethyl]-,[S- (R*,S*)] (GI168) as a potent MMP inhibitor with sufficient solubility and stability to permit evaluation in an experimental model of chronic destructive arthritis (adjuvant-induced arthritis) in rats. In this model, pronounced acute and chronic synovial inflammation, distal tibia and metatarsal marrow hyperplasia associated with osteoclasia, severe bone and cartilage destruction, and ectopic new bone growth are well developed by 3 wk after adjuvant injection. Rats were injected with Freund's adjuvant on day 0. GI168 was was administered systemically from days 8 to 21 by osmotic minipumps implanted subcutaneously. GI168 at 6, 12, and 25 mg/kg per d reduced ankle swelling in a dose-related fashion. Radiological and histological ankle joint evaluation on day 22 revealed a profound dose related inhibition of bone and cartilage destruction in treated rats relative to rats receiving vehicle alone. A significant reduction in edema, pannus formation, periosteal new bone growth and the numbers of adherent marrow osteoclasts was also noted. However, no significant decrease in polymorphonuclear and mononuclear leukocyte infiltration of synovium and marrow hematopoietic cellularity was seen. This unique profile of antiarthritic activity indicates that GI168 is osteo- and chondro-protective, and it supports a direct role for MMP in cartilage and bone damage and pannus formation in adjuvant- induced arthritis.
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.
Bone development requires the recruitment of osteoclast precursors from surrounding mesenchyme, thereby allowing the key events of bone growth such as marrow cavity formation, capillary invasion, and matrix remodeling. We demonstrate that mice deficient in gelatinase B/matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 exhibit a delay in osteoclast recruitment. Histological analysis and specialized invasion and bone resorption models show that MMP-9 is specifically required for the invasion of osteoclasts and endothelial cells into the discontinuously mineralized hypertrophic cartilage that fills the core of the diaphysis. However, MMPs other than MMP-9 are required for the passage of the cells through unmineralized type I collagen of the nascent bone collar, and play a role in resorption of mineralized matrix. MMP-9 stimulates the solubilization of unmineralized cartilage by MMP-13, a collagenase highly expressed in hypertrophic cartilage before osteoclast invasion. Hypertrophic cartilage also expresses vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which binds to extracellular matrix and is made bioavailable by MMP-9 (Bergers, G., R. Brekken, G. McMahon, T.H. Vu, T. Itoh, K. Tamaki, K. Tanzawa, P. Thorpe, S. Itohara, Z. Werb, and D. Hanahan. 2000. Nat. Cell Biol. 2:737–744). We show that VEGF is a chemoattractant for osteoclasts. Moreover, invasion of osteoclasts into the hypertrophic cartilage requires VEGF because it is inhibited by blocking VEGF function. These observations identify specific actions of MMP-9 and VEGF that are critical for early bone development.
matrix metalloproteinase; VEGF; osteoclast recruitment; endothelial cell; bone development
MAPK kinases MKK3 and MKK6 regulate p38 MAPK activation in inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Previous studies demonstrated that MKK3- or MKK6-deficiency inhibits K/BxN serum-induced arthritis. However, the role of these kinases in adaptive immunity-dependent models of chronic arthritis is not known. The goal of this study was to evaluate MKK3- and MKK6-deficiency in the collagen induced arthritis model.
Wildtype, MKK3−/−, and MKK6−/− mice were immunized with bovine type II collagen (CII). Disease activity was evaluated by semiquantitative scoring, histology, and microcomputed tomography. Serum anti-collagen antibody levels were quantified by ELISA. In-vitro T cell cytokine response was measured by flow cytometry and multiplex analysis. Expression of joint cytokines and matrix metalloproteinase was determined by qPCR.
MKK6-deficiency markedly reduced arthritis severity compared with WT mice, while absence of MKK3 had an intermediate effect. Joint damage was minimal in arthritic MKK6−/− mice and intermediate in MKK3−/− mice compared with wild type mice. MKK6−/− mice had modestly lower levels of pathogenic anti-collagen antibodies than WT or MKK3−/− mice. In vitro T cell assays showed reduced proliferation and IL-17 production by MKK6−/− cells in response to type II collagen. Gene expression of synovial IL-6, matrix metalloproteinases MMP3, and MMP13 was significantly inhibited in MKK6-deficient mice.
Reduced disease severity in MKK6−/− mice correlated with decreased anti-collagen responses indicating that MKK6 is a crucial regulator of inflammation joint destruction in CIA. MKK6 is a potential therapeutic target in complex diseases involving adaptive immune responses like rheumatoid arthritis.
The c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) is a key regulator of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) and cytokine production in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and JNK deficiency markedly protects mice in animal models of arthritis. Cytokine-induced JNK activation is strictly dependent on the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 7 (MKK7) in fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS). Therefore, we evaluated whether targeting MKK7 using anti-sense oligonucleotides (ASO) would decrease JNK activation and severity in K/BxN serum transfer arthritis.
Three 2'-O-methoxyethyl chimeric ASOs for MKK7 and control ASO were injected intravenously in normal C57BL/6 mice. PBS, control ASO or MKK7 ASO was injected from Day -8 to Day 10 in the passive K/BxN model. Ankle histology was evaluated using a semi-quantitative scoring system. Expression of MKK7 and JNK pathways was evaluated by quantitative PCR and Western blot analysis.
MKK7 ASO decreased MKK7 mRNA and protein levels in ankles by about 40% in normal mice within three days. There was no effect of control ASO on MKK7 expression and MKK7 ASO did not affect MKK3, MKK4 or MKK6. Mice injected with MKK7 ASO had significantly less severe arthritis compared with control ASO (P < 0.01). Histologic evidence of synovial inflammation, bone erosion and cartilage damage was reduced in MKK7 ASO-treated mice (P < 0.01). MKK7 deficiency decreased phospho-JNK and phospho-c-Jun in ankle extracts (P < 0.05), but not phospho-MKK4. Interleukin-1beta (IL-1β), MMP3 and MMP13 gene expression in ankle joints were decreased by MKK7 ASO (P < 0.01).
MKK7 plays a critical regulatory role in the JNK pathway in a murine model of arthritis. Targeting MKK7 rather than JNK could provide site and event specificity when treating synovitis.
C-Jun N-terminal kinase; Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 7; Rheumatoid arthritis; Anti-sense oligonucleotide
In spontaneous inflammatory arthritis of K/BxN T cell receptor transgenic mice, the effector phase of the disease is provoked by binding of immunoglobulins (Igs) to joint surfaces. Inflammatory cytokines are known to be involved in human inflammatory arthritis, in particular rheumatoid arthritis, although, overall, the pathogenetic mechanisms of the human affliction remain unclear. To explore the analogy between the K/BxN model and human patients, we assessed the role and relative importance of inflammatory cytokines in K/BxN joint inflammation by transferring arthritogenic serum into a panel of genetically deficient recipients. Interleukin (IL)-1 proved absolutely necessary. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)–α was also required, although seemingly less critically than IL-1, because a proportion of TNF-α–deficient mice developed robust disease. There was no evidence for an important role for IL-6. Bone destruction and reconstruction were also examined. We found that all mice with strong inflammation exhibited the bone erosion and reconstruction phenomena typical of K/BxN arthritis, with no evidence of any particular requirement for TNFα for bone destruction. The variability in the requirement for TNF-α, reminiscent of that observed in treated rheumatoid arthritis patients, did not appear genetically programmed but related instead to subtle environmental changes.
transgenic; cytokine; knockout; inflammatory; TNF
Osteoarthritis is a common chronic and progressively degenerative joint condition. The stem bark of Eucommia ulmoides Oliver (a member of the Eucommiaceae family), which is also known as Du-Zhong, is a traditional Chinese medicine commonly used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. However, the mechanisms underlying the effects of Eucommia in the treatment of arthritis of the knee require further study. The present study investigated the effects of an aqueous extract of Eucommia on the articular cartilage (by Mankin’s grade) and the levels of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1), MMP-3 and MMP-13 in the serum and synovial fluid in a rat model of osteoarthritis. The serum levels of MMP-1, -3 and -13 were measured by double-antibody sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) at weeks 1, 2 and 4. The levels of MMP-1, -3 and 13 were significantly decreased in the rats treated with Eucommia compared with those in the control rats (P<0.05). Histopathological examination results indicated a lower Mankin’s grade in the Eucommia group compared with that of the control rats. Therefore, Eucommia was demonstrated to have a cartilage-protecting effect in rats with osteoarthritis, potentially by improving cartilage metabolism, regulating the degradation of the extracellular matrix of the articular cartilage, and inhibiting apoptosis in chondrocytes, thereby slowing down joint degeneration.
knee osteoarthritis; articular cartilage; Eucommia; matrix metalloproteinase-1; matrix metalloproteinase-3; matrix metalloproteinase-13
To evaluate the decrease of cartilage destruction by a novel orally active and specific matrix metalloproteinase 13 (MMP-13) inhibitor in three different animal models of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Materials and methods
The SCID mouse co-implantation model of RA, the collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) model in mice and the antigen-induced arthritis model (AIA) in rabbits were used.
In the SCID mouse co-implantation model, the MMP-13 inhibitor reduced cartilage destruction by 75%. In the CIA model of RA, the MMP-13 inhibitor resulted in a significant and dose-dependent decrease in clinical symptoms as well as of cartilage erosion by 38% (30 mg/kg), 28% (10 mg/kg) and 21% (3 mg/kg). No significant effects were seen in the AIA model. No toxic effects were seen in all three animal models.
Although several MMPs in concert with other proteinases have a role in the process of cartilage destruction, there is a need for highly selective MMP inhibitors to reduce severe side effects that occur with non-specific inhibitors. Significant inhibition of MMP-13 reduced cartilage erosions in two of three tested animal models of RA. These results strongly support the development of this class of drugs to reduce or halt joint destruction in patients with RA.
The Syk tyrosine kinase plays an important role in diverse functions in hematopoietic lineage cells. Although previous in vitro and pharmacologic analyses suggested Syk to be a possible player in the development of autoimmune arthritis, no in vivo genetic studies addressing that issue have yet been reported. The aim of the present study was to test whether genetic deficiency of Syk affects autoantibody-induced experimental arthritis in the K/BxN serum–transfer model.
Syk−/− bone marrow chimeras carrying a Syk-deficient hematopoietic system were generated by transplanting Syk−/− fetal liver cells into lethally irradiated wild-type recipients. After complete repopulation of the hematopoietic compartment, autoantibody-mediated arthritis was induced by injection of arthritogenic K/BxN serum. Arthritis development was monitored by macroscopic and microscopic observation of the ankle joints, micro–computed tomography of bone morphology, as well as a joint function assay.
Genetic deficiency of Syk in the hematopoietic compartment completely blocked the development of all macroscopic and microscopic signs of arthritis. The Syk−/− mutation also prevented the appearance of periarticular bone erosions. Finally, Syk−/− bone marrow chimeras were completely protected from arthritis-induced loss of articular function.
Our results indicate that Syk is critically involved in the development of all clinically relevant aspects of autoantibody-mediated K/BxN serum–transfer arthritis in experimental mice. These results provide the first in vivo genetic evidence of the role of Syk in the development of autoimmune arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the synovium. It is involved in up-regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), resulting in joint inflammation and erosion. Zingiber cassumunar Roxb. has long been used to reduce joint pain and inflammation. This study aimed to investigate the inhibitory activities of an active compound of Z. cassumunar, (E)-4-(3′,4′-dimethoxyphenyl)but-3-en-1-ol (compound D), against cytokine-induced up-regulation of catabolic genes involved in cartilage degradation in RA. Synovial fibroblast cell line, SW982, was cultured in media containing interleukin-1β (IL-1β), in the presence or absence of compound D at the concentration range of 1 to 100 µM. After 24 hours, the cells were analyzed for the expressions of MMPs, IL-1β and interleukin-1β-converting enzyme (ICE) by RT-PCR. MMPs activities in the culture media were analyzed by zymographic techniques. Dexamethasone was used as the positive control. It was found that compound D at the concentration of 10 – 100 µM significantly decreased the mRNA expressions of MMP-1, -2, -3, and -13 which was induced by IL-1β (P<0.05) concomitantly with a decrease in activities of these MMPs in the culture media. An increase in the mRNA expression of IL-1β and ICE was also suppressed by compound D. The results suggest that the potent activities of this compound may be involved in the reduction of IL-1β protein synthesis in both pro-form and active form which played an important role in up-regulation of MMPs. This study first revealed the chondroprotective activity of Z. cassumunar in the transcriptional level by suppressing cytokine-induced catabolic genes which caused cartilage erosion in RA.
(E)-4-(3′,4′-dimethoxyphenyl)but-3-en-1-ol; compound D; matrix metalloproteinases; interleukin-1β; interleukin-1β-converting enzyme; Zingiber cassumunar
Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1, MMP-8 and MMP-13 are interstitial collagenases that degrade type II collagen in cartilage; this is a committed step in the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Of these enzymes, the expression of MMP-1 and MMP-13 is substantially increased in response to IL-1 and tumor necrosis factor-α, and elevated levels of these collagenases are observed in arthritic tissues. Therefore, cytokine-mediated MMP-1 and MMP-13 gene regulation is an important issue in arthritis research. In this review, we discuss current models of MMP-1 and MMP-13 transcriptional regulation, with a focus on signaling intermediates and transcription factors that may be future targets for the development of new arthritis drugs.
arthritis; matrix metalloproteinases; mitogen-activated protein kinases; nuclear factor κB; transcription
The present study aimed to explore the hypothesis that bile salt-stimulated lipase (BSSL), in addition to being a key enzyme in dietary fat digestion during early infancy, plays an important role in inflammation, notably arthritis.
Collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) and pristane-induced arthritis (PIA) in rodents are commonly used experimental models that reproduce many of the pathogenic mechanisms of human rheumatoid arthritis, i.e. increased cellular infiltration, synovial hyperplasia, pannus formation, and erosion of cartilage and bone in the distal joints. We used the CIA model to compare the response in BSSL wild type (BSSL-WT) mice with BSSL-deficient ‘knock-out’ (BSSL-KO) and BSSL-heterozygous (BSSL-HET) littermates. We also investigated if intraperitoneal injection of BSSL-neutralizing antibodies affected the development or severity of CIA and PIA in mice and rats, respectively.
In two consecutive studies, we found that BSSL-KO male mice, in contrast to BSSL-WT littermates, were significantly protected from developing arthritis. We also found that BSSL-HET mice were less prone to develop disease compared to BSSL-WT mice, but not as resistant as BSSL-KO mice, suggesting a gene-dose effect. Moreover, we found that BSSL-neutralizing antibody injection reduced both the incidence and severity of CIA and PIA in rodents.
Our data strongly support BSSL as a key player in the inflammatory process, at least in rodents. It also suggests the possibility that BSSL-neutralizing agents could serve as a therapeutic model to reduce the inflammatory response in humans.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are induced from host tissues in response to Borrelia burgdorferi. Upregulation of MMPs may play a role in the dissemination of the organism through extracellular matrix tissues, but it can also result in destructive pathology. Although mice are a well-accepted model for Lyme arthritis, there are significant differences compared to human disease. We sought to determine whether MMP expression could account for some of these differences. MMP expression patterns following B. burgdorferi infection were analyzed in primary human chondrocytes, synovial fluid samples from patients with Lyme arthritis, and cartilage tissue from Lyme arthritis-susceptible and -resistant mice by using a gene array, real-time PCR, an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and immunohistochemistry. B. burgdorferi infection significantly induced transcription of MMP-1, -3, -13, and -19 from primary human chondrocyte cells. Transcription of MMP-10 and tissue inhibitor of metalloprotease 1 was increased with B. burgdorferi infection, but protein expression was only minimally increased. The synovial fluid levels of MMPs from patients with high and low spirochete burdens were consistent with results seen in the in vitro studies. B. burgdorferi-susceptible C3H/HeN mice infected with B. burgdorferi showed induction of MMP-3 and MMP-19 but no other MMP or tissue inhibitor of metalloprotease. As determined by immunohistochemistry, MMP-3 expression was increased only in chondrocytes near the articular surface. The levels of MMPs were significantly lower in the more Lyme arthritis-resistant BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice. Differences between human and murine Lyme arthritis may be related to the lack of induction of collagenases, such MMP-1 and MMP-13, in mouse joints.
Objectives: To better understand the role of collagenase-3 (MMP-13) in joint inflammation by investigating the consequences of transient overexpression of human collagenase-3 (matrix metalloproteinase-13 (MMP-13)), introduced by adenoviral gene delivery, in the mouse knee joint.
Methods: A single dose (5x107 pfu) of recombinant adenovirus coding either for ß-galactosidase (RAdLacZ) or human MMP-13 (RAdMMP-13) was injected intra-articularly into the knee joint of adult mice. The joints were analysed at frequent intervals up to 4 weeks by histology, immunohistochemistry, and RNA analysis.
Results: When RAdLacZ reporter virus was used, adenoviruses efficiently infected synovial cells, chondrocytes of articular cartilage, and hypertrophic chondrocytes of the growth plate. The infection was transient as no reporter gene activity was detected 3 weeks after the injection. After RAdMMP-13 injection into the knee joints, expression of human MMP-13 in joint tissues resulted in an arthritis characterised by recruitment of inflammatory cells and increased production of cytokines and chemokines, synovial hyperplasia, and pannus formation. After the loss of MMP-13 transgene expression at 3 weeks, these inflammatory changes began to diminish.
Conclusions: MMP-13 has a role in the onset of inflammatory reaction in synovium. However, damage to articular cartilage was only rarely detected after the short term overexpression of MMP-13.