[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most common autoimmune disorders characterized by the chronic and progressive inflammation of various organs, most notably the synovia of joints leading to joint destruction, a shorter life expectancy, and reduced quality of life. Although we have substantial information about the pathophysiology of the disease with various groups of immune cells and soluble mediators identified to participate in the pathogenesis, several aspects of the altered immune functions and regulation in RA remain controversial. Animal models are especially useful in such scenarios. Recently research focused on IL-17 and IL-17 producing cells in various inflammatory diseases such as in RA and in different rodent models of RA. These studies provided occasionally contradictory results with IL-17 being more prominent in some of the models than in others; the findings of such experimental setups were sometimes inconclusive compared to the human data. The aim of this review is to summarize briefly the recent advancements on the role of IL-17, particularly in the different rodent models of RA.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Mediators of Inflammation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The current status of therapeutic vaccines for autoimmune diseases is reviewed with rheumatoid arthritis as the focus. Therapeutic vaccines for autoimmune diseases must regulate or subdue responses to common self-antigens. Ideally, such a vaccine would initiate an antigen-specific modulation of the T-cell immune response that drives the inflammatory disease. Appropriate animal models and types of T helper cells and signature cytokine responses that drive autoimmune disease are also discussed. Interpretation of these animal models must be done cautiously because the means of initiation, autoantigens, and even the signature cytokine and T helper cell (Th1 or Th17) responses that are involved in the disease may differ significantly from those in humans. We describe ligand epitope antigen presentation system vaccine modulation of T-cell autoimmune responses as a strategy for the design of therapeutic vaccines for rheumatoid arthritis, which may also be effective in other autoimmune conditions.
No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Expert Review of Vaccines
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are innate immune cells capable of suppressing T-cell responses. We previously reported the presence of MDSCs with a granulocytic phenotype in the synovial fluid (SF) of mice with proteoglycan (PG)-induced arthritis (PGIA), a T cell-dependent autoimmune model of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, the limited amount of SF-MDSCs precluded investigations into their therapeutic potential. The goals of this study were to develop an in vitro method for generating MDSCs similar to those found in SF and to reveal the therapeutic effect of such cells in PGIA.
Murine bone marrow (BM) cells were cultured for 3 days in the presence of granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). The phenotype of cultured cells was analyzed using flow cytometry, microscopy, and biochemical methods. The suppressor activity of BM-MDSCs was tested upon co-culture with activated T cells. To investigate the therapeutic potential of BM-MDSCs, the cells were injected into SCID mice at the early stage of adoptively transferred PGIA, and their effects on the clinical course of arthritis and PG-specific immune responses were determined.
BM cells cultured in the presence of GM-CSF, IL-6, and G-CSF became enriched in MDSC-like cells that showed greater phenotypic heterogeneity than MDSCs present in SF. BM-MDSCs profoundly inhibited both antigen-specific and polyclonal T-cell proliferation primarily via production of nitric oxide. Injection of BM-MDSCs into mice with PGIA ameliorated arthritis and reduced PG-specific T-cell responses and serum antibody levels.
Our in vitro enrichment strategy provides a SF-like, but controlled microenvironment for converting BM myeloid precursors into MDSCs that potently suppress both T-cell responses and the progression of arthritis in a mouse model of RA. Our results also suggest that enrichment of BM in MDSCs could improve the therapeutic efficacy of BM transplantation in RA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are a heterogeneous population of innate immune cells with a granulocyte-like or monocyte-like phenotype and a unique ability to suppress T-cell responses. MDSCs have been shown to accumulate in cancer patients, but recent studies suggest that these cells are also present in humans and animals suffering from autoimmune diseases. We previously identified MDSCs in the synovial fluid (SF) of mice with experimental autoimmune arthritis. The goal of the present study was to identify MDSCs in the SF of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
RA SF cells were studied by flow cytometry using antibodies to MDSC cell surface markers as well as by analysis of cell morphology. The suppressor activity of RA SF cells toward autologous peripheral blood T cells was determined ex vivo. We employed both antigen-nonspecific (anti-CD3/CD28 antibodies) and antigen-specific (allogeneic cells) induction systems to test the effects of RA SF cells on the proliferation of autologous T cells.
SF from RA patients contained MDSC-like cells, the majority of which showed granulocyte (neutrophil)-like phenotype and morphology. RA SF cells significantly suppressed the proliferation of anti-CD3/CD28-stimulated autologous T cells upon co-culture. When compared side by side, RA SF cells had a more profound inhibitory effect on the alloantigen-induced than the anti-CD3/CD28-induced proliferation of autologous T cells.
MDSCs are present among RA SF cells that are commonly regarded as inflammatory neutrophils. Our results suggest that the presence of neutrophil-like MDSCs in the SF is likely beneficial, as these cells have the ability to limit the expansion of joint-infiltrating T cells in RA.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An increasing number of studies show that besides the inherited genetic architecture (that is, genomic DNA), various environmental factors significantly contribute to the etiology of rheumatoid arthritis. Epigenetic factors react to external stimuli and form bridges between the environment and the genetic information-harboring DNA. Epigenetic mechanisms are implicated in the final interpretation of the encoded genetic information by regulating gene expression, and alterations in their profile influence the activity of the immune system. Overall, epigenetic mechanisms further increase the well-known complexity of rheumatoid arthritis by providing additional subtle contributions to rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility. Although there are controversies regarding the involvement of epigenetic and genetic factors in rheumatoid arthritis etiology, it is becoming obvious that the two systems (genetic and epigenetic) interact with each other and are ultimately responsible for rheumatoid arthritis development. Here, epigenetic factors and mechanisms involved in rheumatoid arthritis are reviewed and new, potential therapeutic targets are discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease and its targeting of the joints indicates the presence of a candidate autoantigen(s) in synovial joints. Patients with RA show immune responses in their peripheral blood to proteoglycan (PG) aggrecan. One of the most relevant animal models of RA appears to be proteoglycan-induced arthritis (PGIA), and CD4(+) T cells seem to play a crucial role in the initiation of the disease. In this review, the role of various T cell epitopes of aggrecan in the induction of autoreactive T cell activation and arthritis is discussed. We pay special attention to two critically important arthritogenic epitopes, 5/4E8 and P135H, found in the G1 and G3 domains of PG aggrecan, respectively, in the induction of autoimmune arthritis. Finally, results obtained with the recently developed PG-specific TCR transgenic mice system showed that altered T cell apoptosis, the balance of activation, and apoptosis of autoreactive T cells are critical factors in the development of autoimmunity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The involvement of autoreactive T cells in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as well as in autoimmune animal models of arthritis has been well established; however, unanswered questions, such as the role of joint-homing T cells, remain. Animal models of arthritis are superb experimental tools in demonstrating how T cells trigger joint inflammation, and thus can help to further our knowledge of disease mechanisms and potential therapies. In this Review, we discuss the similarities and differences in T-cell subsets and functions between RA and mouse arthritis models. For example, various T-cell subsets are involved in both human and mouse arthritis, but differences might exist in the cytokine regulation and plasticity of these cells. With regard to joint-homing T cells, an abundance of synovial T cells is present in humans compared with mice. On the other hand, local expansion of type 17 T-helper (TH17) cells is observed in some animal models, but not in RA. Finally, whereas T-cell depletion therapy essentially failed in RA, antibody targeting of T cells can work, at least preventatively, in most arthritis models. Clearly, additional human and animal studies are needed to fill the gap in our understanding of the specific contribution of T-cell subsets to arthritis in mice and men.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Nature Reviews Rheumatology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To identify epigenetic factors that are implicated in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and to explore the therapeutic potential of the targeted inhibition of these factors.
METHODS: Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) arrays were used to investigate the expression profile of genes that encode key epigenetic regulator enzymes. Mononuclear cells from RA patients and mice were monitored for gene expression changes, in association with arthritis development in murine models of RA. Selected genes were further characterized by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR, Western blot, and flow cytometry methods. The targeted inhibition of the up-regulated enzymes was studied in arthritic mice.
RESULTS: A set of genes with arthritis-specific expression was identified by the PCR arrays. Aurora kinases A and B, both of which were highly expressed in arthritic mice and treatment-naive RA patients, were selected for detailed analysis. Elevated aurora kinase expression was accompanied by increased phosphorylation of histone H3, which promotes proliferation of T lymphocytes. Treatment with VX-680, a pan-aurora kinase inhibitor, promoted B cell apoptosis, provided significant protection against disease onset, and attenuated inflammatory reactions in arthritic mice.
CONCLUSION: Arthritis development is accompanied by changes in expression of a number of epigenome-modifying enzymes. Drug-induced down-regulation of the aurora kinases, among other targets, seems to be sufficient to treat experimental arthritis. Development of new therapeutics that target aurora kinases can potentially improve RA management.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective
To identify epigenetic factors that are implicated in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and to explore the therapeutic potential of the targeted inhibition of these factors. Methods
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) arrays were used to investigate the expression profile of genes that encode key epigenetic regulator enzymes. Mononuclear cells from RA patients and mice were monitored for gene expression changes, in association with arthritis development in murine models of RA. Selected genes were further characterized by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR, Western blot, and flow cytometry methods. The targeted inhibition of the up-regulated enzymes was studied in arthritic mice. ResultsA set of genes with arthritis-specific expression was identified by the PCR arrays. Aurora kinases A and B, both of which were highly expressed in arthritic mice and treatment-naive RA patients, were selected for detailed analysis. Elevated aurora kinase expression was accompanied by increased phosphorylation of histone H3, which promotes proliferation of T lymphocytes. Treatment with VX-680, a pan-aurora kinase inhibitor, promoted B cell apoptosis, provided significant protection against disease onset, and attenuated inflammatory reactions in arthritic mice. Conclusion
Arthritis development is accompanied by changes in expression of a number of epigenome-modifying enzymes. Drug-induced down-regulation of the aurora kinases, among other targets, seems to be sufficient to treat experimental arthritis. Development of new therapeutics that target aurora kinases can potentially improve RA management.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The P70-84 peptide (also called 5/4E8 epitope) of the human cartilage proteoglycan (PG) aggrecan is the dominant/arthritogenic epitope in both humans and arthritis-prone BALB/c mice (PG-induced arthritis, PGIA). An elevated T cell reactivity was demonstrated to a citrullinated version of the P70-84 epitope in most of the patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The goal of this study was to understand better how a T cell epitope, if citrullinated, may affect antigenicity/arthritogenicity in PGIA, a murine model of RA. T cell reactivity to differentially citrullinated versions of either the human PG aggrecan P70-84 peptide or the corresponding mouse sequence was assessed in peptide or aggrecan-immunized and arthritic BALB/c mice as well as in T cell receptor transgenic mice specific for peptide P70-84 sequence. Peripheral T cell responses were induced by priming BALB/c mice with either the human wild-type or its citrullinated versions. Unexpectedly, priming with the citrullinated self-peptide induced a higher T cell response compared to the wild-type sequence (p<0.001), and the citrullination of the human peptide abolished T cell reactivity in PGIA.Our data suggest that T cells reactive to the citrullinated P70-84 peptide escaped thymic selection and are presentin the peripheral T cell repertoire. Results of this study provide evidence that citrullination of an immunodominant T cell epitope may substantially alter, either increase or abolish, T cell recognition at the periphery in an experimental model of arthritis.
No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Immunology letters
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics deal with possible associations of a single genetic polymorphism or those of multiple gene profiles with responses to drugs. In rheumatology, genes and gene signatures may be associated with altered efficacy and/or safety of anti-inflammatory drugs, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologics. In brief, genes of cytochrome P450, other enzymes involved in drug metabolism, transporters and some cytokines have been associated with responses to and toxicity of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids and DMARDs. The efficacy of biologics may be related to alterations in cytokine, chemokine and FcγR genes. Numerous studies reported multiple genetic signatures in association with responses to biologics; however, data are inconclusive. More, focused studies carried out in larger patient cohorts, using pre-selected genes, may be needed in order to determine the future of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics as tools for personalized medicine in rheumatology.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Immunologic Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The "Bermuda triangle" of genetics, environment and autoimmunity is involved in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Various aspects of genetic contribution to the etiology, pathogenesis and outcome of RA are discussed in this review. The heritability of RA has been estimated to be about 60 %, while the contribution of HLA to heritability has been estimated to be 11-37 %. Apart from known shared epitope (SE) alleles, such as HLA-DRB1*01 and DRB1*04, other HLA alleles, such as HLA-DRB1*13 and DRB1*15 have been linked to RA susceptibility. A novel SE classification divides SE alleles into S1, S2, S3P and S3D groups, where primarily S2 and S3P groups have been associated with predisposition to seropositive RA. The most relevant non-HLA gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with RA include PTPN22, IL23R, TRAF1, CTLA4, IRF5, STAT4, CCR6, PADI4. Large genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified more than 30 loci involved in RA pathogenesis. HLA and some non-HLA genes may differentiate between anti-citrullinated protein antibody (ACPA) seropositive and seronegative RA. Genetic susceptibility has also been associated with environmental factors, primarily smoking. Some GWAS studies carried out in rodent models of arthritis have confirmed the role of human genes. For example, in the collagen-induced (CIA) and proteoglycan-induced arthritis (PgIA) models, two important loci - Pgia26/Cia5 and Pgia2/Cia2/Cia3, corresponding the human PTPN22/CD2 and TRAF1/C5 loci, respectively - have been identified. Finally, pharmacogenomics identified SNPs or multiple genetic signatures that may be associated with responses to traditional disease-modifying drugs and biologics.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a polygenic autoimmune disease primarily affecting the synovial joints. Numerous animal models show similarities to RA in humans; some of them not only mimic the clinical phenotypes but also demonstrate the involvement of homologous genomic regions in RA. This paper compares corresponding non-MHC genomic regions identified in rodent and human genome-wide association studies (GWAS). To date, over 30 non-MHC RA-associated loci have been identified in humans, and over 100 arthritis-associated loci have been identified in rodent models of RA. The genomic regions associated with the disease are designated by the name(s) of the gene having the most frequent and consistent RA-associated SNPs or a function suggesting their involvement in inflammatory or autoimmune processes. Animal studies on rats and mice preferentially have used single sequence length polymorphism (SSLP) markers to identify disease-associated qualitative and quantitative trait loci (QTLs) in the genome of F2 hybrids of arthritis-susceptible and arthritis-resistant rodent strains. Mouse GWAS appear to be far ahead of rat studies, and significantly more mouse QTLs correspond to human RA risk alleles.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Clinical and Developmental Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The covalent transfer of heavy chains (HCs) from inter-α-inhibitor (IαI) to hyaluronan (HA) via the protein product of tumor-necrosis-factor-stimulated-gene-6 (TSG-6) forms the HC-HA complex, a pathological form of HA that promotes the adhesion of leukocytes to HA matrices. The transfer of HCs to high molecular weight (HMW) HA is a reversible event whereby TSG-6 can shuffle HCs from one HA molecule to another. Therefore, HMW HA can serve as both a HC acceptor and donor. In the present study, we show that transfer of HCs to low molecular weight (LMW) HA oligosaccharides is an irreversible event where subsequent shuffling does not occur, i.e. HA oligosaccharides from 8 to 21 monosaccharide units in length, can serve as HC acceptors, but are unable to function as HC donors. We show that the HC-HA complex is present in the synovial fluid of mice subjected to systemic and mono-articular mouse models of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Furthermore, we demonstrate that HA oligosaccharides can be used, with TSG-6, to irreversibly shuffle HCs from pathological, HMW HC-HA to HA oligosaccharides, thereby restoring HC-HA matrices from the inflamed joint to their normal state, unmodified with HCs. This process was also effective for HC-HA in the synovial fluid of human RA patients (in vitro).
No preview · Article · Nov 2012 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tendinopathy is a widespread and disabling condition characterized by collagen fiber disruption and accumulation of a glycosaminoglycan-rich chondroid matrix. Recent clinical reports have illustrated the potential of mechanical loading (exercise) therapies to successfully treat chronic tendinopathies. We have developed a new murine tendinopathy model which requires a single injection of TGF-β1 into the Achilles tendon midsubstance followed by normal cage activity for 2 weeks. At this time, tendon maximum stress showed a dramatic (66%) reduction relative to that of normal controls and this persisted at four weeks. Loss of material properties was accompanied by abundant chondroid cells within the tendon (closely resembling the changes observed in human samples obtained intra-operatively) and increased expression of Acan, Col1a1, Col2a1, Col3a1, Fn1 and Mmp3. Mice subjected to two weeks of daily treadmill exercise following TGF-β1 injection showed a similar reduction in tendon material properties as the caged group. However, in mice subjected to 4 weeks of treadmill exercise, tendon maximum stress values were similar to those of naive controls. Tendons from the mice exercised for 4 weeks showed essentially no chondroid cells and the expression of Acan, Col1a1, Col2a1, Col3a1, and Mmp3 was significantly reduced relative to the 4-week cage group. This technically simple murine tendinopathy model is highly amenable to detailed mechanistic and translational studies of the biomechanical and cell biological pathways, that could be targeted to enhance healing of tendinopathy.
No preview · Article · Nov 2012 · Journal of Biomechanics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hyaluronan (HA) deposition is often correlated with mucosal inflammatory responses where HA mediates both protective as well as pathological responses. By modifying the HA matrix, tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced protein-6 (Tnfip6; also known as tumor necrosis factor-stimulated gene-6 (TSG-6)), is thought to potentiate anti-inflammatory and anti-plasmin effects that are inhibitory to leukocyte extravasation. Our study examines the role of endogenous TSG-6 in the pathophysiological responses associated with acute allergic pulmonary inflammation. When compared to wild-type littermate controls, TSG-6-/- mice exhibited attenuated inflammation marked by a significant decrease of pulmonary HA concentrations measured in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and lung tissue. Interestingly, despite the equivalent induction of both humoral and cellular T helper type 2 (Th2) immunity, and the comparable levels of cytokines and chemokines typically associated with eosinophilic pulmonary inflammation, airway eosinophilia was significantly decreased in TSG-6-/- mice. Most importantly, contrary to their counterpart wild type littermates, TSG-6-/- mice were resistant to the induction of airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and manifested improved lung mechanics in response to methacholine challenge. Our study demonstrates that endogenous TSG-6 is dispensable for the induction of Th2 immunity, but is essential for the robust increase of pulmonary HA deposition, propagation of acute eosinophilic pulmonary inflammation, and the development of AHR. Thus, TSG-6 is implicated in the experimental murine model of allergic pulmonary inflammation and is likely to contribute to the pathogenesis of asthma.
No preview · Article · Nov 2012 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine whether myeloid cells (such as granulocytes) present in the synovial fluid (SF) of arthritic joints have an impact on adaptive immunity. Specifically, we investigated the effects of SF cells harvested from the joints of mice with proteoglycan-induced arthritis (PGIA), on dendritic cell (DC) maturation and antigen-specific T cell proliferation.
We monitored DC maturation (MHCII and CD86 expression) by flow cytometry upon coculture of DCs with SF cells or spleen myeloid cells from mice with PGIA. The effects of these myeloid cells on T cell proliferation were studied using T cells purified from PG-specific T cell receptor (TCR)-transgenic (Tg) mice. Phenotype analysis of myeloid cells was performed by immunostaining, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, Western blotting, and biochemical assays.
Inflammatory SF cells significantly suppressed the maturation of DCs upon coculture. PG-TCR-Tg mouse T cells cultured with antigen-loaded DCs showed dramatic decreases in proliferation in the presence of SF cells. Spleen myeloid cells from arthritic mice did not have suppressive effects. SF cells were unable to suppress CD3/CD28-stimulated proliferation of the same T cells, suggesting a DC-dependent mechanism. SF cells exhibited all of the characteristics of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and exerted suppression primarily through the production of nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species by granulocyte-like cells.
SF in the joints of mice with PGIA contains a population of granulocytic MDSCs that potently suppress DC maturation and T cell proliferation. These MDSCs have the potential to limit the expansion of autoreactive T cells, thus breaking the vicious cycle of autoimmunity and inflammation.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Arthritis & Rheumatology