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1.  Thymic function is maintained during Salmonella-induced atrophy and recovery 
Thymic atrophy is a frequent consequence of infection with bacteria, viruses and parasites and is considered a common virulence trait between pathogens. Multiple reasons have been proposed to explain this atrophy, including premature egress of immature thymocytes, increased apoptosis or thymic shutdown to prevent tolerance to the pathogen from developing. The severe loss in thymic cell number can reflect an equally dramatic reduction in thymic output, potentially reducing peripheral T cell numbers. Here we examine the relationship between systemic Salmonella infection and thymic function. During infection, naive T cell numbers in peripheral lymphoid organs increase. Nevertheless, this occurs despite a pronounced thymic atrophy caused by viable bacteria, with a peak 50-fold reduction in thymocyte numbers. Thymic atrophy is not dependent upon homeostatic feedback from peripheral T cells or on regulation of endogenous glucocorticoids, as demonstrated by infection of genetically-altered mice. Once bacterial numbers fall, thymocyte numbers recover and this is associated with increases in the proportion and proliferation of early thymic progenitors. During atrophy, thymic T cell maturation is maintained and sjTREC analysis reveals there is only a modest fall in recent CD4+ thymic emigrants in secondary lymphoid tissues. Thus thymic atrophy does not necessarily result in a matching dysfunctional T cell output and thymic homeostasis can constantly adjust to systemic infection to ensure that naive T cell output is maintained.
PMCID: PMC3912538  PMID: 22993205
2.  Analysis of the effects of stromal cells on the migration of lymphocytes into and through inflamed tissue using 3-D culture models☆ 
Journal of Immunological Methods  2013;400-401(100):45-57.
Stromal cells may regulate the recruitment and behaviour of leukocytes during an inflammatory response, potentially through interaction with the endothelial cells (EC) and the leukocytes themselves. Here we describe new in vitro methodologies to characterise the effects of stromal cells on the migration of lymphocytes through endothelium and its underlying matrix. Three-dimensional tissue-like constructs were created in which EC were cultured above a stromal layer incorporating fibroblasts either as a monolayer on a porous filter or dispersed within a matrix of collagen type 1. A major advantage of these constructs is that they enable each step in leukocyte migration to be analysed in sequence (migration through EC and then stroma), as would occur in vivo. Migrated cells can also be retrieved from the constructs to identify which subsets traffic more effectively and how their functional responses evolve during migration. We found that culture of EC with dermal fibroblasts promoted lymphocyte transendothelial migration but not onward transit through matrix. A critical factor influencing the effect of fibroblasts on recruitment proved to be their proximity to the EC, with direct contact tending to disrupt migration. Comparison of the different approaches indicates that choice of an appropriate 3-D model enables the steps in lymphocyte entry into tissue to be studied in sequence, the regulatory mechanism to be dissected, and the effects of changes in stroma to be investigated.
•New models of tissue using endothelial cells, fibroblasts and collagen matrix•Imaging of T-cell migration through tissue-like constructs•Fibroblasts promote T-cell migration through endothelial cells.•Fibroblasts contract collagen gel, restricting T-cell entry.•In vitro tools to test agents with the potential to alter leukocyte recruitment
PMCID: PMC3878567  PMID: 24140419
Endothelial cells; Leukocytes; Adhesion; Migration; Inflammation; Fibroblasts
3.  What can rheumatologists learn from translational cancer therapy? 
It is well established that an intimate connection exists between inflammation and neoplasia. Indeed, particular chronic infections and autoimmune processes giving rise to prolonged site-specific inflammation are known to increase the probability of the development of specific cancers. Molecular characterisation of these processes has revealed profound similarities in the specific molecules involved in persistence of inflammation and in both the primary induction of neoplastic processes and in specification of the preferred anatomic sites of metastatic spread. The therapeutic importance of these findings is underscored by the remarkable success in the treatment of autoimmune pathology using medications initially developed for use in oncology and this arena is one of considerable therapeutic promise for rheumatologists.
PMCID: PMC3672806  PMID: 23638860
4.  Curbing Inflammation 
PMCID: PMC3806508  PMID: 24195008
5.  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
6.  Inducible tertiary lymphoid structures, autoimmunity and exocrine dysfunction in a novel model of salivary gland inflammation in C57BL/6 mice§ 
Salivary glands in patients with Sjögren’s syndrome (SS) develop ectopic lymphoid structures (ELS) characterized by B/T cell compartmentalization, the formation of high endothelial venules (HEV), follicular dendritic cell networks (FDCs), functional B cell activation with expression of activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) as well as local differentiation of autoreactive plasma cells. The mechanisms triggering ELS formation, autoimmunity and exocrine dysfunction in SS are largely unknown. Here we present a novel model of inducible ectopic lymphoid tissue formation, breach of humoral self-tolerance and salivary hypofunction following delivery of a replication-deficient adenovirus-5 (AdV5) in submandibular glands of C57BL/6 mice through retrograde excretory duct cannulation. In this model, inflammation rapidly and consistently evolves from diffuse infiltration towards the development of SS-like periductal lymphoid aggregates within 2 weeks from AdV delivery. These infiltrates progressively acquire ELS features and support functional GL7+/AID+ germinal centers. Formation of ELS is preceded by ectopic expression of lymphoid chemokines CXCL13, CCL19 and lymphotoxin-β and is associated with development of anti-nuclear antibodies in up to 75% of mice. Finally, reduction in salivary flow was observed over 3 weeks post AdV infection consistent with exocrine gland dysfunction as a consequence of the inflammatory response. This novel model has the potential to unravel the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating ELS formation and their role in exocrine dysfunction and autoimmunity in SS.
PMCID: PMC3448973  PMID: 22942425
7.  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
8.  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
9.  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
10.  Association of T-Zone Reticular Networks and Conduits with Ectopic Lymphoid Tissues in Mice and Humans 
The American Journal of Pathology  2011;178(4):1662-1675.
Ectopic or tertiary lymphoid tissues (TLTs) are often induced at sites of chronic inflammation. They typically contain various hematopoietic cell types, high endothelial venules, and follicular dendritic cells; and are organized in lymph node–like structures. Although fibroblastic stromal cells may play a role in TLT induction and persistence, they have remained poorly defined. Herein, we report that TLTs arising during inflammation in mice and humans in a variety of tissues (eg, pancreas, kidney, liver, and salivary gland) contain stromal cell networks consisting of podoplanin+ T-zone fibroblastic reticular cells (TRCs), distinct from follicular dendritic cells. Similar to lymph nodes, TRCs were present throughout T-cell–rich areas and had dendritic cells associated with them. They expressed lymphotoxin (LT) β receptor (LTβR), produced CCL21, and formed a functional conduit system. In rat insulin promoter–CXCL13–transgenic pancreas, the maintenance of TRC networks and conduits was partially dependent on LTβR and on lymphoid tissue inducer cells expressing LTβR ligands. In conclusion, TRCs and conduits are hallmarks of secondary lymphoid organs and of well-developed TLTs, in both mice and humans, and are likely to act as important scaffold and organizer cells of the T-cell–rich zone.
PMCID: PMC3070229  PMID: 21435450
11.  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
12.  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
13.  Why does chronic inflammation persist: An unexpected role for fibroblasts 
Immunology letters  2011;138(1):12-14.
One of the most important but as yet unanswered questions in inflammation research is not why inflammation occurs (we all get episodes of self limiting inflammation during the course of our lives) but why it does not resolve. Current models of inflammation stress the role of antigen-specific lymphocyte responses and attempt to address the causative agent. However, recent studies have begun to challenge the primacy of the leukocyte and have instead focused on an extended immune system in which stromal cells, such as fibroblasts play a role in the persistence of the inflammatory lesion.
In this review I will illustrate how fibroblasts help regulate the switch from acute resolving to chronic persistent inflammation and provide positional memory during inflammatory responses. In chronic inflammation the normal physiological process of the removal of unwanted inflammatory effector cells becomes disordered, leading to the accumulation of leucocytes within lymphoid aggregates that resemble those seen in lymphoid tissue. I will describe how fibroblasts provide survival and retention signals for leukocytes leading to their inappropriate and persistent accumulation within inflamed tissue.
PMCID: PMC3110265  PMID: 21333681
14.  Stromal cells differentially regulate neutrophil and lymphocyte recruitment through the endothelium 
Immunology  2010;131(3):357-370.
Stromal fibroblasts modify the initial recruitment of leucocytes by endothelial cells (EC), but their effects on subsequent transendothelial migration remain unclear. Here, EC and dermal or synovial fibroblasts were cultured on opposite surfaces of 3-μm pore filters and incorporated in static or flow-based migration assays. Fibroblasts had little effect on tumour necrosis factor-α-induced transendothelial migration of neutrophils, but tended to increase the efficiency of migration away from the endothelium. Surprisingly, similar close contact between EC and fibroblasts strongly reduced lymphocyte migration in static assays, and nearly abolished stable lymphocyte adhesion from flow. Fibroblasts did not alter endothelial surface expression of adhesion molecules or messenger RNA for chemokines. Inhibition of attachment did not occur when EC-fibroblast contact was restricted by using 0·4-μm pore filters, but under these conditions pre-treatment with heparinase partially inhibited adhesion. In the 3-μm pore co-cultures, inhibition of metalloproteinase activity partially recovered lymphocyte adhesion, but addition of CXCL12 (SDF-1α) to the endothelial surface did not. Hence, the ability of EC to present activating chemokines for lymphocytes may have been enzymatically inhibited by direct contact with fibroblasts. To avoid contact, we cultured EC and fibroblasts on separate 3-μm pore filters one above the other. Here, fibroblasts promoted the transendothelial migration of lymphocytes. Fibroblasts generate CXCL12, but blockade of CXCL12 receptor had no effect on lymphocyte migration. While stromal cells can provide signal(s) promoting leucocyte migration away from the sub-endothelial space, direct cell contact (which might occur in damaged tissue) may cause disruption of chemokine signalling, specifically inhibiting lymphocyte rather than neutrophil recruitment.
PMCID: PMC2992690  PMID: 20518822
endothelial cells; fibroblasts; lymphocytes; migration; neutrophils
15.  Predictive Value of Antibodies to Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide in Patients with Very Early Inflammatory Arthritis 
The Journal of rheumatology  2005;32(2):231-238.
To study the prognostic value of antibodies to cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) and rheumatoid factor (RF), alone and in combination, in patients with very early synovitis.
A cross-sectional study was performed in patients with established inflammatory and noninflammatory disease to validate the assay in our unit and confirm previously reported sensitivities and specificities of anti-CCP antibodies. Subsequently, patients with synovitis of ≤ 3 months’ duration were followed for 72 weeks and the ability of anti-CCP antibodies and RF to predict the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and persistent inflammatory arthritis was assessed.
One hundred twenty-four patients were assessed in the initial cross-sectional study. Anti-CCP antibodies and RF were detected by ELISA in only 4% of patients with non-RA inflammatory disease and in no patient with noninflammatory disease. Ninety-six patients with very early synovitis were assessed longitudinally. In these patients with early arthritis, the combination of anti-CCP antibodies and RF had a specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), sensitivity, and negative predictive value (NPV) for a diagnosis of RA of 100%, 100%, 58%, and 88%, respectively. The specificity, PPV, sensitivity, and NPV of this antibody combination for the development of persistent disease-fulfilling classification criteria for RA were 97%, 86%, 63%, and 91%, respectively.
In patients with synovitis of ≤ 3 months’ duration, a combination of anti-CCP antibodies and RF has a high specificity and PPV for the development of persistent RA. This autoantibody combination can be used to identify patients with disease destined to develop RA who may be appropriate for very early intervention.
PMCID: PMC3160476  PMID: 15693082
16.  Report on antibodies submitted to the stromal cell section of HLDA8 
Cellular immunology  2005;236(1-2):29-41.
The paradigm for tissue specific homing of leukocytes is the “area code” hypothesis, which predicts that a specific combination of adhesive interactions and chemokine signals from the endothelium directs leukocyte migration into specific tissue sites. This area code hypothesis has been supported by studies from previous HLDA workshops where endothelial specific cell antigens have been studied. Similarly, a clear haematopoietic "stem cell code" comprising the chemokine SDF-1 (CXCL12) and the adhesion receptor VCAM-1 (CD106) has been shown to contribute to the stem cell niche within bone marrow [1]. HLDA 7 included a section devoted to stem cell antigens, which began to define additional antigens important in these processes. During the course of HLDA 8 we have extended these observations to determine whether a more global stromal address code defined by fibroblasts, exists in variety of different tissues [2]. The stromal cell section in HLDA 8 was designed to complement the malignant cell, endothelial cell, and stem cell/progenitor cell sections. Seven new CD numbers were assigned to antibodies included in this section at the HLDA 8 Workshop meeting held during December 2004.
PMCID: PMC3154652  PMID: 16171791
17.  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
18.  Treating very early rheumatoid arthritis 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is common and leads to joint damage due to persistent synovitis. The persistence of inflammation is maintained by hyperplastic stromal tissue, which drives the accumulation of leukocytes in the synovium. Aggressive treatment after the first 3–4 months of symptoms, with either disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs or anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α therapy, reduces the rate of disease progression. However, it rarely switches off disease such that remission can be maintained without the continued need for immunosuppressive therapy. There is increasing evidence that the first few months after symptom onset represent a pathologically distinct phase of disease. This very early phase may translate into a therapeutic window of opportunity during which it may be possible to permanently switch off the disease process. The rationale for, and approaches to, treatment within this very early window are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3145120  PMID: 16980210
rheumatoid arthritis; early arthritis; synovitis; therapy; remission; DMARD; anti-TNF-α therapy
19.  The role of chemokines in leucocyte-stromal interactions in rheumatoid arthritis 
New dimensions in our understanding of immune cell trafficking in health and disease have been opened by the discovery of chemokines and their receptors. This family of chemo-attractant cytokines performs essential roles in the recruitment and subsequent positioning of leucocyte subsets within tissue microenvironments. Investigation of chemokine networks offers a novel approach to understand the mechanisms by which inflammatory cells persist in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), where evidence is mounting that the inappropriate temporal and spatial expression of chemokines and/or their receptors may impair the resolution of leucocyte infiltrates. The recognition that stromal cells such as fibroblasts, as active components of tissue specific microenvironments, are able to determine the type and persistence of inflammatory infiltrates has opened new vistas in research. Stromal cells are active contributors to cytokine and inflammatory chemokine networks which result in immune cell recruitment and activation. However an intriguing role of stromal cells has been demonstrated in the inappropriate expression of constitutive, housekeeping chemokines, which contribute to the persistence of inflammation by actively blocking its resolution.
PMCID: PMC3145134  PMID: 17981742
Chemokine; chemokine receptor; Stromal; Fibroblast; Rheumatoid arthritis; Inflammation; Microenvironment; Review
20.  Interaction between integrin α9β1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) inhibits neutrophil apoptosis 
Blood  2005;107(3):1178-1183.
According to the prevailing paradigm, neutrophils are short-lived cells that undergo spontaneous apoptosis within 24 hours of their release from the bone marrow. However, neutrophil survival can be significantly prolonged within inflamed tissue by cytokines, inflammatory mediators, and hypoxia. During screening experiments aimed at identifying the effect of the adhesive microenvironment on neutrophil survival, we found that VCAM-1 (CD106) was able to delay both spontaneous and Fas-induced apoptosis. VCAM-1–mediated survival was as efficient as that induced by the cytokine IFN-β and provided an additive, increased delay in apoptosis when given in combination with IFN-β. VCAM-1 delivered its antiapoptotic effect through binding the integrin α9β1. The α9β1 signaling pathway shares significant features with the IFN-β survival signaling pathway, requiring PI3 kinase, NF-κB activation, as well as de novo protein synthesis, but the kinetics of NF-κB activation by VCAM-1 were slower and more sustained compared with IFN-β. This study demonstrates a novel functional role for α9β1 in neutrophil biology and suggests that adhesive signaling pathways provide an important extrinsic checkpoint for the resolution of inflammatory responses in tissues.
PMCID: PMC3132455  PMID: 16223772
21.  The role of leukocyte-stromal interactions in chronic inflammatory joint disease 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a debilitating, chronic, persistent inflammatory disease that is characterised by painful and swollen joints. The aetiology of RA is unknown, however whereas past research has concentrated on the role of immune or inflammatory infiltrating cells in inflammation, it is becoming clear that stromal cells play a critical part in regulating the quality and duration of an inflammatory response. In this review we assess the role of fibroblasts within the inflamed synovium in modulating immune responses; in particular we examine the role of stromal cells in the switch from resolving to persistent inflammation as is found in the rheumatoid synovium.
PMCID: PMC3122102  PMID: 15681242
Rheumatoid arthritis; Cytokines; Chemokines; Synovitis; Inflammation
22.  A stromal address code defined by fibroblasts 
Trends in immunology  2005;26(3):150-156.
To navigate into and within tissues, leukocytes require guidance cues that enable them to recognize which tissues to enter and which to avoid. Such cues are partly provided at the time of extravasation from blood by an endothelial address code on the luminal surface of the vascular endothelium. Here, we review the evidence that fibroblasts help define an additional stromal address code that directs leukocyte behaviour within tissues. We examine how this stromal code regulates site-specific leukocyte accumulation, differentiation and survival in a variety of physiological stromal niches, and how the aberrant expression of components of this code in the wrong tissue at the wrong time contributes to the persistence of chronic inflammatory diseases.
PMCID: PMC3121558  PMID: 15745857
23.  Endothelial cells, fibroblasts and vasculitis 
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)  2005;44(7):860-863.
One of the most important questions in vasculitis research is not why inflammation of blood vessels occurs but why it persists, often in a site-specific manner. In this review we illustrate how stromal cells, such as fibroblasts and pericytes, might play an important role in regulating the site at which vasculitis occurs. Smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts directly influence the behaviour of overlying vascular cells, amplifying the response of the endothelium to proinflammatory agents such as TNF-α and allowing enhanced and inappropriate leucocyte recruitment. An abnormal local vascular stromal environment can therefore influence local endothelial function and drive the persistence of local vascular inflammation. However, such local vascular inflammation can have distant effects on the systemic vascular system, leading to widespread endothelial cell dysfunction. Vascular endothelial dysfunction is common in a range of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, is seen in multiple vascular beds, and is reversible following the induction of disease remission. The mechanisms that drive such systemic vascular endothelial dysfunction are unclear but factors such as TNF-α and CRP may play a role. Persistence of such widespread endothelial dysfunction in systemic vasculitis appears to have long-term consequences, leading to the acceleration of atherosclerosis and premature ischaemic heart disease. It may also underlie the accelerated atherosclerosis seen in other immune-mediated rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
PMCID: PMC3119433  PMID: 15644388
24.  A Novel Mechanism of Neutrophil Recruitment in a Coculture Model of the Rheumatoid Synovium 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2005;52(11):3460-3469.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is classically thought of as a Th1, T lymphocyte–driven disease of the adaptive immune system. However, cells of the innate immune system, including neutrophils, are prevalent within the diseased joint, and accumulate in large numbers. This study was undertaken to determine whether cells of the rheumatoid stromal microenvironment could establish an inflammatory environment in which endothelial cells are conditioned in a disease-specific manner to support neutrophil recruitment.
Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (ECs) and fibroblasts isolated from the synovium or skin of RA patients were established in coculture on opposite sides of porous transwell filters. After 24 hours of EC conditioning, the membranes were incorporated into a parallel-plate, flow-based adhesion assay and levels of neutrophil adhesion to ECs were measured.
ECs cocultured with synovial, but not skin, fibroblasts could recruit neutrophils in a manner that was dependent on the number of fibroblasts. Antibody blockade of P-selectin or E-selectin reduced neutrophil adhesion, and an antibody against CD18 (the β2 integrin) abolished adhesion. Blockade of CXCR2, but not CXCR1, also greatly inhibited neutrophil recruitment. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) was detectable in coculture supernatants, and both IL-6 and neutrophil adhesion were reduced in a dose-dependent manner by hydrocortisone added to cocultures. Antibody blockade of IL-6 also effectively abolished neutrophil adhesion.
Synovial fibroblasts from the rheumatoid joint play an important role in regulating the recruitment of inflammatory leukocytes during active disease. This process may depend on a previously unsuspected route of IL-6–mediated crosstalk between fibroblasts and endothelial cells.
PMCID: PMC3119436  PMID: 16255036
25.  Chemokine- and adhesion-dependent survival of neutrophils after transmigration through cytokine-stimulated endothelium 
Journal of leukocyte biology  2006;79(4):779-788.
We examined the fate of neutrophils following transmigration through an endothelial monolayer cultured on “Transwell” membrane filters. Treatment of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) with increasing doses of tumor necrosis factor-α increased the efficiency of transmigration and markedly reduced apoptosis among the transmigrated neutrophils in a dose-dependent manner. Apoptosis was also inhibited after transmigration of neutrophils through HUVEC stimulated with interleukin (IL)-1β but not so effectively after chemotaxis through unstimulated HUVEC driven by IL-8 added below the filter. Inhibition of β2-integrin binding after transmigration or coating the lower chamber with a nonadhesive polymer (polyhydroxyl-ethyl-methacrylate) abrogated neutrophil survival. Although integrin engagement during migration itself was not essential to inhibit apoptosis, activation of neutrophils through CXC chemokine receptors was necessary. Quite brief exposure to the HUVEC (30–120 min) was effective in reducing subsequent apoptosis, although if coincubation with the HUVEC were prolonged, neutrophil apoptosis was reduced further. Neutralization of granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor inhibited this additional effect. Thus, a complex interplay between migration- and activation-dependent signals and adhesive interaction in tissue may combine to effectively prolong the survival of neutrophils recruited during inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3119451  PMID: 16461737
apoptosis; leukocyte trafficking; endothelial cells; adhesion molecules

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