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1.  Red Ginseng Extract Ameliorates Autoimmune Arthritis via Regulation of STAT3 Pathway, Th17/Treg Balance, and Osteoclastogenesis in Mice and Human 
Mediators of Inflammation  2014;2014:351856.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease characterized by chronic joint inflammation. Red ginseng is a steamed and dried Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer, which has been used as alternative medicine for thousands of years. This study was undertaken to investigate the effects of red ginseng extracts (RGE) on autoimmune arthritis in mice and humans and to delineate the underlying mechanism. RGE was orally administered three times a week to mice with arthritis. Oral administration of RGE markedly ameliorated clinical arthritis score and histologically assessed joint inflammation in mice with CIA. A significant reduction in STAT3 phosphorylation and a decrease in the number of Th17 cells were observed with RGE treatment. There was also a marked reduction in RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis with treatment of RGE. The inhibitory effect of RGE on Th17 differentiation and osteoclastogenesis observed in mice was also confirmed in the subsequent experiments performed using human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Our findings provide the first evidence that RGE can regulate Th17 and reciprocally promote Treg cells by inhibiting the phosphorylation of STAT3. Therefore, RGE can ameliorate arthritis in mice with CIA by targeting pathogenic Th17 and osteoclast differentiation, suggesting a novel therapy for treatment of RA.
doi:10.1155/2014/351856
PMCID: PMC4132415  PMID: 25147435
2.  Prevalence of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in South Korea: An Administrative Database Study 
Journal of Epidemiology  2014;24(4):295-303.
Background
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a rare autoimmune disease for which a population-based survey on the prevalence of the disease in South Korea has not yet been conducted. Our goal was to estimate the nationwide prevalence of SLE.
Methods
The International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) code for SLE diagnosis—M32—was tentatively given when patients were suspected to have SLE before 2009. As such, the positive predictive value (PPV) of the M32 code shown in medical bills reflecting true SLE was uncertain. We attempted to estimate the prevalence of SLE in South Korea using national administrative database data from 2004–2006. We approximated the actual number of SLE patients by analyzing a list of SLE-coded patients provided by the National Health Insurance (NHI) and Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service. Prevalence was estimated by multiplying the PPV of the M32 diagnostic code by the number of patients receiving the code. The PPV was determined by three methods: direct investigation of the medical records of patients randomly selected from the SLE-coded patients list; assessment of all SLE patients treated at 56 selected hospitals in South Korea; and extrapolation from sub-groups at a single institute to the sub-groups of the national NHI data.
Results
The estimated number of national SLE cases was between 9000 and 11 000, depending on the method of ascertainment, corresponding to a prevalence of 18.8–21.7 per 100 000 people.
Conclusions
This is the first report of a nationwide prevalence survey of SLE in South Korea. National databases may serve as a resource for epidemiologic studies of rare autoimmune diseases like SLE.
doi:10.2188/jea.JE20120204
PMCID: PMC4074634  PMID: 24857955
systemic lupus erythematosus; prevalence; epidemiology
3.  Advances in Systems Biology Approaches for Autoimmune Diseases 
Immune Network  2014;14(2):73-80.
Because autoimmune diseases (AIDs) result from a complex combination of genetic and epigenetic factors, as well as an altered immune response to endogenous or exogenous antigens, systems biology approaches have been widely applied. The use of multi-omics approaches, including blood transcriptomics, genomics, epigenetics, proteomics, and metabolomics, not only allow for the discovery of a number of biomarkers but also will provide new directions for further translational AIDs applications. Systems biology approaches rely on high-throughput techniques with data analysis platforms that leverage the assessment of genes, proteins, metabolites, and network analysis of complex biologic or pathways implicated in specific AID conditions. To facilitate the discovery of validated and qualified biomarkers, better-coordinated multi-omics approaches and standardized translational research, in combination with the skills of biologists, clinicians, engineers, and bioinformaticians, are required.
doi:10.4110/in.2014.14.2.73
PMCID: PMC4022781  PMID: 24851096
Autoimmune diseases; Systems biology; Multi-omics; Biomarker; Translational research; Network analysis
4.  Generation of disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis 
Introduction
Since the concept of reprogramming mature somatic cells to generate induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) was demonstrated in 2006, iPSCs have become a potential substitute for embryonic stem cells (ESCs) given their pluripotency and “stemness” characteristics, which resemble those of ESCs. We investigated to reprogram fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) to generate iPSCs using a 4-in-1 lentiviral vector system.
Methods
A 4-in-1 lentiviral vector containing Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc was transduced into RA and OA FLSs isolated from the synovia of two RA patients and two OA patients. Immunohistochemical staining and real-time PCR studies were performed to demonstrate the pluripotency of iPSCs. Chromosomal abnormalities were determined based on the karyotype. SCID-beige mice were injected with iPSCs and sacrificed to test for teratoma formation.
Results
After 14 days of transduction using the 4-in-1 lentiviral vector, RA FLSs and OA FLSs were transformed into spherical shapes that resembled embryonic stem cell colonies. Colonies were picked and cultivated on matrigel plates to produce iPSC lines. Real-time PCR of RA and OA iPSCs detected positive markers of pluripotency. Immunohistochemical staining tests with Nanog, Oct4, Sox2, Tra-1-80, Tra-1-60, and SSEA-4 were also positive. Teratomas that comprised three compartments of ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm were formed at the injection sites of iPSCs. Established iPSCs were shown to be compatible by karyotyping. Finally, we confirmed that the patient-derived iPSCs were able to differentiate into osteoblast, which was shown by an osteoimage mineralization assay.
Conclusion
FLSs derived from RA and OA could be cell resources for iPSC reprogramming. Disease- and patient-specific iPSCs have the potential to be applied in clinical settings as source materials for molecular diagnosis and regenerative therapy.
doi:10.1186/ar4470
PMCID: PMC3978583  PMID: 24490617
5.  Gut-residing Microbes Alter the Host Susceptibility to Autoantibody-mediated Arthritis 
Immune Network  2014;14(1):38-44.
K/BxN serum can transfer arthritis to normal mice owing to the abundant autoantibodies it contains, which trigger innate inflammatory cascades in joints. Little is known about whether gut-residing microbes affect host susceptibility to autoantibody-mediated arthritis. To address this, we fed C57BL/6 mice with water containing a mixture of antibiotics (ampicillin, vancomycin, neomycin, and metronidazol) for 2 weeks and then injected them with K/BxN serum. Antibiotic treatment significantly reduced the amount of bacterial genomic DNA isolated from fecal samples, in particular a gene encoding 16S ribosomal RNA derived from segmented filamentous bacteria. Arthritic signs, as indicated by the arthritic index and ankle thickness, were significantly attenuated in antibiotic-treated mice compared with untreated controls. Peyer's patches and mesenteric lymph nodes from antibiotic-treated mice contained fewer IL-17-expressing cells than those from untreated mice. Antibiotic treatment reduced serum C3 deposition in vitro via the alternative complement pathway. IL-17-/- congenic C57BL/6 mice were less susceptible to K/BxN serum-transferred arthritis than their wild-type littermates, but were still responsive to treatment with antibiotics. These results suggest that gut-residing microbes, including segmented filamentous bacteria, induce IL-17 production in GALT and complement activation via the alternative complement pathway, which cause the host to be more susceptible to autoantibody-mediated arthritis.
doi:10.4110/in.2014.14.1.38
PMCID: PMC3942506  PMID: 24605079
K/BxN serum-transferred arthritis; Gut-residing microbes; Antibiotics; IL-17; Segmented filamentous bacteria
6.  In vivo action of IL-27: reciprocal regulation of Th17 and Treg cells in collagen-induced arthritis 
Interleukin (IL)-27 is a novel cytokine of the IL-6/IL-12 family that has been reported to be involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases and has a pivotal role as both a pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine. We investigated the in vivo effects of IL-27 on arthritis severity in a murine collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) model and its mechanism of action regarding control of regulatory T (Tregs) and IL-17-producing T helper 17 (Th17) cells. IL-27-Fc-treated CIA mice showed a lower severity of arthritis. IL-17 expression in the spleens was significantly decreased in IL-27-Fc-treated CIA mice compared with that in the CIA model. The Th17 population was decreased in the spleens of IL-27-Fc-treated CIA mice, whereas the CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Treg population increased. In vitro studies revealed that IL-27 inhibited IL-17 production in murine CD4+ T cells, and the effect was associated with retinoic acid-related orphan receptor γT and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 inhibition. In contrast, fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled forkhead box P3 (Foxp3) and IL-10 were profoundly augmented by IL-27 treatment. Regarding the suppressive capacity of Treg cells, the proportions of CTLA-4+ (cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4), PD-1+ (programmed cell death protein 1) and GITR+ (glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor) Tregs increased in the spleens of IL-27-Fc-treated CIA mice. Furthermore, in vitro differentiated Treg cells with IL-27 exerted a more suppressive capacity on T-cell proliferation. We found that IL-27 acts as a reciprocal regulator of the Th17 and Treg populations in CD4+ cells isolated from healthy human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), as well as from humans with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) PBMCs. Our study suggests that IL-27 has the potential to ameliorate overwhelming inflammation in patients with RA through a reciprocal regulation of Th17 and Treg cells.
doi:10.1038/emm.2013.89
PMCID: PMC3809362  PMID: 24091748
collagen-induced arthritis; interleukin-27; interleukin-17-producing T cells; regulatory T cells; rheumatoid arthritis
7.  The Effects of Antihypertensive Drugs on Bone Mineral Density in Ovariectomized Mice 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2013;28(8):1139-1144.
The effects of several antihypertensive drugs on bone mineral density (BMD) and micro-architectural changes in ovariectomized (OVX) mice were investigated. Eight-week-old female C57/BL6 mice were used for this study. Three days after ovariectomy, mice were treated intraperitoneally with nifedipine (15 mg/kg), telmisartan (5 mg/kg), enalapril (20 mg/kg), propranolol (1 mg/kg) or hydrochlorothiazide (12.5 mg/kg) for 35 consecutive days. Uterine atrophy of all mice was confirmed to evaluate estrogen deficiency state. BMD and micro-architectural analyses were performed on tibial proximal ends by micro-computed tomography (micro-CT). When OVX mice with uterine atrophy were compared with mice without atrophy, BMD decreased (P < 0.001). There were significant differences in BMD loss between different antihypertensive drugs (P = 0.005). Enalapril and propranolol increased BMD loss in mice with atrophied uteri compared with control mice. By contrast, thiazide increased BMD in mice with uterine atrophy compared with vehicle-treated mice (P = 0.048). Thiazide (P = 0.032) and telmisartan (P = 0.051) reduced bone loss and bone fraction in mice with uterine atrophy compared with the control. Thiazide affects BMD in OVX mice positively. The reduction in bone loss by thiazide and telmisartan suggest that these drugs may benefit menopausal women with hypertension and osteoporosis.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2013.28.8.1139
PMCID: PMC3744700  PMID: 23960439
Antihypertensive Agents; Osteoporosis; Ovariectomized Mice; Thiazides; Telmisartan
8.  Serum Level of Interleukin-33 and Soluble ST2 and Their Association with Disease Activity in Patients with Behcet's Disease 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2013;28(8):1145-1153.
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.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2013.28.8.1145
PMCID: PMC3744701  PMID: 23960440
Interleukin-33; soluble ST2; Behcet Syndrome
9.  Curcumin Attenuates Acute Graft-versus-Host Disease Severity via In Vivo Regulations on Th1, Th17 and Regulatory T Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67171.
Background
In this study we examined the in vivo and in vitro effects and mechanisms of action of curcumin on the development of acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) using a murine model.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Mixed lymphocyte reactions were used to determine the in vitro effects of curcumin. Treatment with curcumin attenuated alloreactive T cell proliferation and inhibited the production of interferon (IFN)-γ and interleukin (IL)-17. In a murine acute GVHD model, transplantation of curcumin-treated allogeneic splenocytes into irradiated recipient mice significantly reduced the clinical severity scores of acute GVHD manifested in the liver, skin, colon and lung as compared with animals receiving vehicle-treated splenocytes. c-Fos and c-Jun expression levels in the skin and intestine, which are major target organs, were analyzed using immunohistochemical staining. Expression of both proteins was reduced in epithelial tissues of skin and intestine from curcumin-treated GVHD animals. The IFN-γ-expressing CD4+ splenocytes and IFN-γ-expressing lymph node cells were dramatically decreased in curcumin-treated mice. In contrast, CD4+Foxp3+ splenocytes were increased in the curcumin-treated acute GVHD animals. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that animals transplanted with curcumin-treated allogeneic splenocytes showed increased populations of CD4+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) as well as CD8+ Treg cells, compared to animals administered vehicle-treated splenocytes. Curcumin-treated acute GVHD animals could have a change in B cell subpopulations.
Conclusion/Significance
In the present study, we investigated the efficacy and mechanism of action of curcumin treatment against acute GVHD. The acute GVHD mice administered with curcumin-treated splenocytes showed significantly reduced severity of acute GVHD. Curcumin exerted in vivo preventive effects on acute GVHD by reciprocal regulation of T helper 1 (Th1) and Treg (both CD4+ and CD8+ Treg) cell lineages as well as B cell homeostasis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067171
PMCID: PMC3688629  PMID: 23840617
10.  Interferon Gamma Suppresses Collagen-Induced Arthritis by Regulation of Th17 through the Induction of Indoleamine-2,3-Deoxygenase 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60900.
C57BL/6 mice are known to be resistant to the development of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). However, they show a severe arthritic phenotype when the Ifng gene is deleted. Although it has been proposed that IFN-γ suppresses inflammation in CIA via suppressing Th17 which is involved in the pathogenesis of CIA, the exact molecular mechanism of the Th17 regulation by IFN-γ is poorly understood. This study was conducted to 1) clarify that arthritogenic condition of IFN-γ knockout (KO) mice is dependent on the disinhibition of Th17 and 2) demonstrate that IFN-γ-induced indoleamine2,3dioxgenase (IDO) is engaged in the regulation of Th17. The results showed that the IFN-γ KO mice displayed increased levels of IL-17 producing T cells and the exacerbation of arthritis. Also, production of IL-17 by the splenocytes of the IFN-γ KO mice was increased when cultured with type II collagen. When Il17 was deleted from the IFN-γ KO mice, only mild arthritis developed without any progression of the arthritis score. The proportion of CD44highCD62Llow memory-like T cells were elevated in the spleen, draining lymph node and mesenteric lymph node of IFN-γ KO CIA mice. Meanwhile, CD44lowCD62Lhigh naïve T cells were increased in IFN-γ and IL-17 double KO CIA mice. When Th17 polarized CD4+ T cells of IFN-γ KO mice were co-cultured with their own antigen presenting cells (APCs), a greater increase in IL-17 production was observed than in co-culture of the cells from wild type mice. In contrast, when APCs from IFN-γ KO mice were pretreated with IFN-γ, there was a significant reduction in IL-17 in the co-culture system. Of note, pretreatment of 1-methyl-DL- tryptophan, a specific inhibitor of IDO, abolished the inhibitory effects of IFN-γ. Given that IFN-γ is a potent inducer of IDO in APCs, these results suggest that IDO is involved in the regulation of IL-17 by IFN-γ.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060900
PMCID: PMC3628800  PMID: 23613752
11.  IL-17-mediated Bcl-2 expression regulates survival of fibroblast-like synoviocytes in rheumatoid arthritis through STAT3 activation 
Introduction
Fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) are a major cell population of the pannus that invades adjacent cartilage and bone in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The study was undertaken to determine the effect of interleukin-17 (IL-17) on the survival and/or proliferation of FLSs from RA patients and to investigate whether signal tranducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is implicated in this process.
Methods
Bcl-2 and Bax expression in FLSs was determined using the real-time PCR and western blot analysis. The expression of Bcl-2 and phosphoSTAT3 in synovial tissues was investigated by confocal microscope. Apoptosis of FLSs was detected by Annexin V/propidium iodide staining and/or phase contrast microscopy. The proliferation of FLSs was determined by CCK-8 ELISA assay.
Results
The pro-apoptotic Bax is decreased and anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 is increased in FLSs from RA patients compared with those from patients with osteoarthritis (OA). IL-17 upregulated the expression of Bcl-2 in FLSs from RA patients, but not in FLSs from OA patients. STAT3 was found to mediate IL-17-induced Bcl-2 upregulation in FLSs from RA patients. Additionally, IL-17 promoted the survival and proliferation of FLSs from RA patients. Most importantly, treatment with STAT3 inhibitor reversed the protective effect of IL-17 on FLSs apoptosis induced by sodium nitroprusside (SNP).
Conclusions
Our data demonstrate that STAT3 is critical in IL-17-induced survival of FLS from RA patients. Therefore, therapeutic strategies that target the IL-17/STAT3 pathway might be strong candidates for RA treatment modalities.
doi:10.1186/ar4179
PMCID: PMC3672783  PMID: 23421940
12.  Periarticular Osteoporosis Is a Prominent Feature in Early Rheumatoid Arthritis: Estimation Using Shaft to Periarticular Bone Mineral Density Ratio 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2013;28(2):287-294.
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.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2013.28.2.287
PMCID: PMC3565142  PMID: 23399828
Bone Density; Arthrits; Rheumatoid; Periarticular Osteopenia
13.  Grape-Seed Proanthocyanidin Extract as Suppressors of Bone Destruction in Inflammatory Autoimmune Arthritis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51377.
Chronic autoimmune inflammation, which is commonly observed in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), disrupts the delicate balance between bone resorption and formation causing thedestruction of the bone and joints. We undertook this study to verify the effects of natural grape-seed proanthocyanidin extract (GSPE), an antioxidant, on chronic inflammation and bone destruction. GSPE administration ameliorated the arthritic symptoms of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), which are representative of cartilage and bone destruction. GSPE treatment reduced the formation of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP)-positive multinucleated cells and osteoclast activity and increased differentiation of mature osteoblasts. Receptor activator of NFκB ligand expression in fibroblasts from RA patients was abrogated with GSPE treatment. GSPE blocked human peripheral blood mononuclear cell-derived osteoclastogenesis and acted as an antioxidant. GSPE improved the arthritic manifestations of CIA mice by simultaneously suppressing osteoclast differentiation and promoting osteoblast differentiation. Our results suggest that GSPE may be beneficial for the treatment of inflammation-associated bone destruction.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051377
PMCID: PMC3519627  PMID: 23251512
14.  IL-17-deficient allogeneic bone marrow transplantation prevents the induction of collagen-induced arthritis in DBA/1J mice 
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2012;44(11):694-705.
IL-17-producing CD4+ T cells (Th17) play important functions in autoimmune diseases and allograft rejection of solid organs. We examined the effects of IL 17 and its mechanism of action on arthritis in a murine collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) model using bone marrow transplantation (BMT) system. DBA/1J mice were administered a lethal radiation dose and then rescued with bone marrow derived from either wild-type (WT) or IL-17-/- mice on C57BL/6 background mice. CIA was induced after the bone marrow transplant, and disease progression was characterized. DBA/1J mice with CIA that received IL-17-/- donor bone marrow showed potently inhibited development and severity of clinical arthritis as compared with CIA mice that received WT bone marrow. Reduced secretion of the pro-inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-α, IL-1β, and IL-6, and collagen-specific T cell responses were observed in mice that received IL-17-/- bone marrow. IL-17 blockade also inhibited effector T cell proliferation by reciprocally regulating the Treg/Th17 ratio. IL-17 blockade prevented joint destruction in mice with CIA. These findings suggest that CIA with BMT is a viable method of immunological manipulation and that IL-17 deficiency suppresses severe joint destruction and inflammation in CIA mice. There may be clinical benefits in blocking IL-17 and BMT in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
doi:10.3858/emm.2012.44.11.078
PMCID: PMC3509186  PMID: 23114425
arthritis, experimental; bone marrow transplantation; interleukin-17; Th17 cells; T-lymphocytes, regulatory; transplantation, homologous
15.  IL-32 and IL-17 interact and have the potential to aggravate osteoclastogenesis in rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2012;14(6):R246.
Introduction
Interleukin (IL)-32 and IL-17 play critical roles in pro-inflammatory responses and are highly expressed in the synovium of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We investigated the relations between these two cytokines (IL-17 and IL-32) for their ability to induce each other and to stimulate osteoclasts in RA fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) and T cells.
Methods
FLSs were isolated through surgical synovectomy obtained from patients with RA or osteoarthritis (OA). Real-time PCR were performed to evaluate the expression of IL-32, IL-17 and osteoclast-related genes. Immunohistochemical staining and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) staining were performed to determine the distribution of inflammatory cytokines and the presence of osteoclastogenesis.
Results
IL-17 induced the expression of IL-32 in the FLSs from RA patients, as assessed by microarray. IL-32 production was increased by IL-17. IL-32 in the FLSs from RA patients induced the production of IL-17 in CD4+ T cells. IL-32 and IL-17 were colocalized near TRAP-positive areas in joint specimens. IL-17 and IL-32 synergistically induced the differentiation of osteoclasts, as demonstrated by the expression of osteoclast-related genes. IL-32 and IL-17 also could induce resorption by osteoclasts in a RANKL-dependent manner.
Conclusions
IL-17 affected the expression of IL-32 in FLSs of RA patients and IL-32 induced the production of IL-17 in CD4+ T cells. Both IL-17 and IL-32 cytokines can reciprocally influence each other's production and amplify the function of osteoclastogenesis in the in RA synovium. Separately, IL-17 and IL-32 each stimulated osteoclastogenesis without RANKL. Together, the two cytokines synergistically amplified the differentiation of osteoclasts, independent of RANKL stimulation.
doi:10.1186/ar4089
PMCID: PMC3674587  PMID: 23148681
16.  Regression of syndesmophyte after bone marrow transplantation for acute myeloid leukemia in a patient with ankylosing spondylitis: a case report 
Introduction
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.
Case presentation
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1752-1947-6-250
PMCID: PMC3459693  PMID: 22909092
17.  Obesity aggravates the joint inflammation in a collagen-induced arthritis model through deviation to Th17 differentiation 
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2012;44(7):424-431.
White fat cells secrete adipokines that induce inflammation and obesity has been reported to be characterized by high serum levels of inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 and TNF-α. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a prototype of inflammatory arthritis, but the relationship between RA and obesity is controversial. We made an obese inflammatory arthritis model: obese collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). C57BL/6 mice were fed a 60-kcal high fat diet (HFD) from the age of 4 weeks and they were immunized twice with type II collagen (CII). After immunization, the obese CIA mice showed higher arthritis index scores and histology scores and a more increased incidence of developing arthritis than did the lean CIA mice. After treatment with CII, mixed lymphocyte reaction also showed CII-specific response more intensely in the obese CIA mice than lean CIA. The anti-CII IgG and anti-CII IgG2a levels in the sera of the obese CIA mice were higher than those of the lean CIA mice. The number of Th17 cells was higher and the IL-17 mRNA expression of the splenocytes in the obese CIA mice was higher than that of the lean CIA mice. Obese CIA mice also showed high IL-17 expression on synovium in immunohistochemistry. Although obesity may not play a pathogenic role in initiating arthritis, it could play an important role in amplifying the inflammation of arthritis through the Th1/Th17 response. The obese CIA murine model will be an important tool when we investigate the effect of several therapeutic target molecules to treat RA.
doi:10.3858/emm.2012.44.7.047
PMCID: PMC3406287  PMID: 22513335
arthritis, experimental; inflammation; mice; obesity; Th17 cells
18.  TLR2 ligation induces the production of IL-23/IL-17 via IL-6, STAT3 and NF-kB pathway in patients with primary Sjogren's syndrome 
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/ar3780
PMCID: PMC3446432  PMID: 22417709
19.  Impact of interleukin-21 in the pathogenesis of primary Sjogren's syndrome: increased serum levels of interleukin-21 and its expression in the labial salivary glands 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2011;13(5):R179.
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/ar3504
PMCID: PMC3308114  PMID: 22030011
IL-21; IL-21 receptor; Sjogren's syndrome; Immunoglobulin G1; Labial salivary gland
20.  Measurement of Interleukin-33 (IL-33) and IL-33 Receptors (sST2 and ST2L) in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2011;26(9):1132-1139.
The interleukin-33 (IL-33)/ST2 pathway has emerged as an intercellular signaling system that participates in antigen-allergen response, autoimmunity and fibrosis. It has been suggested that IL-33/ST2 signaling has been involved in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), because IL-33 and its receptor have been specifically mapped to RA synovium. The aim of this study was to determine the levels of IL-33 and sST2 in sera and synovial fluids in patients with RA. The serum level of IL-33 was significantly higher in patients with RA (294.9 ± 464.0 pg/mL) than in healthy controls (96.0 ± 236.9 pg/mL, P = 0.002). The synovial fluid level of IL-33 was significantly higher in RA patients than in osteoarthritis patients. The level of serum sST2 was higher in RA patients than in healthy controls (P = 0.042). A significant relationship was found between the levels of IL-33 and IL-1β (r = 0.311, P = 0.005), and IL-33 and IL-6 (r = 0.264, P = 0.017) in 81 RA patients. The levels of IL-33, sST2 and C-reactive protein decreased after conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs treatment in 10 patients with treatment-naïve RA. Conclusively, IL-33 is involved in the pathogenesis of RA and may reflect the degree of inflammation in patients with RA.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2011.26.9.1132
PMCID: PMC3172648  PMID: 21935266
Interleukin-33; sST2, ST2L; Arthritis, Rheumatoid
21.  Myeloid differentiation primary response protein 88 blockade upregulates indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase expression in rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts 
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2011;43(8):446-454.
Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is a key negative regulator of immune responses and has been implicated in tumor tolerance, autoimmune disease and asthma. IDO was detected in the joint synovial tissue in the inflammatory microenvironment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but IDO expression in joint synovial tissue is not sufficient to overcome the inflamed synovial environment. This study aimed to unravel the mechanisms involving the failure to activate tolerogenic IDO in the inflamed joint. We demonstrate that both poly (I:C) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induce expression of IDO in synovial fibroblasts. However, inflammatory cytokines such as IL-17, TNF-α, IL-12, IL-23 and IL-16 did not induce IDO expression. Poly (I:C) appeared to induce higher IDO expression than did LPS. Surprisingly, toll-like receptor (TLR)4-mediated IDO expression was upregulated after depletion of myeloid differentiation primary response protein 88 (MyD88) in synovial fibroblasts using small interfering RNA (siRNA). IDO, TLR3 and TLR4 were highly expressed in synovial tissue of RA patients compared with that of osteoarthritis patients. In addition, RA patients with severe disease activity had higher levels of expression of IDO, TLR3 and TLR4 in the synovium than patients with mild disease activity. These data suggest that upregulation of IDO expression in synovial fibroblasts involves TLR3 and TLR4 activation by microbial constituents. We showed that the mechanisms responsible for IDO regulation primarily involve MyD88 signaling in synovial fibroblasts, as demonstrated by siRNA-mediated knockdown of MyD88.
doi:10.3858/emm.2011.43.8.050
PMCID: PMC3174378  PMID: 21654189
indoleamine-pyrrole 2,3,-dioxygenase; myeloid differentiation factor 88; rheumatoid arthritis; TICAM1 protein, human; toll-like receptors
22.  The expression of the receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) in RA-FLS is induced by IL-17 via Act-1 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2011;13(4):R113.
Introduction
The receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of arthritis. We conducted this study to determine the effect of interleukin (IL)-17 on the expression and production of RAGE in fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The role of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activator 1 (Act1) in IL-17-induced RAGE expression in RA-FLS was also evaluated.
Methods
RAGE expression in synovial tissues was assessed by immunohistochemical staining. RAGE mRNA production was determined by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Act-1 short hairpin RNA (shRNA) was produced and treated to evaluate the role of Act-1 on RAGE production.
Results
RAGE, IL-17, and Act-1 expression increased in RA synovium compared to osteoarthritis synovium. RAGE expression and production increased by IL-17 and IL-1β (*P <0.05 vs. untreated cells) treatment but not by tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α in RA-FLS. The combined stimuli of both IL-17 and IL-1β significantly increased RAGE production compared to a single stimulus with IL-17 or IL-1β alone (P <0.05 vs. 10 ng/ml IL-17). Act-1 shRNA added to the RA-FLS culture supernatant completely suppressed the enhanced production of RAGE induced by IL-17.
Conclusions
RAGE was overexpressed in RA synovial tissues, and RAGE production was stimulated by IL-17 and IL-1β. Act-1 contributed to the stimulatory effect of IL-17 on RAGE production, suggesting a possible inhibitory target for RA treatment.
doi:10.1186/ar3398
PMCID: PMC3239351  PMID: 21749686
23.  Regulation of B cell activating factor (BAFF) receptor expression by NF-κB signaling in rheumatoid arthritis B cells 
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2011;43(6):350-357.
B cells play an important role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). High levels of B cell activating factor (BAFF) are detected in autoimmune diseases. BAFF and BAFF receptor (BAFF-R) are expressed in B and T cells of RA synovium. The study was undertaken to identify the NF-κB signal pathway involved in the induction of BAFF-R in human B cells. Immunohistochemical staining of NF-κB p65, NF-κB p50, BAFF, and BAFF-R was performed on sections of synovium from severe and mild RA and osteoarthritis (OA) patients. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated from control and RA patients and B cells were isolated from controls. BAFF-R was analyzed by flow cytometry, realtime PCR and confocal staining after treatment with NF-κB inhibitors. NF-κB p65, NF-κB p50, BAFF, and BAFF-R were highly expressed in severe RA synovium relative to mild RA synovium or OA synovium. BAFF-R expression was reduced by NF-κB inhibitors in PBMCs and B cells from normal controls. We also showed reduction in expression of BAFF-R via inhibition of the NF-κB pathway in PBMCs of RA patients. BAFF/BAFF-R signaling is an important mechanism of pathogenesis in RA and that BAFF-R reduction by NF-κB blocking therapy is another choice for controlling B cells in autoimmune diseases such as RA.
doi:10.3858/emm.2011.43.6.038
PMCID: PMC3128913  PMID: 21515993
B-cell activation factor receptor; B-cell activating factor; B-lymphocytes; NF-κB; rheumatoid arthritis
24.  Engagement of Toll-Like Receptor 3 Induces Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and Interleukin-8 in Human Rheumatoid Synovial Fibroblasts 
Background/Aims
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).
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.3904/kjim.2010.25.4.429
PMCID: PMC2997973  PMID: 21179282
Toll-like receptor 3; Arthritis, rheumatoid; Vascular endothelial growth factor; Interleukin-8; Synovial fibroblast
25.  Anti-nuclear antibody reactivity in lupus may be partly hardwired into the primary B cell repertoire 
Molecular immunology  2009;46(16):3420-3426.
When monoclonal ANAs and non-ANAs generated from a genetically simplified mouse model of lupus, B6.Sle1, were recently compared, the ANAs exhibited 3 sequence motifs in their immunoglobulin heavy chains, including increased cationicity in CDR3 (“motif A”), reduced anionicity in CDR2 (“motif B”) and increased aspartate at H50 (“motif C”). The present study was designed to elucidate the extent to which these ANA-associated sequence motifs might be hard-wired into the primary B-cell repertoire in lupus. The immunoglobulin heavy chain sequence of total splenic B cells, follicular B-cells and marginal zone B-cells from B6.Sle1 congenic mice and C57BL/6 controls were amplified by single cell PCR and compared. Analysis of the primary immunoglobulin heavy chain repertoire indicated that the first 2 sequence motifs “A” and “B” were already encoded in the naïve repertoire of B6.Sle1z mice, whereas the third motif “C” was introduced in part by somatic mutation. Site-directed mutagenesis confirmed that non-anionic CDR2 and cationic CDR3 residues in the immunoglobulin heavy chain facilitated nuclear antigen binding in concert, whereas aspartate at H50 strongly vetoed DNA-binding, while preserving nucleosome reactivity. Hence, antinuclear antibodies appear to arise as a consequence of 2 distinct processes–genetically programmed selection of specific CDR charge motifs into the primary immunoglobulin repertoire, with secondary contribution from somatic mutation. Polymorphisms in the lupus susceptibility gene Ly108 that impair central B-cell tolerance may be mechanistically responsible for these early repertoire differences in lupus.
doi:10.1016/j.molimm.2009.07.014
PMCID: PMC2757519  PMID: 19699528
Autoimmunity; B-cells; autoantibodies; genetics; immunoglobulin repertoire

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