What do biomarkers tell us about the pathogenesis of ankylosing spondylitis?

Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2S2 Canada. .
Arthritis research & therapy (Impact Factor: 4.12). 02/2009; 11(1):101. DOI: 10.1186/ar2565
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Biomarkers may provide information that promotes understanding of prognosis, disease activity, and pathogenesis in ankylosing spondylitis. Biomarkers reflecting disease activity (metallo-proteinase-3) and inflammatory lesions on magnetic resonance imaging predict new bone formation and are ameliorated by anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy, yet this treatment may not prevent new bone formation. Moreover, elevated levels of biomarkers reflecting tissue repair (bone-specific alkaline phosphatase) post-treatment together with magnetic resonance imaging indicates such treatment may even promote repair through new bone formation. Tumor necrosis factor regulation of Dickkopf-1 may constitute a molecular brake that controls osteoblastogenesis through wingless and bone morphogenetic proteins in an established inflammatory lesion in ankylosing spondylitis.

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    ABSTRACT: Dkk-1 is an inhibitory molecule that regulates the Wnt pathway, which controls osteoblastogenesis. This study was undertaken to explore the potential role of Dkk-1 in ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a prototypical bone-forming disease. Serum Dkk-1 levels were measured in 45 patients with AS, 45 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 15 patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA), and 50 healthy subjects by sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). A functional ELISA was used to assess the binding of Dkk-1 to its receptor (low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 6). Furthermore, we studied the effect of sera from patients with AS and healthy subjects on the activity of the Wnt pathway in the Jurkat T cell model, with and without a neutralizing anti-Dkk-1 monoclonal antibody, by Western immunoblotting. Serum Dkk-1 levels were significantly increased in patients with AS (mean +/- SEM 2,730 +/- 135.1 pg/ml) as compared with normal subjects (P = 0.040), patients with RA (P = 0.020), and patients with PsA (P = 0.049). Patients with AS receiving anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (anti-TNFalpha) treatment had significantly higher serum Dkk-1 levels than patients with AS not receiving such treatment (P = 0.007). Patients with AS studied serially prior to and following anti-TNFalpha administration exhibited a significant increase in serum Dkk-1 levels (P = 0.020), in contrast to patients with RA, who exhibited a dramatic decrease (P < 0.001). Jurkat cells treated with serum from AS patients exhibited increased Wnt signaling compared with cells treated with control serum. In that system, Dkk-1 blockade significantly enhanced Wnt signaling in control serum-treated, but not AS serum-treated, Jurkat T cells. Our findings indicate that in patients with AS, circulating bone formation-promoting factors functionally prevail. This can be at least partially attributed to decreased Dkk-1-mediated inhibition.
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