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1.  ATP Induced Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Expression and Release from Osteoarthritis Synovial Fibroblasts Is Mediated by Purinergic Receptor P2X4 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36693.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neuromodulator involved in nociceptive hypersensitivity in the central nervous system, is also expressed in synoviocytes of osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. We investigated the role of P2 purinoreceptors in the induction of BDNF expression in synovial fibroblasts (SF) of OA and RA patients. Cultured SF from patients with symptomatic knee OA and RA were stimulated with purinoreceptor agonists ATP, ADP, or UTP. The expression of BDNF mRNA was measured by quantitative TaqMan PCR. BDNF release into cell culture supernatants was monitored by ELISA. P2X4 expression in synovial tissue was detected by immunohistochemistry. Endogenous P2X4 expression was decreased by siRNA transfection before ATP stimulation. Kinase pathways were blocked before ATP stimulation. BDNF mRNA expression levels in OASF were increased 2 h and 5 h after ATP stimulation. Mean BDNF levels in cell culture supernatants of unstimulated OASF and RASF were 19 (±9) and 67 (±49) pg/ml, respectively. BDNF levels in SF supernatants were only elevated 5 h after ATP stimulation. BDNF mRNA expression in OASF was induced both by P2X receptor agonists ATP and ADP, but not by UTP, an agonist of P2Y purinergic receptors. The ATP-induced BDNF mRNA expression in OASF was decreased by siRNA-mediated reduction of endogenous P2X4 levels compared to scrambled controls. Inhibition of p38, but not p44/42 signalling reduced the ATP-mediated BDNF mRNA induction. Here we show a functional role of the purinergic receptor P2X4 and p38 kinase in the ATP-induced expression and release of the neurotrophin BDNF in SF.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036693
PMCID: PMC3360754  PMID: 22715356
6.  Altered Expression of MicroRNA-203 in Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Fibroblasts and Its Role in Fibroblast Activation 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2011;63(2):373-381.
Objective
MicroRNA (miRNA) are recognized as important regulators of a variety of fundamental biologic processes. Previously, we described increased expression of miR-155 and miR-146a in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and showed a repressive effect of miR-155 on matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression in RA synovial fibroblasts (RASFs). The present study was undertaken to examine alterations in expression of miR-203 in RASFs and analyze its role in fibroblast activation.
Methods
Differentially expressed miRNA in RASFs versus osteoarthritis synovial fibroblasts (OASFs) were identified by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR)–based screening of 260 individual miRNA. Transfection of miR-203 precursor was used to analyze the function of miR-203 in RASFs. Levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and MMPs were measured by real-time PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. RASFs were stimulated with IL-1β, tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and 5-azacytidine (5-azaC). Activity of IκB kinase 2 was inhibited with SC-514.
Results
Expression of miR-203 was higher in RASFs than in OASFs or fibroblasts from healthy donors. Levels of miR-203 did not change upon stimulation with IL-1β, TNFα, or LPS; however, DNA demethylation with 5-azaC increased the expression of miR-203. Enforced expression of miR-203 led to significantly increased levels of MMP-1 and IL-6. Induction of IL-6 by miR-203 overexpression was inhibited by blocking of the NF-κB pathway. Basal expression levels of IL-6 correlated with basal expression levels of miR-203.
Conclusion
The current results demonstrate methylation-dependent regulation of miR-203 expression in RASFs. Importantly, they also show that elevated levels of miR-203 lead to increased secretion of MMP-1 and IL-6 via the NF-κB pathway and thereby contribute to the activated phenotype of synovial fibroblasts in RA.
doi:10.1002/art.30115
PMCID: PMC3116142  PMID: 21279994
7.  S100A4 is expressed at site of invasion in rheumatoid arthritis synovium and modulates production of matrix metalloproteinases 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2006;65(12):1645-1648.
The metastasis‐associated protein S100A4 promotes the progression of cancer by regulating the remodelling of the extracellular matrix. The expression of S100A4 in vivo is shown and the functional role of S100A4 in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritisis is explored. The expression of S100A4 in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and normal synovial tissues was determined by immunohistochemistry. The expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) mRNA was measured in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis synovial fibroblasts treated and untreated with S100A4 oligomer by real‐time polymerase chain reaction. Levels of released MMPs were confirmed by ELISA in cell culture supernatants. S100A4 protein was expressed in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis synovial tissues, in contrast with normal synovium. S100A4 up regulated MMP‐3 mRNA in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fluid, with a peak after 6 h. This resulted in release of MMP‐3 protein. MMP‐1, MMP‐9 and MMP‐13 mRNA were also up regulated in synovial fluid, but with different kinetics. MMP‐14 mRNA showed no change. Thus, S100A4 protein is expressed in synovial tissues of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis in contrast with healthy people. It induces the expression and release of MMP‐3 and other MMPs from synovial fluid. The data suggest that S100A4‐producing cells could be involved in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, including pannus formation and joint destruction.
doi:10.1136/ard.2005.047704
PMCID: PMC1798462  PMID: 17105852
8.  Trichostatin A sensitises rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts for TRAIL‐induced apoptosis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2005;65(7):910-912.
Background
Histone acetylation/deacetylation has a critical role in the regulation of transcription by altering the chromatin structure.
Objective
To analyse the effect of trichostatin A (TSA), a streptomyces metabolite which specifically inhibits mammalian histone deacetylases, on TRAIL‐induced apoptosis of rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF).
Methods
Apoptotic cells were detected after co‐treatment of RASF with TRAIL (200 ng/ml) and TSA (0.5, 1, and 2 μmol/l) by flow cytometry using propidium iodide/annexin‐V‐FITC staining. Cell proliferation was assessed using the MTS proliferation test. Induction of the cell cycle inhibitor p21Waf/Cip1 by TSA was analysed by western blot. Expression of the TRAIL receptor‐2 (DR5) on the cell surface of RASF was analysed by flow cytometry. Levels of soluble TRAIL were measured in synovial fluid of patients with RA and osteoarthritis (OA) by ELISA.
Results
Co‐treatment of the cells with TSA and TRAIL induced cell death in a synergistic and dose dependent manner, whereas TRAIL and TSA alone had no effect or only a modest effect. RASF express DR5 (TRAIL receptor 2), but treatment of the cells with TSA for 24 hours did not change the expression level of DR5, as it is shown for cancer cells. TSA induced cell cycle arrest in RASF through up regulation of p21Waf1/Cip1. Levels of soluble TRAIL were significantly higher in RA than in OA synovial fluids.
Conclusion
Because TSA sensitises RASF for TRAIL‐induced apoptosis, it is concluded that TSA discloses sensitive sites in the cascade of TRAIL signalling and may represent a new principle for the treatment of RA.
doi:10.1136/ard.2005.044065
PMCID: PMC1798225  PMID: 16284094
trichostatin A; TRAIL; apoptosis; synovial fibroblasts; rheumatoid arthritis
9.  Effect of the oral application of a highly selective MMP-13 inhibitor in three different animal models of rheumatoid arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2009;69(5):898-902.
Objective
To evaluate the decrease of cartilage destruction by a novel orally active and specific matrix metalloproteinase 13 (MMP-13) inhibitor in three different animal models of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Materials and methods
The SCID mouse co-implantation model of RA, the collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) model in mice and the antigen-induced arthritis model (AIA) in rabbits were used.
Results
In the SCID mouse co-implantation model, the MMP-13 inhibitor reduced cartilage destruction by 75%. In the CIA model of RA, the MMP-13 inhibitor resulted in a significant and dose-dependent decrease in clinical symptoms as well as of cartilage erosion by 38% (30 mg/kg), 28% (10 mg/kg) and 21% (3 mg/kg). No significant effects were seen in the AIA model. No toxic effects were seen in all three animal models.
Conclusion
Although several MMPs in concert with other proteinases have a role in the process of cartilage destruction, there is a need for highly selective MMP inhibitors to reduce severe side effects that occur with non-specific inhibitors. Significant inhibition of MMP-13 reduced cartilage erosions in two of three tested animal models of RA. These results strongly support the development of this class of drugs to reduce or halt joint destruction in patients with RA.
doi:10.1136/ard.2008.106021
PMCID: PMC2925150  PMID: 19497915
10.  DREAM is reduced in synovial fibroblasts of patients with chronic arthritic pain: is it a suitable target for peripheral pain management? 
Introduction
The endogenous pain-relieving system depends in part on the regulation of nociceptive signals through binding of opioids to the corresponding opioid receptor. Interfering with the trans-repression effect of downstream regulatory element antagonist modulator (DREAM) on the transcription of the opioid dynorphin-encoding prodynorphin (pdyn) gene might enhance pain relief in the periphery.
Methods
Expression levels were measured in osteoarthritis (OA) synovial fibroblast-like cells (SFLCs) (n = 8) and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from OA patients (n = 53) and healthy controls (n = 26) by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Lysed OA SFLCs were analyzed by immunoprecipitation. Translation of DREAM mRNA was inhibited by small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Expressions of DREAM, pdyn, and c-fos mRNAs were measured at 24, 48, and 72 hours after transfection.
Results
The expression of DREAM mRNA was shown in both healthy and OA SFLCs as well as PBMCs. Inhibiting transcription using siRNAs led to a marked reduction in DREAM expression after 24, 48, and 72 hours. However, no significant changes in c-fos and pdyn expression occurred. In addition, DREAM mRNA expression was significantly reduced in OA patients with chronic pain (pain intensity as measured by a visual analog scale scale of greater than 40), but no pdyn expression was detectable.
Conclusion
To our knowledge, this is the first report showing the expression of DREAM in SFLCs and PBMCs on the mRNA level. However, DREAM protein was not detectable. Since repression of pdyn transcription persists after inhibiting DREAM translation, DREAM appears to play no functional role in the kappa opioid receptor system in OA SFLCs. Therefore, our data suggest that DREAM appears not to qualify as a target in peripheral pain management.
doi:10.1186/ar2431
PMCID: PMC2483451  PMID: 18507845
11.  Galectin-3 is induced in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts after adhesion to cartilage oligomeric matrix protein 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2004;64(3):419-424.
Background: Galectin-3 is expressed in the synovial tissue of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), particularly at sites of joint destruction.
Objective: To explore the possibilities that galectin-3 is induced either by proinflammatory cytokines or by adhesion to cartilage components.
Methods: Cell culture plates were coated with fibronectin, collagens I–VI, or cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP), and the suspended cells were then added. The medium was changed after 1 hour at 37°C. Adherent cells were further incubated for 18 hours in the presence or absence of tumour necrosis factor α (TNFα) or interleukin 1ß. Cells were pretreated with murine IgG1, anti-CD29, -CD51, -CD61 (integrins), or -CD3 monoclonal antibodies and transferred to culture plates coated with COMP. Adherent cells were counted by light microscopy. The expression of intracellular galectin-3, or cell surface CD29, CD51, and CD61 was determined by flow cytometry before and after adhesion.
Results: Four times more RA synovial fibroblasts (SF) than osteoarthritis SF adhered to COMP. RA SF presented more cell surface integrins, and monoclonal antibodies against CD51 inhibited the adhesion to COMP by 80%. TNFα reduced the expression of CD61 and the adhesion to COMP, but did not reverse the adhesion once it had taken place. The adhesion of RA SF to COMP was found to increase the intracellular level of galectin-3. In contrast, intracellular galectin-3 decreased after exposure to TNFα.
Conclusion: The increase of galectin-3 occurs after adhesion to COMP, and the αVß3 receptor (CD51/CD61) has a pivotal role in this process.
doi:10.1136/ard.2004.023135
PMCID: PMC1755412  PMID: 15345499
13.  Discrepancy between mRNA and protein expression of tumour suppressor maspin in synovial tissue may contribute to synovial hyperplasia in rheumatoid arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2004;63(10):1205-1211.
Objective: To investigate the expression of maspin in RA synovial tissue and compare it with the expression in osteoarthritis (OA) and normal synovial tissue (NS).
Methods: Using specific primers for maspin, a 237 bp fragment was amplified from cDNA obtained from cultured RA, OA, and normal synovial fibroblasts (SF) by RT-PCR. Additionally, mRNA expression levels were determined quantitatively by real time PCR. mRNA expression of maspin was investigated on snap frozen and paraffin embedded synovial tissue sections by in situ hybridisation. Immunohistochemistry was used to identify the cell type expressing maspin. SDS-PAGE and western blotting were performed to evaluate the protein expression in cultured SF. To confirm protein synthesis in situ, immunohistochemistry with specific anti-maspin antibodies was performed in synovial tissue sections of patients with RA.
Results: RT-PCR showed expression of maspin in all cDNA samples from cultured SF. Maspin mRNA was found to be decreased in RA SF twofold and 70-fold compared with OA SF and NS SF, respectively. Maspin mRNA was expressed in RA, OA, and normal synovial tissue. Importantly, maspin transcripts were also found at sites of invasion into cartilage and bone. At the protein level, maspin could be detected in RA and, less prominently, OA SF. In RA synovial tissue, maspin protein was detected in only a few synovial lining cells.
Conclusion: Maspin is expressed intensively in RA SF at the mRNA level, but only slightly at the protein level, possibly owing to down regulation of maspin; this may contribute to the hyperplasia of synovial tissue in RA.
doi:10.1136/ard.2003.006312
PMCID: PMC1754744  PMID: 15361372
14.  Increased DNA fragmentation and ultrastructural changes in fibromyalgic muscle fibres 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2004;63(3):245-251.
Objective: To determine whether there is evidence of increased DNA fragmentation and ultrastructural changes in muscle tissue of patients with fibromyalgia (FM) compared with healthy controls.
Methods: Muscle tissues from 10 community residents with FM and 10 age and sex matched healthy controls were examined "blindly" for the presence of DNA fragmentation by two different methods: terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) staining (TUNEL) and the FragEL-Klenow DNA fragmentation detection kit. Ultrastructural analysis of tissue was performed by electron microscopy.
Results: DNA fragmentation was detected by both methods in 55.4 (SEM 2.5)% of the nuclei in muscle tissue of patients with FM compared with 16.1 (4.1)% (p<0.001) of the nuclei in healthy controls. Contrary to expectation, no typical features of apoptosis could be detected by electron microscopy. The myofibres and actin filaments were disorganised and lipofuscin bodies were seen; glycogen and lipid accumulation were also found. The number of mitochondria was significantly lower in patients with FM than in controls and seemed to be morphologically altered.
Conclusion: The ultrastructural changes described suggest that patients with FM are characterised by abnormalities in muscle tissue that include increased DNA fragmentation and changes in the number and size of mitochondria. These cellular changes are not signs of apoptosis. Persistent focal contractions in muscle may contribute to ultrastructural tissue abnormalities as well as to the induction and/or chronicity of nociceptive transmission from muscle to the central nervous system.
doi:10.1136/ard.2002.004762
PMCID: PMC1754917  PMID: 14962957
15.  p53 in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts at sites of invasion 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2003;62(12):1139-1144.
Objective: To analyse the functional response of p53 in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF) in vitro and in vivo and to investigate whether activation of p53 modulates the destructive process of RASF.
Methods: RASF and controls grown on chamber slides were either directly examined with DO7 anti-p53 antibodies by immunofluorescence or irradiated with 10 Gy x rays and analysed time dependently for the expression of p53. The percentage of positive cells was evaluated by a quantitative scoring system. RASF and normal (N) SF cultured in vitro were co-implanted with human cartilage in SCID mice for 60 days. Consecutively, the invasion score was evaluated, and the number of p53 positive cells was determined at the sites of invasion by immunohistochemistry. In addition, synovial tissues from RA, osteoarthritis, and normal synovia were stained with DO7 antibodies.
Results: In vitro the rate of expression of p53 in RASF was low (<5%), but transiently inducible by ionising irradiation (50%). In vitro low p53 expressing RASF disclosed, when invading articular cartilage, a nuclear p53 signal in 20% of the cells, indicating the induction of p53 in a distinct population of RASF during the invasive process.
Conclusions: These data suggest an inductive p53 response at sites of cartilage invasion during the destructive process driven by activated RASF.
doi:10.1136/ard.2003.007401
PMCID: PMC1754413  PMID: 14644850
16.  Cartilage destruction in rheumatoid arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2002;61(Suppl 2):ii87.
doi:10.1136/ard.61.suppl_2.ii87
PMCID: PMC1766703  PMID: 12379633
17.  Pathological basis of orthopaedic and rheumatic disease 
doi:10.1136/ard.61.10.950
PMCID: PMC1753918
18.  Characterisation of the cell type-specificity of collagenase 3 mRNA expression in comparison with membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase and gelatinase A in the synovial membrane in rheumatoid arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2002;61(5):391-397.
Objective: To study the pattern and cell type-specificity of collagenase 3, membrane-type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP), and gelatinase A mRNA expression in the synovial membrane in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods: The mRNA expression of collagenase 3, MT1-MMP, and gelatinase A was characterised by northern blot analysis, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, and in situ hybridisation. In situ hybridisation was performed in combination with the immunohistochemical detection of cell type-specific antigens.
Results: Synovial membrane specimens from 19 of 21 patients with RA expressing collagenase 3 mRNA were positive for MT1-MMP and gelatinase A mRNA. In control samples from patients without destructive inflammatory joint diseases collagenase 3 mRNA was not expressed and only in two of seven cases was a coexpression of MT1-MMP and gelatinase A mRNA detected. Fibroblast-like cells of the synovial membrane were found to be the predominant source of collagenase 3, MT1-MMP, and gelatinase A mRNA expression in lining and sublining layers as well as at the synovial membrane-cartilage interface. Additionally, the expression of MT1-MMP mRNA was detected in endothelial cells. Collagenase 3 mRNA expression was found in about 5% of CD68 positive macrophages.
Conclusions: Collagenase 3 mRNA is expressed simultaneously with MT1-MMP and gelatinase A mRNA in fibroblast-like cells of the synovial membrane in RA. These results suggest (a) a broad extracellular proteolytic potential of fibroblast-like cells and (b) an important role of cell surface associated procollagenase 3 activation by MT1-MMP and gelatinase A for cartilage degradation by invading fibroblast-like cells.
doi:10.1136/ard.61.5.391
PMCID: PMC1754087  PMID: 11959761
22.  Prevalence of TTV DNA and GBV-C RNA in patients with systemic sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis does not differ from that in healthy blood donors 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2001;60(8):806-809.
OBJECTIVE—To determine the prevalence of GB virus-C (GBV-C) RNA and TT virus (TTV) DNA in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and osteoarthritis (OA) as well as to compare the autoantibody pattern in patients with SSc with and without evidence of viral infection.
PATIENTS AND METHODS—The study included 168 patients (84 SSc, 41 RA, and 43 OA) diagnosed according to the American College of Rheumatology criteria and 122 volunteer blood donors. The presence of GBV-C RNA and TTV DNA in serum was assessed by nested reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and semi-nested PCR, respectively. Autoantibodies in patients with SSc were determined by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Hep-2 immunofluorescence.
RESULTS—TTV-DNA was detected in 10/84 (12%) patients with SSc, 9/41 (22%) patients with RA, 3/43 (7%) patients with OA, and 16/122 (13%) blood donors. GBV-C RNA was present in 4/84 (5%) patients with SSc, 2/43 (5%) patients with OA, and 5/122 (4%) blood donors. No patient with RA was positive for GBV-C RNA. One patient with SSc and one patient with OA showed a double infection with GBV-C and TTV. 74/84 (88%) patients with SSc were positive for at least one autoantibody species tested: 18/84 (21%) showed anticentromeric autoantibodies, 55/84 (66%) a speckled (36/84 (43%) fine, 19/84 (23%) coarse), and 20/84 (24%) a homogeneous nuclear Hep-2 pattern, and 21/84 (25%) had antinucleolar autoantibodies. Anti-Scl-70 antibodies were found in 31/84 (37%) and anti-RNP antibodies in 5/84 (6%) patients with SSc. No differences in the autoantibody pattern in patients with SSc with or without viral infection could be detected.
CONCLUSION—The prevalence of GBV-C RNA and TTV DNA in serum samples from patients with SSc, RA, and OA was low and comparable with that in blood donors. A continuing infection with TTV and or GBV-C was not associated with a significant change in the autoantibody pattern in patients with SSc. These data provide no evidence for an association between GBV-C and/or TTV infections and SSc and/or arthritis (RA and OA).


doi:10.1136/ard.60.8.806
PMCID: PMC1753793  PMID: 11454648

Results 1-25 (781)