To reduce culture artifacts by conventional repeated passaging and long-term culture in vitro, the isolation of synovial fibroblasts (SFB) was attempted from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial membranes by trypsin/collagenase digest, short-term in vitro adherence (7 days), and negative isolation using magnetobead-coupled anti-CD14 monoclonal antibodies. This method yielded highly enriched SFB (85% prolyl-4-hydroxylase+/74% Thy-1/CD90+ cells; <2% contaminating macrophages; <1% leukocytes/endothelial cells) that, in comparison with conventional fourth-passage RA-SFB, showed a markedly different phenotype and significantly lower proliferation rates upon stimulation with platelet-derived growth factor and IL-1β. This isolation method is simple and reliable, and may yield cells with features closer to the in vivo configuration of RA-SFB by avoiding extended in vitro culture.
isolation; phenotype/function; primary culture; rheumatoid arthritis; synovial fibroblasts
Genome-wide gene expression was comparatively investigated in early-passage rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) synovial fibroblasts (SFBs; n = 6 each) using oligonucleotide microarrays; mRNA/protein data were validated by quantitative PCR (qPCR) and western blotting and immunohistochemistry, respectively. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) of the microarray data suggested constitutive upregulation of components of the transforming growth factor (TGF)-β pathway in RA SFBs, with 2 hits in the top 30 regulated pathways. The growth factor TGF-β1, its receptor TGFBR1, the TGF-β binding proteins LTBP1/2, the TGF-β-releasing thrombospondin 1 (THBS1), the negative effector SkiL, and the smad-associated molecule SARA were upregulated in RA SFBs compared to OA SFBs, whereas TGF-β2 was downregulated. Upregulation of TGF-β1 and THBS1 mRNA (both positively correlated with clinical markers of disease activity/severity) and downregulation of TGF-β2 mRNA in RA SFBs were confirmed by qPCR. TGFBR1 mRNA (only numerically upregulated in RA SFBs) and SkiL mRNA were not differentially expressed. At the protein level, TGF-β1 showed a slightly higher expression, and the signal-transducing TGFBR1 and the TGF-β-activating THBS1 a significantly higher expression in RA SFBs than in OA SFBs. Consistent with the upregulated TGF-β pathway in RA SFBs, stimulation with TGF-β1 resulted in a significantly enhanced expression of matrix-metalloproteinase (MMP)-11 mRNA and protein in RA SFBs, but not in OA SFBs. In conclusion, RA SFBs show broad, constitutive alterations of the TGF-β pathway. The abundance of TGF-β, in conjunction with an augmented mRNA and/or protein expression of TGF-β-releasing THBS1 and TGFBR1, suggests a pathogenetic role of TGF-β-induced effects on SFBs in RA, for example, the augmentation of MMP-mediated matrix degradation/remodeling.
Constitutive mRNA expression and secretion of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines was comparatively analyzed in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial fibroblasts (SFB), isolated from primary culture or derived by repeated passage; normal-skin fibroblasts were used as controls. First-passage RA-SFB (n = 3) secreted large amounts of IL-6 (15,800 ± 2,110 pg/ml; mean ± SEM), but only limited amounts of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α (22.1 ± 1.1 pg/ml) or IL-10 (35.7 ± 34.2 pg/ml; only one of three samples was positive). IL-1β, IL-15, and IL-18 were not detectable at the protein level and showed very low mRNA levels by semiquantitative RT-PCR. In repeated-passage RA-SFB (tenth passage), protein secretion was significantly lower for IL-6 (one-twentieth of the initial level) and TNF-α (two-thirds), and markedly reduced for IL-10 (one-quarter, with only one of three samples positive). While the decrease of IL-10 protein from first to tenth passage was paralleled by a corresponding decrease of mRNA, the relative mRNA levels for IL-6 and TNF-α were actually increased (20-fold and 300-fold, respectively), indicating post-transcriptional and/or post-translational regulation of these cytokines. Due to highly variable levels among individual patients, however, no significant differences were observed for any cytokine mRNA between primary-culture and repeated-passage RA-SFB (ninth passage). Likewise, no significant differences were detectable between RA-SFB and normal-skin fibroblasts (primary-culture and repeated-passage). By producing high amounts of IL-6 and limited amounts of TNF-α, RA-SFB may contribute to the (im)balance of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines in the inflamed joint.
cytokines; inflammation; mRNA; rheumatoid arthritis; synovial fibroblasts
To examine the relative importance of tumour necrosis factor‐receptor 1 (TNF‐R1) and TNF‐R2 and their signalling pathways for pro‐inflammatory and pro‐destructive features of early‐passage synovial fibroblasts (SFB) from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA).
Cells were stimulated with tumour necrosis factor (TNF)α or agonistic anti‐TNF‐R1/TNF‐R2 monoclonal antibodies. Phosphorylation of p38, ERK and JNK kinases was assessed by western blot; proliferation by bromodesoxyuridine incorporation; interleukin (IL)6, IL8, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)‐1 secretion by ELISA; and MMP‐3 secretion by western blot. Functional assays were performed with or without inhibition of p38 (SB203580), ERK (U0126) or JNK (SP600125).
In RA‐ and OA‐SFB, TNFα‐induced phosphorylation of p38, ERK or JNK was exclusively mediated by TNF‐R1. Reduction of proliferation and induction of IL6, IL8 and MMP‐1 were solely mediated by TNF‐R1, whereas PGE2 and MMP‐3 secretion was mediated by both TNF‐Rs. In general, inhibition of ERK or JNK did not significantly alter the TNFα influence on these effector molecules. In contrast, inhibition of p38 reversed TNFα effects on proliferation and IL6/PGE2 secretion (but not on IL8 and MMP‐3 secretion). The above effects were comparable in RA‐ and OA‐SFB, except that TNFα‐induced MMP‐1 secretion was reversed by p38 inhibition only in OA‐SFB.
In early‐passage RA/OA‐SFB, activation of MAPK cascades and pro‐inflammatory/pro‐destructive features by TNFα is predominantly mediated by TNF‐R1 and, for proliferation and IL6/PGE2 secretion, exclusively regulated by p38. Strikingly, RA‐SFB are insensitive to p38 inhibition of MMP‐1 secretion. This indicates a resistance of RA‐SFB to the inhibition of pro‐destructive functions and suggests underlying structural/functional alterations of the p38 pathway, which may contribute to the pathogenesis or therapeutic sensitivity of RA, or both.
TNF‐receptor; synovial fibroblast; p38 MAP kinase; interleukin; matrix metalloproteinase
Derangements of synovial membranes and cartilage occur early in the course of rheumatoid arthritis. These important alterations of the joint tissues are probably the in vivo reflections of complicated inflammatory and immunological events. In our laboratory we have been interested in studying alterations of synovial lining cells in rheumatoid arthritis, most recently by the use of serially propagated cultures of these cells. The cellular traits described in such cultures serve to distinguish these synovial cells from other types of human fibroblasts, and several cellular alterations have been found in cultures derived from membranes of rheumatoid arthritic patients. One important finding is increased resistance of cultured rheumatoid cells to infection with rubella and NDV; this and other cellular changes suggest the possibility of an occult virus infection in the rheumatoid cells. Such viral persistence could be theoretically linked with the immunologic aberrations in rheumatoid arthritis, discussed in this symposium.
Batch effects due to sample preparation or array variation (type, charge, and/or platform) may influence the results of microarray experiments and thus mask and/or confound true biological differences. Of the published approaches for batch correction, the algorithm “Combating Batch Effects When Combining Batches of Gene Expression Microarray Data” (ComBat) appears to be most suitable for small sample sizes and multiple batches.
Synovial fibroblasts (SFB; purity > 98%) were obtained from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) patients (n = 6 each) and stimulated with TNF-α or TGF-β1 for 0, 1, 2, 4, or 12 hours. Gene expression was analyzed using Affymetrix Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 chips, an alternative chip definition file, and normalization by Robust Multi-Array Analysis (RMA). Data were batch-corrected for different acquiry dates using ComBat and the efficacy of the correction was validated using hierarchical clustering.
In contrast to the hierarchical clustering dendrogram before batch correction, in which RA and OA patients clustered randomly, batch correction led to a clear separation of RA and OA. Strikingly, this applied not only to the 0 hour time point (i.e., before stimulation with TNF-α/TGF-β1), but also to all time points following stimulation except for the late 12 hour time point. Batch-corrected data then allowed the identification of differentially expressed genes discriminating between RA and OA. Batch correction only marginally modified the original data, as demonstrated by preservation of the main Gene Ontology (GO) categories of interest, and by minimally changed mean expression levels (maximal change 4.087%) or variances for all genes of interest. Eight genes from the GO category “extracellular matrix structural constituent” (5 different collagens, biglycan, and tubulointerstitial nephritis antigen-like 1) were differentially expressed between RA and OA (RA > OA), both constitutively at time point 0, and at all time points following stimulation with either TNF-α or TGF-β1.
Batch correction appears to be an extremely valuable tool to eliminate non-biological batch effects, and allows the identification of genes discriminating between different joint diseases. RA-SFB show an upregulated expression of extracellular matrix components, both constitutively following isolation from the synovial membrane and upon stimulation with disease-relevant cytokines or growth factors, suggesting an “imprinted” alteration of their phenotype.
Microarray analysis; Batch correction; Rheumatoid arthritis; Osteoarthritis; Collagen; Extracellular matrix
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 membrane has been shown to contain mesenchymal stem cells. We hypothesized that an enriched population of synovial fibroblasts would undergo chondrogenic differentiation and secrete cartilage extracellular matrix to a greater extent than would a mixed synovial cell population (MSCP). The optimum doses of transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) for chondrogenesis were investigated. CD14-negative isolation was used to obtain a porcine cell population enriched in type-B synovial fibroblasts (SFB) from an MSCP. The positive cell surface markers in SFB were CD90, CD44, and cadherin-11. SFB and MSCP were cultured in the presence of 20 ng/mL TGF-β1 for 7 days, and SFB were demonstrated to have higher chondrogenic potential. Further dose–response studies were carried out using the SFB cells and several doses of TGF-β1 (2, 10, 20, and 40 ng/mL) and/or IGF-1 (1, 10, 100, and 500 ng/mL) for 14 days. TGF-β1 supplementation was essential for chondrogenesis and prevention of cell death, whereas IGF-1 did not have a significant effect on the SFB cell number or glycosaminoglycan production. This study demonstrates that the CD14-negative isolation yields an enhanced cell population SFB that is more potent than MSCP as a cell source for cartilage tissue engineering.
Phagocytosis of yeast particles by peripheral blood and synovial fluid neutrophils was compared in the sera and synovial fluids from 16 osteoarthritis, 23 rheumatoid arthritis, and 12 miscellaneous arthritis patients. Phagocytosis by normal peripheral blood neutrophils was decreased equally and significantly in all synovial fluids. All synovial fluid neutrophils demonstrated decreased phagocytic capacity in all media. Rheumatoid arthritis synovial fluid neutrophils showed significantly less phagocytosis than miscellaneous arthritis synovial fluid neutrophils. Normal peripheral blood neutrophils which in vitro had previously ingested monosodium urate crystals or oil red O, subsequently exhibited a normal yeast phagocytic capacity. Normal peripheral blood neutrophils, which had ingested preformed immunoglobulin G-rheumatoid factor complexes exhibited significantly less yeast phagocytic capacity than control cells or cells preincubated with the individual complex components. There was a significant correlation between the log of the reciprocal of the rheumatoid factor titer in sera used to produce complexes and the phagocytic capacity exhibited by test neutrophils. Ingestion of immunoglobulin G-rheumatoid factor complexes may be important in the production of the cellular phagocytic defect which this study has demonstrated in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fluid neutrophils.
Due to the rapid data accumulation on pathogenesis and progression of chronic inflammation, there is an increasing demand for approaches to analyse the underlying regulatory networks. For example, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease, characterised by joint destruction and perpetuated by activated synovial fibroblasts (SFB). These abnormally express and/or secrete pro-inflammatory cytokines, collagens causing joint fibrosis, or tissue-degrading enzymes resulting in destruction of the extra-cellular matrix (ECM).
We applied three methods to analyse ECM regulation: data discretisation to filter out noise and to reduce complexity, Boolean network construction to implement logic relationships, and formal concept analysis (FCA) for the formation of minimal, but complete rule sets from the data.
First, we extracted literature information to develop an interaction network containing 18 genes representing ECM formation and destruction. Subsequently, we constructed an asynchronous Boolean network with biologically plausible time intervals for mRNA and protein production, secretion, and inactivation. Experimental gene expression data was obtained from SFB stimulated by TGFβ1 or by TNFα and discretised thereafter. The Boolean functions of the initial network were improved iteratively by the comparison of the simulation runs to the experimental data and by exploitation of expert knowledge. This resulted in adapted networks for both cytokine stimulation conditions.
The simulations were further analysed by the attribute exploration algorithm of FCA, integrating the observed time series in a fine-tuned and automated manner. The resulting temporal rules yielded new contributions to controversially discussed aspects of fibroblast biology (e.g., considerable expression of TNF and MMP9 by fibroblasts stimulation) and corroborated previously known facts (e.g., co-expression of collagens and MMPs after TNFα stimulation), but also revealed some discrepancies to literature knowledge (e.g., MMP1 expression in the absence of FOS).
The newly developed method successfully and iteratively integrated expert knowledge at different steps, resulting in a promising solution for the in-depth understanding of regulatory pathways in disease dynamics. The knowledge base containing all the temporal rules may be queried to predict the functional consequences of observed or hypothetical gene expression disturbances. Furthermore, new hypotheses about gene relations were derived which await further experimental validation.
Paf-acether (paf) is a naturally occurring phospholipid involved in inflammatory processes. The presence of paf, its precursor lyso paf, and lipo-paf has been determined in blood and synovial fluid from 13 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 11 with spondylarthropathies, eight with other inflammatory rheumatisms, 13 with chondrocalcinosis, 15 with osteoarthritis, and also in blood from nine healthy subjects. Paf and lipo-paf were measured by rabbit platelet aggregation after isolation by high performance liquid chromatography, whereas lyso paf was first chemically acetylated to give paf. Lipo-paf in blood was higher in patients than in controls; lipo-paf concentrations in blood and in synovial fluid were significantly higher in rheumatoid arthritis than in osteoarthritis and chondrocalcinosis. By contrast, paf and lyso paf reached their lower values in rheumatoid arthritis. The amounts of lipid mediators were not correlated with biological parameters of inflammation. Lipo-paf, which is considered as a storage form of paf, may be the important form of paf in active inflammatory rheumatism.
Synovial cells from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) when grown in vitro in media supplemented with 20% fetal calf serum failed to show any difference in growth rate, life span, uptake of tritiated thymidine or cellular and nuclear characteristics when compared with synovial cells from patients with osteoarthritis or other joint diseases grown similarly in 20% serum enriched medium. There was also no evidence that lymphocytes and/or sera from RA patients were more cytotoxic to autologous synovial cells than sera and/or lymphocytes from OA patients. It is unlikely that antisynovial antibodies or lymphocytes from RA patients act as triggers for synovial damage.
OBJECTIVE—The NF-κB/Rel family of transcription factors regulates the expression of many genes involved in the immune or inflammatory response at the transcriptional level. The aim of this study was to determine whether distinctive patterns of NF-kB activation are seen in different forms of joint disease.
METHODS—The DNA binding activity of these nucleoproteins was examined in purified synovial and peripheral T cells from patients with various chronic rheumatic diseases (12: four with rheumatoid arthritis; five with spondyloarthropathies; and three with osteoarthritis).
RESULTS—Electrophoretic mobility shift assays disclosed two specific complexes bound to a NF-κB specific 32P-labelled oligonucleotide in nucleoproteins extracted from purified T cells isolated from synovial fluid and peripheral blood of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The complexes consisted of p50/p50 homodimers and p50/p65 heterodimers. Increased NF-kB binding to DNA in synovial T cells was observed relative to peripheral T cells. In non-rheumatoid arthritis, binding of NF-κB in synovial T cells was exclusively mediated by p50/p50 homodimers.
CONCLUSION—Overall, the results suggest that NF-κB may play a central part in the activation of infiltrating T cells in chronic rheumatoid arthritis. The activation of this nuclear factor is qualitatively different in rheumatoid synovial T cells to that in other forms of non-rheumatoid arthritis (for example, osteoarthritis, spondyloarthropathies).
Keywords: NF-κB; synovial T cells; rheumatoid arthritis; spondyloarthropathy; osteoarthritis
OBJECTIVE--The distribution and production of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) was examined on the synovium from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). METHODS--The localisation of bFGF was determined by an immunohistochemical staining procedure using anti-bFGF monoclonal antibody. The expression of bFGF mRNA was detected by nonradioactive in situ hybridisation using bFGF antisense oligo DNA. RESULTS--The bFGF was found in the synovial lining cell, sublining stromal fibroblast-like cells, and vascular endothelial cells from patients with RA and OA. Little or no bFGF was found in non-inflamed synovium. Immunostaining of bFGF in the synovial cells was more extensive and intense in synovium of patients with RA than that of patients with OA. The nuclei of the synovial lining cell layer were also immunostained. These nuclear staining were more intense in the lining cell layer from RA patients with moderate or severe proliferation of synovial cells than in RA patients with mild proliferation. The bFGF mRNA was also detected in the synovial lining cell layer of the inflamed synovium. CONCLUSION--The synovial lining cells produced bFGF. The proliferation of synovial cells in the inflamed joints may be the results of stimulation by the bFGF in autocrine manner.
OBJECTIVE—To measure oncostatin M (OSM) in synovial fluid from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA).
METHODS—20 samples of synovial fluid from patients with RA and 10 samples from patients with OA were examined using an OSM specific sandwich ELISA.
RESULTS—OSM was detected at concentrations ranging from 2.36 to 901.82 pg/ml in 18 (90%) of 20 samples of synovial fluid from RA patients. There was no detectable OSM in synovial fluid from OA patients. In the RA patients, the OSM concentration in synovial fluid correlated significantly with the synovial fluid white blood cell count (r=0.67, p<0.01), but not with other laboratory parameters of disease activity.
CONCLUSION—These findings suggest that OSM may contribute to joint inflammation in RA.
In addition to their pivotal role in thrombosis and wound repair, platelets participate in inflammatory responses. We investigated the role of platelets in the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis. We identified platelet microparticles—submicrometer vesicles elaborated by activated platelets—in joint fluid from patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of inflammatory arthritis, but not in joint fluid from patients with osteoarthritis. Platelet microparticles were proinflammatory, eliciting cytokine responses from synovial fibroblasts via interleukin-1. Consistent with these findings, depletion of platelets attenuated murine inflammatory arthritis. Using both pharmacologic and genetic approaches, we identified the collagen receptor glycoprotein VI as a key trigger for platelet microparticle generation in arthritis pathophysiology. Thus, these findings demonstrate a previously unappreciated role for platelets and their activation-induced microparticles in inflammatory joint diseases.
By use of a very sensitive nested PCR method targeting part of the strongly conserved mycoplasmal 16S RNA genes, Mycoplasma pneumoniae was found in the synovial fluid of 19/24 (79%) of rheumatoid arthritis patients, 6/6 (100%) of patients with nonrheumatoid inflammatory arthritis, and 8/10 (80%) of osteoarthritis patients attending the rheumatology clinic for drainage of joint effusions. It was not found in the synovial exudates of 13 people attending the orthopedic clinic with traumatic knee injuries or undergoing surgery for knee replacement. However, M. pneumoniae was detected in 2/4 synovial biopsy specimens from orthopedic patients with traumatic knee injuries. M. pneumoniae was associated with the increased synovial fluids found in arthritic flares but was not found in the synovial fluids of trauma patients. Mycoplasma salivarium occurred sporadically. Mycoplasma fermentans had previously been isolated from patients with inflammatory cellular infiltrates, such as rheumatoid arthritis, but it was not detected for osteoarthritic patients from either clinic. It is possible that these organisms may contribute to chronic inflammation within the joints.
C4b‐binding protein (C4BP) is a plasma oligomeric glycoprotein that participates in the regulation of complement and haemostasis. Complement‐regulatory activity depends on the C4BPα‐polypeptide, whereas the C4BPβ‐polypeptide inactivates protein S, interfering with the anti‐coagulatory protein C‐dependent pathway.
To investigate the expression of C4BPβ in the rheumatoid joint.
Expression of C4BP was studied in synovial explants from patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and healthy controls, using immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridisation. C4BP isoforms and free C4BPβ were studied in synovial effusions from patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and microcrystalline arthritis (MCA) by immunoblotting; total and free protein S levels were studied by enzyme immunoassay.
C4BPβ was overexpressed in the synovial membranes of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, in close association with the severity of synovitis and the extension of interstitial fibrin deposits. As many as 85% fluids from patients with rheumatoid arthritis contained free C4BPβ, whereas this unusual polypeptide was present in 50% fluids from patients with MCA and 40% fluids from patients with osteoarthritis. Free protein S at the effusions was pathologically reduced in patients with rheumatoid arthrits and MCA, and remained normal in patients with osteoarthritis.
C4BPβ is expressed by the inflamed synovial tissue, where it can participate in processes of tissue remodelling associated with invasive growth.
Objectives: To investigate the specificity of three anti-CD68 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) for macrophages (Mφ) in immunohistochemistry (IHC) and flow cytometry (FACS).
Methods: IHC was performed on cryostat sections of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) synovial membranes using the anti-CD68 mAbs KP1, EBM11, and PGM1, and the fibroblast (FB) markers CD90 and prolyl 4-hydroxylase. Expression of CD68 was also analysed by FACS on the monocytic cell lines THP-1 and U937, as well as on synovial fibroblasts (SFB), skin FB, and gingival FB (both surface and intracellular staining).
Results: In IHC, there was an overlap between CD68 (mAbs KP1 and EBM11) and the FB markers CD90/prolyl 4-hydroxylase in the lining layer, diffuse infiltrates, and stroma of RA and OA synovial membranes. In FACS analysis of THP-1 and U937 cells, the percentage of cells positive for the anti-CD68 mAbs KP1 and EBM11 progressively increased from surface staining of unfixed cells, to surface staining of pre-fixed cells, to intracellular staining of the cells. Upon intracellular FACS of different FB, nearly all cells were positive for KP1 and EBM11, but only a small percentage for PGM1. In surface staining FACS, a small percentage of FB were positive for all three anti-CD68 mAbs.
Conclusion: An overlap between CD68 (mAbs KP1 or EBM11) and the FB markers CD90 or prolyl 4-hydroxylase may prevent unequivocal identification of Mφ in synovial tissue by IHC or in monocytic cells and FB upon intracellular FACS. This may be due to sharing of common markers by completely different cell lineages.
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.
We and others have shown that cells obtained from inflamed joints of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients produce interleukin-8, a potent chemotactic cytokine for neutrophils (PMNs). However, IL-8 accounted for only 40% of the chemotactic activity for PMNs found in these synovial fluids. Currently, we have examined the production of the novel PMN chemotactic cytokine, epithelial neutrophil activating peptide-78 (ENA-78), using peripheral blood, synovial fluid, and synovial tissue from 70 arthritic patients. RA ENA-78 levels were greater in RA synovial fluid (239 +/- 63 ng/ml) compared with synovial fluid from other forms of arthritis (130 +/- 118 ng/ml) or osteoarthritis (2.6 +/- 1.8 ng/ml) (P < 0.05). RA peripheral blood ENA-78 levels (70 +/- 26 ng/ml) were greater than normal peripheral blood levels (0.12 +/- 0.04 ng/ml) (P < 0.05). Anti-ENA-78 antibodies neutralized 42 +/- 9% (mean +/- SE) of the chemotactic activity for PMNs found in RA synovial fluids. Isolated RA synovial tissue fibroblasts in vitro constitutively produced significant levels of ENA-78, and this production was further augmented when stimulated with tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). In addition RA and osteoarthritis synovial tissue fibroblasts as well as RA synovial tissue macrophages were found to constitutively produce ENA-78. RA synovial fluid mononuclear cells spontaneously produced ENA-78, which was augmented in the presence of lipopolysaccharide. Immunohistochemical localization of ENA-78 from the synovial tissue of patients with arthritis or normal subjects showed that the predominant cellular source of this chemokine was synovial lining cells, followed by macrophages, endothelial cells, and fibroblasts. Synovial tissue macrophages and fibroblasts were more ENA-78 immunopositive in RA than in normal synovial tissue (P < 0.05). These results, which are the first demonstration of ENA-78 in a human disease state, suggest that ENA-78 may play an important role in the recruitment of PMNs in the milieu of the inflamed joint of RA patients.
Joint inflammation and destruction have been linked to the deregulation of the highly synthetic fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs), and much of our current understanding of the mechanisms that underlie synovitis has been collected from studies of FLSs. During a proteomic analysis of FLS cells, we identified a novel protein, c19orf10 (chromosome 19 open reading frame 10), that was produced in significant amounts by these cells. The present study provides a partial characterization of c19orf10 in FLSs, synovial fluid, and the synovium. Murine monoclonal and chicken polyclonal antibodies were produced against recombinant human c19orf10 protein and used to examine the distribution of c19orf10 in cultured FLSs and in synovial tissue sections from patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. The intracellular staining pattern of c19orf10 is consistent with localization in the endoplasmic reticulum/Golgi distribution. Sections of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis synovia expressed similar patterns of c19orf10 distribution with perivascular and synovial lining staining. Double-staining in situ analysis suggests that fibroblast-like synovial cells produced c19orf10, whereas macrophages, B cells, or T cells produced little or none of this protein. There is evidence of secretion into the vascular space and the extracellular matrix surrounding the synovial lining. A competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay confirmed the presence of microgram levels of c19orf10 in the synovial fluids of patients with one of various arthropathies. Collectively, these results suggest that c19orf10 is an FLS-derived protein that is secreted into the synovial fluid. However, the significance of this protein in synovial biology remains to be determined. The absence of known structural motifs or domains and its relatively late evolutionary appearance raise interesting questions about its function.
Fibroblast activation protein (FAP), as described so far, is a type II cell surface serine protease expressed by fibroblastic cells in areas of active tissue remodelling such as tumour stroma or healing wounds. We investigated the expression of FAP by fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) and compared the synovial expression pattern in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) patients. Synovial tissue from diseased joints of 20 patients, 10 patients with refractory RA and 10 patients with end-stage OA, was collected during routine surgery. As a result, FLSs from intensively inflamed synovial tissues of refractory RA expressed FAP at high density. Moreover, FAP expression was co-localised with matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-1 and MMP-13) and CD44 splice variants v3 and v7/8 known to play a major role in the concert of extracellular matrix degradation. The pattern of signals appeared to constitute a characteristic feature of FLSs involved in rheumatoid arthritic joint-destructive processes. These FAP-expressing FLSs with a phenotype of smooth muscle actin-positive myofibroblasts were located in the lining layer of the synovium and differ distinctly from Thy-1-expressing and non-proliferating fibroblasts of the articular matrix. The intensity of FAP-specific staining in synovial tissue from patients with RA was found to be different when compared with end-stage OA. Because expression of FAP by RA FLSs has not been described before, the findings of this study highlight a novel element in cartilage and bone destruction of arthritic joints. Moreover, the specific expression pattern qualifies FAP as a therapeutic target for inhibiting the destructive potential of fibroblast-like synovial cells.
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
Similar to matrix metalloproteinases, glycosidases also play a major role in cartilage degradation. Carbohydrate cleavage products, generated by these latter enzymes, are released from degrading cartilage during arthritis. Some of the cleavage products (such as hyaluronate oligosaccharides) have been shown to bind to Toll-like receptors and provide endogenous danger signals, while others (like N-acetyl glucosamine) are reported to have chondroprotective functions. In the current study for the first time we systematically investigated the expression of glycosidases within the joints.
Expressions of β-D-hexosaminidase, β-D-glucuronidase, hyaluronidase, sperm adhesion molecule 1 and klotho genes were measured in synovial fibroblasts and synovial membrane samples of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis by real-time PCR. β-D-Glucuronidase, β-D-glucosaminidase and β-D-galactosaminidase activities were characterized using chromogenic or fluorogenic substrates. Synovial fibroblast-derived microvesicles were also tested for glycosidase activity.
According to our data, β-D-hexosaminidase, β-D-glucuronidase, hyaluronidase, and klotho are expressed in the synovial membrane. Hexosaminidase is the major glycosidase expressed within the joints, and it is primarily produced by synovial fibroblasts. HexA subunit gene, one of the two genes encoding for the alpha or the beta chains of hexosaminidase, was characterized by the strongest gene expression. It was followed by the expression of HexB subunit gene and the β-D-glucuronidase gene, while the expression of hyaluronidase-1 gene and the klotho gene was rather low in both synovial fibroblasts and synovial membrane samples. Tumor growth factor-β1 profoundly downregulated glycosidase expression in both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis derived synovial fibroblasts. In addition, expression of cartilage-degrading glycosidases was moderately downregulated by proinflammatory cytokines including TNFα, IL-1β and IL-17.
According to our present data, glycosidases expressed by synovial membranes and synovial fibroblasts are under negative regulation by some locally expressed cytokines both in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. This does not exclude the possibility that these enzymes may contribute significantly to cartilage degradation in both joint diseases if acting in collaboration with the differentially upregulated proteases to deplete cartilage in glycosaminoglycans.