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1.  Cytokine-Mediated Bone Destruction in Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Journal of Immunology Research  2014;2014:263625.
Bone homeostasis, which involves formation and resorption, is an important process for maintaining adequate bone mass in humans. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation and bone loss, leading to joint destruction and deformity, and is a representative disease of disrupted bone homeostasis. The bone loss and joint destruction are mediated by immunological insults by proinflammatory cytokines and various immune cells. The connection between bone and immunity has been intensely studied and comprises the emerging field of osteoimmunology. Osteoimmunology is an interdisciplinary science investigating the interplay between the skeletal and the immune systems. The main contributors in osteoimmunology are the bone effector cells, such as osteoclasts or osteoblasts, and the immune cells, particularly lymphocytes and monocytes. Physiologically, osteoclasts originate from immune cells, and immune cells regulate osteoblasts and vice versa. Pathological conditions such as RA might affect these interactions, thereby altering bone homeostasis, resulting in the unfavorable outcome of bone destruction. In this review, we describe the osteoclastogenic roles of the proinflammatory cytokines and immune cells that are important in the pathophysiology of RA.
doi:10.1155/2014/263625
PMCID: PMC4176903  PMID: 25295284
2.  Metformin Attenuates Experimental Autoimmune Arthritis through Reciprocal Regulation of Th17/Treg Balance and Osteoclastogenesis 
Mediators of Inflammation  2014;2014:973986.
Metformin is widely used to suppress certain functions of the cells found in diseases including diabetes and obesity. In this study, the effects of metformin on downregulating IL-17-producing T (Th17) cells, activating and upregulating regulatory T (Treg) cells, suppressing osteoclastogenesis, and clinically scoring collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) were investigated. To evaluate the effect of metformin on CIA, mice were orally fed with either metformin or saline as control three times a week for nine weeks. Histological analysis of the joints was performed using immunohistochemistry and Th17 cells and Treg cells of the spleen tissue were examined by confocal microscopy staining. Metformin mitigated the severity of CIA, reduced serum immunoglobulin concentrations, and reciprocally regulated Th17/Treg axis. Also, metformin treatment of normal cells cultured in Th17 conditions decreased the number of Th17 cells and increased the number of Treg cells. Metformin decreased gene expression and osteoclastogenic activity in CIA and normal mice. These results indicate that metformin had immunomodulatory actions influencing anti-inflammatory action on CIA through the inhibition of Th17 cell differentiation and the upregulation of Treg cell differentiation along with the suppression of osteoclast differentiation. Our results suggest that metformin may be a potential therapeutic for rheumatoid arthritis.
doi:10.1155/2014/973986
PMCID: PMC4158168  PMID: 25214721
3.  IL-32 and IL-17 interact and have the potential to aggravate osteoclastogenesis in rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2012;14(6):R246.
Introduction
Interleukin (IL)-32 and IL-17 play critical roles in pro-inflammatory responses and are highly expressed in the synovium of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We investigated the relations between these two cytokines (IL-17 and IL-32) for their ability to induce each other and to stimulate osteoclasts in RA fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) and T cells.
Methods
FLSs were isolated through surgical synovectomy obtained from patients with RA or osteoarthritis (OA). Real-time PCR were performed to evaluate the expression of IL-32, IL-17 and osteoclast-related genes. Immunohistochemical staining and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) staining were performed to determine the distribution of inflammatory cytokines and the presence of osteoclastogenesis.
Results
IL-17 induced the expression of IL-32 in the FLSs from RA patients, as assessed by microarray. IL-32 production was increased by IL-17. IL-32 in the FLSs from RA patients induced the production of IL-17 in CD4+ T cells. IL-32 and IL-17 were colocalized near TRAP-positive areas in joint specimens. IL-17 and IL-32 synergistically induced the differentiation of osteoclasts, as demonstrated by the expression of osteoclast-related genes. IL-32 and IL-17 also could induce resorption by osteoclasts in a RANKL-dependent manner.
Conclusions
IL-17 affected the expression of IL-32 in FLSs of RA patients and IL-32 induced the production of IL-17 in CD4+ T cells. Both IL-17 and IL-32 cytokines can reciprocally influence each other's production and amplify the function of osteoclastogenesis in the in RA synovium. Separately, IL-17 and IL-32 each stimulated osteoclastogenesis without RANKL. Together, the two cytokines synergistically amplified the differentiation of osteoclasts, independent of RANKL stimulation.
doi:10.1186/ar4089
PMCID: PMC3674587  PMID: 23148681
4.  B cell-associated immune profiles in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) 
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2012;44(8):465-472.
Most of the previous studies on immune dysregulation in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) have focused on T cell immunity. We investigated B cell subpopulations in ESRD patients and the effect of hemodialysis (HD) on B cell-associated immune profiles in these patients. Forty-four ESRD [maintenance HD patients (n = 27) and pre-dialysis patients (n = 17)] and 27 healthy volunteers were included in this study. We determined the percentage of B cell subtypes, such as mature and immature B cells, memory B cells, and interleukin (IL)-10+ cells, as well as B cell-producing cytokines (IL-10, IL-4 and IL-21) by florescent activated cell sorting (FACS). B cell-associated gene expression was examined using real-time PCR and B cell producing cytokines (IL-10, IL-4 and IL-21) were determined using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The percentage of total B cells and mature B cells did not differ significantly among the three groups. The percentages of memory B cells were significantly higher in the pre-dialysis group than in the HD group (P < 0.01), but the percentage of immature B cells was significantly lower in the pre-dialysis group than in the other groups. The percentages of IL-10-expressing cells that were CD19+ or immature B cells did not differ significantly (P > 0.05) between the two subgroups within the ESRD group, but the serum IL-10 concentration was significantly lower in the pre-dialysis group (P < 0.01). The results of this study demonstrate significantly altered B cell-associated immunity. Specifically, an imbalance of immature and memory B cells in ESRD patients was observed, with this finding predominating in pre-dialysis patients.
doi:10.3858/emm.2012.44.8.053
PMCID: PMC3429810  PMID: 22617684
B-lymphocyte subsets; kidney failure, chronic; precursor cells, B-lymphoid; renal dialysis
5.  Dysregulation of Th17 Cells during the Early Post-Transplant Period in Patients under Calcineurin Inhibitor Based Immunosuppression 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e42011.
Accumulating evidence suggests that Th17 cells play a role in the development of chronic allograft injury in transplantation of various organs. However, the influence of current immunosuppressants on Th17-associated immune responses has not been fully investigated. We prospectively investigated the changes in Th17 cells in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected before and 1 and 3 months after KT in 26 patients and we investigated the suppressive effect of tacrolimus on Th17 in vitro. In the early posttransplant period, the percentage of Th17 cells and the proportion of IL-17-producing cells in the effector memory T cells (TEM) were significantly increased at 3 months after transplantation compared with before transplantation (P<0.05), whereas Th1/Th2 cells and TEM cells were significantly decreased. The degree of increase in Th17 during the early posttransplant period was significantly associated with allograft function at 1 year after transplantation (r = 0.4, P<0.05). In vitro, tacrolimus suppressed Th1 and Th2 cells in a concentration-dependent manner, but did not suppress Th17 cells even at high concentration. This suggests that current immunosuppression based on tacrolimus is inadequate to suppress Th17 cells in KTRs, and dysregulation of Th17 may be associated with the progression of CAD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042011
PMCID: PMC3405048  PMID: 22848688
6.  Macrophage migration inhibitory factor enhances osteoclastogenesis through upregulation of RANKL expression from fibroblast-like synoviocytes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/ar3279
PMCID: PMC3132025  PMID: 21401926
7.  Induction of Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor in ConA-Stimulated Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Fibroblasts through the P38 MAP Kinase-Dependent Signaling Pathway 
Background/Aims
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
These results suggest that MIF production was induced through a p38 MAP-kinase-dependent pathway in RA synovial fibroblasts.
doi:10.3904/kjim.2010.25.3.317
PMCID: PMC2932946  PMID: 20830230
Macrophage, migration-inhibitory factors; Arthritis rheumatoid; Synovial fibroblast; p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases
8.  Serum Pro-hepcidin Could Reflect Disease Activity in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2010;25(3):348-352.
The aim of this study was to analyze the relationship between serum pro-hepcidin concentration and the anemia profiles of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and to estimate the pro-hepcidin could reflect the disease activity of RA. RA disease activities were measured using Disease Activity Score 28 (DAS28), tender/swollen joint counts, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and C-reactive protein (CRP). Anemia profiles such as hemoglobin, iron, total iron binding capacity (TIBC), ferritin, and transferrin levels were measured. Serum concentration of pro-hepcidin, the prohormone of hepcidin, was measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Mean concentration of serum pro-hepcidin was 237.6±67.9 ng/mL in 40 RA patients. The pro-hepcidin concentration was correlated with rheumatoid factor, CRP, ESR, and DAS28. There was a significant correlation between pro-hepcidin with tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6. The pro-hepcidin concentration was significantly higher in the patients with active RA (DAS28>5.1) than those with inactive to moderate RA (DAS28≤5.1). However, the pro-hepcidin concentration did not correlate with the anemia profiles except hemoglobin level. There was no difference of pro-hepcidin concentration between the patients with anemia of chronic disease and those without. In conclusion, serum concentration of pro-hepcidin reflects the disease activity, regardless of the anemia states in RA patients, thus it may be another potential marker for disease activity of RA.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2010.25.3.348
PMCID: PMC2826733  PMID: 20191031
Arthritis, Rheumatoid; Anemia; Hepcidin; Prohepcidin
9.  IL-17 induces the production of IL-16 in rheumatoid arthritis 
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2008;40(2):237-245.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the expression of IL-16 in the rheumatoid synovium and the role of inflammatory cytokines and Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands in IL-16 production by fibroblastlike synoviocytes (FLS) of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Immunohistochemical staining was performed with a monoclonal antibody to IL-16 in synovial tissues from patients with RA and likewise in patients with osteoarthritis (OA). FLS were isolated from RA synovial tissues and stimulated with IL-15, IL-1β, IFN-γ, and IL-17. The IL-16 mRNA level was assessed by semiquantitative RT-PCR and real time (RT) PCR and a comparison was made between IL-16 mRNA levels produced by RA-FLS and OA-FLS. Production of IL-16 was identified by a western blot assay, and IL-16 production after stimulation by specific ligands of TLR2 and TLR4 was assessed by RT-PCR. While immunohistochemical staining demonstrated strong expression of IL-16 mRNA in synovial tissues from patients with RA, similar findings were not present in the OA group. Moreover, mRNA expression of IL-16 by RA-FLS increased after treatment with IL-17 but not with IL-15, IL-1β, and IFN-γ. Specifically, IL-17 increased IL-16 mRNA level by RA-FLS and peripheral blood mononuclear cells in a dose-dependent manner. However, IL-17 did not stimulate IL-16 production in OA-FLS. Peptidoglycan, a selective TLR2 ligand, also increased production of IL-16 by RA-FLS dosedependently, whereas LPS, a selective TLR4 ligand, had no such stimulatory effect. The results from our data demonstrate that IL-17 and TLR2 ligands stimulate the production of IL-16 by RA-FLS.
doi:10.3858/emm.2008.40.2.237
PMCID: PMC2679298  PMID: 18446062
interleukin-16; interleukin-17; rheumatoid arthritis; synovial membrane; Toll-like receptors
10.  Increased interleukin-17 production via a phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt and nuclear factor κB-dependent pathway in patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2004;7(1):R139-R148.
Inflammatory mediators have been recognized as being important in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Interleukin (IL)-17 is an important regulator of immune and inflammatory responses, including the induction of proinflammatory cytokines and osteoclastic bone resorption. Evidence for the expression and proinflammatory activity of IL-17 has been demonstrated in RA synovium and in animal models of RA. Although some cytokines (IL-15 and IL-23) have been reported to regulate IL-17 production, the intracellular signaling pathways that regulate IL-17 production remain unknown. In the present study, we investigated the role of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway in the regulation of IL-17 production in RA. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from patients with RA (n = 24) were separated, then stimulated with various agents including anti-CD3, anti-CD28, phytohemagglutinin (PHA) and several inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. IL-17 levels were determined by sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction. The production of IL-17 was significantly increased in cells treated with anti-CD3 antibody with or without anti-CD28 and PHA (P < 0.05). Among tested cytokines and chemokines, IL-15, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and IL-6 upregulated IL-17 production (P < 0.05), whereas tumor necrosis factor-α, IL-1β, IL-18 or transforming growth factor-β did not. IL-17 was also detected in the PBMC of patients with osteoarthritis, but their expression levels were much lower than those of RA PBMC. Anti-CD3 antibody activated the PI3K/Akt pathway; activation of this pathway resulted in a pronounced augmentation of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) DNA-binding activity. IL-17 production by activated RA PBMC is completely or partly blocked in the presence of the NF-κB inhibitor pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate and the PI3K/Akt inhibitor wortmannin and LY294002, respectively. However, inhibition of activator protein-1 and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 did not affect IL-17 production. These results suggest that signal transduction pathways dependent on PI3K/Akt and NF-κB are involved in the overproduction of the key inflammatory cytokine IL-17 in RA.
doi:10.1186/ar1470
PMCID: PMC1064895  PMID: 15642134
interleukin-17; nuclear factor κB; PI3K/Akt pathway; peripheral blood mononuclear cells; rheumatoid arthritis
11.  IL-17 induces production of IL-6 and IL-8 in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts via NF-κB- and PI3-kinase/Akt-dependent pathways 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2004;6(2):R120-R128.
Recent studies of the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have revealed that both synovial fibroblasts and T cells participate in the perpetuation of joint inflammation as dynamic partners in a mutual activation feedback, via secretion of cytokines and chemokines that stimulate each other. In this study, we investigated the role of IL-17, a major Th1 cytokine produced by activated T cells, in the activation of RA synovial fibroblasts. Transcripts of IL-17R (IL-17 receptor) and IL-17RB (IL-17 receptor B) were present in fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) of RA patients. IL-17R responded with increased expression upon in vitro stimulation with IL-17, while the level of IL-17RB did not change. IL-17 enhanced the production of IL-6 and IL-8 in FLS, as previously shown, but did not affect the synthesis of IL-15. IL-17 appears to be a stronger inducer of IL-6 and IL-8 than IL-15, and even exerted activation comparable to that of IL-1β in RA FLS. IL-17-mediated induction of IL-6 and IL-8 was transduced via activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt and NF-κB, while CD40 ligation and p38 MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) are not likely to partake in the process. Together these results suggest that IL-17 is capable of more than accessory roles in the activation of RA FLS and provide grounds for targeting IL-17-associated pathways in therapeutic modulation of arthritis inflammation.
doi:10.1186/ar1038
PMCID: PMC400429  PMID: 15059275
fibroblast-like synoviocytes; IL-17; phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase; rheumatoid arthritis

Results 1-11 (11)