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1.  MT1-MMP is a crucial promotor of synovial invasion in human rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2009;60(3):686.
Objective
A hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is invasion of the synovial pannus into cartilage and this step requires degradation of the collagen matrix. The aim of this study was to explore the role of one of the collagen-degrading matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), membrane-type 1 MMP (MT1-MMP), in synovial pannus invasiveness.
Methods
Expression and localization of MT1-MMP in human RA pannus were investigated by Western blot analysis of primary synovial cells and immunohistochemistry of RA joints specimens. The functional role of MT1-MMP was analyzed by 3D collagen invasion assays and a cartilage invasion assay in the presence or absence of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1, TIMP-2, or GM6001. The effect of adenoviral expression of a dominant negative MT1-MMP construct lacking a catalytic domain was also examined.
Results
MT1-MMP was highly expressed at the pannus-cartilage junction of RA joints. Freshly isolated rheumatoid synovial tissues and isolated RA synovial fibroblasts invaded into a 3D collagen matrix in an MT1-MMP-dependent manner. Invasion was blocked by TIMP-2 and GM6001, but not by TIMP-1. It was also inhibited by the over-expression of a dominant negative MT1-MMP which inhibits collagenolytic activity and proMMP-2 activation by MT1-MMP on the cell surface. Synovial fibroblasts also invaded into cartilage in an MT1-MMP-dependent manner. This process was further enhanced by removing aggrecan from the cartilage matrix.
Conclusion
MT1-MMP is an essential collagen-degrading proteinase during pannus invasion in human RA. Specific inhibition of MT1-MMP-dependent invasion may form a novel therapeutic strategy for RA.
doi:10.1002/art.24331
PMCID: PMC2819053  PMID: 19248098
MT1-MMP; synovial pannus; rheumatoid arthritis
2.  Methionine aminopeptidase-2 blockade reduces chronic collagen-induced arthritis: potential role for angiogenesis inhibition 
The enzyme methionine aminopeptidase-2 (MetAP-2) is thought to play an important function in human endothelial cell proliferation, and as such provides a valuable target in both inflammation and cancer. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease associated with increased synovial vascularity, and hence is a potential therapeutic target for angiogenesis inhibitors. We examined the use of PPI-2458, a selective non-reversible inhibitor of MetAP-2, in disease models of RA, namely acute and chronic collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in mice. Whilst acute CIA is a monophasic disease, CIA induced with murine collagen type II manifests as a chronic relapsing arthritis and mimics more closely the disease course of RA. Our study showed PPI-2458 was able to reduce clinical signs of arthritis in both acute and chronic CIA models. This reduction in arthritis was paralleled by decreased joint inflammation and destruction. Detailed mechanism of action studies demonstrated that PPI-2458 inhibited human endothelial cell proliferation and angiogenesis in vitro, without affecting production of inflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, we also investigated release of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines from human RA synovial cell cultures, and observed no effect of PPI-2458 on spontaneous expression of cytokines and chemokines, or indeed on the angiogenic molecule vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). These results highlight MetAP-2 as a good candidate for therapeutic intervention in RA.
doi:10.1186/ar2340
PMCID: PMC2246249  PMID: 18072970

Results 1-2 (2)