[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The NLRP3 inflammasome has been recognized as one of the key components of the innate immunity by sensing a diversity of insults. Inflammasome activation results in the maturation of the pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18. Increased production of IL-1β is found in patients with gain-of-function polymorphisms in genes encoding the NLRP3 inflammasome. Since approximately 5% of the Swedish population are heterozygote carriers of these combined gene variants, their impact on inflammasome status and a relationship on disease development is therefore highly relevant to study. The present study investigates levels of inflammasome-produced cytokines as a measure of inflammasome activation in healthy individuals carrying Q705K polymorphism in the NLRP3 gene combined with C10X in the CARD8 gene.
Genotyping of 1006 healthy blood donors was performed for the polymorphisms Q705K in the NLRP3 and C10X in the CARD8 genes. IL-1β, IL-18, IL-33, as well as a number of other pro-inflammatory cytokines, were analyzed by Luminex or ELISA in plasma from individuals carrying the polymorphisms and in age and gender matched non-carrier controls.
The prevalence of the polymorphisms was in line with previous studies. Plasma levels of IL-1β and IL-33 were elevated among carriers of combined Q705K+C10X polymorphisms compared to controls, whereas no difference was found for IL-18 and the other cytokines measured. Moreover, carriers of C10X or Q705K per se had similar plasma levels of IL-1β as non-carriers. These data suggest that the combined polymorphisms create inflammasomes with increased basal activation state, which might provide a more favourable innate immune response. In spite of this, it could also represent the mechanisms by which the inflammatory loop is triggered into a long-term inflammatory phenotype.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(10):e75457. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: T helper cells lacking CD28 (CD4+CD28-) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener; GPA) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA). Expansions of CD4+CD28- and CD8+CD28- T cells have also been associated with latent cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection. We assessed these T cells with and without coexpression of CD56 and CD57 in relation to vasculitis as well as CMV status.
Blood from 16 patients in remission (12 GPA, 4 MPA), 18 patients with active vasculitis (12 GPA, 6 MPA), and 20 healthy controls was examined by flow cytometry for expression of CD4, CD8, CD56, CD57, and CD28 on T cells. The influence of age, CMV status, presence of disease, and disease activity on T cell subpopulations was tested with multiple regression analyses.
In active vasculitis, the total numbers and proportion of lymphocytes were decreased. Total numbers of CD4+, CD8+, CD4+CD28-, CD8+CD28-, CD4+CD57+, and CD8+CD57+ T subpopulations were decreased to the same extent, implying unchanged proportions. Multivariate analyses showed no associations between vasculitis and CD28- or CD57+ T subpopulations, whereas immunoglobulin G antibodies to CMV were associated with expanded proportions of CD28- and CD57+ T cells, in both the CD4+ and the CD8+ compartments.
CD28- and CD57+ T cells were associated with latent CMV infection and not with a diagnosis of GPA or MPA. Vasculitis assessment should include CMV status.
The Journal of Rheumatology 07/2012; 39(9):1840-3. · 3.26 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neutrophils are key-players in the innate host defense and their programmed cell death and removal are essential for efficient resolution of inflammation. These cells recognize a variety of pathogens, and the NOD-like receptors (NLRs) have been suggested as intracellular sensors of microbial components and cell injury/stress. Some NLR will upon activation form multi-protein complexes termed inflammasomes that result in IL-1β production. NLR mutations are associated with auto-inflammatory syndromes, and our previous data propose NLRP3 (Q705K)/CARD-8 (C10X) polymorphisms to contribute to increased risk and severity of inflammatory disease by acting as genetic susceptibility factors. These gene products are components of the NALP3 inflammasome, and approximately 6.5% of the Swedish population are heterozygote carriers of these combined gene variants. Since patients carrying the Q705K/C10X polymorphisms display leukocytosis, the aim of the present study was to find out whether the inflammatory phenotype was related to dysfunctional apoptosis and impaired clearance of neutrophils by macrophages.
Patients carrying the Q705K/C10X polymorphisms displayed significantly delayed spontaneous as well as microbe-induced apoptosis compared to matched controls. Western blotting revealed increased levels and phosphorylation of Akt and Mcl-1 in the patients' neutrophils. In contrast to macrophages from healthy controls, macrophages from the patients produced lower amounts of TNF; suggesting impaired macrophage clearance response.
The Q705K/C10X polymorphisms are associated with delayed apoptosis of neutrophils. These findings are explained by altered involvement of different regulators of apoptosis, resulting in an anti-apoptotic profile. Moreover, the macrophage response to ingestion of microbe-induced apoptotic neutrophils is altered in the patients. Taken together, the patients display impaired turnover and clearance of apoptotic neutrophils, pointing towards a dysregulated innate immune response that influences the resolution of inflammation. The future challenge is to understand how microbes affect the activation of inflammasomes, and why this interaction will develop into severe inflammatory disease in certain individuals.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(3):e31326. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Q705K polymorphism in NLRP3 has been implicated in several chronic inflammatory diseases. In this study we determine the functional role of this commonly occurring polymorphism using an in-vitro system.
NLRP3-WT and NLRP3-Q705K were retrovirally transduced into the human monocytic cell line THP-1, followed by the assessment of IL-1β and IL-18 levels in the cell culture supernatant. THP-1 cells expressing the above NLRP3 variants were sorted based upon Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) expression. Cytokine response to alum (one of the most widely used adjuvants in vaccines) in the cells stably expressing NLRP3-WT and NLRP3-Q705K were determined. IL-1β and IL-18 levels were found to be elevated in THP-1 cells transduced with NLRP3-Q705K compared to the NLRP3-WT. Upon exposure to alum, THP-1 cells stably expressing NLRP3-Q705K displayed an increased release of IL-1β, IL-18 and TNF-α, in a caspase-1 and IL-1 receptor-dependent manner.
Collectively, these findings show that the Q705K polymorphism in NLRP3 is a gain-of-function alteration leading to an overactive NLRP3 inflammasome. The option of IL-1β blockade may be considered in patients with chronic inflammatory disorders that are unresponsive to conventional treatments.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e34977. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of rituximab in vasculitis has increased interest in B cell biology. A subpopulation of B cells expressing CD25 shows antigen-presenting properties and may have regulatory functions. We assessed subpopulations of B cell maturation (Bm) and markers related to activity and antigen presentation, and related the findings to disease activity.
Multiparameter flow cytometry was used to assess numbers and proportions of circulating lymphocytes from 34 patients with vasculitis (16 remission, 18 active) and 20 controls.
Active vasculitis samples showed decreased proportions of Bm1 (7.8% vs 11%; p = 0.041), Bm2' (0.2% vs 0.7%; p = 0.002), and Bm3/Bm4 (0.1% vs 0.3%; p = 0.006), compared with controls; Bm2 cells were the most frequently occurring B cells but they were not significantly different in active vasculitis (74% vs 62%; p = 0.083). In patients with remission the proportion of CD25+ B cells was increased compared to controls (48% vs 29%, respectively; p = 0.006) and also compared to active vasculitis (23%; p = 0.006). The proportion of CD86+ B cells was also increased (31%) compared to active vasculitis (8%; p = 0.001), and to controls (6%; p = 0.0003). In multivariate analysis, Bm2' cells and CD25+27- B cells were independently influencing the patient group.
In active vasculitis, a lower proportion of Bm1 cells may indicate activated B cells. Patients in remission had higher proportions of CD25+ (α-chain of interleukin 2 receptor) and CD86+ (costimulatory molecule) B cells. We suggest that these B cells may have a regulatory role, or alternatively may result from previous treatment.
The Journal of Rheumatology 10/2010; 37(10):2086-95. · 3.26 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The NALP3 inflammasome is a multiprotein complex that triggers caspase 1-mediated interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) release. Mutations in the gene encoding NALP3 (NLRP3) underlie the cryopyrin-associated periodic syndrome (CAPS). The aim of this study was to report a novel NLRP3 mutation in 2 siblings of Swedish descent in whom symptoms first presented in adulthood.
Mutation analysis of NLRP3 was performed on DNA from patients with CAPS and 100 control subjects. For assessment of caspase 1 and IL-1beta, blood was collected from patients and age- and sex-matched healthy control subjects. Genetic constructs containing mutant or wild-type NLRP3 were transduced into THP-1 cells, followed by assessment of IL-1beta levels in cell supernatant.
Both siblings carried a novel M299V mutation in NLRP3, which was not present in the control population. The samples obtained from the patients displayed increased caspase 1 activity and elevated IL-1beta levels at basal conditions as compared with healthy control subjects. THP-1 cells expressing mutated M299V revealed almost 10-fold higher IL-1beta production compared with the wild-type construct.
M299V is an activating mutation in NLRP3 resulting in elevated spontaneous caspase 1 activity and IL-1beta levels. The classic CAPS phenotype was lacking in these adult siblings. Whereas one sibling displayed a milder phenotype that has so far responded satisfactorily to oral nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs in combination with low-dose corticosteroids, the inflammatory symptoms in the sibling with the more severe case responded well to IL-1beta blockade. Understanding the pathogenic mechanism underlying such disorders can be helpful for the physician. Our study reinforces the importance of genetic testing and laboratory investigations in combination with careful phenotypic evaluation for the diagnosis of such patients.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: NALP3, ASC, and TUCAN are components of the NALP3 inflammasome, which triggers caspase 1-mediated interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) release. Activating mutations in the gene encoding NALP3 (NLRP3) have recently been linked to familial periodic fever syndromes. We undertook this study to determine whether a patient with arthritis and antibiotic-resistant fever carried mutations in the genes encoding the NALP3 inflammasome.
Genetic analysis of NLRP3 and the gene encoding TUCAN (CARD-8) was performed on genomic DNA from the patient and from a population-based collection of DNA (806 subjects). For in vitro studies of IL-1beta production and caspase 1 activity, blood was obtained from the patient at different time points after administration of anakinra, an IL-1 receptor antagonist, as well as from 5 healthy age- and sex-matched control subjects.
Mutation analysis of the patient's genes encoding NALP3, ASC, and TUCAN revealed variations in the NLRP3 (Q705K) and CARD-8 (C10X) genes. The allele frequencies of these single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the population were 6.5% and 34%, respectively. The elevated activity of caspase 1 and the high levels of IL-1beta measured in samples from the patient returned to normal levels after treatment with anakinra.
Our results indicate that the patient's symptoms were due to elevated levels of IL-1beta, since treatment with anakinra effectively abolished the symptoms. The compound SNPs may explain the increased IL-1beta levels and inflammatory symptoms observed, but further studies are needed to reveal a functional relationship. The prevalence of the polymorphisms (4% of the population carry both SNPs) in the general population may suggest a genetic predisposition for common inflammatory disorders.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To measure in vitro cytokine release from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and serum cytokines in patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome (SS) with and without myalgia, compared to patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and healthy controls.
Sixteen women with SS (8 with myalgia, 8 without pain), 15 women with RA, and 14 healthy women were studied. PBMC were isolated and cultured. Secretion of interleukin 1 beta (IL-1 beta), IL-6, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) was measured in cell supernatants with or without stimulation with phytohemagglutinin, tetanus toxoid, or purified protein derivative (PPD). Enzyme-linked immunospot was used to enumerate interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and IL-4-secreting cells. Serum concentrations of IL-8 and IL-18 were analyzed by ELISA.
PPD-stimulated PBMC from SS patients responded with less production of IL-10, TNF-alpha, and IFN-gamma compared to controls. Patients with SS and pain were hyporesponsive also with respect to IL-1 beta and IL-6. The generally subnormal cytokine release was statistically significant in myalgic patients with SS compared to healthy controls. Serum IL-18 was increased in both SS groups as well as in patients with RA, and the highest levels were found in myalgic patients with SS. Serum IL-8 was increased in RA but not in SS.
Patients with SS, especially those with myalgia, had diminished PBMC cytokine release and increased serum IL-18. This finding suggests that impaired cytokine regulation may have pathogenetic importance for myalgia in SS.
The Journal of Rheumatology 05/2004; 31(4):729-35. · 3.26 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The occurrence of antibodies to human C-reactive protein (CRP) was analysed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in 56 patient sera known to contain antibodies to double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) and in 16 sera from patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome (SS), 15 rheumatoid arthritis, 31 Crohn's disease, and 37 ulcerative colitis. Eighty-seven per cent of the patients with anti-dsDNA antibodies had systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and the remaining had autoimmune hepatitis. The cut-off for positive anti-CRP test was set at the 95th percentile of 100 healthy blood donors. Twenty of 56 anti-dsDNA sera (36%) and two of 16 SS sera (13%) had antibodies reactive with human CRP, whereas all other samples were negative. Thirteen of 27 SLE patients (48%) were positive on at least one occasion. The sera containing anti-CRP antibodies only reacted with surface-bound antigen, but not with native CRP in solution. In conclusion, we found that autoantibodies to CRP are common in sera from patients with anti-dsDNA antibodies. It is not likely that this explains the relative failure of CRP response in patients with active SLE. However, it cannot be excluded that anti-CRP autoantibodies have other biological potentials of pathophysiological interest in SLE, for instance by binding to CRP deposited on cell and tissue surfaces.
Journal of Autoimmunity 12/2002; 19(3):155-60. · 8.15 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although muscle pain is common in primary Sjögren's syndrome (SS), the underlying mechanisms are mainly unknown. We studied all patients with SS at our rheumatology unit with respect to muscle pain in general and to fibromyalgia (FM), and correlated clinical data to muscle biopsy findings.
We investigated 48 patients with SS according to the modified European diagnostic criteria. The ACR criteria for FM were used to subgroup the patients. Muscle biopsy was performed in 36 patients. Light microscope morphology and immunohistochemical expression of MHC class I, MHC class II, and membrane attack complex (MAC) were studied.
We found 44% of patients complained of muscle pain; 27% fulfilled the ACR criteria for FM, whereas 17% had other forms of myalgia. Muscle pain could not be related to histopathological findings. Signs of inflammation were found in 26 of 36 biopsies (72%), and inflammation combined with degeneration/regeneration (i.e., histological signs of polymyositis) in 17 biopsies (47%). However, only 5 patients (14%) had clinical as well as histological signs of polymyositis. Eight muscle biopsies (22%) showed histological features of inclusion body myositis (IBM). However, no patient had clinical symptoms suggestive of this disease. Abnormal expression of MHC class I, MHC class II, and MAC was found in 18 (50%), 16 (44%), and 27 (75%) patients, respectively.
Muscle pain, especially FM, is common in SS. Histopathological signs of myositis are very common in SS. However, muscle symptoms are not related to histological signs of muscle inflammation. IBM-like findings may represent vacuolar myopathic degeneration due to previous subclinical muscle inflammation rather than a specific clinical entity.
The Journal of Rheumatology 05/2002; 29(4):717-25. · 3.26 Impact Factor