There is no consensus on whether it is safe to re-administer tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) inhibitors in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or ankylosing spondylitis (AS) flared after withdrawal of TNFα inhibitors due to active tuberculosis (TB). We evaluated the safety of restarting anti-TNFα therapy in patients with TNFα-associated TB. We used data of 1,012 patients with RA or AS treated with TNFα inhibitors at Seoul St. Mary's Hospital between January 2003 and July 2013 to identify patients who developed active TB. Demographic and clinical data including the results of tuberculin skin tests (TST) and interferon-γ releasing assays (IGRA) were collected. Fifteen patients developed active TB. Five cases were occurred in RA and 10 cases in AS. Nine of 15 patients had a negative TST or IGRA and 6 TST-positive patients had received prophylaxis prior to initiating anti-TNFα therapy. All patients discontinued TNFα inhibitors with starting the treatment of TB. Eight patients were re-administered TNFα inhibitors due to disease flares and promptly improved without recurrence of TB. TNFα inhibitors could be safely resumed after starting anti-TB regimen in patients with RA or AS.
TNFα Inhibitor; Tuberculosis; Arthritis, Rheumatoid; Spondylitis, Ankylosing
Polychondritis is an inflammatory disorder that affects various catilagenous structures, and the clinical features include auricular, nasal and respiratory tract chondritis. It also involves the eyes, audiovestibular apparatus, joints and vascular structures. Polychondritis can be associated with several rheumatologic diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic vasculitis. However, polychondritis is a rare complication of Behçet's disease (BD) and only ten cases with combined BD and polychondritis have been reported on around the world. In this report, we describe a 40-year-old Korean man with BD who suffered from polychondritis that manifested as bilateral auricular chondritis, conjunctivitis and arthritis.
Polychondritis; Behçet's disease
Interleukin (IL)-33 is an important mediator of innate immunity. Behcet's disease (BD) is an autoinflammatory disorder characterized by hyperactivity of the innate immune response. We measured serum levels of IL-33 and its receptor soluble ST2 (sST2) in patients with BD to investigate their association with disease activity. Serum levels of both IL-33 and sST2 were higher in patients with BD compared with those in normal controls (IL-33: 594.48±175.04 pg/mL in BD and 224.23±56.64 pg/mL in normal controls [P=0.048], sST2: 99.01±15.92 pg/mL in BD and 23.56±3.25 pg/mL in normal controls [P<0.001]). IL-33 and sST2 expression in skin tissue, as shown by immunohistochemistry, was higher in patients with BD compared with that in the normal controls. Serum sST2 level correlated significantly with the BD currently active form (BDCAF), Iranian BD dynamic activity measure (IBDDAM), erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein. Multiple linear regression showed that serum sST2 was an independent factor associated with IBBDAM (regression coefficient, 0.374; P=0.004), and BDCAF (regression coefficient, 0.236; P=0.047). These results demonstrate that IL-33 and sST2 are highly expressed in patients with BD and that serum sST2 is an independent factor associated with IBDDAM and BDCAF, suggesting a potential role for sST2 as a surrogate marker of disease activity in patients with BD.
Interleukin-33; soluble ST2; Behcet Syndrome
Bone destruction and inflammation are closely linked. Cytokines play an important role in inflammatory bone destruction by upregulating the receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) ligand (RANKL). The direct role of cytokines that act in a non-RANKL-dependent manner has yet to be elucidated. The aim of this study was to investigate the direct osteoclastogenic properties of inflammatory cytokines at different time-points of osteoclastogenesis. Mouse bone marrow macrophages were stimulated with the macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) and various concentrations of RANKL. Inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-17 and IL-23, were added to the culture system of osteoclastogenesis. Two time-points of cytokine treatment were set. The ‘early’ effect of each cytokine was investigated at the time of first RANKL treatment, whereas the ‘late’ effect was investigated 48 h after the first RANKL challenge. Osteoclast differentiation and function were assessed using an osteoclast marker [tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP)] and by visualization of pit formation. A permissive level of RANKL was required for cytokine-associated osteoclastogenesis in all experiments. In the M-CSF/RANKL monocellular culture system, IL-1β enhanced and IL-6 decreased osteoclast formation in a dose-dependent manner, regardless of temporal differences. Other cytokines showed various responses according to the phase of osteoclast maturation and the concentration of each cytokine and RANKL. Furthermore, luciferase assays showed that both IL-1β and RANKL activated the NF-κB signaling pathway. Collectively, our data revealed that targeting IL-1β may be a promising strategy to inhibit inflammation-associated bone destruction and osteoporosis.
inflammation; osteoclast; receptor activator nuclear factor-κB ligand; interleukin-1β; interleukin-6; nuclear factor-κB
We aimed to quantify periarticular osteoporosis and investigate its significance in 45 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 106 controls. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was used to determine the ratio of shaft to periarticular bone mineral density (BMD) as an index of periarticular demineralization. Periarticular osteoporosis was measured by conventional radiography. The BMDs of shaft and periarticular regions in eight designated areas on proximal phalanges were quantified. Clinical variables were examined to identify risk factors for periarticular osteoporosis. The assessment of periarticular osteoporosis on X-ray images reached a moderate degree of interobserver agreement among four physicians (ĸ = 0.47). For BMD quantification, we designed three types of mathematical formulae: the ratio of shaft to periarticular BMD, the mean of the ratios, and the ratio of the sums. These ratios were significantly higher in the patients with early RA (disease duration ≤ 3 yr) than in controls (P < 0.01). The findings were not as distinctive in patients with established RA. Body mass index, cumulative dose of corticosteroid, and C-terminal telopeptide were correlated with BMD ratios. Conclusively, DXA-assisted localized quantification and BMD ratio calculations are feasible for assessing periarticular demineralization. Periarticular osteoporosis is a relatively distinctive feature of early RA.
Bone Density; Arthrits; Rheumatoid; Periarticular Osteopenia
Disease progression of ankylosing spondylitis has been considered irreversible. However, we report a case of spontaneous regression of syndesmophyte development following allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplantation in a patient with acute myeloid leukemia, who was also diagnosed as having ankylosing spondylitis. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case report presenting the partial radiologic regression of syndesmophytes.
A 39-year-old man with active ankylosing spondylitis achieved clinical remission and partial radiological regression of cervical spine syndesmophytes following a peripheral blood stem cell transplantation for acute myeloid leukemia. Our patient received an allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplantation following a pre-transplantation conditioning regimen of total body irradiation and cyclophosphamide. The donor was a human leukocyte antigen-matched 29-year-old man. Our patient has remained asymptomatic and has received no medication for ankylosing spondylitis for nearly three years.
Several explanations are proposed for the regression of syndesmophytes and clinical improvement in active ankylosing spondylitis observed in our patient, including changes in bone remodeling and immune reconstitution following stem cell transplantation, the effect of immunosuppressive agents, or fluctuation in the natural course of ankylosing spondylitis although further studies are required. The regression of syndesmophytes in ankylosing spondylitis in this case raises the possibility that stem cell transplantation might contribute to the development of a novel therapeutic strategy for treatment of the disease.
This study has attempted to establish an analysis method through validation against heavy metals in the body (Pb, Cd and Hg) using ICP-MS and Gold amalgamation and find out the relevance between heavy metal and Alzheimer’s disease after analyzing the distribution of heavy metal concentration (Pb, Cd and Hg) and correlations between a control group and Alzheimer’s disease group. In this study, Pb and Cd levels in the blood and serum were validation using ICP-MS. For analysis of Hg levels in the blood and serum, the gold amalgamation-based ‘Direct Mercury Analyzer’ has been used. According to an analysis on the heavy metal concentration (Pb, Cd and Hg concentration) in the blood, Cd concentration was high in the Alzheimer’s disease group. In the serum, on the contrary, Pb and Hg were high in the Alzheimer’s disease group. For analysis of correlations between heavy metal levels in the blood and serum and Alzheimer’s disease, t-test has been performed. Even though correlations were observed between the blood lead levels and Alzheimer’s disease, they were statistically insignificant because the concentration was higher in a control group. No significance was found in Cd and Hg. In the serum, on the other hand, no statistical significance was found between the heavy metal (Pb, Cd and Hg) and Alzheimer’s disease. In this study, no statistical significance was observed between heavy metal and decrease in cognitive intelligence. However, it appears that a further study needs to be performed because the results of the conventional studies were inconsistent.
Alzheimer’s diseases; Heavy metal; Association; Biomonitoring
Interleukin (IL)-21 is a cytokine that controls the functional activity of effector T helper cells and the differentiation of Th17 cells, and promotes B-cell differentiation. To test whether IL-21 participates in the pathogenesis of primary Sjögren's syndrome (SS), serum IL-21 level was measured and IL-21 expression in the labial salivary glands (LSG) was examined.
Serum IL-21 levels in 40 primary SS, 40 rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and 38 systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients and 20 healthy controls were measured. Serum IL-21 levels of SS patients were assessed for correlations with laboratory data, including anti-nuclear antibody, anti-Ro/La antibodies, globulin, immunoglobulin (Ig) class, and IgG subclass. LSGs from 16 primary SS and 4 controls with sicca symptoms were evaluated for IL-21 and IL-21 receptor (IL-21R) expression by immunohistochemistry. Confocal microscopy was performed to further characterize the IL-21 positive cells.
Primary SS patients had significantly higher serum IL-21 levels than controls, and these increments correlated positively with levels of IgG, IgG1. Serum IgG1 levels correlated with anti-Ro antibody titers. Immunohistochemical analyses showed that lymphocytic foci and the periductal area of the LSGs from SS patients expressed high levels of IL-21 and lower levels of IL-21R, whereas the control LSGs showed minimal expression of both antigens. The more the lymphocyte infiltrated, IL-21expression in LSGs showed a tendency to increase. Confocal microscopic analyses revealed that IL-21 expressing infiltrating lymphocytes in the LSGs of SS patients also expressed CXCR5.
Primary SS is associated with high serum IL-21 levels that correlate positively with serum IgG, especially IgG1, levels. The expression of IL-21 is increased as more lymphocytes infiltrated in LSGs. These observations suggest that IL-21 may play an important role in primary SS pathogenesis.
IL-21; IL-21 receptor; Sjogren's syndrome; Immunoglobulin G1; Labial salivary gland
This issue of Frontiers in Immunologic Tolerance explores barriers to tolerance from a variety of views of cells, molecules, and processes of the immune system. Our laboratory has spent over a decade focused on the migration of the cells of the immune system, and dissecting the signals that determine how and where effector and suppressive regulatory T cells traffic from one site to another in order to reject or protect allografts. These studies have led us to a greater appreciation of the anatomic structure of the immune system, and the realization that the path taken by lymphocytes during the course of the immune response to implanted organs determines the final outcome. In particular, the structures, microanatomic domains, and the cells and molecules that lymphocytes encounter during their transit through blood, tissues, lymphatics, and secondary lymphoid organs are powerful determinants for whether tolerance is achieved. Thus, the understanding of complex cellular and molecular processes of tolerance will not come from “96-well plate immunology,” but from an integrated understanding of the temporal and spatial changes that occur during the response to the allograft. The study of the precise positioning and movement of cells in lymphoid organs has been difficult since it is hard to visualize cells within their three-dimensional setting; instead techniques have tended to be dominated by two-dimensional renderings, although advanced confocal and two-photon systems are changing this view. It is difficult to precisely modify key molecules and events in lymphoid organs, so that existing knockouts, transgenics, inhibitors, and activators have global and pleiotropic effects, rather than precise anatomically restricted influences. Lastly, there are no well-defined postal codes or tracking systems for leukocytes, so that while we can usually track cells from point A to point B, it is exponentially more difficult or even impossible to track them to point C and beyond. We believe this represents one of the fundamental barriers to understanding the immune system and devising therapeutic approaches that take into account anatomy and structure as major controlling principles of tolerance.
tolerance; lymph node; structure
Angiogenesis, which is a critical step in the initiation and progression of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), involves pro-angiogenic factors, including interleukin (IL)-8 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). We investigated the role of Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) in the regulation of pro-angiogenic factors in RA fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS).
FLS were isolated from RA synovial tissues and stimulated with the TLR3 ligand, poly (I:C). The levels of VEGF and IL-8 in the culture supernatants were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and the mRNA levels were assessed by semiquantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. The expression patterns of VEGF and IL-8 in the RA synovium and osteoarthritis (OA) synovium were compared using immunohistochemistry.
The expression levels of TLR3, VEGF, and IL-8 were significantly higher in the RA synovium than in the OA synovium. VEGF and IL-8 production were increased in the culture supernatants of RA FLS stimulated with poly (I:C), and the genes for these proteins were up-regulated at the transcriptional level after poly (I:C) treatment. Treatment with inhibitors of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB), i.e., pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate and parthenolide, abrogated the stimulatory effect of poly (I:C) on the production of VEGF and IL-8 in RA FLS.
Our results suggest that the activation of TLR3 in RA FLS promotes the production of proangiogenic factors, in a process that is mediated by the NF-κB signaling pathway. Therefore, targeting the TLR3 pathway may be a promising approach to preventing pathologic angiogenesis in RA.
Toll-like receptor 3; Arthritis, rheumatoid; Vascular endothelial growth factor; Interleukin-8; Synovial fibroblast
The present study was devised to understand the role of systemic indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) in the tolerance induction for orally tolerized mice in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). We examined whether IDO-expressing dendritic cells (DCs) are involved in the generation of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells during the induction of oral tolerance in a murine CIA model.
Type II collagen was fed six times to DBA/1 mice beginning 2 weeks before immunization, and the effect on arthritis was assessed. To examine the IDO expression, the DCs of messenger RNA and protein were analyzed by RT-PCR and Flow cytometry. In addition, a proliferative response assay was also carried out to determine the suppressive effects of DCs through IDO. The ability of DCs expressing IDO to induce CD4+CD25+ T regulatory cells was examined.
CD11c+ DCs in Peyer's patches from orally tolerized mice expressed a higher level of IDO than DCs from nontolerized CIA mice. IDO-expressing CD11c+ DCs were involved in the suppression of type II collagen-specific T-cell proliferation and in the downregulation of proinflammatory T helper 1 cytokine production. The suppressive effect of IDO-expressing CD11c+ DCs was mediated by Foxp3+CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells.
Our data suggest that tolerogenic CD11c+ DCs are closely linked with the induction of oral tolerance through an IDO-dependent mechanism and that this pathway may provide a new therapeutic modality to treat autoimmune arthritis.
Induction of oral tolerance has long been considered a promising approach to the treatment of chronic autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Oral administration of type II collagen (CII) has been proven to improve signs and symptoms in RA patients without troublesome toxicity. To investigate the mechanism of immune suppression mediated by orally administered antigen, we examined changes in serum IgG subtypes and T-cell proliferative responses to CII, and generation of IL-10-producing CD4+CD25+ T-cell subsets in an animal model of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). We found that joint inflammation in CIA mice peaked at 5 weeks after primary immunization with CII, which was significantly less in mice tolerized by repeated oral feeding of CII before CIA induction. Mice that had been fed with CII also exhibited increased serum IgG1 and decreased serum IgG2a as compared with nontolerized CIA animals. The T-cell proliferative response to CII was suppressed in lymph nodes of tolerized mice also. Production of IL-10 and of transforming growth factor-β from mononuclear lymphocytes was increased in the tolerized animals, and CD4+ T cells isolated from tolerized mice did not respond with induction of IFN-γ when stimulated in vitro with CII. We also observed greater induction of IL-10-producing CD4+CD25+ subsets among CII-stimulated splenic T cells from tolerized mice. These data suggest that when these IL-10-producing CD4+CD25+ T cells encounter CII antigen in affected joints they become activated to exert an anti-inflammatory effect.
collagen-induced arthritis; IL-10; oral tolerance; type II collagen
The HLA-B51 allele is known to be associated with Behcet's disease (BD) in many ethnic group. However, it has not yet been clarified whether the HLA-B51 gene itself is the pathogenic gene related to BD or whether it is some other gene in linkage disequlibrium with HLA-B51. Recently, the Triplet repeat (GCT/AGC) polymorphism in transmembrane region of the MHC class I chain-related A (MICA) gene was identified. To investigate the association of MICA with BD, we studied the MICA polymorphism in 108 Korean BD patients and 204 healthy controls in relation to the presence of HLA-B51 and clinical manifestations. The triplet repeat polymorphism was determined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-denaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE). The phenotype frequency of the MICA*A6 allele (relative risk, RR=2.15, p=0.002) and HLA-B51(RR=1.87, p=0.022) were significantly increased in the Korean patients with BD. A strong linkage disequilibrium was observed between the MICA*A6 and HLA-B51 in both the patients with BD and control subjects. Stratification analysis showed that MICA*A6 homozygosity was strongly associated with BD in the HLA-B51-negative population, and HLA-B51 was also associated with MICA*A6-negative population. In conclusion, MICA*A6 rather than HLA-B51 was strongly associated with Korean patients with BD, and the MICA*A6 allele is a useful susceptibility marker of BD, especially in the HLA-B5-negative
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.
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.
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.
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.
The study was undertaken to investigate the interrelation of toll-like receptor (TLR) and interleukin (IL)-17 in the salivary glands of patients with primary Sjogren's syndrome (pSS) and to determine the role of TLR and IL-17 in the pathophysiology of pSS.
The expressions of various TLRs, IL-17 and the cytokines involved in Th17 cell differentiation including IL-6, IL-23, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and IL-1β were examined by immunohistochemistry in salivary glands of pSS patients. The IL-17 producing CD4+ T cells (Th17 cells) were examined by flow cytometry and confocal staining in peripheral mononuclear blood cells (PMBCs) and salivary glands of pSS patients. After PBMCs were treated with TLR specific ligands, the induction of IL-17 and IL-23 was determined using real-time PCR and ELISA. The signaling pathway that mediates the TLR2 stimulated production of IL-17 and IL-23 was investigated by using treatment with specific signaling inhibitors.
We showed that TLR2, TLR4, TLR6, IL-17 and the cytokines associated with Th17 cells were highly expressed in salivary glands of pSS patients but not in controls. The expressions of TLR2, TLR4 and TLR6 were observed in the infiltrating mononuclear cells and ductal epithelial cells, whereas IL-17 was mainly observed in infiltrating CD4+ T cells. The number of IL-17 producing CD4+ T cells was significantly higher in pSS patients both in PBMCs and minor salivary glands. The stimulation of TLR2, TLR4 and TLR6 additively induced the production of IL-17 and IL-23 from the PBMCs of pSS patients especially in the presence of TLR2 stimulation. IL-6, signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kB) pathways were implicated in the TLR2 stimulated IL-17 and IL-23.
Our data demonstrate that TLR2 ligation induces the production of IL-23/IL-17 via IL-6, STAT3 and NF-kB pathway in pSS. Therefore, therapeutic strategies that target TLR/IL-17 pathway might be strong candidates for treatment modalities of pSS.