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1.  The Fluence Effects of Low-Level Laser Therapy on Inflammation, Fibroblast-Like Synoviocytes, and Synovial Apoptosis in Rats with Adjuvant-Induced Arthritis 
Photomedicine and Laser Surgery  2014;32(12):669-677.
Abstract
Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) operating at low and high fluences on joint inflammation, fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS), and synovial apoptosis in rats with adjuvant-induced arthritis. Background data: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by pronounced inflammation and FLS proliferation within affected joints. Certain data indicate that LLLT is effective in patients with inflammation caused by RA; however, the fluence effects of LLLT on synovium are unclear. Methods: Monoarthritis was induced in adult male Sprague–Dawley rats (250–300 g) via intraarticular injection of complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) into the tibiotarsal joint. Animals were irradiated 72 h after CFA administration with a 780 nm GaAlAs laser at 4.5 J/cm2 (30 mW, 30 sec/spot) and 72 J/cm2 (80 mW, 180 sec/spot) daily for 10 days. After LLLT, the animals were euthanized and their arthritic ankles were collected for histopathological analysis, immunoassays of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, matrix metallopeptidase (MMP)3 and 5B5, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assays. Results: LLLT at a fluence of 4.5 J/cm2 significantly reduced infiltration of inflammatory cells and expressions of TNF-α-, MMP3- and 5B5-like immunoreactivities, as well as resulting in more TUNEL-positive apoptotic cells in the synovium. No significant changes were observed in these biochemicals and inflammation in arthritic animals treated with 72 J/cm2. Conclusions: LLLT with low fluence is highly effective in reducing inflammation to sites of injury by decreasing the numbers of FLS, inflammatory cells, and mediators in the CFA-induced arthritic model. These data will be of value in designing clinical trials of LLLT for RA.
doi:10.1089/pho.2014.3821
PMCID: PMC4267419  PMID: 25394331
2.  Nitric Oxide-Driven Hypoxia Initiates Synovial Angiogenesis, Hyperplasia and Inflammatory Lesions in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e34494.
Background
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.
Conclusions/Significance
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034494
PMCID: PMC3316675  PMID: 22479635
3.  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.
doi:10.1177/0022034512441946
PMCID: PMC3327731  PMID: 22427270
inflammation; TMJ; disc; synovium; collagen; degenerative disease
4.  Arthritis is associated with T-cell-induced upregulation of Toll-like receptor 3 on synovial fibroblasts 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2011;13(3):R103.
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/ar3384
PMCID: PMC3218918  PMID: 21708001
5.  Cloricromene, a coumarine derivative, protects against collagen-induced arthritis in Lewis rats 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2000;131(7):1399-1407.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of cloricromene, a coumarine derivative, in rats subjected to collagen-induced arthritis.Collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) was induced in Lewis rats by an intradermal injection of 100 μl of the emulsion (containing 100 μg of bovine type II collagen) (CII) and complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) at the base of the tail. On day 21, a second injection of CII in CFA was administered.Lewis rats developed an erosive hind paw arthritis when immunized with CII in CFA. Macroscopic clinical evidence of CIA first appeared as peri-articular erythema and oedema in the hind paws. The incidence of CIA was 100% by day 27 in the CII challenged rats and the severity of CIA progressed over a 35-day period with radiographic evaluation revealing focal resorption of bone together with osteophyte formation in the tibiotarsal joint and soft tissue swelling.The histopathology of CIA included erosion of the cartilage at the joint margins. Treatment of rats with cloricromene (10 mg kg−1 i.p. daily) starting at the onset of arthritis (day 23), delayed the development of the clinical signs at days 24–35 and improved histological status in the knee and paw.Immunohistochemical analysis for iNOS, COX-2, nitrotyrosine and for poly (ADP-ribose) synthetase (PARS) revealed a positive staining in inflamed joints from collagen-treated rats. The degree of staining for iNOS, COX-2, nitrotyrosine and PARS were markedly reduced in tissue sections obtained from collagen-treated rats, which had received cloricromene.Radiographic signs of protection against bone resorption and osteophyte formation were present in the joints of cloricromene-treated rat.This study provides the first evidence that cloricromene, a coumarine derivative, attenuates the degree of chronic inflammation and tissue damage associated with collagen-induced arthritis in the rat.
doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0703695
PMCID: PMC1572455  PMID: 11090113
Collagen; inflammation; nitric oxide; peroxynitrite; COX-2; cloricromene; TNFα
6.  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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001881
PMCID: PMC4051611  PMID: 24914685
7.  Sclareol exerts anti-osteoarthritic activities in interleukin-1β-induced rabbit chondrocytes and a rabbit osteoarthritis model 
Sclareol is a natural product initially isolated form Salvia sclarea which possesses immune-regulation and anti-inflammatory activities. However, the anti-osteoarthritic properties of sclareol have not been investigated. The present study is aimed at evaluating the potential effects of sclareol in interleukin-1β (IL-1β)-induced rabbit chondrocytes as well as an experimental rabbit knee osteoarthritis model induced by anterior cruciate ligament transection (ACLT). Cultured rabbit chondrocytes were pretreated with 1, 5 and 10 μg/mL sclareol for 1 h and followed by stimulation of IL-1β (10 ng/mL) for 24 h. Gene expression of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1), MMP-3, MMP-13, tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 was determined by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). MMP-3, TIMP-1, iNOS and COX-2 proteins were measured by Western blotting. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was applied for nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) assessment. For the in vivo study, rabbits received six weekly 0.3 mL sclareol (10 μg/mL) intra-articular injections in the knees four weeks after ACLT surgery. Cartilage was harvested for measurement of MMP-1, MMP-3, MMP-13, TIMP-1, iNOS and COX-2 by qRT-PCR, while femoral condyles were used for histological evaluation. The in vitro results we obtained showed that sclareol inhibited the MMPs, iNOS and COX-2 expression on mRNA and protein levels, while increased the TIMP-1 expression. And over-production of NO and PGE2 was also suppressed. For the in vivo study, both qRT-PCR results and histological evaluation confirmed that sclareol ameliorated cartilage degradation. Hence, we speculated that sclareol may be an ideal approach for treating osteoarthritis.
PMCID: PMC4440052  PMID: 26045743
Osteoarthritis; sclareol; matrix metalloproteinase; nitric oxide; ACLT
8.  Expressions of inducible nitric oxide synthase and matrix metalloproteinase-9 and their effects on angiogenesis and progression of hepatocellular carcinoma 
AIM: To determine the expressions of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and to investigate the relationship between iNOS and MMP-9 expression and their effects on angiogenesis and progression of HCC.
METHODS: In this study, we examined iNOS, MMP-9, and CD34 expression in specimens surgically removed from 32 HCC patients and 7 normal liver tissues by immunohistochemical staining. Meanwhile, microvessel density (MVD) was determined as a marker of angiogenesis by counting CD34-positive cells.
RESULTS: The positive rates of iNOS and MMP-9 expression were 71.88% (23/32) and 78.13% (25/32) in HCC. MMP-9 expression was significantly correlated with tumor size, capsule status, TNM stage, and risk of HCC recurrence (P = 0.032, P = 0.033, P = 0.007, and P = 0.001, respectively). There was also a significant relationship between iNOS expression and capsule status and risk of HCC recurrence (P = 0.049 and P = 0.004, respectively), but no correlation between iNOS expression and tumor size and TNM stage. There was a positive association between MVD and TNM stage and risk of HCC recurrence (P = 0.037 and P = 0.000, respectively). The count of MVD was significantly different in different iNOS and MMP-9 immunoreactivity groups (F = 17.713 and 17.097, P = 0.000 and P = 0.000, respectively). The examination of Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient showed that there was a
significant positive correlation between MVD and iNOS, MMP-9 immunoreactivity (r = 0.754 and 0.751, P = 0.000 and P=0.000, respectively). There was also a significant association between MMP-9 and iNOS expression in HCC (P = 0.010).
CONCLUSION: Nitric oxide (NO) produced by iNOS could modulate MMP-9 production and therefore contribute to tumor cell angiogenesis and invasion and metastasis in HCC. The strong expression of iNOS and MMP-9 in HCC may be helpful in evaluating the recurrence of HCC, predicting poor prognosis. For patients with strong expression of MMP-9 and iNOS, the optimal treatment scheme needs to be selected.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v11.i38.5931
PMCID: PMC4436713  PMID: 16273602
Inducible nitric oxide synthase; Matrix metalloproteinase-9; Angiogenesis; Hepatocellular carcinoma
9.  Crosstalk between FLS and chondrocytes is regulated by HIF-2α-mediated cytokines in arthritis 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA), two common types of arthritis, affect the joints mainly by targeting the synovium and cartilage. Increasing evidence indicates that a significant network connects synovitis and cartilage destruction during the progression of arthritis. We recently demonstrated that hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-2α causes RA and OA by regulating the expression of catabolic factors in fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) or chondrocytes. To address the reciprocal influences of HIF-2α on FLS and chondrocytes, we applied an in vitro co-culture system using a transwell apparatus. When co-cultured with HIF-2α-overexpressing chondrocytes, FLS exhibited increased expression of matrix metalloproteinases and inflammatory mediators, similar to the effects induced by tumor-necrosis factor (TNF)-α treatment of FLS. Moreover, chondrocytes co-cultured with HIF-2α-overexpressing FLS exhibited upregulation of Mmp3 and Mmp13, which is similar to the effects induced by interleukin (IL)-6 treatment of chondrocytes. We confirmed these differential HIF-2α-induced effects via distinct secretory mediators using Il6-knockout cells and a TNF-α-blocking antibody. The FLS-co-culture-induced gene expression changes in chondrocytes were significantly abrogated by IL-6 deficiency, whereas TNF-α neutralization blocked the alterations in gene expression associated with co-culture of FLS with chondrocytes. Our results further suggested that the observed changes might reflect the HIF-2α-induced upregulation of specific receptors for TNF-α (in FLS) and IL-6 (in chondrocytes). This study broadens our understanding of the possible regulatory mechanisms underlying the crosstalk between the synovium and cartilage in the presence of HIF-2α, and may suggest potential new anti-arthritis therapies.
doi:10.1038/emm.2015.88
PMCID: PMC4686694  PMID: 26642431
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.
Introduction:
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.
Objectives:
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.
Results:
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).
Discussion:
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.  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 
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/ar4502
PMCID: PMC4060174  PMID: 24612981
12.  β-Lapachone suppresses neuroinflammation by modulating the expression of cytokines and matrix metalloproteinases in activated microglia 
Background
β-Lapachone (β-LAP) is a natural naphthoquinone compound isolated from the lapacho tree (Tabebuia sp.), and it has been used for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, infection, and cancer. In the present study, we investigated whether β-LAP has anti-inflammatory effects under in vitro and in vivo neuroinflammatory conditions.
Methods
The effects of β-LAP on the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cytokines, and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) were examined in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated BV2 microglial cells and rat primary microglia by ELISA, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and Western blot analysis. Microglial activation and the expression levels of proinflammatory molecules were measured in the LPS-injected mouse brain by immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR analysis. The detailed molecular mechanism underlying the anti-inflammatory effects of β-LAP was analyzed by electrophoretic mobility shift assay, reporter gene assay, Western blot, and RT-PCR analysis.
Results
β-LAP inhibited the expression of iNOS, proinflammatory cytokines, and MMPs (MMP-3, MMP-8, MMP-9) at mRNA and protein levels in LPS-stimulated microglia. On the other hand, β-LAP upregulated the expressions of anti-inflammatory molecules such as IL-10, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), and the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-2 (TIMP-2). The anti-inflammatory effect of β-LAP was confirmed in an LPS-induced systemic inflammation mouse model. Thus, β-LAP inhibited microglial activation and the expressions of iNOS, proinflammatory cytokines, and MMPs in the LPS-injected mouse brain. Further mechanistic studies revealed that β-LAP exerts anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting MAPKs, PI3K/AKT, and NF-κB/AP-1 signaling pathways in LPS-stimulated microglia. β-LAP also inhibited reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by suppressing the expression and/or phosphorylation of NADPH oxidase subunit proteins, such as p47phox and gp91phox. The anti-oxidant effects of β-LAP appeared to be related with the increase of HO-1 and NQO1 via the Nrf2/anti-oxidant response element (ARE) pathway and/or the PKA pathway.
Conclusions
The strong anti-inflammatory/anti-oxidant effects of β-LAP may provide preventive therapeutic potential for various neuroinflammatory disorders.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12974-015-0355-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12974-015-0355-z
PMCID: PMC4502557  PMID: 26173397
β-Lapachone; Microglia; Neuroinflammation; Cytokine; MMP; Signaling pathway
13.  Effect of dexamethasone prodrug on inflamed temporomandibular joints in juvenile rats 
Introduction
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) often causes inflammation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and has been treated with both systemic and intra-articular steroids, with concerns about effects on growing bones. In this study, we evaluated the impact of a macromolecular prodrug of dexamethasone (P-DEX) with inflammation-targeting potential applied systemically or directly to the TMJ.
Methods
Joint inflammation was initiated by injecting two doses of complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) at 1-month intervals into the right TMJs of 24 growing Sprague–Dawley male rats (controls on left side). Four additional rats were not manipulated. With the second CFA injection, animals received (1) 5 mg of P-DEX intra-articularly (n = 9), (2) 15 mg of P-DEX into the tail vein (n = 7), or (3) nothing in addition to CFA (n = 8). The rats were killed 28 days later and measured by radiography for ramus height (condylar superior to gonion inferior [CsGoInf]), by micro-computed tomography for condylar width (CW) and bone volume/standardized condylar volume (BV/CV), and by histology for retrodiscal inflammatory cells. Inflammation targeting of systemic P-DEX was confirmed by IVIS infrared dye imaging. Inflammation and bone growth were compared between groups using analysis of variance and Pearson’s correlations.
Results
CFA caused a significant reduction in CsGoInf (p < 0.05), but neither route of P-DEX administration had an effect on CsGoInf or CW at CFA injection sites. BV/CV was significantly reduced in both inflamed and control condyles as a result of either steroid application (p < 0.05). The inflammatory infiltrate was overwhelmingly lymphocytic, comprising 16.4 ± 1.3 % of the field in CFA alone vs. <0.01 % lymphocytes in contralateral controls (p < 0.0001). Both P-DEX TMJ (10.1 ± 1.2 %) and systemic P-DEX (8.9 ± 1.7 %) reduced lymphocytes (p < 0.002). The total area of inflammatory infiltrate was significantly less in the systemic injection group than in the group that received CFA injections alone (2.6 ± 1.5 mm2 vs. 8.0 ± 1.3 mm2; p = 0.009), but not in the group that received intra-articular P-DEX (8.8 ± 1.2 mm2).
Conclusions
High-dose systemic administration of inflammation-targeting P-DEX is more effective than an intra-articular injection in reducing TMJ inflammation, but both routes may affect TMJ bone density.
doi:10.1186/s13075-015-0772-5
PMCID: PMC4581092  PMID: 26400235
14.  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
15.  Thermal signature analysis as a novel method for evaluating inflammatory arthritis activity 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2005;65(3):306-311.
Objective
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1136/ard.2004.035246
PMCID: PMC1798043  PMID: 16150784
autoimmunity; inflammation; rodent models; innate immunity
16.  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.
doi:10.1111/jcmm.12016
PMCID: PMC3823018  PMID: 23356870
hydrogen sulfide; GYY4137; inflammation; synoviocyte; cytokines; myeloperoxidase; lipopolysaccharide; Freund’s adjuvant; COX-2; TNF-alpha converting enzyme
17.  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.
doi:10.1111/jcmm.12016
PMCID: PMC3823018  PMID: 23356870
hydrogen sulfide; GYY4137; inflammation; synoviocyte; cytokines; myeloperoxidase; lipopolysaccharide; Freund's adjuvant; COX-2; TNF-alpha converting enzyme
18.  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.
doi:10.1186/ar2208
PMCID: PMC2206346  PMID: 17521446
19.  Hypoxia promotes redifferentiation and suppresses markers of hypertrophy and degeneration in both healthy and osteoarthritic chondrocytes 
Introduction
Hypoxia is considered to be a positive influence on the healthy chondrocyte phenotype and cartilage matrix formation. However, hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis (OA). Thus, we assessed whether healthy and OA chondrocytes have distinct responses to oxygen, particularly with regard to hypertrophy and degradation during redifferentiation.
Methods
Monolayer-expanded healthy and OA chondrocytes were redifferentiated for 14 days in pellet cultures under standard (20% oxygen) or hypoxic (2% oxygen) conditions. Cartilage matrix gene expression, matrix quality and quantity, degradative enzyme expression and HIF expression were measured.
Results
In hypoxia, both healthy and OA chondrocytes had higher human collagen type II, α1 gene (COL2A1), and aggrecan (ACAN) expression and sulfated glycosaminoglycan (sGAG) accumulation, concomitant with lower human collagen type X, α1 gene (COL10A1), and human collagen type I, α1 gene (COL1A1), expression and collagen I extracellular accumulation. OA chondrocytes had significantly lower sGAGs/DNA than healthy chondrocytes, but only in high oxygen conditions. Hypoxia also caused significantly greater sGAG retention and hyaluronic acid synthase 2 (HAS2) expression by OA chondrocytes. Both healthy and OA chondrocytes had significantly lower expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) MMP1, MMP2, MMP3 and MMP13 in hypoxia and less active MMP2 enzyme, consistent with lower MMP14 expression. However, aggrecanase (ADAMTS4 and ADAMTS5) expression was significantly lowered by hypoxia only in healthy cells, and COL10A1 and MMP13 remained significantly higher in OA chondrocytes than in healthy chondrocytes in hypoxic conditions. HIF-1α and HIF-2α had similar expression profiles in healthy and OA cells, increasing to maximal levels early in hypoxia and decreasing over time.
Conclusions
Hypoxic culture of human chondrocytes has long been acknowledged to result in increased matrix accumulation, but still little is known of its effects on catabolism. We show herein that the increased expression of matrix proteins, combined with decreased expression of numerous degradative enzymes by hypoxia, minimizes but does not abolish differences between redifferentiated healthy and OA chondrocytes. Hypoxia-induced HIF expression is associated with hypertrophic marker and degradative enzyme downregulation and increased measures of redifferentiation in both healthy and OA chondrocytes. Therefore, though HIFs may be involved in the pathogenesis of OA, conditions that promote HIF expression in vitro promote matrix accumulation and decrease degradation and hypertrophy, even in cells from OA joints.
doi:10.1186/ar4272
PMCID: PMC3979022  PMID: 23965235
20.  Involvement of nitric oxide synthase in matrix metalloproteinase-9- and/or urokinase plasminogen activator receptor-mediated glioma cell migration 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:590.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-590
PMCID: PMC3878845  PMID: 24325546
Glioma; Nitric oxide; Migration; Integrin; Knockdown
21.  Toll-like receptor 4 mediates microglial activation and production of inflammatory mediators in neonatal rat brain following hypoxia: role of TLR4 in hypoxic microglia 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1742-2094-10-23
PMCID: PMC3575244  PMID: 23388509
Toll-like receptor 4; Microglia; NF-κB; Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α; Hypoxia; Inflammation
22.  α-Melanocyte-stimulating-hormone (α-MSH) modulates human chondrocyte activation induced by proinflammatory cytokines 
Background
Alpha-melanocyte-stimulating-hormone (α-MSH) has marked anti-inflammatory potential. Proinflammatory cytokines are critical mediators of the disturbed cartilage homeostasis in osteoarthritis, inhibiting anabolic activities and increasing catabolic activities in chondrocytes. Since human chondrocytes express α-MSH receptors, we evaluated the role of the peptide in modulating chondrocyte production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and nitric oxide (NO) in response to interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α).
Methods
Human articular chondrocytes were obtained from osteoarthritic joint cartilage from subjects undergoing hip routine arthroplasty procedures. The cells were cultured with or without α-MSH in the presence of IL-1β or TNF-α. Cell-free supernatants were collected and cells immediately lysed for RNA purification. Expression of cytokines, MMPs, TIMPs, iNOS was determined by Reverse Transcription Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Griess reaction was used for NO quantification.
Results
Gene expression and secretion of IL-6, IL-8, MMP-3, MMP-13 were significantly increased in IL-1β or TNF-α-stimulated chondrocytes; α-MSH did not modify the release of IL-6 or IL-8 while the peptide significantly reduced their gene expression on TNF-α-stimulated cells. A significant inhibition of MMP3 gene expression and secretion from IL-1β or TNFα-stimulated chondrocytes was induced by α-MSH. On the other hand, α-MSH did not modify the release of MMP-13 by cytokine-stimulated chondrocyte but significantly decreased gene expression of the molecule on TNF-α-stimulated cells. Detectable amount of TIMP-3 and TIMP-4 were present in the supernatants of resting chondrocytes and a significant increase of TIMP-3 gene expression and release was induced by α-MSH on unstimulated cells. TIMP-3 secretion and gene expression were significantly increased in IL-1β-stimulated chondrocytes and α-MSH down-regulated gene expression but not secretion of the molecule. TIMP-4 gene expression (but not secretion) was moderately induced in IL-1β-stimulated chondrocytes with a down-regulation exerted by α-MSH. IL-1β and TNF-α were potent stimuli for NO production and iNOS gene expression by chondrocytes; no inhibition was induced by α-MSH on cytokine-stimulated NO production, while the peptide significantly reduced gene expression of iNOS.
Conclusions
Our results underscore a potential anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective activity exerted by α-MSH, increasing TIMP-3 gene expression and release on resting cells and down- modulating TNF-α-induced activation of human chondrocytes. However, the discrepancy between the influences exerted by α-MSH on gene expression and protein release as well as the difference in the inhibitory pattern exerted by α-MSH in TNF-α- or IL-1β-stimulated cells leave some uncertainty on the role of the peptide on chondrocyte modulation.
doi:10.1186/s12891-015-0615-1
PMCID: PMC4475285  PMID: 26093672
23.  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.
doi:10.1136/ard.2003.009720
PMCID: PMC1755025  PMID: 15140772
24.  Suppression of adjuvant arthritis of rats by a novel matrix metalloproteinase-inhibitor 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2000;131(8):1513-1520.
BAY 12-9566 (4-[4-(chlorophenyl)phenyl]-4-oxo-2S-(phenylthiomethyl) butanoic acid) is a newly developed, synthetic matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitor (MMPI) that selectively inhibits MMP-2, MMP-3 and MMP-9 isozymes. We study the effect of BAY 12-9566 on inflammation and cartilage destruction in adjuvant-induced arthritis (AA) in rats.Rats were injected with adjuvant and treated for 21 days with vehicle, Indomethacin or BAY 12-9566. AA was assessed: by measuring arthritic index, paw volume, urinary pyridinoline (Pyr) and deoxypyridinoline (Dpyr); by examining joint inflammation; and by microscopic morphometry of articular cartilages.Oral treatment of rats for 22 days with 50 mg kg−1 body weight/d BAY 12-9566 showed decreased AA as determined by improvement in body weight gain (P<0.01), arthritic index (P<0.05) and swelling of paws contralateral to the adjuvant injection site (P<0.05). Neutrophil infiltration and collagen degradation were also significantly lower (P<0.01) in this treatment group. Cartilage destruction was successfully suppressed (P<0.01) in rats treated with either 50 mg kg−1 body weight/d BAY 12-9566 or 1 mg kg−1 body weight/d Indomethacin.These results indicate that BAY 12-9566 successfully suppressed inflammation and cartilage destruction in rats with AA. Moreover, these results also suggested that MMP-2, MMP-3 and MMP-9 are involved in arthritic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0703751
PMCID: PMC1572509  PMID: 11139426
Matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor; adjuvant induced-arthritis
25.  Inhibition of endogenous NGF degradation induces mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia in rats 
Molecular Pain  2013;9:37.
Background
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1744-8069-9-37
PMCID: PMC3737061  PMID: 23889761
Matrix metalloproteinase; Nerve growth factor; Allodynia; Hyperalgesia; Sympathetic sprouting

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