Interleukin (IL)-36 refers to three related IL-1 family cytokines, IL-36α, IL-36β, and IL-36γ, that bind to the IL-36 receptor (IL-36R). IL-36 exerts proinflammatory effects in skin and lung and stimulates T cell responses. In the present study, we examined the expression and function of IL-36R and its ligands in experimental arthritis.
Collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), antigen-induced arthritis (AIA), and K/BxN serum transfer-induced arthritis were induced according to standard protocols. Messenger RNA levels for IL-36R and its ligands in the joints of mice with CIA were determined by RT-qPCR. Mice with CIA were injected with a blocking monoclonal anti-IL-36R, a blocking anti-IL-1RI, or their isotype-matched control antibodies at the time of arthritis onset. Anti-IL-36R or control antibodies were also injected at the time of AIA induction. Finally, IL-36R-deficient mice were examined in AIA and serum transfer-induced arthritis. The development and severity of arthritis were assessed by clinical and histological scoring.
IL-36R, IL-36Ra and IL-36γ mRNA were detected in the joints of mice with CIA, but their levels did not correlate with arthritis severity. As opposed to anti-IL-1RI antibody treatment, the injection of an anti-IL-36R antibody was devoid of effect on the development and severity of CIA. The severity of joint inflammation and structural damage in AIA was also unaltered by anti-IL-36R antibody treatment. Finally, the severity of AIA and K/BxN serum transfer-induced arthritis was similar in IL-36R-deficient and wild-type mice.
The development and severity of experimental arthritis are independent of IL-36R signaling.
Interleukin (IL)-33 is a cytokine of the IL-1 family, which signals through the ST2 receptor. Previous work suggested implication of the IL-33/ST2 axis in the pathogenesis of human and mouse arthritis. Here, we directly investigated the role of endogenous IL-33 in K/BxN serum transfer-induced arthritis by using IL-33 knockout (KO) mice.
Arthritis was induced by injection of complete K/BxN serum or purified IgG. Disease severity was monitored by clinical and histological scoring.
K/BxN serum transfer induced pronounced arthritis with similar incidence and severity in IL-33 KO and wild-type (WT) mice. In contrast, disease development was significantly reduced in ST2 KO mice. IL-33 expression in synovial tissue was comparable in arthritic WT and ST2 KO mice, and absent in IL-33 KO mice. Transfer of purified arthritogenic IgG instead of complete K/BxN serum also resulted in similar arthritis severity in IL-33 KO and WT mice, excluding a contribution of IL-33 contained in the serum of donor mice to explain this result. We investigated additional potential confounding factors, including purity of genetic background, but the mechanisms underlying reduced arthritis in ST2 KO mice remained unclear.
The data obtained with IL-33 KO mice indicate that endogenous IL-33 is not required for the development of joint inflammation in K/BxN serum transfer-induced arthritis. On the contrary, arthritis severity was reduced in ST2 KO mice. This observation might relate to IL-33 independent effects of ST2, and/or reveal the existence of confounding variables affecting the severity of joint inflammation in these KO strains.
The CC chemokine ligand 18 (CCL18) was first identified as a chemoattractant for naïve T cells. It has been reported to recruit T and B lymphocytes, and we show here, natural killer (NK) cells, but with low efficacy. Investigation of its ability to elicit G-protein-coupled signaling showed that it does not involve extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation, and it is not able to induce receptor internalization, as assessed on CCR3. CCL18 has recently been reported to possess activities unrelated to cellular recruitment, but it had no effect on T lymphocyte proliferation. We postulated that a more potent chemoattractant may be produced under inflammatory conditions but only minor truncations were observed, with the major form being the full-length protein. In view of the lack of potent immunomodulatory properties, we wondered if binding to CCL18 by the tick chemokine binding proteins Evasin-1 and -4 was an artifact of the methods used, but complex formation was confirmed by size exclusion chromatography, and abrogation of its binding to, and antagonism of, CCR3. Its receptor has remained elusive since its cloning in 1997, although it has been reported to induce migration of breast cancer cells by signaling through PITPNM3, but we show that this receptor is not expressed on lymphocytes. We have developed a radiolabeled equilibrium competition binding assay and demonstrated that it bound with high affinity to peripheral blood leukocytes (PBLs), but the binding was displaced similarly by both unlabelled CCL18 as well as heparin. Both heparin binding and binding to PBLs are considerably abrogated by mutation of the BBXB motif in the 40s loop suggesting an essential role of the CCL18-glycosaminoglycan interaction.
chemokines; CCL18; synovial fluid; glycosaminoglycan; BBXB motif; Evasin
The largest genetic risk to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA) arises from a group of alleles of the HLA DRB1 locus ('shared epitope', SE). Over 30 non-HLA single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) predisposing to disease have been identified in Caucasians, but they have never been investigated in West/Central Africa. We previously reported a lower prevalence of the SE in RA patients in Cameroon compared to European patients and aimed in the present study to investigate the contribution of Caucasian non-HLA RA SNPs to disease susceptibility in Black Africans.
RA cases and controls from Cameroon were genotyped for Caucasian RA susceptibility SNPs using Sequenom MassArray technology. Genotype data were also available for 5024 UK cases and 4281 UK controls and for 119 Yoruba individuals in Ibadan, Nigeria (YRI, HapMap). A Caucasian aggregate genetic-risk score (GRS) was calculated as the sum of the weighted risk-allele counts.
After genotyping quality control procedures were performed, data on 28 Caucasian non-HLA susceptibility SNPs were available in 43 Cameroonian RA cases and 44 controls. The minor allele frequencies (MAF) were tightly correlated between Cameroonian controls and YRI individuals (correlation coefficient 93.8%, p = 1.7E-13), and they were pooled together. There was no correlation between MAF of UK and African controls; 13 markers differed by more than 20%. The MAF for markers at PTPN22, IL2RA, FCGR2A and IL2/IL21 was below 2% in Africans. The GRS showed a strong association with RA in the UK. However, the GRS did not predict RA in Africans (OR = 0.71, 95% CI 0.29 - 1.74, p = 0.456). Random sampling from the UK cohort showed that this difference in association is unlikely to be explained by small sample size or chance, but is statistically significant with p<0.001.
The MAFs of non-HLA Caucasian RA susceptibility SNPs are different between Caucasians and Africans, and several polymorphisms are barely detectable in West/Central Africa. The genetic risk of developing RA conferred by a set of 28 Caucasian susceptibility SNPs is significantly different between the UK and Africa with p<0.001. Taken together, these observations strengthen the hypothesis that the genetic architecture of RA susceptibility is different in different ethnic backgrounds.
Chlamydia trachomatis was previously shown to express a lipoprotein, the macrophage infectivity potentiator (Mip), exposed at the bacterial surface, and able to stimulate human primary monocytes/macrophages through Toll Like Receptor (TLR)2/TLR1/TLR6, and CD14. In PMA-differentiated THP-1 cells the proinflammatory activity of Mip was significantly higher in the absence than in the presence of serum. The present study aims to investigate the ability of different serum factors to attenuate Mip proinflammatory activity in PMA-differentiated THP-1 cells and in primary human differentiated macrophages. The study was also extend to another lipoprotein, the Borrelia burgdorferi outer surface protein (Osp)A. The proinflammatory activity was studied through Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF-α) and Interleukin (IL)-8 release. Finally, TLR1/2 human embryonic kidney-293 (HEK-293) transfected cells were used to test the ability of the serum factors to inhibit Mip and OspA proinflammatory activity.
In the absence of any serum and in the presence of 10% delipidated FBS, production of Mip-induced TNF-α and IL-8 in PMA-differentiated THP-1 cells were similar whereas they were significantly decreased in the presence of 10% FBS suggesting an inhibiting role of lipids present in FBS. In the presence of 10% human serum, the concentrations of TNF-α and IL-8 were 2 to 5 times lower than in the presence of 10% FBS suggesting the presence of more potent inhibitor(s) in human serum than in FBS. Similar results were obtained in primary human differentiated macrophages. Different lipid components of human serum were then tested (total lipoproteins, HDL, LDL, VLDL, triglyceride emulsion, apolipoprotein (apo)A-I, B, E2, and E3). The most efficient inhibitors were LDL, VLDL, and apoB that reduced the mean concentration of TNF-α release in Mip-induced macrophages to 24, 20, and 2%, respectively (p < 0.0001). These lipid components were also able to prevent TLR1/2 induced activation by Mip, in HEK-293 transfected cells. Similar results were obtained with OspA.
These results demonstrated the ability of serum lipids to attenuate proinflammatory activity of bacterial lipoproteins and suggested that serum lipoproteins interact with acyl chains of the lipid part of bacterial lipoproteins to render it biologically inactive.
Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may differ among rheumatologists and currently, clear and consensual international recommendations on RA treatment are not available. In this paper recommendations for the treatment of RA with synthetic and biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and glucocorticoids (GCs) that also account for strategic algorithms and deal with economic aspects, are described. The recommendations are based on evidence from five systematic literature reviews (SLRs) performed for synthetic DMARDs, biological DMARDs, GCs, treatment strategies and economic issues. The SLR-derived evidence was discussed and summarised as an expert opinion in the course of a Delphi-like process. Levels of evidence, strength of recommendations and levels of agreement were derived. Fifteen recommendations were developed covering an area from general aspects such as remission/low disease activity as treatment aim via the preference for methotrexate monotherapy with or without GCs vis-à-vis combination of synthetic DMARDs to the use of biological agents mainly in patients for whom synthetic DMARDs and tumour necrosis factor inhibitors had failed. Cost effectiveness of the treatments was additionally examined. These recommendations are intended to inform rheumatologists, patients and other stakeholders about a European consensus on the management of RA with DMARDs and GCs as well as strategies to reach optimal outcomes of RA, based on evidence and expert opinion.
The purpose of this study was to examine the diagnostic performance of autoantibodies against citrullinated peptides/proteins (ACPA) and to determine the prevalence of HLA-DRB1 shared epitope alleles (SE) in African patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Serum levels of anti-cyclic citrullinated peptides antibodies (anti-CCP2, anti-CCP3), IgM and IgA rheumatoid factors (RF) were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in the serum of 56 consecutive RA patients regularly followed in the Rheumatology Unit of the School of Medicine, University of Yaoundé, Yaoundé, Cameroon. Genotyping of HLA-DRB1 alleles was performed by polymerase chain reaction and hybridization with sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes on microbeads arrays. Fifty-one patients with other inflammatory rheumatic diseases and 50 healthy individuals were included as controls.
An anti-CCP2 assay showed the best diagnosis sensitivity (82%) and specificity (98%) with high positive predictive (PPV) (96%) and negative predictive values (NPV) (91%). Thirty percent of RA patients were carrying at least one copy of the HLA-DRB1 shared epitope (SE) compared to 10% and 14% of patients with other inflammatory rheumatic diseases and healthy individuals, respectively. The presence of the SE was associated with the production of ACPA.
Anti-CCP2 antibodies are useful markers of RA in African patients. In this cohort, the prevalence of the SE is higher in RA patients than in controls but lower than that reported in patient cohorts of European ancestry. The discrepancy between the high prevalence of ACPA-positive patients and the relatively low number of SE-positive cases suggest that, in addition to SE, other genetic factors control the development of ACPA in African RA patients.
A better understanding of cytokine biology over the last two decades has allowed the successful development of cytokine inhibitors against tumour necrosis factor and interleukin (IL)-1 and IL-6. The introduction of these therapies should be considered a breakthrough in the management of several rheumatic diseases. However, many patients will exhibit no or only partial response to these therapies, thus emphasising the importance of exploring other therapeutic strategies. In this article, we review the most recent information on novel cytokines that are often members of previously described cytokine families such as the IL-1 superfamily (IL-18 and IL-33), the IL-12 superfamily (IL-27 and IL-35), the IL-2 superfamily (IL-15 and IL-21), and IL-17. Several data derived from experimental models and clinical samples indicate that some of these cytokines contribute to the pathophysiology of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. Targeting of some of these cytokines has already been tested in clinical trials with interesting results.
A proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) from the TNF family, owing to its role in the generation and survival of plasma cells (PCs), is currently targeted for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment. However, little is known about APRIL expression in RA lesions, hampering our understanding of the way APRIL may modulate this autoimmune disease.
We performed immunological staining of human normal, non-RA and RA synovial tissues with a pair of antibodies specifically recognizing APRIL-producing cells and secreted APRIL.
We detected significant amounts of secreted APRIL in normal synovium mostly concentrated around blood vessels and at the lining layer, but no cells producing APRIL. Meanwhile, we observed that blood neutrophils constitutively secrete APRIL, indicating that blood APRIL may diffuse into the synovium via its fenestrated vessels. Synovium from non-RA and RA patients retained similarly secreted APRIL, but in this case APRIL-producing cells, including neutrophils and macrophages, were present in the tissue. Notably, PCs - when present in RA synovium - accumulated in areas of APRIL retention, spreading from blood vessels towards the lining layer.
PCs accumulate in synovial zones rich in secreted APRIL, consistent with a pro-survival role of APRIL for PCs in RA. The concentration of APRIL by normal synovium indicates that this tissue may constitute a proper environment for PCs even before RA onset.
Conventional corticosteroid suspensions for the intra-articular treatment of arthritis suffer from limitations such as crystal formation or rapid clearance from the joint. The purpose of this study was to investigate an innovative alternative consisting of corticosteroid encapsulation into magnetically retainable microparticles.
Microparticles (1 or 10 μm) containing both superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) and dexamethasone 21-acetate (DXM) were prepared. In a preliminary study, we compared the persistence of microparticles of both sizes in the joint. A second study evaluated the influence of a subcutaneously implanted magnet near the knee on the retention of magnetic microparticles in the joint by in vivo imaging. Finally, the efficacy of 10-μm microparticles was investigated using a model of antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) in mice. Phosphate-buffered saline, DXM suspension, SPION suspension, blank microparticles and microparticles containing only SPIONs were used as controls. Arthritis severity was assessed using 99mTc accumulation and histological scoring.
Due to their capacity of encapsulating more corticosteroid and their increased joint retention, the 10-μm microparticles were more suitable vectors than the 1-μm microparticles for corticosteroid delivery to the joint. The presence of a magnet resulted in higher magnetic retention in the joint, as demonstrated by a higher fluorescence signal. The therapeutic efficacy in AIA of 10-μm microparticles containing DXM and SPIONs was similar to that of the DXM suspension, proving that the bioactive agent is released. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory effect of DXM-containing microparticles was more important than that of blank microparticles or microparticles containing only SPIONs. The presence of a magnet did not induce a greater inflammatory reaction.
This study confirms the effectiveness of an innovative approach of using magnetically retainable microparticles as intra-articular drug delivery systems. A major advantage comes from a versatile polymer matrix, which allows the encapsulation of many classes of therapeutic agents (for example, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitors), which may reduce systemic side effects.
Several health authorities have recently revised the indication of infliximab (IFX) to include the treatment of early rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The aim of this systematic review of the literature was to appraise the efficacy, safety, and cost-effectiveness of early therapy with IFX.
We identified published clinical trials from 1966 to May 2006. We included randomized clinical trials (RCTs) in RA with disease duration of less than 3 years comparing the treatment of methotrexate-IFX (MTX-IFX) with methotrexate-placebo (MTX-placebo).
A total of 8 studies met inclusion criteria. Three studies reported redundant data regarding the vdH Sharp Score. Out of the 5 remaining studies, 4 analyzed structural joint destruction (vdH Sharp Score) and demonstrated a significant reduction in radiographic damage progression in favor of the combination of MTX-IFX compared with MTX-placebo (−4.1 vdH Sharp Score units (95% CI: 3.5; 4.6). Three studies also displayed a benefit of MTX-IFX on functional outcomes of RA (HAQ score) and disease activity measures (DAS, ACR response criteria), although less markedly.
Although data might be skewed because of only 2 existing large studies with concordant data, results from RCTs demonstrate improved efficacy of the combination MTX-IFX compared with MTX-placebo in early RA. However, many early RA patients probably do not require the addition of IFX to achieve a satisfying clinical and radiological course. So far, no evidence has established the superiority of MTX-IFX over MTX-prednisone or other combinations of traditional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic agents.
rheumatoid arthritis; antirheumatic agents; infliximab
Macrophage infectivity potentiator (MIP) was originally reported to be a chlamydial lipoprotein from experiments showing incorporation of radiolabeled palmitic acid into native and recombinant MIP; inhibition of posttranslational processing of recombinant MIP by globomycin, known to inhibit signal peptidase II; and solubility of native MIP in Triton X-114. However, the detailed structural characterization of the lipid moiety on MIP has never been fully elucidated. In this study, bioinformatics and mass spectrometry analysis, as well as radiolabeling and immunochemical experiments, were conducted to further characterize MIP structure and subcellular localization. In silico analysis showed that the amino acid sequence of MIP is conserved across chlamydial species. A potential signal sequence with a contained lipobox was identified, and a recombinant C20A variant was prepared by replacing the probable lipobox cysteine with an alanine. Both incorporation of U-14C-esterified glycerol and [U-14C]palmitic acid and posttranslational processing that was inhibitable by globomycin were observed for recombinant wild-type MIP but not for the recombinant C20A MIP variant. The fatty acid contents of native and recombinant MIP were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and the presence of amide-linked fatty acids in recombinant MIP was investigated by alkaline methanolysis. These results demonstrated a lipid modification in MIP similar to that of other prokaryotic lipoproteins. In addition, MIP was detected in an outer membrane preparation of Chlamydia trachomatis elementary bodies and was shown to be present at the surfaces of elementary bodies by surface biotinylation and surface immunoprecipitation experiments.
Junctional adhesion molecule-C (JAM-C) is an adhesion molecule involved in transendothelial migration of leukocytes. In this study, we examined JAM-C expression in the synovium and investigated the role of this molecule in two experimental mouse models of arthritis. JAM-C expression was investigated by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry. The effects of a monoclonal anti-JAM-C antibody were assessed in antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) and K/BxN serum transfer-induced arthritis. JAM-C was expressed by synovial fibroblasts in the lining layer and associated with vessels in the sublining layer in human and mouse arthritic synovial tissue. In human tissue, JAM-C expression was increased in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as compared to osteoarthritis synovial samples (12.7 ± 1.3 arbitrary units in RA versus 3.3 ± 1.1 in OA; p < 0.05). Treatment of mice with a monoclonal anti-JAM-C antibody decreased the severity of AIA. Neutrophil infiltration into inflamed joints was selectively reduced as compared to T-lymphocyte and macrophage infiltration (0.8 ± 0.3 arbitrary units in anti-JAM-C-treated versus 2.3 ± 0.6 in isotype-matched control antibody-treated mice; p < 0.05). Circulating levels of the acute-phase protein serum amyloid A as well as antigen-specific and concanavalin A-induced spleen T-cell responses were significantly decreased in anti-JAM-C antibody-treated mice. In the serum transfer-induced arthritis model, treatment with the anti-JAM-C antibody delayed the onset of arthritis. JAM-C is highly expressed by synovial fibroblasts in RA. Treatment of mice with an anti-JAM-C antibody significantly reduced the severity of AIA and delayed the onset of serum transfer-induced arthritis, suggesting a role for JAM-C in the pathogenesis of arthritis.
Interleukin (IL)-6 is produced at the site of inflammation and plays a key role in the acute phase response as defined by a variety of clinical and biological features such as the production of acute phase proteins. IL-6 in combination with its soluble receptor sIL-6Rα, dictates the transition from acute to chonic inflammation by changing the nature of leucocyte infiltrate (from polymorphonuclear neutrophils to monocyte/macrophages). In addition, IL-6 exerts stimulatory effects on T- and B-cells, thus favoring chronic inflammatory responses. Strategies targeting IL-6 and IL-6 signaling led to effective prevention and treatment of models of rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic inflammatory diseases.
Leptin is produced primarily by adipocytes and functions in a feedback loop regulating body weight. Leptin deficiency results in severe obesity and a variety of endocrine abnormalities in animals and humans. Several studies indicated that leptin plays an important role in immune responses. It exerts protective anti-inflammatory effects in models of acute inflammation and during activation of innate immune responses. In contrast, leptin stimulates T lymphocyte responses, thus having rather a proinflammatory role in experimental models of autoimmune diseases. Clinical studies have so far yielded inconsistent results, suggesting a rather complex role for leptin in immune-mediated inflammatory conditions in humans.
Six novel members of the IL-1 family of cytokines were recently identified, primarily through the use of DNA database searches for IL-1 homologues, and were named IL-1F5 to IL-1F10. In the present study, we investigated the effect of IL-1F8 on primary human joint cells, and examined the expression of the new IL-1 family members in human and mouse joints. Human synovial fibroblasts (hSFs) and human articular chondrocytes (hACs) expressed the IL-1F8 receptor (IL-1Rrp2) and produced pro-inflammatory mediators in response to recombinant IL-1F8. IL-1F8 mRNA expression was increased in hSFs upon stimulation with proinflammatory cytokines, whereas in hACs IL-1F8 mRNA expression was constitutive. However, IL-1F8 protein was undetectable in hSF and hAC culture supernatants. Furthermore, although IL-1β protein levels were increased in inflamed human and mouse joint tissue, IL-1F8 protein levels were not. IL-1F8 levels in synovial fluids were similar to or lower than those in matched serum samples, suggesting that the joint itself is not a major source of IL-1F8. Serum levels of IL-1F8 were similar in healthy donors, and patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and septic shock, and did not correlate with inflammatory status. Interestingly however, we observed high IL-1F8 levels in several serum samples in all groups. In conclusion, IL-1F8 exerts proinflammatory effects in primary human joint cells. Joint and serum IL-1F8 protein levels did not correlate with inflammation, but they were high in some human serum samples tested, including samples from patients with rheumatoid arthritis. It remains to be determined whether circulating IL-1F8 can contribute to joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis.
The severity of antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) is decreased in leptin-deficient ob/ob mice. However, joint inflammation in AIA depends on the immune response, which is impaired in ob/ob mice. In the present study we investigated the effects of leptin deficiency on zymosan-induced arthritis (ZIA), which is independent of adaptive immunity. Arthritis was induced by injection of zymosan into the knee joint. Joint swelling was similar after 6 and 24 hours in ob/ob and control mice. However, it remained elevated in ob/ob animals on day 3 whereas values normalized in controls. Histology revealed similar articular lesions in all animals on day 3, but on days 14 and 21 arthritis tended to be more severe in ob/ob mice. The acute phase response, reflected by circulating levels of IL-6 and serum amyloid A, was also more pronounced in ob/ob mice, although corticosterone was significantly elevated in these animals. Similar results were obtained in leptin receptor-deficient db/db mice. Thus, in contrast to AIA, ZIA is not impaired in leptin-deficient animals. On the contrary, resolution of acute inflammation appears to be delayed in the absence of leptin or leptin signalling, suggesting that chronic leptin deficiency interferes with adequate control of the inflammatory response in ZIA.
acute phase response; arthritis; inflammation; interleukin-6; leptin
Leflunomide is an immunomodulatory agent used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. In this study, we investigated the effect of A77 1726 – the active metabolite of leflunomide – on the production of IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) by human synovial fibroblasts and articular chondrocytes. Cells were incubated with A77 1726 alone or in combination with proinflammatory cytokines. IL-1Ra production was determined by ELISA. A77 1726 alone had no effect, but in the presence of IL-1β or tumour necrosis factor-α it markedly enhanced the secretion of IL-1Ra in synovial fibroblasts and chondrocytes. The effect of A77 1726 was greatest at 100 μmol/l. In synovial fibroblasts and de-differentiated chondrocytes, A77 1726 also increased IL-1β-induced IL-1Ra production in cell lysates. Freshly isolated chondrocytes contained no significant amounts of intracellular IL-1Ra. A77 1726 is a known inhibitor of pyrimidine synthesis and cyclo-oxygenase (COX)-2 activity. Addition of exogenous uridine did not significantly modify the effect of A77 1726 on IL-1Ra production, suggesting that it was not mediated by inhibition of pyrimidine synthesis. Indomethacin increased IL-1β-induced IL-1Ra secretion in synovial fibroblasts and de-differentiated chondrocytes, suggesting that inhibition of COX-2 may indeed enhance IL-1β-induced IL-1Ra production. However, the stimulatory effect of indomethacin was consistently less effective than that of A77 1726. A77 1726 increases IL-1Ra production by synovial fibroblasts and chondrocytes in the presence of proinflammatory cytokines, and thus it may possess chondroprotective effects. The effect of A77 1726 may be partially mediated by inhibition of COX-2, but other mechanisms likely concur to stimulate IL-1Ra production.
articular cartilage; IL-1 receptor antagonist; leflunomide; synovium
Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) is a natural IL-1 inhibitor possessing anti-inflammatory properties. IL-1Ra is produced as different isoforms, one secreted (sIL-1Ra) and three intracellular (icIL-1Ra1, icIL-1Ra2 and icIL-1Ra3), derived from the same gene. We examined the production of IL-1Ra species by cultured human articular chondrocytes in response to various cytokines. The levels of IL-1Ra were undetectable in culture supernatants of untreated cells, but were significantly increased by IL-1β. Cell lysates contained very low levels of IL-1Ra, even in response to IL-1β, suggesting that chondrocytes produce predominantly sIL-1Ra. IL-6, which had no effect on its own, enhanced the effect of IL-1β, while dexamethasone prevented the response. We observed by RT-PCR that IL-1β and IL-6 induced primarily the production of sIL-1Ra mRNA. Furthermore, IL-1β alone or combined with IL-6 increased the levels of nascent unspliced sIL-1Ra mRNA, suggesting that sIL-1Ra expression is regulated at the transcriptional level. Reporter gene assays in immortalized chondrocytes, C-20/A4, consistently showed increased sIL-1Ra promoter activity in response to IL-1β and IL-6. In conclusion, human articular chondrocytes produce sIL-1Ra in response to IL-1β and IL-6. The production of sIL-1Ra by chondrocytes may have a protective effect against articular inflammatory and catabolic responses.
cytokines; glucocorticoids; human articular chondrocytes; IL-1 receptor antagonist
Meningococcal arthritis is rare. We report a patient in whom a first episode of meningococcal arthritis revealed Waldenström's disease and who experienced a second episode of meningococcal arthritis 8 years later. We suggest that an impaired immune response secondary to Waldenström's disease favored the recurrence of meningococcal arthritis.
Recent studies have described the spontaneous development of arthritis or vasculitis in IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) knockout mice bred on specific and different genetic backgrounds. The levels of both secreted and intracellular isoforms of IL-1Ra produced in the rheumatoid joint or in the arterial wall may not be adequate to effectively inhibit the excess amounts of locally produced IL-1. Thus, an imbalance between IL-1 and IL-1Ra may predispose to local inflammatory disease in particular tissues in the presence of other as yet unknown genetically influenced factors.
interleukin-1; interleukin-1 receptor antagonist; rheumatoid arthritis; vasculitis
The Study Group for Risk Factors for Rheumatoid Arthritis was established by the EULAR Standing Committee on Investigative Rheumatology to facilitate research into the preclinical and earliest clinically apparent phases of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This report describes the recommendation for terminology to be used to define specific subgroups during different phases of disease, and defines the priorities for research in this area. Terminology was discussed by way of a three-stage structured process: A provisional list of descriptors for each of the possible phases preceding the diagnosis of RA were circulated to members of the study group for review and feedback. Anonymised comments from the members on this list were fed back to participants before a 2-day meeting. 18 participants met to discuss these data, agree terminologies and prioritise important research questions. The study group recommended that, in prospective studies, individuals without RA are described as having: genetic risk factors for RA; environmental risk factors for RA; systemic autoimmunity associated with RA; symptoms without clinical arthritis; unclassified arthritis; which may be used in a combinatorial manner. It was recommended that the prefix ‘pre-RA with:’ could be used before any/any combination of the five points above but only to describe retrospectively a phase that an individual had progressed through once it was known that they have developed RA. An approach to dating disease onset was recommended. In addition, important areas for research were proposed, including research of other tissues in which an adaptive immune response may be initiated, and the identification of additional risk factors and biomarkers for the development of RA, its progression and the development of extra-articular features. These recommendations provide guidance on approaches to describe phases before the development of RA that will facilitate communication between researchers and comparisons between studies. A number of research questions have been defined, requiring new cohorts to be established and new techniques to be developed to image and collect material from different sites.
Observational studies have suggested that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who experience inadequate response to anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF) agents respond more favourably to rituximab (RTX) than to an alternative anti-TNF agent. However, the relative effectiveness of these agents on long-term outcomes, particularly in radiographic damage, remains unclear.
To compare the effectiveness of RTX against anti-TNF agents in preventing joint damage in patients with RA who have experienced inadequate response to at least one prior anti-TNF agent.
This is a prospective cohort study within the Swiss registry of patients with RA who discontinued at least one anti-TNF agent and subsequently received either RTX or an alternative anti-TNF agent. The primary outcome, progression of radiographic joint erosions (Ratingen erosion score)over time, and the secondary outcome, functional disability (Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index), were analysed using regression models for longitudinal data and adjusted for potential confounders.
Of the 371 patients included, 104 received RTX and 267 received an alternative anti-TNF agent. During the 2.6-year median follow-up period, the rates of Ratingen erosion score progression were similar between patients taking RTX and patients taking an alternative anti-TNF agent (p=0.67). The evolution of the Health Assessment Questionnaire score was statistically significantly better in the RTX group (p=0.016), but the magnitude of the effect was probably not clinically relevant.
This observational study suggests that RTX is as effective as an alternative anti-TNF agent in preventing erosions in patients with RA who have previously experienced inadequate response to anti-TNF agents.