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1.  Nitric Oxide-Driven Hypoxia Initiates Synovial Angiogenesis, Hyperplasia and Inflammatory Lesions in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e34494.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory articular disease with cartilage and bone damage due to hyperplasic synoviocyte invasion and subsequent matrix protease digestion. Although monoclonal antibodies against tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) have been approved for clinical use in patients with RA, desired therapeutic regimens suitable for non-responders are still unavailable because etiological initiators leading to RA remain enigmatic and unidentified.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Bacteria-induced arthritis (BIA) that simulates collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) is developed in mice upon daily live bacterial feeding. The morphological lesions of paw erythema and edema together with the histological alterations of synovial hyperplasia and lymphocytic infiltration emerge as the early-phase manifestations of BIA and CIA. Bacteria- or collagen-mediated global upregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines is accompanied by the burst of nitric oxide (NO). Elevation of the serum NO level is correlated with decline of the blood oxygen saturation percentage (SpO2), reflecting a hypoxic consequence during development towards arthritis. NO-driven hypoxia is further evident from a positive relationship between NO and lactic acid (LA), an end product from glycolysis. Upregulation of hypoxia inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1α) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) validates hypoxia-induced angiogenesis in the inflamed synovium of modeling mice. Administration of the NO donor compound sodium nitroprusside (SNP) causes articular inflammation by inducing synovial hypoxia. Anti-bacteria by the antibiotic cefotaxime and/or the immunosuppressant rapamycin or artesunate that also inhibits nitric oxide synthase (NOS) can abrogate NO production, mitigate hypoxia, and considerably ameliorate or even completely abort synovitis, hence highlighting that NO may serve as an initiator of inflammatory arthritis.
Like collagen, bacteria also enable synovial lesions via upregulating pro-inflammatory cytokines, triggering NO production, driving hypoxic responses, and inducing synovial angiogenesis and hyperplasia, suggesting that sustained infection might be, in part, responsible for the onset of synovitis and arthritis in mice.
PMCID: PMC3316675  PMID: 22479635
2.  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
3.  Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-2α Is an Essential Catabolic Regulator of Inflammatory Rheumatoid Arthritis 
PLoS Biology  2014;12(6):e1001881.
Hypoxia-inducible factor-2α (HIF-2α) is sufficient to cause experimental rheumatoid arthritis and acts to regulate the functions of fibroblast-like cells from tissue surrounding joints, independent of HIF-1α.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disorder that manifests as chronic inflammation and joint tissue destruction. However, the etiology and pathogenesis of RA have not been fully elucidated. Here, we explored the role of the hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs), HIF-1α (encoded by HIF1A) and HIF-2α (encoded by EPAS1). HIF-2α was markedly up-regulated in the intimal lining of RA synovium, whereas HIF-1α was detected in a few cells in the sublining and deep layer of RA synovium. Overexpression of HIF-2α in joint tissues caused an RA-like phenotype, whereas HIF-1α did not affect joint architecture. Moreover, a HIF-2α deficiency in mice blunted the development of experimental RA. HIF-2α was expressed mainly in fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) of RA synovium and regulated their proliferation, expression of RANKL (receptor activator of nuclear factor–κB ligand) and various catabolic factors, and osteoclastogenic potential. Moreover, HIF-2α–dependent up-regulation of interleukin (IL)-6 in FLS stimulated differentiation of TH17 cells—crucial effectors of RA pathogenesis. Additionally, in the absence of IL-6 (Il6−/− mice), overexpression of HIF-2α in joint tissues did not cause an RA phenotype. Thus, our results collectively suggest that HIF-2α plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of RA by regulating FLS functions, independent of HIF-1α.
Author Summary
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disorder characterized by chronic inflammation in joint tissues leading to destruction of cartilage and bone. Despite some therapeutic advances, the etiology of RA pathogenesis is not yet clear, and effective treatment of RA remains a significant, unmet medical need. Hypoxia is a prominent feature of inflamed tissue within RA-affected joints, and earlier work has implicated limited involvement of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1 α. We explored the role of a second HIF family member, HIF-2α, in RA pathogenesis. We showed that HIF-2α is markedly increased in the tissue lining the RA-affected joints. Notably and in contrast to HIF-1α, when overexpressed in normal mouse joint tissues, HIF-2α is sufficient to cause RA-like symptoms. Conversely, an HIF-2α deficiency blocks the development of experimental arthritis in mice. We discovered further that HIF-2α regulates RA pathogenesis by modulating various RA-associated functions of joint-specific fibroblast-like cells, including proliferation, expression of cytokines, chemokines, and matrix-degrading enzymes, and bone-remodeling potential. HIF-2α also increases the ability of these cells to promote interleukin-6–dependent differentiation of TH17 cells, a known effector of RA pathogenesis. We thus show that HIF-1α and HIF-2α have distinct roles and act via different mechanisms in RA pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4051611  PMID: 24914685
4.  Involvement of nitric oxide synthase in matrix metalloproteinase-9- and/or urokinase plasminogen activator receptor-mediated glioma cell migration 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:590.
Src tyrosine kinase activates inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and, in turn, nitric oxide production as a means to transduce cell migration. Src tyrosine kinase plays a key proximal role to control α9β1 signaling. Our recent studies have clearly demonstrated the role of α9β1 integrin in matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and/or urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR)-mediated glioma cell migration. In the present study, we evaluated the involvement of α9β1 integrin-iNOS pathway in MMP-9- and/or uPAR-mediated glioma cell migration.
MMP-9 and uPAR shRNAs and overexpressing plasmids were used to downregulate and upregulate these molecules, respectively in U251 glioma cells and 5310 glioma xenograft cells. The effect of treatments on migration and invasion potential of these glioma cells were assessed by spheroid migration, wound healing, and Matrigel invasion assays. In order to attain the other objectives we also performed immunocytochemical, immunohistochemical, RT-PCR, Western blot and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis.
Immunohistochemical analysis revealed the prominent association of iNOS with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Immunofluorescence analysis showed prominent expression of iNOS in glioma cells. MMP-9 and/or uPAR knockdown by respective shRNAs reduced iNOS expression in these glioma cells. RT-PCR analysis revealed elevated iNOS mRNA expression in either MMP-9 or uPAR overexpressed glioma cells. The migration potential of MMP-9- and/or uPAR-overexpressed U251 glioma cells was significantly inhibited after treatment with L-NAME, an inhibitor of iNOS. Similarly, a significant inhibition of the invasion potential of the control or MMP-9/uPAR-overexpressed glioma cells was noticed after L-NAME treatment. A prominent reduction of iNOS expression was observed in the tumor regions of nude mice brains, which were injected with 5310 glioma cells, after MMP-9 and/or uPAR knockdown. Protein expressions of cSrc, phosphoSrc and p130Cas were reduced with simultaneous knockdown of both MMP-9 and uPAR.
Taken together, our results from the present and earlier studies clearly demonstrate that α9β1 integrin-mediated cell migration utilizes the iNOS pathway, and inhibition of the migratory potential of glioma cells by simultaneous knockdown of MMP-9 and uPAR could be attributed to the reduced α9β1 integrin and iNOS levels.
PMCID: PMC3878845  PMID: 24325546
Glioma; Nitric oxide; Migration; Integrin; Knockdown
5.  Toll-like receptor 4 mediates microglial activation and production of inflammatory mediators in neonatal rat brain following hypoxia: role of TLR4 in hypoxic microglia 
Hypoxia induces microglial activation which causes damage to the developing brain. Microglia derived inflammatory mediators may contribute to this process. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) has been reported to induce microglial activation and cytokines production in brain injuries; however, its role in hypoxic injury remains uncertain. We investigate here TLR4 expression and its roles in neuroinflammation in neonatal rats following hypoxic injury.
One day old Wistar rats were subjected to hypoxia for 2 h. Primary cultured microglia and BV-2 cells were subjected to hypoxia for different durations. TLR4 expression in microglia was determined by RT-PCR, western blot and immunofluorescence staining. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection and antibody neutralization were employed to downregulate TLR4 in BV-2 and primary culture. mRNA and protein expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) was assessed. Reactive oxygen species (ROS), nitric oxide (NO) and NF-κB levels were determined by flow cytometry, colorimetric and ELISA assays respectively. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) mRNA and protein expression was quantified and where necessary, the protein expression was depleted by antibody neutralization. In vivo inhibition of TLR4 with CLI-095 injection was carried out followed by investigation of inflammatory mediators expression via double immunofluorescence staining.
TLR4 immunofluorescence and protein expression in the corpus callosum and cerebellum in neonatal microglia were markedly enhanced post-hypoxia. In vitro, TLR4 protein expression was significantly increased in both primary microglia and BV-2 cells post-hypoxia. TLR4 neutralization in primary cultured microglia attenuated the hypoxia-induced expression of TNF-α, IL-1β and iNOS. siRNA knockdown of TLR4 reduced hypoxia-induced upregulation of TNF-α, IL-1β, iNOS, ROS and NO in BV-2 cells. TLR4 downregulation-mediated inhibition of inflammatory cytokines in primary microglia and BV-2 cells was accompanied by the suppression of NF-κB activation. Furthermore, HIF-1α antibody neutralization attenuated the increase of TLR4 expression in hypoxic BV-2 cells. TLR4 inhibition in vivo attenuated the immunoexpression of TNF-α, IL-1β and iNOS on microglia post-hypoxia.
Activated microglia TLR4 expression mediated neuroinflammation via a NF-κB signaling pathway in response to hypoxia. Hence, microglia TLR4 presents as a potential therapeutic target for neonatal hypoxia brain injuries.
PMCID: PMC3575244  PMID: 23388509
Toll-like receptor 4; Microglia; NF-κB; Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α; Hypoxia; Inflammation
6.  Sustained Inflammation Induces Degeneration of the Temporomandibular Joint 
Journal of Dental Research  2012;91(5):499-505.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) undergoes degenerative changes among patients who suffer from arthritis, and yet the pathogenesis of TMJ osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is poorly understood. We hypothesized that sustained inflammation in the TMJ induces structural abnormalities, and accordingly characterized the disc and synovium in a novel model with double injections of complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA), using behavioral, morphological, cellular, and molecular assessments. Thirty-five days following double CFA injections in seven-week-old female Sprague-Dawley rats, the disc in the CFA-induced inflammation group demonstrated multiple degenerative changes, including marked thickening, opacity, and deformation. The discs in the CFA group further showed significantly greater wet and net weights, and elevated collagen, aggrecan, and total glycosaminoglycan contents. The synovium in the CFA-induced inflammation group showed marked infiltration of mononucleated cells and accumulated sub-synovial adipose tissue. Both the disc and synovium had significantly higher iNOS and IL-1β mRNA expression than controls (saline injections). These findings are consistent with our hypothesis that sustained TMJ inflammation, even within the presently observed 35 days, may be a predisposing factor for structural abnormalities. Insight into TMJ inflammation and degeneration is anticipated to improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of TMJ arthritis and help design clinically relevant strategies for tissue engineering.
PMCID: PMC3327731  PMID: 22427270
inflammation; TMJ; disc; synovium; collagen; degenerative disease
7.  Expression of nitric oxide synthase isoforms in the dorsal horn of monoarthritic rats: effects of competitive and uncompetitive N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonists 
Chronic pain is associated with N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor activation and downstream production of nitric oxide, which has a pivotal role in multisynaptic local circuit nociceptive processing in the spinal cord. The formation of nitric oxide is catalyzed by three major nitric oxide synthase (NOS) isoforms (neuronal, nNOS; inducible, iNOS; endothelial, eNOS), which are increased in the spinal cord of rodents subjected to some tonic and chronic forms of experimental pain. Despite the important role of NOS in spinal cord nociceptive transmission, there have been no studies exploring the effect of NMDA receptor blockade on NOS expression in the dorsal horn during chronic pain. Furthermore, NOS isoforms have not been fully characterized in the dorsal horn of animals subjected to arthritic pain. The aim of this work was therefore to study the expression of nNOS, iNOS and eNOS in the dorsal horns of monoarthritic rats, and the modifications in NOS expression induced by pharmacological blockade of spinal cord NMDA receptors. Monoarthritis was produced by intra-articular injection of complete Freund's adjuvant into the right tibio-tarsal joint. At week 4, monoarthritic rats were given either the competitive NMDA antagonist (±)-3-(2-carboxypiperazin-4-yl)-propyl-1-phosphonic acid (CPP) or the uncompetitive NMDA antagonist ketamine. After 6 and 24 hours, animals were killed and posterior quadrants of the lumbar spinal cord were dissected. Sample tissues were homogenized and subjected to immunoblotting with anti-nNOS, anti-iNOS or anti-eNOS monoclonal antibodies. The nNOS isoform, but not the iNOS and eNOS isoforms, were detected in the dorsal horns of control rats. Monoarthritis increased the expression of nNOS, iNOS and eNOS in the dorsal horns ipsilateral and contralateral to the inflamed hindpaw. Intrathecal administration of CPP and ketamine reduced nNOS expression in monoarthritic rats but increased the expression of iNOS and eNOS. Results suggest that blockade of spinal cord NMDA receptors produces complex regulatory changes in the expression of NOS isoforms in monoarthritic rats that may be relevant for nitridergic neuronal/glial mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of monoarthritis and in the pharmacological response to drugs interacting with NMDA receptors.
PMCID: PMC2206346  PMID: 17521446
8.  The complex effects of the slow-releasing hydrogen sulfide donor GYY4137 in a model of acute joint inflammation and in human cartilage cells 
The role of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in inflammation remains unclear with both pro- and anti-inflammatory actions of this gas described. We have now assessed the effect of GYY4137 (a slow-releasing H2S donor) on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-evoked release of inflammatory mediators from human synoviocytes (HFLS) and articular chondrocytes (HAC) in vitro. We have also examined the effect of GYY4137 in a complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) model of acute joint inflammation in the mouse. GYY4137 (0.1–0.5 mM) decreased LPS-induced production of nitrite (NO2−), PGE2, TNF-α and IL-6 from HFLS and HAC, reduced the levels and catalytic activity of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and reduced LPS-induced NF-κB activation in vitro. Using recombinant human enzymes, GYY4137 inhibited the activity of COX-2, iNOS and TNF-α converting enzyme (TACE). In the CFA-treated mouse, GYY4137 (50 mg/kg, i.p.) injected 1 hr prior to CFA increased knee joint swelling while an anti-inflammatory effect, as demonstrated by reduced synovial fluid myeloperoxidase (MPO) and N-acetyl-β-D-glucosa-minidase (NAG) activity and decreased TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-8 concentration, was apparent when GYY4137 was injected 6 hrs after CFA. GYY4137 was also anti-inflammatory when given 18 hrs after CFA. Thus, although GYY4137 consistently reduced the generation of pro-inflammatory mediators from human joint cells in vitro, its effect on acute joint inflammation in vivo depended on the timing of administration.
PMCID: PMC3823018  PMID: 23356870
hydrogen sulfide; GYY4137; inflammation; synoviocyte; cytokines; myeloperoxidase; lipopolysaccharide; Freund’s adjuvant; COX-2; TNF-alpha converting enzyme
9.  The complex effects of the slow-releasing hydrogen sulfide donor GYY4137 in a model of acute joint inflammation and in human cartilage cells 
The role of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in inflammation remains unclear with both pro- and anti-inflammatory actions of this gas described. We have now assessed the effect of GYY4137 (a slow-releasing H2S donor) on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-evoked release of inflammatory mediators from human synoviocytes (HFLS) and articular chondrocytes (HAC) in vitro. We have also examined the effect of GYY4137 in a complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) model of acute joint inflammation in the mouse. GYY4137 (0.1–0.5 mM) decreased LPS-induced production of nitrite (NO2−), PGE2, TNF-α and IL-6 from HFLS and HAC, reduced the levels and catalytic activity of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and reduced LPS-induced NF-κB activation in vitro. Using recombinant human enzymes, GYY4137 inhibited the activity of COX-2, iNOS and TNF-α converting enzyme (TACE). In the CFA-treated mouse, GYY4137 (50 mg/kg, i.p.) injected 1 hr prior to CFA increased knee joint swelling while an anti-inflammatory effect, as demonstrated by reduced synovial fluid myeloperoxidase (MPO) and N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase (NAG) activity and decreased TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-8 concentration, was apparent when GYY4137 was injected 6 hrs after CFA. GYY4137 was also anti-inflammatory when given 18 hrs after CFA. Thus, although GYY4137 consistently reduced the generation of pro-inflammatory mediators from human joint cells in vitro, its effect on acute joint inflammation in vivo depended on the timing of administration.
PMCID: PMC3823018  PMID: 23356870
hydrogen sulfide; GYY4137; inflammation; synoviocyte; cytokines; myeloperoxidase; lipopolysaccharide; Freund's adjuvant; COX-2; TNF-alpha converting enzyme
10.  Active synovial matrix metalloproteinase-2 is associated with radiographic erosions in patients with early synovitis 
Arthritis Research  2000;2(2):145-153.
Serum and synovial tissue expression of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and -9 and their molecular regulators, MMP-14 and TIMP-2 was examined in 28 patients with inflammatory early synovitis and 4 healthy volunteers and correlated with the presence of erosions in the patients. Immunohistological staining of MMP-2, MMP-14 and TIMP-2 localized to corresponding areas in the synovial lining layer and was almost absent in normal synovium. Patients with radiographic erosions had significantly higher levels of active MMP-2 than patients with no erosions, suggesting that activated MMP-2 levels in synovial tissue may be a marker for a more aggressive synovial lesion.
In cancer the gelatinases [matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9] have been shown to be associated with tissue invasion and metastatic disease. In patients with inflammatory arthritis the gelatinases are expressed in the synovial membrane, and have been implicated in synovial tissue invasion into adjacent cartilage and bone. It is hypothesized that an imbalance between the activators and inhibitors of the gelatinases results in higher levels of activity, enhanced local proteolysis, and bone erosion.
To determine whether the expression and activity levels of MMP-2 and MMP-9, and their regulators MMP-14 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP), are associated with early erosion formation in patients with synovitis of recent onset.
Patients and method:
A subset of 66 patients was selected from a larger early synovitis cohort on the basis of tissue availability for the study of synovial tissue and serum gelatinase expression. Patients with peripheral joint synovitis of less than 1 years' duration were evaluated clinically and serologically on four visits over a period of 12 months. At the initial visit, patients underwent a synovial tissue biopsy of one swollen joint, and patients had radiographic evaluation of hands and feet initially and at 1year. Serum MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-9, MMP-14, and TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 levels were determined, and synovial tissue was examined by immunohistology for the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9, and their molecular regulators. Gelatinolytic activity for MMP-2 and MMP-9 was quantified using a sensitive, tissue-based gel zymography technique. Four healthy individuals underwent closed synovial biopsy and their synovial tissues were similarly analyzed.
Of the 66 patients studied, 45 fulfilled American College of Rheumatology criteria for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), with 32 (71%) being rheumatoid factor positive. Of the 21 non-RA patients, seven had a spondylarthropathy and 14 had undifferentiated arthritis. Radiographically, 12 of the RA patients had erosions at multiple sites by 1 year, whereas none of the non-RA patients had developed erosive disease of this extent. In the tissue, latent MMP-2 was widely expressed in the synovial lining layer and in areas of stromal proliferation in the sublining layer and stroma, whereas MMP-9 was expressed more sparsely and focally. MMP-14, TIMP-2, and MMP-2 were all detected in similar areas of the lining layer on consecutive histologic sections. Tissue expression of MMP-14, the activator for pro-MMP-2, was significantly higher in RA than in non-RA patients (8.4 ± 5 versus 3.7 ± 4 cells/high-power field; P = 0.009). In contrast, the expression of TIMP-2, an inhibitor of MMP-2, was lower in the RA than in the non-RA samples (25 ± 12 versus 39 ± 9 cells/high-power field; P = 0.01). Synovial tissue expressions of MMP-2, MMP-14, and TIMP-2 were virtually undetectable in normal synovial tissue samples. The synovial tissue samples of patients with erosive disease had significantly higher levels of active MMP-2 than did those of patients without erosions (Fig. 1). Tissue expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9, however, did not correlate with the serum levels of these enzymes.
With the exception of serum MMP-2, which was not elevated over normal, serum levels of all of the other MMPs and TIMPs were elevated to varying degrees, and were not predictive of erosive disease. Interestingly, MMP-1 and C-reactive protein, both of which were associated with the presence of erosions, were positively correlated with each other (r = 0.42; P < 0.001).
MMP-2 and MMP-9 are thought to play an important role in the evolution of joint erosions in patients with an inflammatory arthritis. Most studies have concentrated on the contribution of MMP-9 to the synovitis, because synovial fluid and serum MMP-9 levels are markedly increased in inflammatory arthropathies. Previously reported serum levels of MMP-9 have varied widely. In the present sample of patients with synovitis of recent onset, serum MMP-9 levels were elevated in only 21%. Moreover, these elevations were not specific for RA, the tissue expression of MMP-9 was focal, and the levels of MMP-9 activity were not well correlated with early erosions. Although serum MMP-2 levels were not of prognostic value, high synovial tissue levels of MMP-2 activity were significantly correlated with the presence of early erosions. This may reflect augmented activation of MMP-2 by the relatively high levels of MMP-14 and low levels of TIMP-2 seen in these tissues. We were able to localize the components of this trimolecular complex to the synovial lining layer in consecutive tissue sections, a finding that is consistent with their colocalization.
In conclusion, we have provided evidence that active MMP-2 complexes are detectable in the inflamed RA synovium and may be involved in the development of early bony erosions. These results suggest that strategies to inhibit the activation of MMP-2 may have the potential for retarding or preventing early erosions in patients with inflammatory arthritis.
PMCID: PMC17808  PMID: 11062605
early synovitis; erosion; metalloproteinase; matrix metalloproteinase-2; rheumatoid arthritis
11.  A Novel Antihypoglycemic Role of Inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase in Liver Inflammatory Response Induced by Dietary Cholesterol and Endotoxemia 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2013;19(16):1889-1901.
Aims: The current study aim was to elucidate the antihypoglycemic role and mechanism of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) under inflammatory stress. Methods: Liver inflammatory stress was induced in wild-type (WT) and iNOS-knockout (iNOS−/−) mice by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (5 mg/kg) with and without the background of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)-Induced by high cholesterol diet (HCD, 6 weeks). Results: HCD led to steatohepatitis in WT and iNOS−/− mice. LPS administration caused marked liver inflammatory damage only in cholesterol-fed mice, which was further exacerbated in the absence of iNOS. Glucose homeostasis was significantly impaired and included fatal hypoglycemia and inhibition of glycogen decomposition. In iNOS−/− hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF1), signaling was impaired compared to control WT. Using hydrodynamic gene transfer method HIF1α was expressed in the livers of iNOS−/− mice, and significantly ameliorated cholesterol and LPS-induced liver damage. WT mice overexpressing HIF1α exhibited higher blood glucose levels and lower glycogen contents after LPS injection. Conversely, induction of HIF1α was not effective in preventing LPS-induced glucose lowering effect in iNOS−/− mice. The critical role of NO signaling in hepatocytes glucose output mediated by HIF1 pathway was also confirmed in vitro. Results also demonstrated increased oxidative stress and reduced heme oxygenase-1 mRNA in the livers of iNOS−/− mice. Furthermore, the amounts of plasma tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) and intrahepatic TNFα mRNA were significantly elevated in the absence of iNOS. Innovation and Conclusion: These data highlight the essential role of iNOS in the glycemic response to LPS in NASH conditions and argues for the beneficial effects of iNOS. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 19, 1889–1901.
PMCID: PMC3852347  PMID: 23697659
12.  Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Inotilone from Phellinus linteus through the Inhibition of MMP-9, NF-κB, and MAPK Activation In Vitro and In Vivo 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e35922.
Inotilone was isolated from Phellinus linteus. The anti-inflammatory effects of inotilone were studied by using lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated mouse macrophage RAW264.7 cells and λ-carrageenan (Carr)-induced hind mouse paw edema model. Inotilone was tested for its ability to reduce nitric oxide (NO) production, and the inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression. Inotilone was tested in the inhibitor of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) [extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK), c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK), p38], and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), matrix-metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 protein expressions in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 cells. When RAW264.7 macrophages were treated with inotilone together with LPS, a significant concentration-dependent inhibition of NO production was detected. Western blotting revealed that inotilone blocked the protein expression of iNOS, NF-κB, and MMP-9 in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophages, significantly. Inotilone also inhibited LPS-induced ERK, JNK, and p38 phosphorylation. In in vivo tests, inotilone decreased the paw edema at the 4th and the 5th h after Carr administration, and it increased the activities of catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx). We also demonstrated that inotilone significantly attenuated the malondialdehyde (MDA) level in the edema paw at the 5th h after Carr injection. Inotilone decreased the NO and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α) levels on serum at the 5th h after Carr injection. Western blotting revealed that inotilone decreased Carr-induced iNOS, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), NF-κB, and MMP-9 expressions at the 5th h in the edema paw. An intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection treatment with inotilone diminished neutrophil infiltration into sites of inflammation, as did indomethacin (Indo). The anti-inflammatory activities of inotilone might be related to decrease the levels of MDA, iNOS, COX-2, NF-κB, and MMP-9 and increase the activities of CAT, SOD, and GPx in the paw edema through the suppression of TNF-α and NO. This study presents the potential utilization of inotilone, as a lead for the development of anti-inflammatory drugs.
PMCID: PMC3348146  PMID: 22590514
13.  Chronic oral or intraarticular administration of docosahexaenoic acid reduces nociception and knee edema and improves functional outcomes in a mouse model of Complete Freund’s Adjuvant–induced knee arthritis 
Clinical and preclinical studies have shown that supplementation with ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs) reduce joint destruction and inflammation present in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, the effects of individual ω-3 PUFAs on chronic arthritic pain have not been evaluated to date. Thus, our aim in this study was to examine whether purified docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, an ω-3 PUFA) reduces spontaneous pain-related behavior and knee edema and improves functional outcomes in a mouse model of knee arthritis.
Unilateral arthritis was induced by multiple injections of Complete Freund’s Adjuvant (CFA) into the right knee joints of male ICR adult mice. Mice that received CFA injections were then chronically treated from day 15 until day 25 post–initial CFA injection with oral DHA (10, 30 and 100 mg/kg daily) or intraarticular DHA (25 and 50 μg/joint twice weekly). Spontaneous flinching of the injected extremity (considered as spontaneous pain-related behavior), vertical rearing and horizontal exploratory activity (considered as functional outcomes) and knee edema were assessed. To determine whether an endogenous opioid mechanism was involved in the therapeutic effect of DHA, naloxone (NLX, an opioid receptor antagonist, 3 mg/kg subcutaneously) was administered in arthritic mice chronically treated with DHA (30 mg/kg by mouth) at day 25 post–CFA injection.
The intraarticular CFA injections resulted in increasing spontaneous flinching and knee edema of the ipsilateral extremity as well as worsening functional outcomes as time progressed. Chronic administration of DHA, given either orally or intraarticularly, significantly improved horizontal exploratory activity and reduced flinching behavior and knee edema in a dose-dependent manner. Administration of NLX did not reverse the antinociceptive effect of DHA.
To the best of our knowledge, this report is the first to demonstrate DHA’s antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects as individual ω-3 PUFAs following sustained systemic and intraarticular administration in a mouse model of CFA-induced knee arthritis. The results suggest that DHA treatment may offer a new therapeutic approach to alleviate inflammation as well as a beneficial effect on pain-related functional disabilities in RA patients.
PMCID: PMC4060174  PMID: 24612981
14.  Ursodeoxycholic Acid Ameliorates Pain Severity and Cartilage Degeneration in Monosodium Iodoacetate-Induced Osteoarthritis in Rats 
Immune Network  2014;14(1):45-53.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease characterized by a progressive loss of cartilage. And, increased oxidative stress plays a relevant role in the pathogenesis of OA. Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is a used drug for liver diseases known for its free radical-scavenging property. The objectives of this study were to investigate the in vivo effects of UDCA on pain severity and cartilage degeneration using an experimental OA model and to explore its mode of actions. OA was induced in rats by intra-articular injection of monosodium iodoacetate (MIA) to the knee. Oral administration UDCA was initiated on the day of MIA injection. Limb nociception was assessed by measuring the paw withdrawal latency and threshold. Samples were analyzed macroscopically and histologically. Immunohistochemistry was used to investigate the expression of interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6, nitrotyrosine and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in knee joints. UDCA showed an antinociceptive property and attenuated cartilage degeneration. OA rats given oral UDCA significantly exhibited a decreased number of osteoclasts in subchondral bone legion compared with the vehicle-treated OA group. UDCA reduced the expression of IL-1β, IL-6, nitrotyrosine and iNOS in articular cartilage. UDCA treatment significantly attenuated the mRNA expression of matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3), -13, and ADAMTS5 in IL-1β-stimulated human OA chondrocytes. These results show the inhibitory effects of UDCA on pain production and cartilage degeneration in experimentally induced OA. The chondroprotective properties of UDCA were achieved by suppressing oxidative damage and inhibiting catabolic factors that are implicated in the pathogenesis of cartilage damage in OA.
PMCID: PMC3942507  PMID: 24605080
Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA); Monosodium iodoacetate (MIA); Osteoarthritis; Oxidative stress
15.  Differential Effects of Luminal Arginine and Glutamine on Metalloproteinase Production in the Postischemic Gut 
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a group of endopeptidases induced under inflammatory conditions in the intestine which possess the capacity to degrade components of the extracellular matrix. We have previously demonstrated that MMP-2 expression correlates with increased inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) production in the stomach and that iNOS is upregulated in the postischemic gut by the luminal nutrient arginine and repressed by luminal glutamine. We therefore hypothesized that arginine would enhance expression of MMP-2 in the postischemic gut.
Jejunal sacs were created in rats at laparotomy and filled with either 60 mM glutamine, arginine, or magnesium sulfate (osmotic control) followed by 60 minutes of superior mesenteric artery occlusion (SMAO) and 6 hours of reperfusion and compared with shams. Jejunum was harvested, and membrane type-1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP), MMP-2, and iNOS protein expression was determined by Western analysis and MMP-9 production by gelatin zymography.
MMP-2, MT1-MMP, MMP-9, and iNOS were all increased after SMAO compared with shams. Arginine maintained while glutamine inhibited the increase in iNOS, MT1-MMP, and MMP-2 expression in the postischemic gut. Pretreatment of the arginine group with a selective iNOS inhibitor blunted the induction of MMP-2 in the postischemic gut. There was no differential modulation of MMP-9 by the luminal nutrients.
The arginine-induced upregulation of iNOS may contribute to increased activity of MT1-MMP and MMP-2. The mechanism for this differential regulation by arginine warrants further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3295226  PMID: 18596315
metalloproteinase; ischemia reperfusion; intestine; nitric oxide synthase; arginine; trauma
16.  Coenzyme Q10 Ameliorates Pain and Cartilage Degradation in a Rat Model of Osteoarthritis by Regulating Nitric Oxide and Inflammatory Cytokines 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69362.
To investigate the effect of CoenzymeQ10 (CoQ10) on pain severity and cartilage degeneration in an experimental model of rat osteoarthritis (OA).
Materials and Methods
OA was induced in rats by intra-articular injection of monosodium iodoacetate (MIA) to the knee. Oral administration of CoQ10 was initiated on day 4 after MIA injection. Pain severity was assessed by measuring secondary tactile allodynia using the von Frey assessment test. The degree of cartilage degradation was determined by measuring cartilage thickness and the amount of proteoglycan. The mankin scoring system was also used. Expressions of matrix metalloproteinase-13 (MMP-13), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6, IL-15, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), nitrotyrosine and receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) were analyzed using immunohistochemistry.
Treatment with CoQ10 demonstrated an antinociceptive effect in the OA animal model. The reduction in secondary tactile allodynia was shown by an increased pain withdrawal latency and pain withdrawal threshold. CoQ10 also attenuated cartilage degeneration in the osteoarthritic joints. MMP-13, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-15, iNOS, nitrotyrosine and RAGE expressions were upregulated in OA joints and significantly reduced with CoQ10 treatment.
CoQ10 exerts a therapeutic effect on OA via pain suppression and cartilage degeneration by inhibiting inflammatory mediators, which play a vital role in OA pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3718733  PMID: 23894457
17.  Inhibition of cartilage and bone destruction in adjuvant arthritis in the rat by a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor 
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.
PMCID: PMC2192113  PMID: 7629505
18.  Nitrotyrosinylation, Remodeling and Endothelial-Myocyte Uncoupling in iNOS, Cystathionine Beta Synthase (CBS) Knockouts and iNOS/CBS Double Knockout Mice 
Journal of cellular biochemistry  2009;106(1):119-126.
Increased levels of homocysteine (Hcy), recognized as hyperhomocysteinemia (HHcy), were associated with cardiovascular diseases. There was controversy regarding the detrimental versus cardio protective role of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in ischemic heart disease. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that the Hcy generated nitrotyrosine by inducing the endothelial nitric oxide synthase, causing endothelial-myocyte (E–M) coupling. To differentiate the role of iNOS versus constitutive nitric oxide synthase (eNOS and nNOS) in Hcy-mediated nitrotyrosine generation and matrix remodeling in cardiac dysfunction, left ventricular (LV) tissue was analyzed from cystathionine beta synthase (CBS) heterozygote knockout, iNOS homozygote knockout, CBS−/+/iNOS−/− double knockout, and wild-type (WT) mice. The levels of nitrotyrosine, MMP-2 and -9 (zymographic analysis), and fibrosis (by trichrome stain) were measured. The endothelial-myocyte function was determined in cardiac rings. In CBS−/+ mice, homocysteine was elevated and in iNOS−/− mice, nitric oxide was significantly reduced. The nitrotyrosine and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) levels were elevated in double knockout and CBS−/+ as compared to WT mice. Although MMP-2 levels were similar in CBS−/+, iNOS−/−, and CBS−/+/iNOS−/−, the levels were three- to fourfold higher than WT. The levels of collagen were similar in CBS−/+ and iNOS−/−, but they were threefold higher than WT. Interesting, the levels of collagen increased sixfold in double knockouts, compared to WT, suggesting synergism between high Hcy and lack of iNOS. Left ventricular hypertrophy was exaggerated in the iNOS−/− and double knockout, and mildly increased in the CBS−/+, compared to WT mice. The endothelial-dependent relaxation was attenuated to the same extent in the CBS−/+ and iNOS−/−, compared to WT, but it was robustly blunted in double knockouts. The results concluded that homocysteine generated nitrotyrosine in the vicinity of endothelium, caused MMP activation and endothelium-myocyte uncoupling. The generation of nitrotyrosine was independent of iNOS.
PMCID: PMC2668975  PMID: 19021146
19.  Effects of a nutrient mixture on immunohistochemical localization of cancer markers in human cervical cancer HeLa cell tumor xenografts in female nude mice 
Although fully treatable in the early stages, once cervical cancer has metastasized, patient outcome is poor. The main objective of this study was to examine the effect of dietary supplementation with a nutrient mixture (NM) containing lysine, ascorbic acid, proline, green tea extract and other micronutrients on HeLa cell xenografts in nude female mice. Tumor growth was measured and immunohistochemical staining was evaluated for the following cancer markers: Ki67 (proliferation); matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and -9 (invasion/metastasis); vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) (angiogenesis); terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) and B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) (apoptosis); cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) (inflammation); and glutathione S-transferase π (GSTπ) (a general cancer marker). Following housing for a week, 5/6-week-old female athymic nude mice (n=12) were inoculated subcutaneously with 3×106 HeLa cells in 0.2 ml phosphate-buffered saline and 0.1 ml Matrigel™ and randomly divided into two groups; control group mice were fed regular mouse chow and NM group mice the regular diet supplemented with 0.5% NM (w/w). After four weeks, the mice were sacrificed and their tumors were excised and processed for histology. The NM strongly inhibited the growth of HeLa xenografts in nude mice. The mean tumor weight was reduced to 59% (P=0.001) in the mice fed the NM compared with the tumor weight in the controlled diet mice. Ki67, MMP-2 and -9, VEGF, TUNEL, Bcl-2, COX-2, iNOS and GSTπ all showed a lower intensity and frequency of staining in the NM group compared with that in the control group. In conclusion, NM supplementation strongly inhibited tumor growth and cancer markers in female nude mice injected with HeLa xenografts.
PMCID: PMC4280926  PMID: 25574189
HeLa; nutrient mixture; tumor growth; immunohistochemistry; Ki67; matrix metalloproteinase-2; matrix metalloproteinase-9; vascular endothelial growth factor; terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling; B-cell lymphoma-2; cyclooxygenase 2; inducible nitric oxide synthase; glutathione S-transferase π
20.  Interrelation between Expression of ADAM 10 and MMP 9 and Synthesis of Peroxynitrite in Doxorubicin Induced Cardiomyopathy 
Biomolecules & Therapeutics  2013;21(5):371-380.
Doxorubicin is still main drug in chemotherapy with limitation of use due to adverse drug reaction. Increased oxidative stress and alteration of nitric oxide control have been involved in cardiotoxicity of doxorubicin (DOX). A Disintegrin And Metalloproteinase (ADAMs) are transmembrane ectoproteases to regulate cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, but role in cardiac disease is unclear. The aim of this study was to determine whether DOX activates peroxynitrite and ADAM 10 and thus ADAM and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) induce cardiac remodeling in DOX-induced cardiomyopathy. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to cardiomyopathy by DOX (6 times of 2.5 mg/kg DOX over 2-weeks), and were randomized as four groups. Then followed by 3, 5, 7, and 14 days after cessation of DOX injection. DOX-injected animals significantly decreased left ventricular fractional shortening compared with control by M-mode echocardiography. The expressions of cardiac nitrotyrosine by immunohistochemistry were significant increased, and persisted for 2 weeks following the last injection. The expression of eNOS was increased by 1.9 times (p<0.05), and iNOS was marked increased in DOX-heart compared with control (p<0.001). Compared to control rats, cardiac ADAM10- and MMP 9- protein expressions increased by 20 times, and active/total MMP 9 proteolytic activity showed increase tendency at day 14 after cessation of DOX injection (n=10, each group). DOX-treated H9C2 cell showed increased ADAM10 protein expression with dose-dependency (p<0.01) and morphometric changes showed the increase of ventricular interstitial, nonvascular collagen deposition. These data suggest that activation of cardiac peroxynitrite with increased iNOS expression and ADAM 10-dependent MMP 9 expression may be a molecular mechanism that contributes to left ventricular remodeling in DOXinduced cardiomyopathy.
PMCID: PMC3825201  PMID: 24244825
Doxorubicin; Cardiomyopathy; ADAM; MMP
21.  Thrombin, a mediator of cerebrovascular inflammation in AD and hypoxia 
Considerable evidence implicates hypoxia and vascular inflammation in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Thrombin, a multifunctional inflammatory mediator, is demonstrable in the brains of AD patients both in the vessel walls and senile plaques. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α), a key regulator of the cellular response to hypoxia, is also upregulated in the vasculature of human AD brains. The objective of this study is to investigate inflammatory protein expression in the cerebrovasculature of transgenic AD mice and to explore the role of thrombin as a mediator of cerebrovascular inflammation and oxidative stress in AD and in hypoxia-induced changes in brain endothelial cells. Immunofluorescent analysis of the cerebrovasculature in AD mice demonstrates significant (p < 0.01–0.001) increases in thrombin, HIF-1α, interleukin-6 (IL-6), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), and reactive oxygen species (ROS) compared to controls. Administration of the thrombin inhibitor dabigatran (100 mg/kg) to AD mice for 34 weeks significantly decreases expression of inflammatory proteins and ROS. Exposure of cultured brain endothelial cells to hypoxia for 6 h causes an upregulation of thrombin, HIF-1α, MCP-1, IL-6, and MMP2 and ROS. Treatment of endothelial cells with the dabigatran (1 nM) reduces ROS generation and inflammatory protein expression (p < 0.01–0.001). The data demonstrate that inhibition of thrombin in culture blocks the increase in inflammatory protein expression and ROS generation evoked by hypoxia. Also, administration of dabigatran to transgenic AD mice diminishes ROS levels in brain and reduces cerebrovascular expression of inflammatory proteins. Taken together, these results suggest that inhibiting thrombin generation could have therapeutic value in AD and other disorders where hypoxia, inflammation, and oxidative stress are involved.
PMCID: PMC3648692  PMID: 23675346
Alzheimer's disease; thrombin; hypoxia; neuroinflammation; endothelial cells; dabigatran
22.  Adenovirus mediated intra-articular expression of collagenase-3 (MMP-13) induces inflammatory arthritis in mice 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2004;63(6):656-664.
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.
PMCID: PMC1755025  PMID: 15140772
23.  Thermal signature analysis as a novel method for evaluating inflammatory arthritis activity 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2005;65(3):306-311.
To examine the potential usefulness of a novel thermal imaging technique to evaluate and monitor inflammatory arthritis activity in small joints using rat models, and to determine whether thermal changes can be used to detect preclinical stages of synovitis.
Three different rat strains were studied in a model of inflammatory arthritis of the ankle induced by an intra‐articular (IA) injection of complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA), compared with the contralateral ankle injected with normal saline. Arthritis activity and severity scores, ankle diameters, pain related posture scores, and thermal images were obtained at 10 different times between 0 h (before induction) and day 7. The pristane induced arthritis (PIA) model was used to study preclinical synovitis. Thermal images were obtained at each time point using the TSA ImagIR system and were digitally analysed.
Rats developed similar ankle arthritis detected six hours after the IA injection of CFA, which persisted for seven days. All ankle clinical indices, including arthritis activity and severity scores, correlated significantly with ankle thermal imaging changes in the monoarthritis model (p<0.003). No thermal imaging changes were detected in preclinical stages of PIA. However, PIA onset coincided with increased ankle thermal signature.
Thermal measurements correlated significantly with arthritis activity and severity indices. The technique was highly sensitive and could measure directly two cardinal signs of inflammation (warmth and oedema, based on ankle diameter) in an area (ankle) that is less than half the size of a human interphalangeal joint, suggesting a potential use in drug trials or clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC1798043  PMID: 16150784
autoimmunity; inflammation; rodent models; innate immunity
24.  Inhibition of endogenous NGF degradation induces mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia in rats 
Molecular Pain  2013;9:37.
We have previously shown a sprouting of sympathetic fibers into the upper dermis of the skin following subcutaneous injection of complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) into the hindpaw. This sprouting correlated with an increase in pain-related sensitivity. We hypothesized that this sprouting and pain-related behavior were caused by an increase in nerve growth factor (NGF) levels. In this study, we investigated whether the inhibition of mature NGF degradation, using a matrix metalloproteinase 2 and 9 (MMP-2/9) inhibitor, was sufficient to reproduce a similar phenotype.
Behavioral tests performed on male Sprague–Dawley rats at 1, 3, 7 and 14 days after intra-plantar MMP-2/9 inhibitor administration demonstrated that acute and chronic injections of the MMP-2/9 inhibitor induced sensitization, in a dose dependent manner, to mechanical, hot and cold stimuli as measured by von Frey filaments, Hargreaves and acetone tests, respectively. Moreover, the protein levels of mature NGF (mNGF) were increased, whereas the levels and enzymatic activity of matrix metalloproteinase 9 were reduced in the glabrous skin of the hind paw. MMP-2/9 inhibition also led to a robust sprouting of sympathetic fibers into the upper dermis but there were no changes in the density of peptidergic nociceptive afferents.
These findings indicate that localized MMP-2/9 inhibition provokes a pattern of sensitization and fiber sprouting comparable to that previously obtained following CFA injection. Accordingly, the modulation of endogenous NGF levels should be considered as a potential therapeutic target for the management of inflammatory pain associated with arthritis.
PMCID: PMC3737061  PMID: 23889761
Matrix metalloproteinase; Nerve growth factor; Allodynia; Hyperalgesia; Sympathetic sprouting
25.  The ERK1/2 Inhibitor U0126 Attenuates Diabetes-Induced Upregulation of MMP-9 and Biomarkers of Inflammation in the Retina 
Journal of Diabetes Research  2013;2013:658548.
This study was conducted to determine the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) in a time-dependent manner and the effect of extracellular-signal-regulated kinases-1/2 (ERK1/2) inhibition on the expressions of MMP-9, TIMP-1, and inflammatory biomarkers in the retinas of diabetic rats. The expression of MMP-9 was quantified by zymography, and the mRNA level of MMP-9 and TIMP-1 was quantified by RT-PCR. The expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) was examined by Western blot analysis. MMP-9 expression was significantly higher in diabetic rat retinas compared to controls at all time points.TIMP-1 expression was nonsignificantly upregulated at 1week of diabetes and was significantly downregulated at 4 and 12 weeks of diabetes. Intravitreal administration of the ERK1/2 inhibitor U0126 prior to induction of diabetes decreased ERK1/2 activation, attenuated diabetes-induced upregulation of MMP-9, iNOS, IL-6, and TNF-α and upregulated TIMP-1 expression. In MMP-9 knockout mice, diabetes had no effect on retinal iNOS expression and its level remained unchanged. These data provide evidence that ERK1/2 signaling pathway is involved in MMP-9, iNOS, IL-6, and TNF-α induction in diabetic retinas and suggest that ERK1/2 can be a novel therapeutic target in diabetic retinopathy.
PMCID: PMC3647581  PMID: 23671886

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