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1.  Transition of healthy to diseased synovial tissue in rheumatoid arthritis is associated with gain of mesenchymal/fibrotic characteristics 
The healthy synovial lining layer consists of a single cell layer that regulates the transport between the joint cavity and the surrounding tissue. It has been suggested that abnormalities such as somatic mutations in the p53 tumor-suppressor gene contribute to synovial hyperplasia and invasion in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In this study, expression of epithelial markers on healthy and diseased synovial lining tissue was examined. In addition, we investigated whether a regulated process, resembling epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT)/fibrosis, could be responsible for the altered phenotype of the synovial lining layer in RA. Synovial tissue from healthy subjects and RA patients was obtained during arthroscopy. To detect signs of EMT, expression of E-cadherin (epithelial marker), collagen type IV (indicator of the presence of a basement membrane) and α-smooth muscle actin (α-sma; a myofibroblast marker) was investigated on frozen tissue sections using immunohistochemistry. Fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) from healthy subjects were isolated and subjected to stimulation with synovial fluid (SF) from two RA patients and to transforming growth factor (TGF)-β. To detect whether EMT/fibrotic markers were increased, expression of collagen type I, α-sma and telopeptide lysylhydroxylase (TLH) was measured by real time PCR. Expression of E-cadherin and collagen type IV was found in healthy and arthritic synovial tissue. Expression of α-sma was only found in the synovial lining layer of RA patients. Stimulation of healthy FLSs with SF resulted in an upregulation of α-sma and TLH mRNA. Collagen type I and TLH mRNA were upregulated after stimulation with TGF-β. Addition of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-7 to healthy FLS stimulated with SF inhibited the expression of α-sma mRNA. The finding that E-cadherin and collagen type IV are expressed in the lining layer of healthy and arthritic synovium indicates that these lining cells display an epithelial-like phenotype. In addition, the presence of α-sma in the synovial lining layer of RA patients and induction of fibrotic markers in healthy FLSs by SF from RA patients indicate that a regulated process comparable to EMT might cause the alteration in phenotype of RA FLSs. Therefore, BMP-7 may represent a promising agent to counteract the transition imposed on synoviocytes in the RA joint.
PMCID: PMC1794508  PMID: 17076892
2.  Podoplanin in cancer cells is experimentally able to attenuate prolymphangiogenic and lymphogenous metastatic potentials of lung squamoid cancer cells 
Molecular Cancer  2010;9:287.
Podoplanin, a mucin-like transmembrane glycoprotein, is reportedly expressed in a variety of malignant cells and is generally regarded as a factor for promoting tumor progression in conventional studies. By contrast, a clinicopathologically conflicting role for podoplanin, namely as a favorable prognostic factor for patients with lung/cervical squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), has recently been reported. Here, we investigated the role of podoplanin expressed in lung squamoid cancer cells (LSCCs) in experimental tumor progression.
Using EBC-1 cells, a lung SCC cell line without podoplanin expression and with lymphogenous metastatic potential, stable transformants with or without an exogenous human podoplanin gene were established and applied to a mouse tumor implantation model. In vivo examinations revealed that exogenous podoplanin had no influence on tumor growth, whereas it significantly restrained axillary lymph node metastasis associated with the suppression of lymphangiogenesis but not angiogenesis and with the downregulation of EBC-1-derived VEGF-C but not other lymphangiogenesis-related factor mRNAs in implanted tumor tissue. In vitro examinations to clarify the mechanisms underlying the in vivo phenomena revealed that exogenous podoplanin significantly suppressed the expression of VEGF-C mRNA and of the protein, and also increased the level of phosphorylated c-jun N terminal kinase (JNK) in EBC-1 cells. The former effect of exogenous podoplanin was impaired by treatment with either JNK inhibitor sp600125 or podoplanin-siRNA, and the latter effect was impaired by treatment with podoplanin-siRNA, suggesting that podoplanin was able to activate JNK, thereby downregulating VEGF-C gene expression in LSCCs (podoplanin-JNK-VEGF-C axis). Furthermore, supporting evidence in regard to the axis present in LSCCs was obtained from similar experiments using H157 cells, another lung SCC cell line expressing endogenous podoplanin.
Our findings suggested that LSCC-associated podoplanin was functional and could attenuate the potential for lymph node metastasis, possibly based on the suppression of tumor lymphangiogenesis; thus, podoplanin in cancer cells may become a useful biomarker to measure the malignancy of lung SCC.
PMCID: PMC2987985  PMID: 21034514
3.  Acute-phase serum amyloid A production by rheumatoid arthritis synovial tissue 
Arthritis Research  2000;2(2):142-144.
Acute-phase serum amyloid A (A-SAA) is a major component of the acute-phase response. A sustained acute-phase response in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with increased joint damage. A-SAA mRNA expression was confirmed in all samples obtained from patients with RA, but not in normal synovium. A-SAA mRNA expression was also demonstrated in cultured RA synoviocytes. A-SAA protein was identified in the supernatants of primary synoviocyte cultures, and its expression colocalized with sites of macrophage accumulation and with some vascular endothelial cells. It is concluded that A-SAA is produced by inflamed RA synovial tissue. The known association between the acute-phase response and progressive joint damage may be the direct result of synovial A-SAA-induced effects on cartilage degradation.
Serum amyloid A (SAA) is the circulating precursor of amyloid A protein, the fibrillar component of amyloid deposits. In humans, four SAA genes have been described. Two genes (SAA1 and SAA2) encode A-SAA and are coordinately induced in response to inflammation. SAA1 and SAA2 are 95% homologous in both coding and noncoding regions. SAA3 is a pseudogene. SAA4 encodes constitutive SAA and is minimally inducible. A-SAA increases dramatically during acute inflammation and may reach levels that are 1000-fold greater than normal. A-SAA is mainly synthesized in the liver, but extrahepatic production has been demonstrated in many species, including humans. A-SAA mRNA is expressed in RA synoviocytes and in monocyte/macrophage cell lines such as THP-1 cells, in endothelial cells and in smooth muscle cells of atherosclerotic lesions. A-SAA has also been localized to a wide range of histologically normal tissues, including breast, stomach, intestine, pancreas, kidney, lung, tonsil, thyroid, pituitary, placenta, skin and brain.
To identify the cell types that produce A-SAA mRNA and protein, and their location in RA synovium.
Materials and methods:
Rheumatoid synovial tissue was obtained from eight patients undergoing arthroscopic biopsy and at joint replacement surgery. Total RNA was analyzed by reverse transcription (RT) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for A-SAA mRNA. PCR products generated were confirmed by Southern blot analysis using human A-SAA cDNA. Localization of A-SAA production was examined by immunohistochemistry using a rabbit antihuman A-SAA polyclonal antibody. PrimaryRA synoviocytes were cultured to examine endogenous A-SAA mRNA expression and protein production.
A-SAA mRNA expression was detected using RT-PCR in all eight synovial tissue samples studied. Figure 1 demonstrates RT-PCR products generated using synovial tissue from three representative RA patients. Analysis of RA synovial tissue revealed differences in A-SAA mRNA levels between individual RA patients.
In order to identify the cells that expressed A-SAA mRNA in RA synovial tissue, we analyzed primary human synoviocytes (n = 2). RT-PCR analysis revealed A-SAA mRNA expression in primary RA synoviocytes (n = 2; Fig. 2). The endogenous A-SAA mRNA levels detected in individual primary RA synoviocytes varied between patients. These findings are consistent with A-SAA expression in RA synovial tissue (Fig. 1). Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) levels were relatively similar in the RA synoviocytes examined (Fig. 2). A-SAA protein in the supernatants of primary synoviocyte cultures from four RA patients was measured using ELISA. Mean values of a control and four RA samples were 77.85, 162.5, 249.8, 321.5 and 339.04 μg/l A-SAA, respectively, confirming the production of A-SAA protein by the primary RA synoviocytes. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed to localize sites of A-SAA production in RA synovial tissue. Positive staining was present in both the lining and sublining layers of all eight RA tissues examined (Fig. 3a). Staining was intense and most prominent in the cells closest to the surface of the synovial lining layer. Positively stained cells were evident in the perivascular areas of the sublining layer. In serial sections stained with anti-CD68 monoclonal antibody, positive staining of macrophages appeared to colocalize with A-SAA-positive cells (Fig. 3b). Immunohistochemical studies of cultured primary RA synoviocytes confirmed specific cytoplasmic A-SAA expression in these cells. The specificity of the staining was confirmed by the absence of staining found on serial sections and synoviocyte cells treated with IgG (Fig. 3c).
This study demonstrates that A-SAA mRNA is expressed in several cell populations infiltrating RA synovial tissue. A-SAA mRNA expression was observed in all eight unseparated RA tissue samples studied. A-SAA mRNA expression and protein production was demonstrated in primary cultures of purified RA synoviocytes. Using immunohistochemical techniques, A-SAA protein appeared to colocalize with both lining layer and sublining layer synoviocytes, macrophages and some endothelial cells. The detection of A-SAA protein in culture media supernatants harvested from unstimulated synoviocytes confirms endogenous A-SAA production, and is consistent with A-SAA mRNA expression and translation by the same cells. Moreover, the demonstration of A-SAA protein in RA synovial tissue, RA cultured synoviocytes, macrophages and endothelial cells is consistent with previous studies that demonstrated A-SAA production by a variety of human cell populations.
The RA synovial lining layer is composed of activated macrophages and fibroblast-like synoviocytes. The macrophage is the predominant cell type and it has been shown to accumulate preferentially in the surface of the lining layer and in the perivascular areas of the sublining layer. Nevertheless, our observations strongly suggest that A-SAA is produced not only by synoviocytes, but also by synovial tissue macrophage populations. Local A-SAA protein production by vascular endothelial cells was detected in some, but not all, of the tissues examined. The reason for the variability in vascular A-SAA staining is unknown, but may be due to differences in endothelial cell activation, events related to angiogenesis or the intensity of local inflammation.
The value of measuring serum A-SAA levels as a reliable surrogate marker of inflammation has been demonstrated for several diseases including RA, juvenile chronic arthritis, psoriatic arthropathy, ankylosing spondylitis, Behçet's disease, reactive arthritis and Crohn's disease. It has been suggested that serum A-SAA levels may represent the most sensitive measurement of the acute-phase reaction. In RA, A-SAA levels provide the strongest correlations with clinical measurements of disease activity, and changes in serum levels best reflect the clinical course.
A number of biologic activities have been described for A-SAA, including several that are relevant to the understanding of inflammatory and tissue-degrading mechanisms in human arthritis. A-SAA induces migration, adhesion and tissue infiltration of circulating monocytes and polymorphonuclear leukocytes. In addition, human A-SAA can induce interleukin-1β, interleukin-1 receptor antagonist and soluble type II tumour necrosis factor receptor production by a monocyte cell line. Moreover, A-SAA can stimulate the production of cartilage-degrading proteases by both human and rabbit synoviocytes. The effects of A-SAA on protease production are interesting, because in RA a sustained acute-phase reaction has been strongly associated with progressive joint damage. The known association between the acute-phase response and progressive joint damage may be the direct result of synovial A-SAA-induced effects on cartilage degradation.
In contrast to noninflamed synovium, A-SAA mRNA expression was identified in all RA tissues examined. A-SAA appeared to be produced by synovial tissue synoviocytes, macrophages and endothelial cells. The observation of A-SAA mRNA expression in cultured RA synoviocytes and human RA synovial tissue confirms and extends recently published findings that demonstrated A-SAA mRNA expression in stimulated RA synoviocytes, but not in unstimulated RA synoviocytes.
PMCID: PMC17807  PMID: 11062604
acute-phase response; rheumatoid arthritis; serum amyloid A; synovial tissue
4.  The Spectrum of Podoplanin Expression in Encapsulating Peritoneal Sclerosis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e53382.
Encapsulating peritoneal sclerosis (EPS) is a life threatening complication of peritoneal dialysis (PD). Podoplanin is a glycoprotein expressed by mesothelial cells, lymphatic endothelial cells, and myofibroblasts in peritoneal biopsies from patients with EPS. To evaluate podoplanin as a marker of EPS we measured podoplanin mRNA and described the morphological patterns of podoplanin-positive cells in EPS. Included were 20 peritoneal biopsies from patients with the diagnosis of EPS (n = 5), patients on PD without signs of EPS (n = 5), and control patients (uremic patients not on PD, n = 5, non-uremic patients n = 5). EPS patient biopsies revealed significantly elevated levels of podoplanin mRNA (p<0.05). In 24 peritoneal biopsies from patients with EPS, podoplanin and smooth muscle actin (SMA) were localized by immunohistochemistry. Four patterns of podoplanin distribution were distinguishable. The most common pattern (8 of 24) consisted of organized, longitudinal layers of podoplanin-positive cells and vessels in the fibrotic zone (“organized” pattern). 7 of 24 biopsies demonstrated a diffuse distribution of podoplanin-positive cells, accompanied by occasional, dense clusters of podoplanin-positive cells. Five biopsies exhibited a mixed pattern, with some diffuse areas and some organized areas ("mixed"). These contained cuboidal podoplanin-positive cells within SMA-negative epithelial structures embedded in extracellular matrix. Less frequently observed was the complete absence of, or only focal accumulations of podoplanin-positive fibroblasts outside of lymphatic vessels (podoplanin “low”, 4 of 24 biopsies). Patients in this group exhibited a lower index of systemic inflammation and a longer symptomatic period than in EPS patients with biopsies of the "mixed" type (p<0.05). In summary we confirm the increased expression of podoplanin in EPS, and distinguish EPS biopsies according to different podoplanin expression patterns which are associated with clinical parameters. Podoplanin might serve as a useful adjunct to the morphological workup of peritoneal biopsies.
PMCID: PMC3534056  PMID: 23300922
5.  Fibroblast activation protein is expressed by rheumatoid myofibroblast-like synoviocytes 
Fibroblast activation protein (FAP), as described so far, is a type II cell surface serine protease expressed by fibroblastic cells in areas of active tissue remodelling such as tumour stroma or healing wounds. We investigated the expression of FAP by fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) and compared the synovial expression pattern in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) patients. Synovial tissue from diseased joints of 20 patients, 10 patients with refractory RA and 10 patients with end-stage OA, was collected during routine surgery. As a result, FLSs from intensively inflamed synovial tissues of refractory RA expressed FAP at high density. Moreover, FAP expression was co-localised with matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-1 and MMP-13) and CD44 splice variants v3 and v7/8 known to play a major role in the concert of extracellular matrix degradation. The pattern of signals appeared to constitute a characteristic feature of FLSs involved in rheumatoid arthritic joint-destructive processes. These FAP-expressing FLSs with a phenotype of smooth muscle actin-positive myofibroblasts were located in the lining layer of the synovium and differ distinctly from Thy-1-expressing and non-proliferating fibroblasts of the articular matrix. The intensity of FAP-specific staining in synovial tissue from patients with RA was found to be different when compared with end-stage OA. Because expression of FAP by RA FLSs has not been described before, the findings of this study highlight a novel element in cartilage and bone destruction of arthritic joints. Moreover, the specific expression pattern qualifies FAP as a therapeutic target for inhibiting the destructive potential of fibroblast-like synovial cells.
PMCID: PMC1794515  PMID: 17105646
6.  Chemerin activates fibroblast-like synoviocytes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2011;13(5):R158.
Chemerin is a chemotactic agonist identified as a ligand for ChemR23 that is expressed on macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs). In this study, we analyzed the expression of chemerin and ChemR23 in the synovium of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and the stimulatory effects of chemerin on fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) from RA patients.
Chemerin and ChemR23 expression in the RA synovium was ascertained by immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis. Chemerin expression on cultured FLSs was analyzed by ELISA. ChemR23 expression on FLSs was determined by immunocytochemistry and Western blot analysis. Cytokine production from FLSs was measured by ELISA. FLS cell motility was evaluated by utilizing a scrape motility assay. We also examined the stimulating effect of chemerin on the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (ERK1/2), p38MAPK, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)1/2 and Akt, as well as on the degradation of regulator of NF-κB (IκBα) in FLSs, by Western blot analysis.
Chemerin was expressed on endothelial cells and synovial lining and sublining cells. ChemR23 was expressed on macrophages, immature DCs and FLSs and a few mature DCs in the RA synovium. Chemerin and ChemR23 were highly expressed in the RA synovium compared with osteoarthritis. Chemerin and ChemR23 were expressed on unstimulated FLSs. TNF-α and IFN-γ upregulated chemerin production. Chemerin enhanced the production of IL-6, chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 and matrix metalloproteinase 3 by FLSs, as well as increasing FLS motility. The stimulatory effects of chemerin on FLSs were mediated by activation of ERK1/2, p38MAPK and Akt, but not by JNK1/2. Degradation of IκB in FLSs was not promoted by chemerin stimulation. Inhibition of the ERK1/2, p38MAPK and Akt signaling pathways significantly suppressed chemerin-induced IL-6 production. Moreover, blockade of the p38MAPK and Akt pathways, but not the ERK1/2 pathway, inhibited chemerin-enhanced cell motility.
The interaction of chemerin and ChemR23 may play an important role in the pathogenesis of RA through the activation of FLSs.
PMCID: PMC3308089  PMID: 21959042
7.  Citrullinated fibronectin inhibits apoptosis and promotes the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines in fibroblast-like synoviocytes in rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2012;14(6):R266.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by synovial lining hyperplasia, in which there may be an imbalance between the growth and death of fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs). Antibodies against citrullinated proteins are proposed to induce RA. This study aimed to investigate the pathogenic role of citrullinated fibronectin (cFn) in RA.
The distribution of fibronectin (Fn) and cFn in synovial tissues from RA and osteoarthritis (OA) patients was examined by immunohistochemical and double immunofluorescence analysis. FLSs were isolated from RA and OA patients and treated with Fn or cFn. Apoptosis was detected by flow cytometry and TUNEL assay. The expression of survivin, caspase-3, cyclin-B1, Bcl-2 and Bax was detected by real-time PCR. The secretion of proinflammatory cytokines was measured by ELISA.
Fn formed extracellular aggregates that were specifically citrullinated in synovial tissues of RA patients, but no Fn deposits were observed in those of OA patients. Fn induced the apoptosis of RA and OA FLSs while cFn inhibited the apoptosis of RA and OA FLSs. Fn significantly increased the expression of caspase-3 and decreased the expression of survivin and cyclin-B1 in FLSs from RA and OA patients. cFn significantly increased the expression of survivin in RA FLSs. Furthermore, cFn increased the secretion of TNF-α and IL-1 by FLSs.
cFn plays a potential pathophysiologic role in RA by inhibiting apoptosis and increasing proinflammatory cytokine secretion of FLSs.
PMCID: PMC3674622  PMID: 23217276
8.  Concordant podoplanin expression in cancer-associated fibroblasts and tumor cells is an adverse prognostic factor in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
There is growing evidence that cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) interact with tumor cells and play important roles in tumor progression and invasion. Podoplanin is a type-1 transmembrane glycoprotein expressed in a variety of normal human tissues, including lymphatic endothelium. Tumor cell expression of podoplanin correlates with nodal metastasis and poor prognosis in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of oral cavity and esophagus. Recently, podoplanin-positive CAFs have been shown to exert adverse or beneficial prognostic effect on different cancer types. However, the significance of podoplanin-positive CAFs in esophageal SCC has not been investigated. This is the first study to investigate podoplanin expression in CAFs and tumor cells by immunohistochemistry in 59 cases of surgically resected esophageal SCC. We found significant association of podoplanin expression between CAFs and tumor cells (P = 0.031). Although the abundance of podoplanin-positive CAFs per se had no prognostic effect, concordant podoplanin expression in CAFs and tumor cells (both high or both low) was strongly associated with short survival (P = 0.00088). Multivariate analysis showed that concordant podoplanin expression was the strongest independent adverse prognostic factor (hazard ratio: 3.62; 95% confidence interval: 1.69-7.77; P = 0.00094). Our data suggest that interaction between podoplanin-positive CAFs and tumor cells is important in tumor biology of esophageal SCC.
PMCID: PMC4152045  PMID: 25197355
Podoplanin; cancer-associated fibroblast; esophagus; squamous cell carcinoma; prognosis
9.  Joint Tissues Amplify Inflammation and Alter Their Invasive Behavior via Leukotriene B4 in Experimental Inflammatory Arthritis 
Mechanisms by which mesenchymal-derived tissue lineages participate in amplifying and perpetuating synovial inflammation in arthritis have been relatively underinvestigated and are therefore poorly understood. Elucidating these processes is likely to provide new insights into the pathogenesis of multiple diseases. Leukotriene B4 (LTB4) is a potent proinflammatory lipid mediator that initiates and amplifies synovial inflammation in the K/BxN model of arthritis. We sought to elucidate mechanisms by which mesenchymal-derived fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) perpetuate synovial inflammation. We focused on the abilities of FLSs to contribute to LTB4 synthesis and to respond to LTB4 within the joint. Using a series of bone marrow chimeras generated from 5-lipoxygenase–/– and leukotriene A4 (LTA4) hydrolase–/– mice, we demonstrate that FLSs generate sufficient levels of LTB4 production through transcellular metabolism in K/BxN serum-induced arthritis to drive inflammatory arthritis. FLSs—which comprise the predominant lineage populating the synovial lining—are competent to metabolize exogenous LTA4 into LTB4 ex vivo. Stimulation of FLSs with TNF increased their capacity to generate LTB4 3-fold without inducing the expression of LTA4 hydrolase protein. Moreover, LTB4 (acting via LTB4 receptor 1) was found to modulate the migratory and invasive activity of FLSs in vitro and also promote joint erosion by pannus tissue in vivo. Our results identify novel roles for FLSs and LTB4 in joints, placing LTB4 regulation of FLS biology at the center of a previously unrecognized amplification loop for synovial inflammation and tissue pathology.
PMCID: PMC3690310  PMID: 20876351
10.  Cia5d regulates a new fibroblast-like synoviocyte invasion-associated gene expression signature 
The in vitro invasive properties of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) have been shown to correlate with disease severity and radiographic damage. We recently determined that FLSs obtained from pristane-induced arthritis (PIA)-susceptible DA rats are also highly invasive in the same in vitro assay through Matrigel. The transfer of alleles derived from the arthritis-resistant F344 strain at the arthritis severity locus Cia5d (RNO10), as in DA.F344(Cia5d) congenics, was enough to significantly and specifically reduce the invasive properties of FLSs. This genetically controlled difference in FLS invasion involves increased production of soluble membrane-type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) by DA, and is dependent on increased activation of MMP-2. In the present study we aimed to characterize the pattern of gene expression that correlates with differences in invasion in order to identify pathways regulated by the Cia5d locus.
Synovial tissues were collected from DA and DA.F344(Cia5d) rats 21 days after the induction of PIA. Tissues were digested and FLSs isolated. After a minimum of four passages, FLSs were plated on Matrigel-covered dishes at similar densities, followed by RNA extraction. Illumina RatRef-12 expression BeadChip arrays were used. Expression data were normalized, followed by t-test, logistic regression, and cluster analysis. Real-time PCR was used to validate the microarray data.
Out of the 22,523 RefSeq gene probes present in the array, 7,665 genes were expressed by the FLSs. The expression of 66 genes was significantly different between the DA and DA.F344(Cia5d) FLSs (P < 0.01). Nineteen of the 66 differentially expressed genes (28.7%) are involved in the regulation of cell cycle progression or cancer-associated phenotypes, such as invasion and contact inhibition. These included Cxcl10, Vil2 and Nras, three genes that are upregulated in DA and known to regulate MMP-2 expression and activation. Nine of the 66 genes (13.6%) are involved in the regulation of estrogen receptor signaling or transcription. Five candidate genes located within the Cia5d interval were also differentially expressed.
We have identified a novel FLS invasion associated gene expression signature that is regulated by Cia5d. Many of the genes found to be differentially expressed were previously implicated in cancer cell phenotypes, including invasion. This suggests a parallel in the behavior of arthritis FLSs and cancer cells, and identifies novel pathways and genes for therapeutic intervention and prognostication.
PMCID: PMC2575606  PMID: 18706093
11.  Arthritis is associated with T-cell-induced upregulation of Toll-like receptor 3 on synovial fibroblasts 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2011;13(3):R103.
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are likely to play crucial roles in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The aim of this study was to determine the key TLRs in synovium and explore their roles in the activation of fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) mediated by T cells in arthritis.
Pristane-induced arthritis (PIA) was established by subcutaneous injection with pristane at the base of the rat's tail. TLR expression in synovium from PIA rats was detected at different time points by performing real-time PCR. Polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly(I:C)) was intra-articularly administrated to PIA rats, and arthritis was monitored macroscopically and microscopically. Synovial TLR3 was detected by immunohistochemical staining. Rat FLSs were stimulated with pristane-primed T cells or pristane-primed, T-cell conditioned medium. The intervention of TLR3 in FLSs was achieved by specific short-hairpin RNA (shRNA) or an antibody. The migration ability of FLSs was measured by using the scratch test, and gene expression was detected by using real-time PCR. FLSs from RA patients were stimulated with various cytokines and TLR ligands, and TLR3 expression was detected by performing real-time PCR. In addition, with different concentrations of poly(I:C) stimulation, TLR3 expression of FLSs from RA patients and patients with osteoarthritis (OA) was compared.
Synovium TLR3 displayed early and persistent overexpression in PIA rats. TLR3 was expressed in FLSs, and local treatment with poly(I:C) synergistically aggravated the arthritis. Rat FLSs co-cultured with pristane-primed T cells showed strengthened migration ability and significant upregulation of TLR3, IFN-β, IL-6 and matrix metalloproteinase 3 (MMP3) expression, which could also be induced by pristane-primed, T-cell conditioned medium. The upregulation of cytokines and MMPs was blocked by shRNA or TLR3 antibodies. In RA FLSs with cytokine or TLR ligand stimulation, TLR3 expression exhibited remarkable upregulation. Furthermore, RA FLSs showed higher reactivity than OA FLSs to poly(I:C).
TLR3 in the synovium of PIA rats was overexpressed, and activation of the TLR3 signaling pathway could aggravate this arthritis. The induction of TLR3 in FLSs resulted from T cell-derived inflammatory stimulation and could further mediate FLS activation in arthritis. We conclude that TLR3 upregulation of FLSs activated by T cells results in articular inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3218918  PMID: 21708001
12.  IL-17-mediated Bcl-2 expression regulates survival of fibroblast-like synoviocytes in rheumatoid arthritis through STAT3 activation 
Fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) are a major cell population of the pannus that invades adjacent cartilage and bone in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The study was undertaken to determine the effect of interleukin-17 (IL-17) on the survival and/or proliferation of FLSs from RA patients and to investigate whether signal tranducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is implicated in this process.
Bcl-2 and Bax expression in FLSs was determined using the real-time PCR and western blot analysis. The expression of Bcl-2 and phosphoSTAT3 in synovial tissues was investigated by confocal microscope. Apoptosis of FLSs was detected by Annexin V/propidium iodide staining and/or phase contrast microscopy. The proliferation of FLSs was determined by CCK-8 ELISA assay.
The pro-apoptotic Bax is decreased and anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 is increased in FLSs from RA patients compared with those from patients with osteoarthritis (OA). IL-17 upregulated the expression of Bcl-2 in FLSs from RA patients, but not in FLSs from OA patients. STAT3 was found to mediate IL-17-induced Bcl-2 upregulation in FLSs from RA patients. Additionally, IL-17 promoted the survival and proliferation of FLSs from RA patients. Most importantly, treatment with STAT3 inhibitor reversed the protective effect of IL-17 on FLSs apoptosis induced by sodium nitroprusside (SNP).
Our data demonstrate that STAT3 is critical in IL-17-induced survival of FLS from RA patients. Therefore, therapeutic strategies that target the IL-17/STAT3 pathway might be strong candidates for RA treatment modalities.
PMCID: PMC3672783  PMID: 23421940
13.  The identification and characterization of a novel protein, c19orf10, in the synovium 
Joint inflammation and destruction have been linked to the deregulation of the highly synthetic fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs), and much of our current understanding of the mechanisms that underlie synovitis has been collected from studies of FLSs. During a proteomic analysis of FLS cells, we identified a novel protein, c19orf10 (chromosome 19 open reading frame 10), that was produced in significant amounts by these cells. The present study provides a partial characterization of c19orf10 in FLSs, synovial fluid, and the synovium. Murine monoclonal and chicken polyclonal antibodies were produced against recombinant human c19orf10 protein and used to examine the distribution of c19orf10 in cultured FLSs and in synovial tissue sections from patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. The intracellular staining pattern of c19orf10 is consistent with localization in the endoplasmic reticulum/Golgi distribution. Sections of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis synovia expressed similar patterns of c19orf10 distribution with perivascular and synovial lining staining. Double-staining in situ analysis suggests that fibroblast-like synovial cells produced c19orf10, whereas macrophages, B cells, or T cells produced little or none of this protein. There is evidence of secretion into the vascular space and the extracellular matrix surrounding the synovial lining. A competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay confirmed the presence of microgram levels of c19orf10 in the synovial fluids of patients with one of various arthropathies. Collectively, these results suggest that c19orf10 is an FLS-derived protein that is secreted into the synovial fluid. However, the significance of this protein in synovial biology remains to be determined. The absence of known structural motifs or domains and its relatively late evolutionary appearance raise interesting questions about its function.
PMCID: PMC1906808  PMID: 17362502
14.  Podoplanin Associates with CD44 to Promote Directional Cell Migration 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2010;21(24):4387-4399.
Podoplanin, a cancer-associated glycoprotein, interacts with CD44. Both glycoproteins are coordinately upregulated during tumor progression. Podoplanin–CD44 interaction in the cell membrane occurs mainly in migrating cells, and it seems to be required for podoplanin-mediated cell migration and directionality.
Podoplanin is a transmembrane glycoprotein up-regulated in different human tumors, especially those derived from squamous stratified epithelia (SCCs). Its expression in tumor cells is linked to increased cell migration and invasiveness; however, the mechanisms underlying this process remain poorly understood. Here we report that CD44, the major hyaluronan (HA) receptor, is a novel partner for podoplanin. Expression of the CD44 standard isoform (CD44s) is coordinately up-regulated together with that of podoplanin during progression to highly aggressive SCCs in a mouse skin model of carcinogenesis, and during epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). In carcinoma cells, CD44 and podoplanin colocalize at cell surface protrusions. Moreover, CD44 recruitment promoted by HA-coated beads or cross-linking with a specific CD44 antibody induced corecruitment of podoplanin. Podoplanin–CD44s interaction was demonstrated both by coimmunoprecipitation experiments and, in vivo, by fluorescence resonance energy transfer/fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FRET/FLIM), the later confirming its association on the plasma membrane of cells with a migratory phenotype. Importantly, we also show that podoplanin promotes directional persistence of motility in epithelial cells, a feature that requires CD44, and that both molecules cooperate to promote directional migration in SCC cells. Our results support a role for CD44-podoplanin interaction in driving tumor cell migration during malignancy.
PMCID: PMC3002391  PMID: 20962267
15.  Innate immunity triggers IL-32 expression by fibroblast-like synoviocytes in rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(4):R135.
Interleukin-32 (IL-32) is a recently described cytokine that is a strong inducer of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8. The expression of this cytokine is highly increased in the rheumatoid synovium and correlated with the severity of joint inflammation. Little is known regarding the innate immune-related regulation of IL-32 by fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs). We therefore investigated the effect of innate immune stimulation by ligands of Toll-like receptor (TLR)2, TLR3, and TLR4, and cytokines such as TNF-α and interferon (IFN)-γ, on IL-32 expression by FLSs.
FLSs were isolated from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) according to the ACR criteria. Quantitative RT-PCR, confocal analysis, and ELISA were performed to evaluate IL-32 mRNA induction and IL-32 release by FLSs stimulated with TLR2 (BLP), TLR3 (poly I:C), and TLR4 (lipopolysaccharide) ligands, TNF-α and IFN-γ.
TLR2, -3, and -4 ligands as well as IFN-γ and TNF-α induced IL-32 β, γ and δ mRNA expression by RA FLSs. Mature IL-32 was expressed intracellularly and released by cells stimulated with the various activators. The IL-32α isoform was expressed intracellularly in response to TNF-α and poly I:C and not released in culture supernatants. Stimulation of FLS with TNF-α, BLP, lipopolysaccharide, or poly I:C concomitant with IFN-γ increased IL-32 expression compared with stimulation with IFN-γ alone.
IL-32 synthesis by FLSs is tightly regulated by innate immunity in rheumatoid arthritis. Thus TNF-α, IFN-γ, double-strand RNA, hyaluronic acid, or other damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), highly secreted in synovial tissues of RA patients, might trigger IL-32 secretion by FLSs. IL-32 might therefore represent a relevant therapeutic target in RA.
PMCID: PMC2945025  PMID: 20615213
16.  Activation of fibroblast-like synoviocytes derived from rheumatoid arthritis via lysophosphatidic acid–lysophosphatidic acid receptor 1 cascade 
Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is a bioactive lipid that binds to G protein–coupled receptors (LPA1–6). Recently, we reported that abrogation of LPA receptor 1 (LPA1) ameliorated murine collagen-induced arthritis, probably via inhibition of inflammatory cell migration, Th17 differentiation and osteoclastogenesis. In this study, we examined the importance of the LPA–LPA1 axis in cell proliferation, cytokine/chemokine production and lymphocyte transmigration in fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) obtained from the synovial tissues of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.
FLSs were prepared from synovial tissues of RA patients. Expression of LPA1–6 was examined by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Cell surface LPA1 expression was analyzed by flow cytometry. Cell proliferation was analyzed using a cell-counting kit. Production of interleukin 6 (IL-6), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2), metalloproteinase 3 (MMP-3) and chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 12 (CXCL12) was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Pseudoemperipolesis was evaluated using a coculture of RA FLSs and T or B cells. Cell motility was examined by scrape motility assay. Expression of adhesion molecules was determined by flow cytometry.
The expression of LPA1 mRNA and cell surface LPA1 was higher in RA FLSs than in FLSs from osteoarthritis tissue. Stimulation with LPA enhanced the proliferation of RA FLSs and the production of IL-6, VEGF, CCL2 and MMP-3 by FLSs, which were suppressed by an LPA1 inhibitor (LA-01). Ki16425, another LPA1 antagonist, also suppressed IL-6 production by LPA-stimulated RA FLSs. However, the production of CXCL12 was not altered by stimulation with LPA. LPA induced the pseudoemperipolesis of T and B cells cocultured with RA FLSs, which was suppressed by LPA1 inhibition. In addition, LPA enhanced the migration of RA FLSs and expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule and intercellular adhesion molecule on RA FLSs, which were also inhibited by an LPA1 antagonist.
Collectively, these results indicate that LPA–LPA1 signaling contributes to the activation of RA FLSs.
PMCID: PMC4203966  PMID: 25273676
17.  MLN51 and GM-CSF involvement in the proliferation of fibroblast-like synoviocytes in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory autoimmune disease of unclear etiology. This study was conducted to identify critical factors involved in the synovial hyperplasia in RA pathology. We applied cDNA microarray analysis to profile the gene expressions of RA fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) from patients with RA. We found that the MLN51 (metastatic lymph node 51) gene, identified in breast cancer, is remarkably upregulated in the hyperactive RA FLSs. However, growth-retarded RA FLSs passaged in vitro expressed small quantities of MLN51. MLN51 expression was significantly enhanced in the FLSs when the growth-retarded FLSs were treated with granulocyte – macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) or synovial fluid (SF). Anti-GM-CSF neutralizing antibody blocked the MLN51 expression even though the FLSs were cultured in the presence of SF. In contrast, GM-CSF in SFs existed at a significant level in the patients with RA (n = 6), in comparison with the other inflammatory cytokines, IL-1β and TNF-α. Most RA FLSs at passage 10 or more recovered from their growth retardation when cultured in the presence of SF. The SF-mediated growth recovery was markedly impaired by anti-GM-CSF antibody. Growth-retarded RA FLSs recovered their proliferative capacity after treatment with GM-CSF in a dose-dependent manner. However, MLN51 knock-down by siRNA completely blocked the GM-CSF/SF-mediated proliferation of RA FLSs. Taken together, our results imply that MLN51, induced by GM-CSF, is important in the proliferation of RA FLSs in the pathogenesis of RA.
PMCID: PMC1794514  PMID: 17101062
18.  The Sp1 transcription factor is essential for the expression of gliostatin/thymidine phosphorylase in rheumatoid fibroblast-like synoviocytes 
Gliostatin/thymidine phosphorylase (GLS/TP) has angiogenic and arthritogenic activities, and aberrant GLS production has been observed in the active synovial membranes of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. The human GLS gene promoter contains at least seven consensus binding sites for the DNA binding protein Sp1. Here we examined whether Sp1 is necessary for GLS production in RA. We also studied the effects of the Sp1 inhibitor mithramycin on GLS production in RA fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs).
FLSs from RA patients were treated with specific inhibitors. The gene and protein expression of GLS were studied using the quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and an enzyme immunoassay. Intracellular signalling pathway activation was determined by western blotting analysis, a luciferase assay, a chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay and a small interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection.
The luciferase and ChIP assays showed that Sp1 binding sites in the GLS promoter were essential for GLS messenger RNA (mRNA) expression. GLS production was suppressed in FLSs by siRNA against Sp1 transfection. Mithramycin decreased GLS promoter activity, mRNA and protein expression in FLSs. Tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) significantly increased GLS expression in RA FLSs; this effect was reduced by pre-treatment with cycloheximide and mithramycin.
Pretreatment of mithramycin and Sp1 silencing resulted in a significant suppression of GLS production in TNF-α-stimulated FLSs compared to controls. GLS gene expression enhanced by TNF-α was partly mediated through Sp1. As physiological concentrations of mithramycin can regulate GLS production in RA, mithramycin is a promising candidate for anti-rheumatic therapy.
PMCID: PMC3446461  PMID: 22534375
19.  Podoplanin in the development and progression of oral cavity cancer: a preliminary study 
Oral & Implantology  2012;5(2-3):33-41.
Podoplanin is a mucin-like glycoprotein that is important in lymphangiogenesis but not in blood vessel formation. The aim of this preliminary study is to determine the role of podoplanin in the development and progression of head and neck cancer.
Material and Methods.
Podoplanin over expression was analyzed in 20 patients with oral cancer, by immunohistochemical analysis.
Podoplanin is not expressed in normal oral epithelial cells but was found in some hyperplastic and dysplastic lesions. Podoplanin high expression was found in 9 of 20 patients and was more frequent in cancers with lymph node metastasis, particularly in oral cavity cancers. In our preliminary study, patients who showed high levels of podoplanin had a statistically greater rate of lymph node metastasis (P<0,001); patients with lymph node metastasis and high-level podoplanin showed a shorter disease-specific survival (P = 0,004) than other patients.
The results of our preliminary study have provided interesting and encouraging data. We have observed that podoplanin expression increases in the early stages of tumourigenesis and it seems to be associated with a higher risk of head and neck cancer. While in squamous cell carcinoma podoplanin expression diminishes during tumour progression. These data support a role for podoplanin expression in the initiation but not in the progression of cancer. So we can conclude that podoplanin is involved in oral oncogenesis and can be a predictor for lymph node metastasis in asymptomatic patients. Histology and podoplanin analysis can be very useful to predict the risk of development, invasion and metastatic progression of a tumour in patients with oral cancer.
PMCID: PMC3505098  PMID: 23285404
oral cancer; podoplanin; monoclonal antibody; cancer diagnosis
20.  Expression of IL-20 in synovium and lesional skin of patients with psoriatic arthritis: differential response to alefacept treatment 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2012;14(5):R200.
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory joint disease associated with psoriasis. Alefacept (a lymphocyte function-associated antigen (LFA)-3 Ig fusion protein that binds to CD2 and functions as an antagonist to T-cell activation) has been shown to result in improvement in psoriasis but has limited effectiveness in PsA. Interleukin-20 (IL-20) is a key proinflammatory cytokine involved in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. The effects of alefacept treatment on IL-20 expression in the synovium of patients with psoriasis and PsA are currently unknown.
Eleven patients with active PsA and chronic plaque psoriasis were treated with alefacept (7.5 mg per week for 12 weeks) in an open-label study. Skin biopsies were taken before and after 1 and 6 weeks, whereas synovial biopsies were obtained before and 4 and 12 weeks after treatment. Synovial biopsies from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (n = 10) were used as disease controls. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed to detect IL-20 expression, and stained synovial tissue sections were evaluated with digital image analysis. Double staining was performed with IL-20 and CD68 (macrophages), and conversely with CD55 (fibroblast-like synoviocytes, FLSs) to determine the phenotype of IL-20-positive cells in PsA synovium. IL-20 expression in skin sections (n = 6) was analyzed semiquantitatively.
IL-20 was abundantly expressed in both PsA and RA synovial tissues. In inflamed PsA synovium, CD68+ macrophages and CD55+ FLSs coexpressed IL-20, and its expression correlated with the numbers of FLSs. IL-20 expression in lesional skin of PsA patients decreased significantly (P = 0.04) 6 weeks after treatment and correlated positively with the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI). IL-20 expression in PsA synovium was not affected by alefacept.
Conceivably, the relatively limited effectiveness of alefacept in PsA patients (compared with anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy) might be explained in part by persistent FLS-derived IL-20 expression.
PMCID: PMC3580512  PMID: 23006144
21.  Activation of synovial fibroblasts in rheumatoid arthritis: lack of expression of the tumour suppressor PTEN at sites of invasive growth and destruction 
Arthritis Research  1999;2(1):59-64.
In the present study, we searched for mutant PTEN transcripts in aggressive rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RA-SF) and studied the expression of PTEN in RA. By automated sequencing, no evidence for the presence of mutant PTEN transcripts was found. However, in situ hybridization on RA synovium revealed a distinct expression pattern of PTEN, with negligible staining in the lining layer but abundant expression in the sublining. Normal synovial tissue exhibited homogeneous staining for PTEN. In cultured RA-SF, only 40% expressed PTEN. Co-implantation of RA-SF and normal human cartilage into severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice showed only limited expression of PTEN, with no staining in those cells aggressively invading the cartilage. Although PTEN is not genetically altered in RA, these findings suggest that a lack of PTEN expression may constitute a characteristic feature of activated RA-SF in the lining, and may thereby contribute to the invasive behaviour of RA-SF by maintaining their aggressive phenotype at sites of cartilage destruction.
PTEN is a novel tumour suppressor which exhibits tyrosine phosphatase activity as well as homology to the cytoskeletal proteins tensin and auxilin. Mutations of PTEN have been described in several human cancers and associated with their invasiveness and metastatic properties. Although not malignant, rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RA-SF) exhibit certain tumour-like features such as attachment to cartilage and invasive growth. In the present study, we analyzed whether mutant transcripts of PTEN were present in RA-SF. In addition, we used in situ hybridization to study the expression of PTEN messenger (m)RNA in tissue samples of RA and normal individuals as well as in cultured RA-SF and in the severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mouse model of RA.
Synovial tissue specimens were obtained from seven patients with RA and from two nonarthritic individuals. Total RNA was isolated from synovial fibroblasts and after first strand complementary (c)DNA synthesis, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed to amplify a 1063 base pair PTEN fragment that encompassed the coding sequence of PTEN including the phosphatase domain and all mutation sites described so far. The PCR products were subcloned in Escherichia coli, and up to four clones were picked from each plate for automated sequencing. For in situ hybridization, digoxigenin-labelled PTEN-specific RNA probes were generated by in vitro transcription. For control in situ hybridization, a matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2-specific probe was prepared. To investigate the expression of PTEN in the absence of human macrophage or lymphocyte derived factors, we implanted RA-SF from three patients together with normal human cartilage under the renal capsule of SCID mice. After 60 days, mice were sacrificed, the implants removed and embedded into paraffin.
PCR revealed the presence of the expected 1063 base pair PTEN fragment in all (9/9) cell cultures (Fig. 1). No additional bands that could account for mutant PTEN variants were detected. Sequence analysis revealed 100% homology of all RA-derived PTEN fragments to those from normal SF as well as to the published GenBank sequence (accession number U93051). However, in situ hybridization demonstrated considerable differences in the expression of PTEN mRNA within the lining and the sublining layers of RA synovial membranes. As shown in Figure 2a, no staining was observed within the lining layer which has been demonstrated to mediate degradation of cartilage and bone in RA. In contrast, abundant expression of PTEN mRNA was found in the sublining of all RA synovial tissues (Figs 2a and b). Normal synovial specimens showed homogeneous staining for PTEN within the thin synovial membrane (Fig. 2c). In situ hybridization using the sense probe gave no specific staining (Fig. 2d). We also performed in situ hybridization on four of the seven cultured RA-SF and followed one cell line from the first to the sixth passage. Interestingly, only 40% of cultured RA-SF expressed PTEN mRNA (Fig. 3a), and the proportion of PTEN expressing cells did not change throughout the passages. In contrast, control experiments using a specific RNA probe for MMP-2 revealed mRNA expression by nearly all cultured cells (Fig. 3b). As seen before, implantation of RA-SF into the SCID mice showed considerable cartilage degradation. Interestingly, only negligible PTEN expression was found in those RA-SF aggressively invading the cartilage (Fig. 3c). In situ hybridization for MMP-2 showed abundant staining in these cells (Fig. 3d).
Although this study found no evidence for mutations of PTEN in RA synovium, the observation that PTEN expression is lacking in the lining layer of RA synovium as well as in more than half of cultured RA-SF is of interest. It suggests that loss of PTEN function may not exclusively be caused by genetic alterations, yet at the same time links the low expression of PTEN to a phenotype of cells that have been shown to invade cartilage aggressively.
It has been proposed that the tyrosine phosphatase activity of PTEN is responsible for its tumour suppressor activity by counteracting the actions of protein tyrosine kinases. As some studies have demonstrated an upregulation of tyrosine kinase activity in RA synovial cells, it might be speculated that the lack of PTEN expression in aggressive RA-SF contributes to the imbalance of tyrosine kinases and phosphatases in this disease. However, the extensive amino-terminal homology of the predicted protein to the cytoskeletal proteins tensin and auxilin suggests a complex regulatory function involving cellular adhesion molecules and phosphatase-mediated signalling. The tyrosine phosphatase TEP1 has been shown to be identical to the protein encoded by PTEN, and gene transcription of TEP1 has been demonstrated to be downregulated by transforming growth factor (TGF)-β. Therefore, it could be hypothesized that TGF-β might be responsible for the downregulation of PTEN. However, the expression of TGF-β is not restricted to the lining but found throughout the synovial tissue in RA. Moreover, in our study the percentage of PTEN expressing RA-SF remained stable for six passages in culture, whereas molecules that are cytokine-regulated in vivo frequently change their expression levels when cultured over several passages. Also, cultured RA-SF that were implanted into SCID mice and deeply invaded the cartilage did not show significant expression of PTEN after 60 days. The drop in the percentage of PTEN expressing cells from the original cell cultures to the SCID mouse implants is of interest as this observation goes along with data from previous studies that have shown the prominent expression of activation-related molecules in the SCID mice implants that in vivo are found predominantly in the lining layer. Therefore, our data point to endogenous mechanisms rather than to the influence of exogenous human cytokines or factors in the downregulation of PTEN. Low expression of PTEN may belong to the features that distinguish between the activated phenotype of RA-SF and the sublining, proliferating but nondestructive cells.
PMCID: PMC17804  PMID: 11219390
rheumatoid arthritis; synovial membrane; fibroblasts; PTEN tumour suppressor; severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mouse model; cartilage destruction; in situ hybridization
22.  Podoplanin expression in the development and progression of laryngeal squamous cell carcinomas 
Molecular Cancer  2010;9:48.
Podoplanin expression is attracting interest as a marker for cancer diagnosis and prognosis. We therefore investigated the expression pattern and clinical significance of podoplanin during the development and progression of laryngeal carcinomas.
Podoplanin expression was determined by immunohistochemistry in paraffin-embedded tissue specimens from 84 patients with laryngeal premalignancies and 53 patients with laryngeal squamous cell carcinomas. We found podoplanin expression extending from the basal to the suprabasal layer of the epithelium in 37 (44%) of 84 dysplastic lesions, whereas normal epithelium showed negligible expression. Patients carrying podoplanin-positive lesions had a higher laryngeal cancer incidence than those with negative expression reaching borderline statistical significance (51% versus 30%, P = 0.071). Podoplanin expression in laryngeal carcinomas exhibited two distinct patterns. 20 (38%) cases showed diffuse expression in most tumour cells and 33 (62%) focal expression at the proliferating periphery of tumour nests. High podoplanin expression was inversely correlated with T classification (P = 0.033), disease stage (P = 0.006), and pathological grade (P = 0.04). There was a trend, although not significant, towards reduced disease-specific survival for patients with low podoplanin levels (P = 0.31) and diffuse expression pattern (P = 0.08).
Podoplanin expression increases in the early stages of laryngeal tumourigenesis and it seems to be associated with a higher laryngeal cancer risk. Podoplanin expression in laryngeal squamous cell carcinomas, however, diminishes during tumour progression. Taken together, these data support a role for podoplanin expression in the initiation but not in the progression of laryngeal cancers.
PMCID: PMC2841121  PMID: 20196862
23.  Clinicopathology significance of podoplanin immunoreactivity in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
Backgroud and aim: Podoplanin (D2-40) is a specific marker for lymphatic endothelium. The vast majority of previous studies on podoplanin immunostaining in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) focused on identifying lymphatic vessel invasion (LVI) and counting lymphatic vessel density (LVD) and had contradictory results. Recent studies show podoplanin expression on cancer cells or tumor stroma in several cancers, which have specific significance; but the status in ESCC remains unclear. Therefore, the aim of this study was to further study and summarize the clinicopathological significance of podoplanin immunoreactivity in ESCC. Materials and methods: We examined podoplanin expression in tissue specimens from 107 patients with ESCC by immunohistochemistry. Podoplanin positive lymphatic vessels in intratumoral and peritumoral tissues and podoplanin positive expression in cancer cells and tumor stroma were analyzed, and correlated with clinicopathologic parameters and three-year overall and free-disease survival. Results: 34 (31.8%) and 28 (26.2%) of 107 specimens had podoplanin positive expression in cancer cells and tumor stroma, respectively. Logistic regression analysis showed high intratumoral lymphatic vessel density (I-LVD) and podoplanin positivity in cancer cells were increased risks of lymph node metastasis (LNM) (OR = 2.45, P = 0.03; OR = 0.35, P = 0.01, respectively). Survival analysis showed that I-LVD was a significant factor related to poor three-year overall and free-disease survival (P = 0.04, P = 0.03, respectively). Conclusions: Previous data and our results show that podoplanin seems to be a useful marker to predict LNM, recurrence, and worse prognosis in ESCC; in particular, LVI, high I-LVD, and podoplanin positivity in cancer cells are associated with LNM, recurrence and overall survival.
PMCID: PMC4069902  PMID: 24966946
Podoplanin; esophagus; immunohistochemistry; squamous cell carcinoma
24.  MMP-3 expression and release by rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast-like synoviocytes induced with a bacterial ligand of integrin α5β1 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2004;7(1):R118-R126.
Fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) play a major role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by secreting effector molecules that promote inflammation and joint destruction. How these cells become and remain activated is still elusive. Both genetic and environmental factors probably play a role in transforming FLSs into inflammatory matrix-degrading cells. As bacterial products have been detected in the joint and shown to trigger joint inflammation, this study was undertaken to investigate whether a bacterial ligand of integrin α5β1, protein I/II, could contribute to the aggressive behavior of RA FLSs. Protein I/II is a pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) isolated from oral streptococci that have been identified in the joints of RA patients. The response of RA and osteoarthritis FLSs to protein I/II was analyzed using human cancer cDNA expression arrays. RT-PCR and pro-MMP-3 (pro-matrix metalloproteinase) assays were then performed to confirm the up-regulation of gene expression. Protein I/II modulated about 6% of all profiled genes. Three of these, those encoding IL-6, leukemia inhibitory factor, and MMP-3, showed a high expression level in all RA FLSs tested, whereas the expression of genes encoding other members of the cytokine or MMP-family was not affected. Furthermore, the up-regulation of MMP-3 gene expression was followed by an increase of pro-MMP-3 release. The expression of interferon regulatory factor 1 and fibroblast growth factor-5 was also up-regulated, although the expression levels were lower. Only one gene, that for insulin-like growth factor binding protein-4, was down-regulated in all RA FLSs. In contrast, in osteoarthritis FLSs only one gene, that for IL-6, was modulated. These results suggest that a bacterial ligand of integrin α5β1 may contribute to the aggressive behavior of RA FLSs by inducing the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and a cartilage-degrading enzyme, such as IL-6 and MMP-3, respectively.
PMCID: PMC1064889  PMID: 15642131
fibroblast-like synoviocytes; integrin α5β1; MMP-3; PAMP
25.  Transglutaminase 2 cross-linking activity is linked to invadopodia formation and cartilage breakdown in arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2012;14(4):R159.
The microenvironment surrounding inflamed synovium leads to the activation of fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs), which are important contributors to cartilage destruction in rheumatoid arthritic (RA) joints. Transglutaminase 2 (TG2), an enzyme involved in extracellular matrix (ECM) cross-linking and remodeling, is activated by inflammatory signals. This study was undertaken to assess the potential contribution of TG2 to FLS-induced cartilage degradation.
Transglutaminase (TGase) activity and collagen degradation were assessed with the immunohistochemistry of control, collagen-induced arthritic (CIA) or TG2 knockdown (shRNA)-treated joint tissues. TGase activity in control (C-FLS) and arthritic (A-FLS) rat FLSs was measured by in situ 5-(biotinamido)-pentylamine incorporation. Invadopodia formation and functions were measured in rat FLSs and cells from normal (control; C-FLS) and RA patients (RA-FLS) by in situ ECM degradation. Immunoblotting, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and p3TP-Lux reporter assays were used to assess transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) production and activation.
TG2 and TGase activity were associated with cartilage degradation in CIA joints. In contrast, TGase activity and cartilage degradation were reduced in joints by TG2 knockdown. A-FLSs displayed higher TGase activity and TG2 expression in ECM than did C-FLSs. TG2 knockdown or TGase inhibition resulted in reduced invadopodia formation in rat and human arthritic FLSs. In contrast, increased invadopodia formation was noted in response to TGase activity induced by TGF-β, dithiothreitol (DTT), or TG2 overexpression. TG2-induced increases in invadopodia formation were blocked by TGF-β neutralization or inhibition of TGF-βR1.
TG2, through its TGase activity, is required for ECM degradation in arthritic FLS and CIA joints. Our findings provide a potential target to prevent cartilage degradation in RA.
PMCID: PMC3580551  PMID: 22762273

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