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1.  Inflammation drives thrombosis after Salmonella infection via CLEC-2 on platelets 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  null;125(12):4429-4446.
Thrombosis is a common, life-threatening consequence of systemic infection; however, the underlying mechanisms that drive the formation of infection-associated thrombi are poorly understood. Here, using a mouse model of systemic Salmonella Typhimurium infection, we determined that inflammation in tissues triggers thrombosis within vessels via ligation of C-type lectin–like receptor-2 (CLEC-2) on platelets by podoplanin exposed to the vasculature following breaching of the vessel wall. During infection, mice developed thrombi that persisted for weeks within the liver. Bacteria triggered but did not maintain this process, as thrombosis peaked at times when bacteremia was absent and bacteria in tissues were reduced by more than 90% from their peak levels. Thrombus development was triggered by an innate, TLR4-dependent inflammatory cascade that was independent of classical glycoprotein VI–mediated (GPVI-mediated) platelet activation. After infection, IFN-γ release enhanced the number of podoplanin-expressing monocytes and Kupffer cells in the hepatic parenchyma and perivascular sites and absence of TLR4, IFN-γ, or depletion of monocytic-lineage cells or CLEC-2 on platelets markedly inhibited the process. Together, our data indicate that infection-driven thrombosis follows local inflammation and upregulation of podoplanin and platelet activation. The identification of this pathway offers potential therapeutic opportunities to control the devastating consequences of infection-driven thrombosis without increasing the risk of bleeding.
PMCID: PMC4665792  PMID: 26571395
2.  The expression of mouse CLEC‐2 on leucocyte subsets varies according to their anatomical location and inflammatory state 
European Journal of Immunology  2015;45(9):2484-2493.
Expression of mouse C‐type lectin‐like receptor 2 (CLEC‐2) has been reported on circulating CD11bhigh Gr‐1high myeloid cells and dendritic cells (DCs) under basal conditions, as well as on a variety of leucocyte subsets following inflammatory stimuli or in vitro cell culture. However, previous studies assessing CLEC‐2 expression failed to use CLEC‐2‐deficient mice as negative controls and instead relied heavily on single antibody clones. Here, we generated CLEC‐2‐deficient adult mice using two independent approaches and employed two anti‐mouse CLEC‐2 antibody clones to investigate surface expression on hematopoietic cells from peripheral blood and secondary lymphoid organs. We rule out constitutive CLEC‐2 expression on resting DCs and show that CLEC‐2 is upregulated in response to LPS‐induced systemic inflammation in a small subset of activated DCs isolated from the mesenteric lymph nodes but not the spleen. Moreover, we demonstrate for the first time that peripheral blood B lymphocytes present exogenously derived CLEC‐2 and suggest that both circulating B lymphocytes and CD11bhigh Gr‐1high myeloid cells lose CLEC‐2 following entry into secondary lymphoid organs. These results have significant implications for our understanding of CLEC‐2 physiological functions
PMCID: PMC4737233  PMID: 26173808
CLEC‐2; Inflammation; Leucocytes; Mouse; Tamoxifen
3.  DKK1 expression by synovial fibroblasts in very early rheumatoid arthritis associates with lymphocyte adhesion in an in vitro flow co-culture system 
Synovial fibroblasts play a key role in joint destruction and regulation of the inflammatory infiltrate in established rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The mechanisms by which this occurs in the earliest stages of RA are largely unknown. We investigated the role of Dickkopf-related protein 1 (DKK1) produced by synovial fibroblasts of patients with very early rheumatoid arthritis (VeRA).
Fibroblasts were isolated from the disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug–naive Birmingham early arthritis cohort of patients with new onset of clinically apparent arthritis and inflammatory symptoms of ≤12 weeks’ duration, who at follow-up had either resolving arthritis or RA. Endothelial fibroblast co-cultures were formed using porous filters, and lymphocyte adhesion to co-cultures was assessed using phase-contrast microscopy. DKK1 gene expression and secretion were quantified by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively.
Synovial fibroblasts from patients with VeRA expressed significantly higher levels of DKK1 messenger RNA than those from patients with resolving arthritis. A similar trend was observed for DKK1 protein secretion. In co-culture constructs, more DKK1 tended to be secreted in co-cultures incorporating fibroblasts from VeRA than in co-cultures from non-inflamed joints and resolving arthritis. DKK1 secretion during co-culture positively correlated with lymphocyte adhesion.
Alterations in DKK1 could be involved in the pathogenesis and perpetuation of the inflammatory response in the earliest clinically apparent stages of RA.
PMCID: PMC4718043  PMID: 26782930
DKK1; Synovial fibroblasts; Early inflammatory arthritis; Lymphocyte adhesion
4.  The Mesenchymal Stem Cell Marker CD248 (Endosialin) Is a Negative Regulator of Bone Formation in Mice 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2012;64(10):3334-3343.
CD248 (tumor endothelial marker 1/endosialin) is found on stromal cells and is highly expressed during malignancy and inflammation. Studies have shown a reduction in inflammatory arthritis in CD248-knockout (CD248−/−) mice. The aim of the present study was to investigate the functional effect of genetic deletion of CD248 on bone mass.
Western blotting, polymerase chain reaction, and immunofluorescence were used to investigate the expression of CD248 in humans and mice. Micro-computed tomography and the 3-point bending test were used to measure bone parameters and mechanical properties of the tibiae of 10-week-old wild-type (WT) or CD248−/− mice. Human and mouse primary osteoblasts were cultured in medium containing 10 mM β-glycerophosphate and 50 μg/ml ascorbic acid to induce mineralization, and then treated with platelet-derived growth factor BB (PDGF-BB). The mineral apposition rate in vivo was calculated by identifying newly formed bone via calcein labeling.
Expression of CD248 was seen in human and mouse osteoblasts, but not osteoclasts. CD248−/− mouse tibiae had higher bone mass and superior mechanical properties (increased load required to cause fracture) compared to WT mice. Primary osteoblasts from CD248−/− mice induced increased mineralization in vitro and produced increased bone over 7 days in vivo. There was no decrease in bone mineralization and no increase in proliferation of osteoblasts in response to stimulation with PDGF-BB, which could be attributed to a defect in PDGF signal transduction in the CD248−/− mice.
There is an unmet clinical need to address rheumatoid arthritis–associated bone loss. Genetic deletion of CD248 in mice results in high bone mass due to increased osteoblast-mediated bone formation, suggesting that targeting CD248 in rheumatoid arthritis may have the effect of increasing bone mass in addition to the previously reported effect of reducing inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4209224  PMID: 22674221
5.  Homeostatic regulation of T cell trafficking by a B cell derived peptide is impaired in autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disease 
Nature medicine  2015;21(5):467-475.
During an inflammatory response, lymphocyte recruitment into tissue must be tightly controlled because dysregulated trafficking contributes to the pathogenesis of chronic disease. Here we show that during inflammation and in response to adiponectin, B cells tonically inhibit T cell trafficking by secreting a peptide (PEPITEM) proteolytically derived from 14.3.3.ζδ protein. PEPITEM binds cadherin-15 on endothelial cells, promoting synthesis and release of sphingosine-1 phosphate, which inhibits trafficking of T cells without affecting recruitment of other leukocytes. Expression of adiponectin receptors on B cells and adiponectin induced PEPITEM secretion wanes with age, implying immune senescence of the pathway. Additionally, these changes are evident in individuals with type-1-diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, and circulating PEPITEM in patient serum is reduced compared to healthy age matched donors. In both diseases, tonic inhibition of T cell trafficking across inflamed endothelium is lost. Importantly, control of patient T cell trafficking is re-established by exogenous PEPITEM. Moreover, in animal models of peritonitis, hepatic I/R injury, Salmonella infection, Uveitis and Sjögren’s Syndrome, PEPITEM could reduce T cell recruitment into inflamed tissues.
PMCID: PMC4425550  PMID: 25894827
6.  Non-classical Ly6C− monocytes drive the development of inflammatory arthritis in mice 
Cell reports  2014;9(2):591-604.
Different subsets and/or polarized phenotypes of monocytes and macrophages may play distinct roles during the development and resolution of inflammation. Here, we demonstrate in a murine model of rheumatoid arthritis that non-classical Ly6C− monocytes are required for the initiation and progression of sterile joint inflammation. Moreover, non-classical Ly6C− monocytes differentiate into inflammatory macrophages (M1), which drive disease pathogenesis and display plasticity during the resolution phase. During the development of arthritis, these cells polarize toward an alternatively activated phenotype (M2), promoting the resolution of joint inflammation. The influx of Ly6C− monocytes and their subsequent classical and then alternative activation occurs without changes in synovial tissue-resident macrophages, which express markers of M2 polarization throughout the course of the arthritis and attenuate joint inflammation during the initiation phase. These data suggest that circulating Ly6C− monocytes recruited to the joint upon injury orchestrate the development and resolution of autoimmune joint inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4223808  PMID: 25373902
8.  Curbing Inflammation 
PMCID: PMC3806508  PMID: 24195008
9.  Inhibition of Fibrocyte Differentiation by Serum Amyloid P 
Wound healing and the dysregulated events leading to fibrosis both involve the proliferation and differentiation of fibroblasts and the deposition of extracellular matrix. Whether these fibroblasts are locally derived or from a circulating precursor population is unclear. Fibrocytes are a distinct population of fibroblast-like cells derived from peripheral blood monocytes that enter sites of tissue injury to promote angiogenesis and wound healing. We have found that CD14+ peripheral blood monocytes cultured in the absence of serum or plasma differentiate into fibrocytes within 72 h. We purified the factor in serum and plasma that prevents the rapid appearance of fibrocytes, and identified it as serum amyloid P (SAP). Purified SAP inhibits fibrocyte differentiation at levels similar to those found in plasma, while depleting SAP reduces the ability of plasma to inhibit fibrocyte differentiation. Compared with sera from healthy individuals and patients with rheumatoid arthritis, sera from patients with scleroderma and mixed connective tissue disease, two systemic fibrotic diseases, were less able to inhibit fibrocyte differentiation in vitro and had correspondingly lower serum levels of SAP. These results suggest that low levels of SAP may thus augment pathological processes leading to fibrosis. These data also suggest mechanisms to inhibit fibrosis in chronic inflammatory conditions, or conversely to promote wound healing.
PMCID: PMC4482350  PMID: 14607961
10.  Dual-Specificity Phosphatase 1 and Tristetraprolin Cooperate To Regulate Macrophage Responses to Lipopolysaccharide 
Dual-specificity phosphatase (DUSP) 1 dephosphorylates and inactivates members of the MAPK superfamily, in particular, JNKs, p38α, and p38β MAPKs. It functions as an essential negative regulator of innate immune responses, hence disruption of the Dusp1 gene renders mice extremely sensitive to a wide variety of experimental inflammatory challenges. The principal mechanisms behind the overexpression of inflammatory mediators by Dusp1−/− cells are not known. In this study, we use a genetic approach to identify an important mechanism of action of DUSP1, involving the modulation of the activity of the mRNA-destabilizing protein tristetraprolin. This mechanism is key to the control of essential early mediators of inflammation, TNF, CXCL1, and CXCL2, as well as the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. The same mechanism also contributes to the regulation of a large number of transcripts induced by treatment of macrophages with LPS. These findings demonstrate that modulation of the phosphorylation status of tristetraprolin is an important physiological mechanism by which innate immune responses can be controlled.
PMCID: PMC4472943  PMID: 26019272
11.  Dominant Suppression of Inflammation via Targeted Mutation of the mRNA Destabilizing Protein Tristetraprolin 
In myeloid cells, the mRNA-destabilizing protein tristetraprolin (TTP) is induced and extensively phosphorylated in response to LPS. To investigate the role of two specific phosphorylations, at serines 52 and 178, we created a mouse strain in which those residues were replaced by nonphosphorylatable alanine residues. The mutant form of TTP was constitutively degraded by the proteasome and therefore expressed at low levels, yet it functioned as a potent mRNA destabilizing factor and inhibitor of the expression of many inflammatory mediators. Mice expressing only the mutant form of TTP were healthy and fertile, and their systemic inflammatory responses to LPS were strongly attenuated. Adaptive immune responses and protection against infection by Salmonella typhimurium were spared. A single allele encoding the mutant form of TTP was sufficient for enhanced mRNA degradation and underexpression of inflammatory mediators. Therefore, the equilibrium between unphosphorylated and phosphorylated TTP is a critical determinant of the inflammatory response, and manipulation of this equilibrium may be a means of treating inflammatory pathologies.
PMCID: PMC4472942  PMID: 26002976
12.  Differential glucocorticoid metabolism in patients with persistent versus resolving inflammatory arthritis 
Impairment in the ability of the inflamed synovium to generate cortisol has been proposed to be a factor in the persistence and severity of inflammatory arthritis. In the inflamed synovium, cortisol is generated from cortisone by the 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) enzyme. The objective of this study was to determine the role of endogenous glucocorticoid metabolism in the development of persistent inflammatory arthritis.
Urine samples were collected from patients with early arthritis (symptoms ≤12 weeks duration) whose final diagnostic outcomes were established after clinical follow-up and from patients with established rheumatoid arthritis (RA). All patients were free of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs at the time of sample collection. Systemic measures of glucocorticoid metabolism were assessed in the urine samples by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Clinical data including CRP and ESR were also collected at baseline.
Systemic measures of 11β-HSD1 activity were significantly higher in patients with early arthritis whose disease went on to persist, and also in the subgroup of patients with persistent disease who developed RA, when compared with patients whose synovitis resolved over time. We observed a significant positive correlation between systemic 11β-HSD1 activity and ESR/CRP in patients with established RA but not in any of the early arthritis patients group.
The present study demonstrates that patients with a new onset of synovitis whose disease subsequently resolved had significantly lower levels of systemic 11β-HSD1 activity when compared with patients whose synovitis developed into RA or other forms of persistent arthritis. Low absolute levels of 11β-HSD1 activity do not therefore appear to be a major contributor to the development of RA and it is possible that a high total body 11β-HSD1 activity during early arthritis may reduce the probability of disease resolution.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13075-015-0633-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4431033  PMID: 25971255
13.  Investigating Cultural Evolution Using Phylogenetic Analysis: The Origins and Descent of the Southeast Asian Tradition of Warp Ikat Weaving 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52064.
The warp ikat method of making decorated textiles is one of the most geographically widespread in southeast Asia, being used by Austronesian peoples in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, and Daic peoples on the Asian mainland. In this study a dataset consisting of the decorative characters of 36 of these warp ikat weaving traditions is investigated using Bayesian and Neighbornet techniques, and the results are used to construct a phylogenetic tree and taxonomy for warp ikat weaving in southeast Asia. The results and analysis show that these diverse traditions have a common ancestor amongst neolithic cultures the Asian mainland, and parallels exist between the patterns of textile weaving descent and linguistic phylogeny for the Austronesian group. Ancestral state analysis is used to reconstruct some of the features of the ancestral weaving tradition. The widely held theory that weaving motifs originated in the late Bronze Age Dong-Son culture is shown to be inconsistent with the data.
PMCID: PMC3525544  PMID: 23272211
14.  Podoplanin negatively regulates CD4+ effector T cell responses 
Podoplanin (PDPN, also known as Gp38) is highly expressed on the surface of lymphatic endothelial cells, where it regulates development of lymphatic vessels. We have recently observed that PDPN is also expressed on effector T cells that infiltrate target tissues during autoimmune inflammation; however, the function of PDPN in T cells is largely unclear. Here, we demonstrated that global deletion of Pdpn results in exaggerated T cell responses and spontaneous experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mice with a susceptible genetic background. In contrast, T cell–specific overexpression of PDPN resulted in profound defects in IL-7–mediated T cell expansion and survival. Consequently, these animals exhibited a more rapid resolution of CNS inflammation, characterized by a reduced effector CD4+ T cell population in the CNS. Mice harboring a T cell–specific deletion of Pdpn developed exacerbated EAE, with increased accumulation of effector CD4+ T cells in the CNS. Transcriptional profiling of naturally occurring PDPN+ effector T cells in the CNS revealed increased expression of other inhibitory receptors, such as Pd1 and Tim3, and decreased expression of prosurvival factors, including Il7ra. Together, our data suggest that PDPN functions as an inhibitory molecule on T cells, thereby promoting tissue tolerance by limiting long-term survival and maintenance of CD4+ effector T cells in target organs.
PMCID: PMC4382244  PMID: 25415436
15.  Stromal Transcriptional Profiles Reveal Hierarchies of Anatomical Site, Serum Response and Disease and Identify Disease Specific Pathways 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0120917.
Synovial fibroblasts in persistent inflammatory arthritis have been suggested to have parallels with cancer growth and wound healing, both of which involve a stereotypical serum response programme. We tested the hypothesis that a serum response programme can be used to classify diseased tissues, and investigated the serum response programme in fibroblasts from multiple anatomical sites and two diseases. To test our hypothesis we utilized a bioinformatics approach to explore a publicly available microarray dataset including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA) and normal synovial tissue, then extended those findings in a new microarray dataset representing matched synovial, bone marrow and skin fibroblasts cultured from RA and OA patients undergoing arthroplasty. The classical fibroblast serum response programme discretely classified RA, OA and normal synovial tissues. Analysis of low and high serum treated fibroblast microarray data revealed a hierarchy of control, with anatomical site the most powerful classifier followed by response to serum and then disease. In contrast to skin and bone marrow fibroblasts, exposure of synovial fibroblasts to serum led to convergence of RA and OA expression profiles. Pathway analysis revealed three inter-linked gene networks characterising OA synovial fibroblasts: Cell remodelling through insulin-like growth factors, differentiation and angiogenesis through _3 integrin, and regulation of apoptosis through CD44. We have demonstrated that Fibroblast serum response signatures define disease at the tissue level, and that an OA specific, serum dependent repression of genes involved in cell adhesion, extracellular matrix remodelling and apoptosis is a critical discriminator between cultured OA and RA synovial fibroblasts.
PMCID: PMC4373951  PMID: 25807374
16.  Pro-Resolving lipid mediators and Mechanisms in the resolution of acute inflammation 
Immunity  2014;40(3):315-327.
Inflammatory responses, like all biological cascades, are shaped by a delicate balance between positive and negative feedback loops. It is now clear that in addition to positive and negative checkpoints, the inflammatory cascade rather unexpectedly boasts an additional checkpoint, a family of chemicals that actively promote resolution and tissue repair without compromising host defence. Indeed the resolution phase of inflammation is just as actively orchestrated and carefully choreographed as its induction and inhibition. In this review we explore the immunological consequences of these omega-3-derived specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs) and discuss their place within what is currently understood of the role of the arachidonic acid-derived prostaglandins, lipoxins and their natural C15-epimers. We propose that treatment of inflammation should not be restricted to the use of inhibitors of the acute cascade (antagonism) but broadened to take account of the enormous therapeutic potential of inducers (agonists) of the resolution phase of inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4004957  PMID: 24656045
17.  CD31 is required on CD4+ T cells to promote T cell survival during Salmonella infection 
Haematopoietic cells constitutively express CD31/PECAM1 a signalling, adhesion receptor associated with controlling responses to inflammatory stimuli. Although expressed on CD4+ T cells, its function on these cells is unclear. To address this we have used a model of systemic Salmonella infection that induces high levels of T cell activation and depends upon CD4+ T cells for resolution. Infection of CD31-deficient (CD31KO) mice demonstrates that these mice fail to control infection effectively. During infection, CD31KO mice have diminished numbers of total CD4+ T cells and IFN-γ-secreting Th1 cells. This is despite a higher proportion of CD31KO CD4+ T cells exhibiting an activated phenotype, and an undiminished capacity to prime normally and polarize to Th1. Reduced numbers of T cells reflected the increased propensity of naive and activated CD31KO T cells to undergo apoptosis after infection compared to wild-type (WT) T cells. Using adoptive transfer experiments we show that loss of CD31 on CD4+ T cells alone is sufficient to account for the defective CD31KO T cell accumulation. These data are consistent with CD31 helping to control T cell activation as in its absence T cells have a greater propensity to become activated, resulting in increased susceptibility to become apoptotic. The impact of CD31 loss on T cell homeostasis becomes most pronounced during severe, inflammatory and immunological stresses such as those caused by systemic Salmonella infection. This identifies a novel role for CD31 in regulating CD4 T cell homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC3160468  PMID: 21734076
18.  The stromal cell antigen CD248 (endosialin) is expressed on naive CD8+ human T cells and regulates proliferation 
Immunology  2011;133(3):288-295.
CD248 (endosialin) is a transmembrane glycoprotein that is dynamically expressed on pericytes and fibroblasts during tissue development, tumour neovascularization and inflammation. Its role in tissue remodelling is associated with increased stromal cell proliferation and migration. We show that CD248 is also uniquely expressed by human, but not mouse (C57BL/6), CD8+ naive T cells. CD248 is found only on CD8+ CCR7+ CD11alow naive T cells and on CD8 single-positive T cells in the thymus. Transfection of the CD248 negative T-cell line MOLT-4 with CD248 cDNA surprisingly reduced cell proliferation. Knock-down of CD248 on naive CD8 T cells increased cell proliferation. These data demonstrate opposing functions for CD248 on haematopoietic (CD8+) versus stromal cells and suggests that CD248 helps to maintain naive CD8+ human T cells in a quiescent state.
PMCID: PMC3108880  PMID: 21466550
angiogenesis; CD248/endosialin; CD8; naive T cells; tumour therapy
19.  Targeting Stromal Cells in Chronic Inflammation 
Discovery medicine  2007;7(37):20-26.
Why chronic inflammatory reactions persist in specific sites, such as rheumatoid arthritis in the joints, remains a mystery. Current models of inflammation have concentrated upon the responses of lymphocytes such as B and T cells to specific antigens, and have attempted, often unsuccessfully, to address the causative agent. However recent studies have shown that stromal cells such as macrophages, endothelial cells, and fibroblasts play important roles in the switch that turns a spontaneously resolving acute inflammatory response within a tissue into chronic and persistent disease. Therapeutic manipulation of the stromal microenvironment has been particularly effective in treating cancer and is likely to provide novel therapies to achieve improved control of chronic inflammatory disease.
PMCID: PMC3160478  PMID: 17343801
20.  Altered Expression of MicroRNA-203 in Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Fibroblasts and Its Role in Fibroblast Activation 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2011;63(2):373-381.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3116142  PMID: 21279994
21.  A Chemokine-Dependent Stromal Induction Mechanism for Aberrant Lymphocyte Accumulation and Compromised Lymphatic Return in Rheumatoid Arthritis 
According to the current model for tissue-specific homing, specificity is conferred by the selective recruitment of lymphocyte populations from peripheral blood, based on their expression of chemokine and adhesion receptors (endothelial selection). In this study, we provide evidence for an alternative stromal induction mechanism that operates in chronic inflammation. We show that the human rheumatoid synovial microenvironment directly induces functional inflammatory (CCR5 and CXCR3) and constitutive (CCR7 and CXCR4) chemokine receptors on infiltrating CD4+ T cells. Expression of the corresponding inflammatory chemokine ligands (CCL5 and CXCL11) was confined to stromal areas in the synovium. However, expression of the constitutive ligands (CCL19 and CXCL12) was inappropriately high on both vascular and lymphatic endothelium, suggesting that the vascular to lymphatic chemokine gradient involved in lymphatic recirculation becomes subverted in the rheumatoid synovium. These results challenge the view that leukocyte trafficking is regulated solely by selective recruitment of pre-existing chemokine receptor-positive cells from peripheral blood, by providing an alternative explanation based on aberrant lymphocyte retention and compromised lymphatic return.
PMCID: PMC3121555  PMID: 15661933
22.  Targeting the stromal microenvironment in chronic inflammation 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2006;6(4):393-400.
A characteristic feature of chronic inflammatory reactions is their persistence and predilection for certain sites. The molecular basis for such tissue tropism (as, for example, seen with metastatic spread) has until recently remained obscure, but recent studies have strongly implicated tissue-resident, stromal cells, such as macrophages, endothelial cells and fibroblasts. These cell types make attractive therapeutic targets as they help define the three-dimensional structure of tissues and are key orchestrators of the inflammatory infiltrate. Most current anti-inflammatory therapies target immune cells in an attempt to inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory mediators; however, an equally important target is the active induction of anti-inflammatory mediators involved in the resolution of inflammation. Recent work suggests that stromal cells are an important source of these mediators. Targeting of multiple signals may be required to inhibit tissue damage associated with inflammatory disease. Cells of the monocyte lineage are present as tissue-resident cells and interact closely with other stromal populations. These cells form an ideal target for modulation of the inflammatory environment as, in some cases, they appear to induce tissue repair. Therapeutic manipulation of the stromal microenvironment has been particularly effective in treating cancer and is likely to provide a novel method to achieve improved control of chronic inflammatory disease.
PMCID: PMC3119430  PMID: 16682252
23.  Differential Survival of Leukocyte Subsets Mediated by Synovial, Bone Marrow, and Skin Fibroblasts 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2006;54(7):2096-2108.
Synovial fibroblasts share a number of phenotype markers with fibroblasts derived from bone marrow. In this study we investigated the role of matched fibroblasts obtained from 3 different sources (bone marrow, synovium, and skin) to test the hypothesis that synovial fibroblasts share similarities with bone marrow–derived fibroblasts in terms of their ability to support survival of T cells and neutrophils.
Matched synovial, bone marrow, and skin fibroblasts were established from 8 different patients with rheumatoid arthritis who were undergoing knee or hip surgery. Resting or activated fibroblasts were cocultured with either CD4 T cells or neutrophils, and the degree of leukocyte survival, apoptosis, and proliferation were measured.
Fibroblasts derived from all 3 sites supported increased survival of CD4 T cells, mediated principally by interferon-β. However, synovial and bone marrow fibroblasts shared an enhanced site-specific ability to maintain CD4 T cell survival in the absence of proliferation, an effect that was independent of fibroblast activation or proliferation but required direct T cell–fibroblast cell contact. In contrast, fibroblast-mediated neutrophil survival was less efficient, being independent of the site of origin of the fibroblast but dependent on prior fibroblast activation, and mediated solely by soluble factors, principally granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor.
These results suggest an important functional role for fibroblasts in the differential accumulation of leukocyte subsets in a variety of tissue microenvironments. The findings also provide a potential explanation for site-specific differences in the pattern of T cell and neutrophil accumulation observed in chronic inflammatory diseases.
PMCID: PMC3119431  PMID: 16802344
24.  The pericyte and stromal cell marker CD248 (endosialin) is required for efficient lymph node expansion 
European journal of immunology  2010;40(7):1884-1889.
CD248 is a cell surface receptor that specifically identifies fibroblasts and pericytes during development and in association with cancer and inflammation. However, its function is poorly defined and its role in lymphoid organs not studied. Here, we used (4-hydroxy-3-nitrophenyl)acetyl chicken γ-globulin immunisation and mice lacking CD248 to study whether CD248 modulates popliteal LN (pLN) expansion and subsequent immune responses. We have found that CD248 is required for complete pLN expansion but not for co-ordination of B and T cell compartmentalisation or antibody production following (4-hydroxy-3-nitrophenyl)acetyl chicken γ-globulin immunisation. In vitro, we show that CD248 expression in human MG63 stromal cells and mouse embryonic fibroblasts leads to a pro-proliferative and pro-migratory phenotype. This correlates with a proliferating CD248+ population observed in vivo during pLN expansion. Taken together, these data highlight a role for CD248 in secondary lymphoid organ remodelling during adaptive immune responses.
PMCID: PMC3095484  PMID: 20432232
CD248; Endosialin; Fibroblast; Lymphoid tissue; Stromal cells
25.  A Differential Role for CD248 (Endosialin) in PDGF-Mediated Skeletal Muscle Angiogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107146.
CD248 (Endosialin) is a type 1 membrane protein involved in developmental and pathological angiogenesis through its expression on pericytes and regulation of PDGFRβ signalling. Here we explore the function of CD248 in skeletal muscle angiogenesis. Two distinct forms of capillary growth (splitting and sprouting) can be induced separately by increasing microcirculatory shear stress (chronic vasodilator treatment) or by inducing functional overload (extirpation of a synergistic muscle). We show that CD248 is present on pericytes in muscle and that CD248-/- mice have a specific defect in capillary sprouting. In contrast, splitting angiogenesis is independent of CD248 expression. Endothelial cells respond to pro-sprouting angiogenic stimulus by up-regulating gene expression for HIF1α, angiopoietin 2 and its receptor TEK, PDGF-B and its receptor PDGFRβ; this response did not occur following a pro-splitting angiogenic stimulus. In wildtype mice, defective sprouting angiogenesis could be mimicked by blocking PDGFRβ signalling using the tyrosine kinase inhibitor Imatinib mesylate. We conclude that CD248 is required for PDGFRβ-dependant capillary sprouting but not splitting angiogenesis, and identify a new role for CD248 expressed on pericytes in the early stages of physiological angiogenesis during muscle remodelling.
PMCID: PMC4171374  PMID: 25243742

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