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1.  The immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM) -related factors are increased in synovial tissue and vasculature of rheumatoid arthritic joints 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2012;14(6):R245.
The immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM) pathway provides osteoclast co-stimulatory signals and regulates proliferation, survival and differentiation of effector immune cells. In the osteoclast, the receptors Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) and Osteoclast Associated Receptor (OSCAR) and their respective adaptor proteins, DAP12 and FcRγ mediate ITAM signals and induce calcium signaling and the crucial transcription factor, NFATc1. In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), OSCAR expression by monocytes is inversely correlated with disease activity. Additionally, serum levels of OSCAR are reduced in RA patients versus healthy controls suggesting that expression and secretion or cleavage of soluble (s) OSCAR is immune modulated. Recent data suggest that endothelial cells may also be a source of OSCAR.
ITAM receptors, their adaptor proteins, and NFATc1 and cathepsin K were detected in human synovial tissues by immunohistochemistry. Synovial tissues from patients with active RA were compared with tissue from patients in remission, osteoarthritis (OA) patients and healthy individuals. OSCAR was measured by immunoassay in synovial fluids recovered from active RA and OA patients. Endothelial cells were cultured with or without 5 ng/mL TNF-α or IL-1β over 72 hours. Temporal expression of OSCAR mRNA was assessed by qRT PCR and OSCAR protein in the supernatant was measured by ELISA.
Significantly higher (P < 0.05) NFATc1-positive inflammatory cell aggregates were found in active RA tissues than in healthy synovial tissue. Similarly, the percentage of OSCAR, FcRγ, DAP12 and TREM2 positive cells was significantly higher in active RA tissues compared to the healthy synovial tissue. Notably, OSCAR was strongly expressed in the microvasculature of the active RA tissues (9/9), inactive RA (8/9) weakly in OA (4/9) but only in the lumen of healthy synovial tissue (0/8). OSCAR levels were detected in synovial fluids from both RA (47 to 152 ng/mL) and OA (112 to 145 ng/mL) patients. Moreover, OSCAR mRNA expression and soluble OSCAR release was stimulated by TNF-α and IL1-β in cultured endothelial cells.
Increased levels of ITAM related factors were present in synovial tissue from active RA joints compared to OA and healthy joints. OSCAR was strongly expressed by the vasculature of active RA patients and membrane bound and soluble OSCAR was stimulated by inflammatory mediators in endothelial cells in vitro.
PMCID: PMC3674611  PMID: 23146195
2.  TWEAK and Fn14 expression in the pathogenesis of joint inflammation and bone erosion in rheumatoid arthritis 
TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) has been proposed as a mediator of inflammation and bone erosion in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This study aimed to investigate TWEAK and TWEAK receptor (Fn14) expression in synovial tissue from patients with active and inactive rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA) and normal controls and assess soluble (s)TWEAK levels in the synovial fluids from patients with active RA and OA. Effects of sTWEAK on osteoclasts and osteoblasts were investigated in vitro.
TWEAK and Fn14 expression were detected in synovial tissues by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Selected tissues were dual labelled with antibodies specific for TWEAK and lineage-selective cell surface markers CD68, Tryptase G, CD22 and CD38. TWEAK mRNA expression was examined in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) sorted on the basis of their expression of CD22. sTWEAK was detected in synovial fluid from OA and RA patients by ELISA. The effect of sTWEAK on PBMC and RAW 264.7 osteoclastogenesis was examined. The effect of sTWEAK on cell surface receptor activator of NF Kappa B Ligand (RANKL) expression by human osteoblasts was determined by flow cytometry.
TWEAK and Fn14 expression were significantly higher in synovial tissue from all patient groups compared to the synovial tissue from control subjects (P < 0.05). TWEAK was significantly higher in active compared with inactive RA tissues (P < 0.05). TWEAK expression co-localised with a subset of CD38+ plasma cells and with CD22+ B-lymphocytes in RA tissues. Abundant TWEAK mRNA expression was detected in normal human CD22+ B cells. Higher levels of sTWEAK were observed in synovial fluids isolated from active RA compared with OA patients. sTWEAK did not stimulate osteoclast formation directly from PBMC, however, sTWEAK induced the surface expression of RANKL by human immature, STRO-1+ osteoblasts.
The expression of TWEAK by CD22+ B cells and CD38+ plasma cells in RA synovium represents a novel potential pathogenic pathway. High levels of sTWEAK in active RA synovial fluid and of TWEAK and Fn14 in active RA tissue, together with the effect of TWEAK to induce osteoblastic RANKL expression, is consistent with TWEAK/Fn14 signalling being important in the pathogenesis of inflammation and bone erosion in RA.
PMCID: PMC3132040  PMID: 21435232
3.  Elevated expression of caspase-3 inhibitors, survivin and xIAP correlates with low levels of apoptosis in active rheumatoid synovium 
Tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a tumour necrosis factor (TNF) family member capable of inducing apoptosis in many cell types.
Using immunohistochemistry, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase biotin-dUTP nick end labelling (TUNEL) and real-time PCR we investigated the expression of TRAIL, TRAIL receptors and several key molecules of the intracellular apoptotic pathway in human synovial tissues from various types of arthritis and normal controls. Synovial tissues from patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA), inactive RA, osteoarthritis (OA) or spondyloarthritis (SpA) and normal individuals were studied.
Significantly higher levels of TRAIL, TRAIL R1, TRAIL R2 and TRAIL R4 were observed in synovial tissues from patients with active RA compared with normal controls (p < 0.05). TRAIL, TRAIL R1 and TRAIL R4 were expressed by many of the cells expressing CD68 (macrophages). Lower levels of TUNEL but higher levels of cleaved caspase-3 staining were detected in tissue from active RA compared with inactive RA patients (p < 0.05). Higher levels of survivin and x-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (xIAP) were expressed in active RA synovial tissues compared with inactive RA observed at both the protein and mRNA levels.
This study indicates that the induction of apoptosis in active RA synovial tissues is inhibited despite stimulation of the intracellular pathway(s) that lead to apoptosis. This inhibition of apoptosis was observed downstream of caspase-3 and may involve the caspase-3 inhibitors, survivin and xIAP.
PMCID: PMC2688245  PMID: 19171073

Results 1-3 (3)