The purpose of this study was to investigate the profile of histone deacetylase (HDAC) expression in the synovial tissue of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) compared with that of normal control and osteoarthritis (OA), and to examine whether there is a link between HDAC activity and synovial inflammation.
HDAC activity and histone acetyltransferase (HAT) activity were determined in nuclear extracts of total synovial tissue surgically obtained from normal, OA and RA joints. The level of cytoplasmic tumor necrosis factor a (TNFα) fraction was measured by ELISA. Total RNA of synovial tissue was used for RT-PCR of HDAC1-8. In synovial fibroblasts from RA (RASFs), the effects of TNFα on nuclear HDAC activity and class I HDACs (1, 2, 3, 8) mRNA expressions were examined by quantitative real-time PCR. The protein expression and distribution of class I HDACs were examined by Western blotting.
Nuclear HDAC activity was significantly higher in RA than in OA and normal controls and correlated with the amount of cytoplasmic TNFα. The mRNA expression of HDAC1 in RA synovial tissue was higher than in OA and normal controls, and showed positive correlation with TNFα mRNA expression. The protein level of nuclear HDAC1 was higher in RA synovial tissue compared with OA synovial tissue. Stimulation with TNFα significantly increased the nuclear HDAC activity and HDAC1 mRNA expression at 24 hours and HDAC1 protein expression at 48 hours in RASFs.
Our results showed nuclear HDAC activity and expression of HDAC1 were significantly higher in RA than in OA synovial tissues, and they were upregulated by TNFα stimulation in RASFs. These data might provide important clues for the development of specific small molecule HDAC inhibitors.
Dendritic cells are the major antigen-presenting and antigen-priming cells of the immune system. We review the antigen-presenting and proinflammatory roles played by dendritic cells in the initiation of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and atherosclerosis, which complicates RA. Various signals that promote the activation of NF-κB and the secretion of TNF and IL-1 drive the maturation of dendritic cells to prime self-specific responses, and drive the perpetuation of synovial inflammation. These signals may include genetic factors, infection, cigarette smoking, immunostimulatory DNA and oxidized low-density lipoprotein, with major involvement of autoantibodies. We propose that the pathogenesis of RA and atherosclerosis is intimately linked, with the vascular disease of RA driven by similar and simultaneous triggers to NF-κB.
Cellular activation, proliferation and survival in chronic inflammatory diseases is regulated not only by engagement of signal trans-duction pathways that modulate transcription factors required for these processes, but also by epigenetic regulation of transcription factor access to gene promoter regions. Histone acetyl trans-ferases coordinate the recruitment and activation of transcription factors with conformational changes in histones that allow gene promoter exposure. Histone deacetylases (HDACs) counteract histone acetyl transferase activity through the targeting of both histones as well as nonhistone signal transduction proteins important in inflammation. Numerous studies have indicated that depressed HDAC activity in patients with inflammatory airway diseases may contribute to local proinflammatory cytokine production and diminish patient responses to corticosteroid treatment. Recent observations that HDAC activity is depressed in rheumatoid arthritis patient synovial tissue have predicted that strategies restoring HDAC function may be therapeutic in this disease as well. Pharmacological inhibitors of HDAC activity, however, have demonstrated potent therapeutic effects in animal models of arthritis and other chronic inflammatory diseases. In the present review we assess and reconcile these outwardly paradoxical study results to provide a working model for how alterations in HDAC activity may contribute to pathology in rheumatoid arthritis, and highlight key questions to be answered in the preclinical evaluation of compounds modulating these enzymes.
The aim was to characterize the expression of CCL19 and CCL21 in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial tissue and to examine their regulation and pathogenic role in macrophages and RA synovial tissue fibroblasts.
Expression of CCL19 and CCL21 was demonstrated in RA and normal (NL) synovial tissues employing immunohistochemistry. CCL19 and CCL21 levels were quantified in fluids from osteoarthritis (OA), juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and RA using ELISA. Regulation of CCL19 and CCL21 expression was determined in RA peripheral blood in vitro differentiated macrophages as well as RA synovial tissue fibroblasts by real-time RT-PCR. CCL19 and CCL21 activated peripheral blood in vitro differentiated macrophages and RA synovial tissue fibroblasts were examined for proangiogenic factor production employing ELISA.
CCL19 and CCL21 were elevated in RA synovial tissue compared to NL controls. Levels of CCL19 and CCL21 were greatly increased in RA and PsA synovial fluid versus OA synovial fluid. In RA macrophages and fibroblasts, expression of CCL19 was increased by LPS, TNF-α and IL-1β stimulation. However, CCL21 expression was modulated by IL-1β in RA fibroblasts as well as TNF-α and RA synovial fluid in RA macrophages. CCL19 and CCL21 activation induced VEGF and Ang-1 production from RA synovial tissue fibroblasts and secretion of IL-8 and Ang-1 from macrophages.
We identify, for the first time, regulators of CCL19 and CCL21 in RA fibroblasts and RA peripheral blood in vitro differentiated macrophages and we document a novel role of CCL19/21 in RA angiogenesis.
CCL19; CCL21; RA synovial tissue fibroblast; macrophages and proangiogenic factors
Synovial T cells in rheumatoid arthritis are highly differentiated and express a phenotype suggesting susceptibility to apoptosis (CD45RB dull, CD45RO bright, Bcl-2 low, Bax high, Fas high). However, no evidence of T cell apoptosis was found in synovial fluid from any of 28 patients studied. In contrast, synovial fluid from 10 patients with crystal arthritis showed substantial levels of T cell apoptosis. The failre of apoptosis was not an intrinsic property of rheumatoid synovial T cells, as they showed rapid spontaneous apoptosis on removal from the joint. Synovial T cells from rheumatoid arthritis and gout patients could be rescued from spontaneous apoptosis in vitro either by IL-2R gamma chain signaling cytokines (which upregulate Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL) or by interaction with synovial fibroblasts (which upregulates Bcl-xL but not Bcl-2). The phenotype of rheumatoid synovial T cells ex vivo (Bcl-2 low, Bcl-xL high) suggested a fibroblast-mediated mechanism in vivo. This was confirmed by in vitro culture of synovial T cells with fibroblasts which maintained the Bcl-xL high Bcl-2 low phenotype. Synovial T cells from gout patients were Bcl-2 low Bcl-xL low and showed clear evidence of apoptosis in vivo. Inhibition experiments suggested that an integrin-ligand interaction incorporating the Arg-Gly-Asp motif is involved in fibroblast-mediated synovial T cell survival. We propose that environmental blockade of cell death resulting from interaction with stromal cells is a major factor in the persistent T cell infiltration of chronically inflamed rheumatoid synovium.
For some time synovial fibroblasts have been regarded simply as innocent synovial cells, mainly responsible for synovial homeostasis. During the past decade, however, a body of evidence has accumulated illustrating that rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASFs) are active drivers of joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis. Details regarding the intracellular signalling cascades that result in long-term activation and synthesis of proinflammatory molecules and matrix-degrading enzymes by RASFs have been analyzed. Molecular, cellular and animal studies have identified various interactions with other synovial and inflammatory cells. This expanded knowledge of the distinct role played by RASFs in the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis has moved these fascinating cells to the fore, and work to identify targeted therapies to inhibit their joint destructive potential is underway.
This study was undertaken to identify the intracellular signaling pathway involved in induction of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in human rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial fibroblasts.
Human RA synovial fibroblasts were treated with concanavalin A (ConA), various cytokines, and inhibitors of signal transduction molecules. The production of MIF by synovial fibroblasts was measured in culture supernatants by ELISA. The expression of MIF mRNA was determined using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and real-time PCR. Phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase in synovial fibroblasts was confirmed using Western blotting. The expression of MIF and p38 MAP kinase in RA synovium was determined using dual immunohistochemistry.
The production of MIF by RA synovial fibroblasts increased in a dose-dependent manner after ConA stimulation. MIF was also induced by interferon-γ, CD40 ligand, interleukin-15, interleukin-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α, and transforming growth factor-β. The production of MIF by RA synovial fibroblasts was significantly reduced after inhibition of p38 MAP kinase. The expression of MIF and p38 MAP kinase was upregulated in the RA synovium compared with the osteoarthritis synovium.
These results suggest that MIF production was induced through a p38 MAP-kinase-dependent pathway in RA synovial fibroblasts.
Macrophage, migration-inhibitory factors; Arthritis rheumatoid; Synovial fibroblast; p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory and destructive disease of the joint. The synovial lining consists of two main types of cells: synovial fibroblasts and macrophages. The macrophage-derived cytokine TNFα stimulates RA synovial fibroblasts to proliferate and produce growth factors, chemokines, proteinases and adhesion molecules, making them key players in the RA disease process. If proteins are not correctly folded, cellular stress occurs that can be relieved in part by increased degradation of the aberrant proteins by the proteasome or autophagy. We hypothesized that the activity of the protein degradation pathways would be increased in response to TNFα stimulation in RA synovial fibroblasts compared with control fibroblasts.
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress markers were examined in synovial fibroblasts by immunoblotting and PCR. Use of the autophagy and proteasome protein degradation pathways in response to TNFα stimulation was determined using a combination of experiments involving chemical inhibition of the autophagy or proteasome pathways followed by immunoblotting for the autophagy marker LC3, measurement of proteasome activity and long-lived protein degradation, and determination of cellular viability.
RA synovial fibroblasts are under acute ER stress, and the stress is increased in the presence of TNFα. Autophagy is the main pathway used to relieve the ER stress in unstimulated fibroblasts, and both autophagy and the proteasome are more active in RA synovial fibroblasts compared with control fibroblasts. In response to TNFα, the autophagy pathway but not the proteasome is consistently stimulated, yet there is an increased dependence on the proteasome for cell viability. If autophagy is blocked in the presence of TNFα, an increase in proteasome activity occurs in RA synovial fibroblasts but not in control cells.
TNFα stimulation of synovial fibroblasts results in increased expression of ER stress markers. Survival of synovial fibroblasts is dependent on continuous removal of proteins by both the lysosome/autophagy and ubiquitin/proteasome protein degradation pathways. Both pathways are more active in RA synovial fibroblasts compared with control fibroblasts. These results may provide a better understanding of the mechanism of TNFα on prolonging the survival of synovial fibroblasts in RA tissue.
DNA and RNA were extracted from synovial membranes, synovial fibroblast cells, peripheral blood lymphocytes, and synovial fibroblast cells strains derived from patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other joint conditions. They were hybridised after immobilisation on nitrocellulose filters with iodinated viral nucleic acids extracted from measles, rubella virus, SV--40, and a retrovirus, RD--114. In addition, in situ-hybridisation was carried out on sections of synovial membranes by means of iodinated measles and rubella virus RNA. In no case did any hybridisation occur. Positive control systems included synovial fibroblast strains transformed with SV--40, LLC--MK2 cells chronically infected with rubella virus and RD cells infected with RD--114. It was concluded tht the synovial cells did not contain viral genomes of measles, rubella virus, SV--40, or RD--114, or at least at a level equivalent to the positive control cells.
Synovial fibroblast cell strains derived from the synovial membranes of 7 patients with rheumatoid arthritis were examined for the presence of viruses, in particular leucoviruses. Seven similar synovial strains derived from patients with other arthritic conditions were used as a control group. Evidence of the presence of a virus or a viral genome was looked for by several methods of induction followed by 3H-uridine labelling of the cultures. In addition, the culture supernatant, after induction and after the synovial strains had been co-cultivated with a variety of cell lines from several species, was assayed for the presence of viral RNA-dependent DNA polymerase activity. The DNA-polymerase activity of the synovial cells themselves was also determined. No evidence was found by any of these techniques to indicate the presence of virus or viral information within the synovial fibroblasts.
The aim of the study was to characterize the expression of IL-7 and IL-7R in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial tissue and to examine their regulation and pathogenic role in macrophages, endothelial cells and RA synovial tissue fibroblasts.
Expression of IL-7 and IL-7R was demonstrated in RA and normal synovial tissues employing immunohistochemistry. Expression and regulation of IL-7 and IL-7R was determined in RA peripheral blood in vitro differentiated macrophages, RA synovial tissue fibroblasts and human microvascular endothelial cells (HMVECs) by real-time RT-PCR and/or flow cytometry. Next, IL-7 activated macrophages, RA fibroblasts and endothelial cells were examined for production of proangiogenic factors employing ELISA.
IL-7 and IL-7R were coexpressed on RA synovial tissue lining and sublining macrophages and endothelial cells. Consistently, expression of IL-7 and its receptor were significantly elevated in RA synovial fluid and peripheral blood macrophages as well as RA fibroblasts compared to normal cells. TLR4 ligation and stimulation with TNF-α modulated expression of IL-7 and IL-7R on RA macrophages and HMVECs. However, in RA fibroblasts only expression of IL-7R was increased by LPS and TNF-α activation. IL-7 also mediated RA pathogenesis by inducing production of potent proangiogenic factors from macrophages and endothelial cells.
We identify, for the first time, regulators of IL-7 and IL-7R expression in RA fibroblasts, RA peripheral blood in vitro differentiated macrophages and endothelial cells and we document a novel role of IL-7 in RA angiogenesis.
IL-7; IL-7R; RA synovial tissue fibroblast; macrophages and proangiogenic factors
Hyperplasia of synovial fibroblasts, infiltration with inflammatory cytokines, and tissue hypoxia are the major characteristics of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Interleukin 33 (IL-33) is a newly identified inflammatory cytokine exacerbating the disease severity of RA. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) showed increased expression in RA synovium and could regulate a number of inflammatory cytokine productions. Nevertheless, its correlation with IL-33 remains largely unknown. Here, we showed that elevated levels of IL-33 were demonstrated in RA patient synovial fluids, with upregulated expression of HIF-1α and IL-33 in the synovial fibroblasts. Knocking down HIF-1α compromised IL-33 expression in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF), while enforcing HIF-1α expression in RASF substantially upregulated IL-33 levels. HIF-1α promoted the activation of the signalling pathways controlling IL-33 production, particularly the p38 and ERK pathways. Moreover, we showed for the first time that IL-33 in turn could induce more HIF-1α expression in RASF, thus forming a HIF-1α/IL-33 regulatory circuit that would perpetuate the inflammatory process in RA. Targeting this pathological pathway and HIF-1α may provide new therapeutic strategies for overcoming the persistent and chronic inflammatory disease.
Objectives: To examine the potential role of the angiogenic growth factor angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) in inflammatory arthritis.
Methods: Eighteen synovial tissue samples were obtained from 17 patients with a clinical diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and compared with six synovial tissue samples from six patients with osteoarthritis (OA). Ang-1 expression in synovial tissues was determined by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridisation. Ang-1 mRNA and protein expression were also examined by northern blot analysis and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in cultured synovial fibroblasts and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) before and after treatment with tumour necrosis factor (TNF)α.
Results: Ang-1 protein expression was detected by immunohistochemistry in 16/18 RA synovial tissue samples. Ang-1 protein was frequently observed in the synovial lining layer and in cells within the sublining synovial tissue, in both perivascular areas and in areas remote from vessels. In contrast, Ang-1 was only weakly detected in these sites in OA samples. Ang-1 mRNA and protein were also expressed in cultured synovial fibroblasts derived from patients with RA. In addition, induction of Ang-1 mRNA and protein was observed by northern blot analysis and ELISA after stimulation of RA synovial fibroblasts, but not HUVECs, with the proinflammatory cytokine TNFα.
Conclusions: Ang-1 mRNA and protein are expressed in the synovium of patients with RA, and are up regulated in synovial fibroblasts by TNFα. Ang-1 may therefore be an important regulator of angiogenesis in inflammatory arthritis.
Overexpression of the antiapoptotic protein myeloid cell leukemia 1 (Mcl-1) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial fibroblasts is a major cause of their resistance to tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα)–induced apoptosis. This study was undertaken to evaluate the efficacy of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) in down-regulating Mcl-1 expression and its mechanism of RA synovial fibroblast sensitization to TNFα-induced apoptosis.
EGCG effects on cultured RA synovial fibroblast cell morphology, proliferation, and viability over 72 hours were determined by microscopy and a fluorescent cell enumeration assay. Caspase 3 activity was determined by a colorimetric assay. Western blotting was used to evaluate the apoptosis mediators poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), Mcl-1, Bcl-2, Akt, and nuclear translocation of NF-κB.
In RA synovial fibroblasts, EGCG (5–50 μM) inhibited constitutive and TNFα-induced Mcl-1 protein expression in a concentration- and time-dependent manner (P < 0.05). Importantly, EGCG specifically abrogated Mcl-1 expression in RA synovial fibroblasts and affected Mcl-1 expression to a lesser extent in osteoarthritis and normal synovial fibroblasts or endothelial cells. Inhibition of Mcl-1 by EGCG triggered caspase 3 activity in RA synovial fibroblasts, which was mediated via down-regulation of the TNFα-induced Akt and NF-κB pathways. Caspase 3 activation by EGCG also suppressed RA synovial fibroblast growth, and this effect was mimicked by Akt and NF-κB inhibitors. Interestingly, Mcl-1 degradation by EGCG sensitized RA synovial fibroblasts to TNFα-induced PARP cleavage and apoptotic cell death.
Our findings indicate that EGCG itself induces apoptosis and further sensitizes RA synovial fibroblasts to TNFα-induced apoptosis by specifically blocking Mcl-1 expression and, hence, may be of promising adjunct therapeutic value in regulating the invasive growth of synovial fibroblasts in RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterised by invasion of cartilage, bone and tendon by inflamed synovium. Previous studies in our laboratory have shown that hypoxia is a feature of RA synovitis. In the present study, we investigated the consequences of hypoxia on angiogenesis and synovial fibroblast migration in RA.
Synovial tissue was harvested from RA patients, and synovial membrane cells were cultured under conditions either of hypoxia (1% oxygen) or normoxia (21% oxygen). Protein levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and angiogenic factors were measured, while RNA was extracted for PCR quantification of MMPs/tissue inhibitors of MMP (TIMPs) and angiogenic factors. Migration of RA synovial fibroblasts through collagen, and the effect of RA synovial cell supernatants in an in vitro angiogenesis assay, were utilised to determine the functional relevance of changes in mRNA/protein.
We observed upregulation under hypoxic conditions of MMPs responsible for collagen breakdown, specifically collagenase MMP-8, and the gelatinases MMP-2 and MMP-9, at both mRNA and protein levels. Increased MT1-MMP mRNA was also observed, but no effect on TIMP-1 or TIMP-2 was detected. RA fibroblast migration across collagen was significantly increased under hypoxic conditions, and was dependent on MMP activity. Furthermore, expression of angiogenic stimuli, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and VEGF/placental growth factor heterodimer, was also increased. Crucially, we show for the first time that hypoxia increased the angiogenic drive of RA cells, as demonstrated by enhanced blood vessel formation in an in vitro angiogenesis assay.
Hypoxia may be responsible for rendering RA synovial lining proangiogenic and proinvasive, thus leading to the debilitating features characteristic of RA.
Circadian rhythms play an important role in the body and in single cells. Rhythms of molecular clocks have not been investigated in synovial fibroblasts (SF) of patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The study was initiated to fill this gap and to study effects of interleukin (IL)-1β/tumor necrosis factor (TNF) on rhythmicity in synovial fibroblasts of RA and OA patients.
The presence of BMAL-1, CLOCK, Period 1 and Period 2 proteins in synovial tissue was investigated by immunofluorescence. The presence of mRNA of molecular clocks was studied during 72 h by qPCR. Characteristics of rhythms were studied with time series analysis.
BMAL-1, CLOCK, Period 1 and Period 2 proteins were abundantly present in synovial tissue of OA, RA and controls. Receiving synovial tissue at different operation time points during the day (8:00 am to 4:00 pm) did not reveal a rhythm of BMAL-1 or Period 1 protein. In OASF and RASF, no typical rhythm curve of molecular clock mRNA was observed. Time series analysis identified a first peak between 2 and 18 hours after synchronization but a period was not detectable due to loss of rhythm. TNF inhibited mRNA of CLOCK, Period 1 and Period 2 in OASF, while IL-1β and TNF increased these factors in RASF. This was supported by dose-dependently increased levels in MH7A RA fibroblasts. In RASF, IL-1β and TNF shifted the first peak of BMAL-1 mRNA to later time points (8 h to 14 h).
Rhythmicity is not present in primary OASF and RASF, which is unexpected because fibroblasts usually demonstrate perfect rhythms during several days. This might lead to uncoupling of important cellular pathways.
Reduced synovial expression of histone deacetylases (HDACs) is proposed to contribute to pathology in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by enhancing histone-dependent access of transcription factors to promoters of inflammatory genes. In the previous issue of Arthritis Research & Therapy, Kawabata and colleagues provided independent evidence that HDAC activity is increased in the synovium and fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) of patients with RA and is paralleled by increased HDAC1 expression and synovial tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) production. Remarkably, stimulation of RA FLSs with TNFα specifically increases HDAC activity and HDAC1 expression, suggesting that changes in synovial HDAC activity and expression may be secondary to local inflammatory status.
A surprising feature of the inflammatory infiltrate in rheumatoid arthritis is the accumulation of neutrophils within synovial fluid and at the pannus cartilage boundary. Recent findings suggest that a distinct subset of IL-17-secreting T-helper cells (TH17 cells) plays a key role in connecting the adaptive and innate arms of the immune response and in regulating neutrophil homeostasis. We therefore tested the hypothesis that synovial fibroblasts bridge the biological responses that connect TH17 cells to neutrophils by producing neutrophil survival factors following their activation with IL-17.
IL-17-expressing cells in the rheumatoid synovium, and IL-17-expressing cells in the peripheral blood, and synovial fluid were examined by confocal microscopy and flow cytometry, respectively. Peripheral blood neutrophils were cocultured either with rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF) or with conditioned medium from RASF that had been pre-exposed to recombinant human IL-17, TNFα or a combination of the two cytokines. Neutrophils were harvested and stained with the vital mitochondrial dye 3,3'-dihexyloxacarbocyanine iodide before being enumerated by flow cytometry.
TH17-expressing CD4+ cells were found to accumulate within rheumatoid synovial tissue and in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fluid. RASF treated with IL-17 and TNFα (RASFIL-17/TNF) effectively doubled the functional lifespan of neutrophils in coculture. This was entirely due to soluble factors secreted from the fibroblasts. Specific depletion of granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor from RASFIL-17/TNF-conditioned medium demonstrated that this cytokine accounted for approximately one-half of the neutrophil survival activity. Inhibition of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase and NF-κB pathways showed a requirement for both signalling pathways in RASFIL-17/TNF-mediated neutrophil rescue.
The increased number of neutrophils with an extended lifespan found in the rheumatoid synovial microenvironment is partly accounted for by IL-17 and TNFα activation of synovial fibroblasts. TH17-expressing T cells within the rheumatoid synovium are likely to contribute significantly to this effect.
Interleukin-34 (IL-34) is a new cytokine implicated in macrophage differentiation and osteoclastogenesis. The present study assessed the IL-34 expression in the tissue of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Immunohistochemistry was performed in synovial biopsy from patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (n=20), osteoarthritis (n=3) or other inflammatory arthritis (n=4). IL-34 was detected in the synovial fluid by ELISA and its mRNA expression was studied by qPCR in rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts after stimulation by TNF-α and IL-1β. Wild type, jnk1−/−-jnk2−/− and nemo−/− murine fibroblasts and pharmacological inhibitions were used to determine the involvement of NFκB and JNK in that effect.
IL-34 was expressed in 24/27 biopsies with 3 samples from RA patients being negative. We found a significant association between IL-34 expression and the synovitis severity. Levels of IL-34 and the total leukocyte count in the synovial fluid were correlated. TNF-α and IL-1β stimulated Il-34 expression by the synovial fibroblasts in a dose/time dependant manner through the NFκB and JUNK pathway.
This work identify for the first time IL-34 expression in the synovial tissue of arthritic patients. This cytokine, as a downstream effector of TNF-α and IL-1β, may contribute to the inflammation and bone erosions in RA.
Adult; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Arthritis, Rheumatoid; complications; genetics; metabolism; Cells, Cultured; Dose-Response Relationship, Drug; Female; Fibroblasts; drug effects; metabolism; Gene Expression Regulation; drug effects; Humans; Interleukin-1beta; pharmacology; Interleukins; genetics; metabolism; MAP Kinase Signaling System; physiology; Male; Middle Aged; NF-kappa B; physiology; Osteoarthritis; genetics; metabolism; RNA, Messenger; genetics; Synovial Fluid; metabolism; Synovitis; etiology; genetics; metabolism; Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha; pharmacology; Interleukin-34; Arthritis; Rheumatoid Arthritis; Osteoarthritis; inflammation
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by destruction of bone and cartilage, which is mediated, in part, by synovial fibroblasts. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a large family of proteolytic enzymes responsible for matrix degradation. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a cytokine that induces the production of a large number of proinflammatory molecules and has an important role in the pathogenesis of RA by promoting inflammation and angiogenesis.
In the present study, we determined the role of MIF in RA synovial fibroblast MMP production and the underlying signaling mechanisms. We found that MIF induces RA synovial fibroblast MMP-2 expression in a time-dependent and concentration-dependent manner. To elucidate the role of MIF in MMP-2 production, we produced zymosan-induced arthritis (ZIA) in MIF gene-deficient and wild-type mice. We found that MMP-2 protein levels were significantly decreased in MIF gene-deficient compared with wild-type mice joint homogenates. The expression of MMP-2 in ZIA was evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC). IHC revealed that MMP-2 is highly expressed in wild-type compared with MIF gene-deficient mice ZIA joints. Interestingly, synovial lining cells, endothelial cells, and sublining nonlymphoid mononuclear cells expressed MMP-2 in the ZIA synovium. Consistent with these results, in methylated BSA (mBSA) antigen-induced arthritis (AIA), a model of RA, enhanced MMP-2 expression was also observed in wild-type compared with MIF gene-deficient mice joints. To elucidate the signaling mechanisms in MIF-induced MMP-2 upregulation, RA synovial fibroblasts were stimulated with MIF in the presence of signaling inhibitors. We found that MIF-induced RA synovial fibroblast MMP-2 upregulation required the protein kinase C (PKC), c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), and Src signaling pathways. We studied the expression of MMP-2 in the presence of PKC isoform-specific inhibitors and found that the PKCδ inhibitor rottlerin inhibits MIF-induced RA synovial fibroblast MMP-2 production. Consistent with these results, MIF induced phosphorylation of JNK, PKCδ, and c-jun. These results indicate a potential novel role for MIF in tissue destruction in RA.
The repellent factor family of Slit molecules has been described to have repulsive function in the developing nervous system on growing axons expressing the Robo receptors. However, until today no data are available on whether these repellent factors are involved in the regulation of synovial fibroblast (SF) activity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
mRNA expression in primary synovial fibroblasts was quantified by quantitative reverse transcription PCR and protein expression was measured by fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis. Different functional assays were performed with rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF): proliferation, migration and a novel in-vitro cartilage destruction assay.
First, we found increased expression of Robo3 expression in RASF compared to normal SF. Interestingly, analysis of data from a recently published genome-wide association study suggests a contribution of ROBO3 gene polymorphisms to susceptibility of RA. Functional assays performed with RASF revealed induction of migration and cartilage destruction by Robo3 and increased matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)1 and MMP3 expression. Treatment of RASF in early passages with Slit3 led to inhibition of migration whereas RASF in later passages, having reduced Robo3 expression in cell culture, were not inhibited by Slit3 treatment. Here, reduction of Robo3 expression from passage 3 to 10 might reflect an important step in losing repulsive activity of Slit3.
Taken together, our data showed that deregulation of the Robo3 receptor in synovial fibroblasts in RA correlates with aggressiveness of the fibroblasts. Slit3 reduces the migratory activity of synovial cells from patients with RA, potentially by repulsion of the cells in analogy to the neuronal system. Further studies will be necessary to prove Slit activity in vivo.
Events that occur in rheumatoid arthritis synovial tissues are responsible for the signs and symptoms of joint inflammation and for the eventual destruction of articular and periarticular structures that lead to joint dysfunction and disability. The three most abundant cell populations in RA synovium are synovial macrophages (type A synoviocytes), synovial fibroblasts (type B synoviocytes) and infiltrating T lymphocytes. Other important cell populations include B lymphocytes, dendritic cells, plasma cells, mast cells and osteoclasts. Our current understanding of rheumatoid arthritis is moving beyond previous concepts that view this disease as the consequence of a specific and focused humoral or cellular autoimmune response to a single autoantigen. Rather, a new view of rheumatoid arthritis is emerging, which seeks to understand this disease as the product of pathologic cell–cell interactions occurring within a unique and defined environment, the synovium. T lymphocytes in rheumatoid arthritis synovium interact closely with dendritic cells, the most potent antigen-presenting cell population in the immune system. T cells also interact with monocytes and macrophages and cytokine-activated T cells may be, especially, suited to trigger production of the important cytokine TNFα by synovial macrophages. Recent evidence also suggests a potent bidirectional interaction between synovial T cells and synovial fibroblasts, which can lead to activation of both cell types. An important role for synovial B lymphocytes has been emphasized recently, both by experimental data and by results of clinical interventions. B cells in synovium can interact with fibroblasts as well as with other cells of the immune system and their potential role as antigen-presenting cells in the joint is as yet underexplored. Rheumatoid arthritis synovium may be one of the most striking examples of pathologic, organ-specific interactions between immune system cells and resident tissue cell populations. This view of rheumatoid arthritis also leads to the prediction that novel approaches to treatment will more logically target the intercellular communication systems that maintain such interactions, rather than attempt to ablate a single cell population.
T cells; B cells; Fibroblasts; Dendritic cells; Monocytes
Heat shock proteins (hsp) have been repeatedly implicated to participate in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Herein, we investigated the regulation of synovial hsp70 expression by analyzing the DNA-binding activity of heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1) as well as inducible hsp70 expression. Experiments were performed both on synovial tissue and on synovial fibroblast-like cells (SFC). Gel mobility shift analysis revealed increased HSF1 activation, and Western blotting and immunohistochemistry revealed increased hsp70 expression in RA synovial tissue, but not in synovial tissue derived from patients with osteoarthritis. Proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-1alpha, IL-6), but not IFN-gamma or TGF-beta, induced activation of HSF1-DNA binding and hsp70 expression in cultivated SFC. Activation of HSF1 in SFC was accompanied by hyperphosphorylation and nuclear translocation of HSF1. Furthermore, shear stress also induced a complete heat shock response in cultivated synovial cells. In contrast, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs triggered only an incomplete heat shock response, with HSF1 activation but not hsp70 induction, whereas steroids and immunosuppressive drugs did not affect the heat shock response at all. In summary, these data suggest that induction of hsp70 expression in rheumatoid synovial tissue is based on transcriptional activation of HSF1 due to the presence of proinflammatory cytokines (and possibly also shear stress).
Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is one of key regulators in acute and chronic immune-inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We examined the effect of MIF on osteoclastogenesis, which is known to play a crucial role in bone destruction in RA.
The concentration of MIF and receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL) in the synovial fluid was measured by ELISA. MIF-induced RANKL expression of RA synovial fibroblasts was determined by real-time PCR and western blot. Osteoclastogenesis was analyzed in culture of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) with MIF. Osteoclastogenesis was also determined after co-cultures of rhMIF-stimulated RA synovial fibroblasts with human PBMC.
Synovial fluid MIF concentration in RA patients was significantly higher than in osteoarthritis (OA) patients. The concentration of RANKL correlated with that of MIF in RA synovial fluids (r = 0.6, P < 0.001). MIF stimulated the expression of RANKL mRNA and protein in RA synovial fibroblasts, which was partially reduced by blocking of interleukin (IL)-1β. Osteoclasts were differentiated from PBMC cultures with MIF and M-CSF, even without RANKL. Osteoclastogenesis was increased after co-culture of MIF-stimulated RA synovial fibroblasts with PBMC and this effect was diminished by RANKL neutralization. Blocking of PI3 kinase, p38 MAP kinase, JAK-2, NF-κB, and AP-1 also led to a marked reduction in RANKL expression and osteoclastogenesis.
The interactions among MIF, synovial fibroblasts, osteoclasts, RANKL, and IL-1β have a close connection in osteoclastogenesis and they could be a potential gateway leading to new therapeutic approaches in treating bone destruction in RA.
OBJECTIVE: To define the mechanisms whereby methotrexate (MTX) manifests its effects in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. METHODS: T and B cells from peripheral blood and rheumatoid synovial tissues, synovial adherent cells, and the human fibrosarcoma cell line HT1080 and its mutant (defective in an enzyme in the nucleotide salvage pathway) were tested for clonal growth when cultured with MTX. Normal human fibroblasts and those with a deficiency in a salvage pathway were cultured with MTX in the presence or absence of purine and pyrimidine bases. RESULTS: Clonal growth of T and B cells, but not synovial cells, was inhibited by clinically relevant concentrations of MTX. Slowly proliferating fibroblast lines were resistant to MTX, whereas their rapidly proliferating counterparts were not. However, mutant fibroblast lines deficient in a salvage pathway were sensitive to MTX despite slow proliferation. Similarly, while skin fibroblasts were resistant to MTX, germline mutant fibroblasts deficient in a salvage pathway were sensitive to small concentrations of MTX. CONCLUSION: T and B lymphocytes, but not synovial cells, may be the target of MTX in vivo. Resistance to MTX may be associated with slow proliferation and the ability to synthesise nucleotides via salvage pathways. MTX can inhibit proliferation of even slowly growing cells by restricting the supply of nucleotides obtained via a salvage pathway, by removal of purine and pyrimidine bases, or by inducing a deficiency in a salvage pathway. It may be possible to manipulate the therapeutic effect of MTX by adjusting the amounts of purines and pyrimidines available to the cells in vivo.