[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The advent of anti-TNF biologicals has been a seminal advance in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and has confirmed the important role of TNF in disease pathogenesis. However, it is unknown what sustains the chronic production of TNF. In this study, we have investigated the anti-inflammatory properties of mianserin, a serotonin receptor antagonist. We discovered mianserin was able to inhibit the endosomal TLRs 3, 7, 8, and 9 in primary human cells and inhibited the spontaneous release of TNF and IL-6 from RA synovial membrane cultures. This suggested a role for these TLRs in production of TNF and IL-6 from RA which was supported by data from chloroquine, an inhibitor of endosomal acidification (a prerequisite for TLRs 3, 7, 8, and 9 activation) which also inhibited production of these cytokines from RA synovial cultures. Only stimulation of TLR 3 or 8 induced TNF from these cultures, indicating that TLR7 and TLR9 were of less consequence in this model. The key observation that indicated the importance of TLR8 was the inhibition of spontaneous TNF production by imiquimod, which we discovered to be an inhibitor of TLR8. Together, these data suggest that TLR8 may play a role in driving TNF production in RA. Because this receptor can be inhibited by small m.w. molecules, it may prove to be an important therapeutic target.
The Journal of Immunology 01/2009; 181(11):8002-9. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autoimmunity and the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases were a major focus of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, where I started my research career. After my initial studies on immune cell culture and immune regulation, I returned to an analysis of the pathogenesis of human autoimmunity in London. Linking upregulated antigen presentation to autoimmunity led to an investigation of the role of cytokines in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), in collaboration with Ravinder Maini. These experiments defined the concept of a TNF-dependent cytokine cascade driving the manifestations of RA, which led to successful clinical trials of anti-TNF monoclonal antibody in RA patients, heralding a major change in medical practice. This success was made possible by enthusiastic support from many laboratory and clinical colleagues and taught us that cytokines are important rate-limiting steps and hence good therapeutic targets. My current scientific challenge is exploring the hypothesis of whether all major medical needs can be approached via cytokine blockade.
Annual Review of Immunology 12/2008; 27:1-27. · 36.56 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the clinical efficacy of a novel synthetic peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR-gamma) agonist, CLX-090717, in several in vitro cell culture systems and murine CIA, an experimental model of RA.
Peripheral blood monocytes purified by elutriation, and rheumatoid synovial cells isolated from clinical tissue were cultured with CLX-090717 and TNF-alpha release was measured. Molecular mechanism of action was analysed by western blotting and electrophoretic mobility shift assay. Thioglycollate-elicited murine peritoneal macrophages were cultured with CLX-090717 and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced TNF-alpha release was assayed. Therapeutic studies were done in mice with established arthritis by evaluating clinical parameters and histology. In addition, type II collagen response of lymphocytes from mice with CIA was examined.
CLX-090717 significantly inhibited spontaneous TNF-alpha release by RA synovial membrane cells, as well as LPS-induced TNF-alpha release from human and murine monocytic cells. Inhibition of TNF-alpha in monocytes was mediated partially through a nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB)-dependent pathway, as judged by sustained levels of IkappaBalpha in cytosolic extracts and a reduced level of LPS-induced NF-kappaB activity in nuclear extracts. CLX-090717 reduced clinical signs of arthritis and damage to joint architecture when administered therapeutically to arthritic mice. Mechanisms of action in CIA involved the reduction in proliferation of arthritic lymphocytes to antigen in vitro as well as reduced TNF-alpha release.
Our data suggest that the synthetic compound CLX-090717 has potential as a small molecular weight anti-inflammatory therapeutic for chronic inflammatory conditions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OA is the most common joint disease, affecting 10-15% of people over 60 years of age. However, up to 40% of individuals with radiologic damage are asymptomatic. The purpose of this study was to assess the role of the endogenous opioid system in delaying the onset of pain in a murine model of osteoarthritis (OA).
Osteoarthritis was induced by transection of the medial meniscotibial ligament. Pain was assessed by monitoring weight distribution and activity. At various times postsurgery, the opioid receptor antagonists naloxone or peripherally restricted naloxone methiodide were administered, and pain was assessed. Levels of the micro-opioid receptor were assessed in the nerves innervating the joint by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis.
As in human disease, significant joint damage occurred in mice before the onset of pain. To assess whether delayed pain was partly the result of increased endogenous opioid function, naloxone or naloxone methiodide was administered. Both opioid receptor antagonists led to pain onset 4 weeks earlier than in vehicle-treated mice, indicating a role of the peripheral opioid system in masking OA pain. The expression of the micro-opioid receptor in the peripheral nerves supplying the joint was transiently increased in naloxone-responsive mice.
These findings indicate that a temporal induction of micro-opioid receptors in the early stages of OA delays the onset of pain. This is of clinical relevance and may contribute to the assessment of patients presenting with pain late in the disease. Furthermore, it may point to a mechanism by which the body blocks pain perception in moderate states of tissue damage, allowing an increased chance of survival.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the therapeutic potential of the human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER) family inhibitor, herstatin, in an animal model of arthritis.
Constructs of herstatin and modified tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)-herstatin were expressed in HEK 293T cells, and secreted protein was analyzed by Western blotting. Tissue PA-herstatin adenovirus (Ad-tPA-Her) was prepared, and titers established. Gene expression of Ad-tPA-Her was determined by polymerase chain reaction using HeLa cells. Pharmacokinetics of gene and protein expression in vivo in liver tissue and serum samples were confirmed via intravenous administration of Ad-tPA-Her. Clinical signs of disease were monitored in arthritic DBA/1 mice after therapeutic administration of Ad-tPA-Her, and histologic analysis of hind foot specimens was performed.
Native herstatin was not secreted in supernatants, while modified tPA-herstatin was detected in abundance. HeLa cells stably expressed the tPA-herstatin gene when infected with virus. Additionally, tPA-herstatin gene and protein expression was observed over time in mice treated with virus. Importantly, Ad-tPA-Her, when administered therapeutically to arthritic mice, controlled clinical and histologic signs of disease and reduced the number of joints with severe damage.
Our results support the notion that the human epidermal growth factor receptor family has a role in the progression of collagen-induced arthritis. The novel tPA-herstatin fusion protein could be used as an effective therapeutic tool for control of inflammatory disorders involving an angiogenic component.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cytosolic phospholipase A2alpha (cPLA2) plays an important role in the development of several inflammatory diseases. The aim of the present study is to determine whether inhibition of cPLA2 expression, using specific antisense oligonucleotides against cPLA2 (antisense), is efficient in reducing inflammation after its development. Two mouse models of inflammation were included in the study: thioglicolate peritonitis and collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). The antisense was found to be specific and efficient in inhibiting cPLA2 expression and NADPH oxidase activity ex vivo in peritoneal phagocytes. Immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry analysis showed a significant elevation in cPLA2 expression in the inflamed joints of collagen-induced arthritis mice localized in cell infiltrate, chondrocytes and the surrounding skin and skeletal muscle. Similarly, the cPLA2 metabolite, leukotriene B4, accumulated in the peritoneal cavity of mice with peritonitis. Inhibition of elevated cPLA2 expression after development of inflammation by intravenous administration of antisense resulted in a dramatic reduction in inflammation and a significant reduction in neutrophils recruitment to the site of inflammation in both mouse models of inflammation. Our results demonstrate the critical role of cPLA2 for the duration of inflammation and suggest that inhibition of cPLA2 expression by antisense oligonucleotides may serve as an efficient treatment of inflammatory diseases.
European Journal of Immunology 10/2008; 38(10):2905-15. · 4.97 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interleukin IL-21 and IL-15 belong to the common gamma-chain receptor family. IL-15 represents a novel therapeutic target in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), whereas less is known about the role of IL-21 in human inflammatory diseases. We have analysed the effects of blocking IL-21 and IL-15 on spontaneous production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in RA synovial cell cultures. RA synovial membrane cells were cultured in the presence of an IL-21R-Fc chimera or a neutralizing IL-15 antibody and production of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)alpha, IL-6 and IL-1beta was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Expression of IL-21 and IL-15 in RA synovium was measured by RT-PCR and ELISA. mRNA for IL-21 and IL-21R was detected in the culture cell lysates. Protein for IL-15 was found at detectable levels in the cell lysates. Both the IL-21R-Fc chimera and anti-IL-15 antibody inhibited cytokine release, although substantially more IL-21R-Fc was needed. IL-21R-Fc at the highest dose (100 microg/ml) significantly reduced TNFalpha production by 50%, IL-6 by 57% and IL-1beta by 81%. Anti-IL-15 antibody (5 microg/ml) significantly inhibited TNFalpha release by 51%, IL-6 by 37% and IL-1beta by 82% in line with previous published observations. The data confirm that IL-15 plays a role in RA and suggests that IL-21 is also involved in driving the pro-inflammatory cytokine response in RA.
Scandinavian Journal of Immunology 08/2008; 68(1):103-11. · 2.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the advent of biological therapies for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, there is a compelling need to develop alternative therapeutic targets for nonresponders to existing treatments. Soluble receptors occur naturally in vivo, such as the splice variant of the cell surface receptor for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)--a key regulator of angiogenesis in rheumatoid arthritis. Bioinformatics analyses predict that the majority of human genes undergo alternative splicing, generating proteins--many of which may have regulatory functions. The objective of the present study was to identify alternative splice variants (ASV) from cell surface receptor genes, and to determine whether the novel proteins encoded exert therapeutic activity in an in vivo model of arthritis.
To identify novel splice variants, we performed RT-PCR using an mRNA pool representing major human tissue types and tumors. Novel ASV were identified by alignment of each cloned sequence to its respective genomic sequence in comparison with full-length transcripts. To test whether these ASV have biologic activity, we characterized a subset of them for ligand binding, and for efficacy in an animal model of arthritis. The in vivo study was accomplished using adenoviruses expressing secreted ASV.
We cloned 60 novel human ASV from 21 genes, encoding cell surface receptors--many of which are known to be important in the regulation of angiogenesis. The ASV were characterized by exon extension, intron retention and alternative exon utilization. Efficient expression and secretion of selected ASV--corresponding to VEGF receptor type 1, VEGF receptor type 2, VEGF receptor type 3, angiopoietin receptor Tie1, Met (receptor for hepatocyte growth factor), colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor, platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta, fibroblast growth factor receptor 1, Kit, and RAGE--was demonstrated, together with binding to their cognate ligands. Importantly, ASV derived from VEGF receptor type 1 and Tie1, and to a lesser extent from VEGF receptor type 2 and fibroblast growth factor receptor 1, reduced clinical signs of arthritis in vivo. The reduction was paralleled by decreased joint inflammation and destruction.
The present study shows that unique ASV derived from receptors that play key roles in angiogenesis--namely, VEGF receptor type 1 and, for the first time, Tie1--can markedly reduce arthritis severity. More broadly, our results demonstrate that ASV are a source of novel proteins with therapeutic potential in diseases in which angiogenesis and cellular hyperplasia play a central role, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis research & therapy 08/2008; 10(4):R73. · 4.27 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: TNF is a key factor in a variety of inflammatory diseases. Here we report that TNF induced pro-inflammatory cytokine synthesis of IL-6 and IL-8 is mediated by the Rho GTPase Rac. TNF induces p42/p44, p54 and p38 MAPK kinase; these kinases have been implicated in control of cytokine synthesis. However, over-expression of a dominant negative form of Rac strongly inhibited TNF-induced p42/44 MAPK kinase activation, but had little effect upon JNK and no effect upon p38 MAPK activity. Another key signalling pathway controlling cytokine expression is NF-kappaB. When analyzing TNF-induced NF-kappaB activity via luciferase-reporter assays or via EMSA, we were able to show that the dominant negative version of Rac could completely abrogate TNF-induced NF-kappaB activity. In addition, we also observed that inhibition of the ERK pathway led to a reduction in TNF-induced NF-kappaB transcriptional activity; this was accompanied by an ablation of TNF-induced p65 phosphorylation at serine 276. This would suggest that TNF-induced activation of Rac, lies upstream of NF-kappaB activation, and that the inhibition of this pathway results in inhibition of cytokine production.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The CD200 receptor (CD200R) is an inhibitory receptor expressed by myeloid cells that is postulated to play an important role in regulation of the immune system. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a soluble ligand of CD200R in established collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in mice and to analyze changes in cytokine expression following therapy in order to understand its primary mechanism of action.
Arthritis was induced in DBA/1 mice, and CD200-Fc fusion protein, an isotype control monoclonal antibody, or TNFR-Fc fusion protein was administered over a period of 10 days (total of 4 doses). Cytokine expression in the joint was assessed by flow cytometry, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.
CD200-Fc significantly reduced the severity of established arthritis at the clinical and histologic levels. The therapeutic effect of CD200-Fc at 1 mg/kg was comparable with that of TNFR-Fc at 4 mg/kg. CD200R was found to be expressed in arthritic synovia and in lymph nodes, yet no changes in T cell cytokine levels (interferon-gamma, interleukin-5 [IL-5], IL-10, IL-17) were detected after CD200-Fc therapy. There was no evidence of an expansion of forkhead box P3-positive regulatory T cells or a change in serum anticollagen IgG1 and IgG2a levels. However, administration of CD200-Fc markedly decreased the expression of messenger RNA for tumor necrosis factor alpha, IL-1beta, IL-10, and matrix metalloproteinase 13 in the joint to the same extent as administration of TNFR-Fc.
CD200-Fc is an effective therapeutic agent in established CIA that targets proinflammatory cytokine expression in the joint without any obvious systemic immunosuppressive effects. Our findings indicate that CD200-Fc has considerable potential as a novel therapeutic agent in rheumatoid arthritis in humans.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previously we described a system whereby human peripheral blood T cells stimulated for 8 days in a cytokine cocktail acquired effector function for contact-dependent induction of proinflammatory cytokines from monocytes. We termed these cells cytokine-activated (Tck) cells and found that the signalling pathways elicited in the responding monocytes were identical whether they were placed in contact with Tck cells or with T cells isolated from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial tissue.
Here, using magnetic beads and fluorescence-activated cell sorting, we extensively phenotype the Tck effector cells and conclude that effector function resides within the CD4+CD45RO+, CCR7-, CD49dhigh population, and that these cells are derived from the effector memory CD4+ T cells in resting blood.
After stimulation in culture, these cells produce a wide range of T-cell cytokines, undergo proliferation and differentiate to acquire an extensively activated phenotype resembling RA synovial T cells. Blocking antibodies against CD69, CD18, or CD49d resulted in a reduction of tumour necrosis factor-alpha production from monocytes stimulated with CD4+CD45RO+ Tck cells in the co-culture assay. Moreover, blockade of these ligands also resulted in inhibition of spontaneous tumour necrosis factor-alpha production in RA synovial mononuclear cell cultures.
Taken together, these data strengthen our understanding of T-cell effector function, highlight the multiple involvement of different cell surface ligands in cell-cell contact and, provide novel insights into the pathogenesis of inflammatory RA disease.
Arthritis research & therapy 02/2008; 10(2):R36. · 4.27 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PRR (pattern-recognition receptor) signalling is involved early in the immune response and therefore would be attractive to target during vaccination. The use of PRR ligands has shown some success; however, toxicity and non-specificity are issues with this strategy. The targeting of PRR intracellular signalling networks would allow for greater specificity and reduced systemic toxicity. The present review examines the successes seen with overexpression or repression of PRR signalling molecules.
Biochemical Society Transactions 01/2008; 35(Pt 6):1501-3. · 2.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vaccination is well known to control many current infectious diseases. However, the development of cellular (Th1) immunity to control viral pathogens, among others, requires the development of new vaccine adjuvants. The use of Toll-like receptor ligands or cytokines has shown much promise, although specificity and toxicity are issues with these strategies. Targeting intracellular signaling pathways may allow for greater specificity of the adjuvant, as well as reducing systemic toxicity. Studies targeting these pathways are discussed, as well as their potential applications in the future.
Expert Review of Vaccines 01/2008; 6(6):971-80. · 4.22 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is a disparity in the animal models used to study pain in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which tends to be acute in nature, and models used to assess the pathogenesis of RA. The latter models, like human RA, are lymphocyte-driven and polyarthritic. We assessed pain behavior and mechanisms in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), the model of preclinical arthritis used most commonly in the field of immunology. We then validated the model using anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) therapy, which has analgesic effects in models of inflammation as well as in human RA.
CIA was induced in DBA/1 mice by immunization with type II collagen at the base of the tail. Swelling and mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia were assessed before and for 28 days after the onset of arthritis. Spontaneous behavior was assessed using an automated activity monitor. Glial activity was assessed by glial fibrillary acidic protein expression, and nerve damage was evaluated by activating transcription factor 3 expression. The actions of anti-TNF therapy on nociception were then evaluated.
Arthritis resulted in a decrease in the threshold for thermal and mechanical stimuli, beginning on the day of onset. Decreased spontaneous activity was also observed. A significant increase in the number of hyperplasic spinal cord astrocytes was observed beginning 10 days after the onset of arthritis. Anti-TNF therapy was profoundly analgesic, with an efficacy similar to that of cyclooxygenase 2 inhibition, and reduced astrocyte activity in CIA.
This study shows that the CIA model is suitable for testing not only antiinflammatory but also analgesic drugs for potential use in RA, and highlights the importance of using appropriate disease models to assess relevant pain pathways.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: TLR3 recognizes double-stranded RNA, a product associated with viral infections. Many details of TLR3-induced mechanisms have emerged from gene-targeted mice or inhibition studies in transformed cell lines. However, the pathways activated in human immune cells or cells from disease tissue are less well understood. We have investigated TLR3-induced mechanisms of human primary cells of the innate immune system, including dendritic cells (DCs), macrophages (MØs), endothelial cells (ECs), and synovial fibroblasts isolated from rheumatoid arthritis joint tissue (RA-SFs). Here, we report that while these cells all express TLR3, they differ substantially in their response to TLR3 stimulation. The key antiviral response chemokine IP-10 was produced by all cell types, while DCs and MØs failed to produce the proinflammatory cytokines TNFalpha and IL-6. Unexpectedly, TNFalpha was found secreted by TLR3-stimulated RA-SF. Furthermore, TLR3 stimulation did not activate NFkappaB, MAPKs, or IRF-3 in DCs and MØs, but was able to do so in ECs and RA-SF. These findings were specific for human cells, thereby revealing a complexity not previously expected. This is the first report of such cell type- and species-specific response for any TLR stimulation and helps to explain important difficulties in correlating murine models of inflammatory diseases and human inflammation.