Evidence of antigen receptor-influenced oligoclonal B lymphocyte expansion in the synovium of a patient with longstanding rheumatoid arthritis.
ABSTRACT: Plasma cell infiltration of synovium is common in longstanding rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The mechanism(s) underlying synovial B cell proliferation remains unclear. One theory invokes nonspecific polyclonal stimuli; another implicates antigen as the driving force. Antigen-driven repertoires are characteristically enriched for related sets of V gene segments containing similar sequence in the antigen binding site (complementarity-determining regions; CDRs). To study the forces shaping B cell proliferation, we analyzed V kappa transcripts expressed in the synovium of an RA patient. We found Humkv325, a developmentally regulated V kappa III gene segment associated with autoantibody reactivity, in > 10% of randomly-chosen synovial C kappa cDNAs. Two sets of sequences contained identical charged amino acid residues at the V kappa-J kappa join, apparently due to N region addition. We generated "signature" oligonucleotides from these CDR3s and probed PCR amplified V kappa products from the synovium and PBLs of the same patient, and from PBLs and spleen of individuals without rheumatic disease. Significant expression of transcripts containing these unique CDR3 sequences occurred only in the patient's synovium. Thus, in this synovium there is expansion of a limited set of B cell clones expressing antigen receptors that bear evidence of antigen selection.
Project description:Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are involved in mediating cell activation on stimulation with microbial constituents. We investigated the role for TLRs in synovial fibroblast (SF) activation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We analyzed whether stimulation with interleukin-1 beta and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, cytokines present in RA synovium, influences expression of TLR genes in SFs. The effects were compared with those of treatment with lipopolysaccharide and a synthetic lipopeptide (sBLP). Gene expression was examined using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. TLR2-mediated cell activation was investigated by electromobility shift assay for nuclear factor-kappa B. To localize TLR2 expression in joint tissue sections of RA patients were stained using in situ hybridization. Expression of TLR2 in RA SFs was increased after treatment with interleukin-1 beta, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, lipopolysaccharide, and sBLP. Nuclear factor-kappa B translocation in SFs was triggered by TLR2-mediated cell stimulation. Synovial tissues from RA joints expressed TLR2 predominantly at sites of attachment and invasion into cartilage and bone. The observed elevated expression of TLR2 in RA SFs could be a consequence of direct exposure to microbial compounds or of the presence of inflammatory mediators in the joint. TLR-associated signaling pathways may contribute to the pathogenesis of RA, either by initiating or perpetuating activation of SFs.
Project description:Previous studies have revealed that hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection may be related to rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but there are no studies on the presence of HBV antigens or nucleic acid in synovium from patients with RA with HBV infection. In the present study, we investigated the presence of HBV in the synovium and its clinical significance in RA.Fifty-seven consecutive patients with active RA (Disease Activity Score 28-joint assessment based on C-reactive protein ??2.6) and available synovial tissue who had completed 1 year of follow-up were recruited from a prospective cohort. The patients were divided into chronic HBV infection (CHB, n?=?11) and non-CHB groups according to baseline HBV infection status. Clinical data were collected at baseline and at 1-, 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-up. Radiographic changes of hand/wrist at baseline and month 12 were assessed with the Sharp/van der Heijde-modified Sharp score (mTSS). HBV in synovium was determined by immunohistochemical staining for hepatitis B virus surface antigen and hepatitis B virus core antigen (HBcAg) and by nested PCR for the HBV S gene.HBcAg was found in the synovium of patients with RA with CHB (7 of 11, 64%), which was confirmed by PCR for the HBV S gene. Compared with the non-CHB group, more CD68-positive macrophages, CD20-positive B cells, and CD15-positive neutrophils infiltrated the synovium in the CHB group (all p?<? 0.05). There were smaller improvements from baseline in most disease activity indicators mainly at month 12, and a significantly higher percentage of CHB patients experienced 1-year radiographic progression (?mTSS ??0.5 unit/yr, 64% vs. 26%, p?=?0.024). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that CHB status (OR 14.230, 95% CI 2.213-95.388; p?=?0.006) and the density of synovial CD68-positive macrophages (OR 1.002, 95% CI 1.001-1.003; p?=?0.003) were independently associated with 1-year radiographic progression.The presence of HBV in RA synovium may be involved in the pathogenesis of local lesions and exacerbate disease progression in RA.
Project description:Immune checkpoint blockade with therapeutic anti-cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen (CTLA)-4 (Ipilimumab) and anti-programmed death (PD)-1 (Nivolumab and Pembrolizumab) antibodies alone or in combination has shown remarkable efficacy in multiple cancer types, concomitant with immune-related adverse events, including arthralgia and inflammatory arthritis (IA) in some patients. Herein, using Nivolumab (anti-PD-1 antagonist)-responsive genes along with transcriptomics of synovial tissue from multiple stages of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease progression, we have interrogated the activity status of PD-1 pathway during RA development. We demonstrate that the expression of PD-1 was increased in early and established RA synovial tissue compared to normal and OA synovium, whereas that of its ligands, programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) and PD-L2, was increased at all the stages of RA disease progression, namely arthralgia, IA/undifferentiated arthritis, early RA and established RA. Further, we show that RA patients expressed PD-1 on a majority of synovial tissue infiltrating CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Moreover, enrichment of Nivolumab gene signature was observed in IA and RA, indicating that the PD-1 pathway was downregulated during RA disease progression. Furthermore, serum soluble (s) PD-1 levels were increased in autoantibody positive early RA patients. Interestingly, most of the early RA synovium tissue sections showed negative PD-L1 staining by immunohistochemistry. Therefore, downregulation in PD-1 inhibitory signaling in RA could be attributed to increased serum sPD-1 and decreased synovial tissue PD-L1 levels. Taken together, these data suggest that agonistic PD1 antibody-based therapeutics may show efficacy in RA treatment and interception.
Project description:In patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), chemokine and chemokine receptor interactions play a central role in the recruitment of leukocytes into inflamed joints. This study was undertaken to characterize the expression of chemokine receptors in the synovial tissue of RA and non-RA patients. RA synovia (n = 8) were obtained from knee joint replacement operations and control non-RA synovia (n = 9) were obtained from arthroscopic knee biopsies sampled from patients with recent meniscal or articular cartilage damage or degeneration. The mRNA expression of chemokine receptors and their ligands was determined using gene microarrays and PCR. The protein expression of these genes was demonstrated by single-label and double-label immunohistochemistry. Microarray analysis showed the mRNA for CXCR5 to be more abundant in RA than non-RA synovial tissue, and of the chemokine receptors studied CXCR5 showed the greatest upregulation. PCR experiments confirmed the differential expression of CXCR5. By immunohistochemistry we were able to detect CXCR5 in all RA and non-RA samples. In the RA samples the presence of CXCR5 was observed on B cells and T cells in the infiltrates but also on macrophages and endothelial cells. In the non-RA samples the presence of CXCR5 was limited to macrophages and endothelial cells. CXCR5 expression in synovial fluid macrophages and peripheral blood monocytes from RA patients was confirmed by PCR. The present study shows that CXCR5 is upregulated in RA synovial tissue and is expressed in a variety of cell types. This receptor may be involved in the recruitment and positioning of B cells, T cells and monocytes/macrophages in the RA synovium. More importantly, the increased level of CXCR5, a homeostatic chemokine receptor, in the RA synovium suggests that non-inflammatory receptor-ligand pairs might play an important role in the pathogenesis of RA.
Project description:Follicular structures resembling germinal centres (GCs) that are characterized by follicular dendritic cell (FDC) networks have long been recognized in chronically inflamed tissues in autoimmune diseases, including the synovium of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, it is debated whether these ectopic structures promote autoimmunity and chronic inflammation driving the production of pathogenic autoantibodies. Anti-citrullinated protein/peptide antibodies (ACPA) are highly specific markers of RA, predict a poor prognosis, and have been suggested to be pathogenic. Therefore, the main study objectives were to determine whether ectopic lymphoid structures in RA synovium: (i) express activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), the enzyme required for somatic hypermutation and class-switch recombination (CSR) of Ig genes; (ii) support ongoing CSR and ACPA production; and (iii) remain functional in a RA/severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) chimera model devoid of new immune cell influx into the synovium.Using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and quantitative Taqman real-time PCR (QT-PCR) in synovial tissue from 55 patients with RA, we demonstrated that FDC+ structures invariably expressed AID with a distribution resembling secondary lymphoid organs. Further, AID+/CD21+ follicular structures were surrounded by ACPA+/CD138+ plasma cells, as demonstrated by immune reactivity to citrullinated fibrinogen. Moreover, we identified a novel subset of synovial AID+/CD20+ B cells outside GCs resembling interfollicular large B cells. In order to gain direct functional evidence that AID+ structures support CSR and in situ manufacturing of class-switched ACPA, 34 SCID mice were transplanted with RA synovium and humanely killed at 4 wk for harvesting of transplants and sera. Persistent expression of AID and Igamma-Cmu circular transcripts (identifying ongoing IgM-IgG class-switching) was observed in synovial grafts expressing FDCs/CD21L. Furthermore, synovial mRNA levels of AID were closely associated with circulating human IgG ACPA in mouse sera. Finally, the survival and proliferation of functional B cell niches was associated with persistent overexpression of genes regulating ectopic lymphoneogenesis.Our demonstration that FDC+ follicular units invariably express AID and are surrounded by ACPA-producing plasma cells provides strong evidence that ectopic lymphoid structures in the RA synovium are functional and support autoantibody production. This concept is further confirmed by evidence of sustained AID expression, B cell proliferation, ongoing CSR, and production of human IgG ACPA from GC+ synovial tissue transplanted into SCID mice, independently of new B cell influx from the systemic circulation. These data identify AID as a potential therapeutic target in RA and suggest that survival of functional synovial B cell niches may profoundly influence chronic inflammation, autoimmunity, and response to B cell-depleting therapies.
Project description:ADAMs (a disintegrin and metalloproteinases) comprise a new gene family of metalloproteinases, and may play roles in cell-cell interaction, cell migration, signal transduction, shedding of membrane-anchored proteins and degradation of extracellular matrix. We screened the mRNA expression of 10 different ADAMs with a putative metalloproteinase motif in synovial tissues from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or osteoarthritis (OA). Reverse transcription PCR and real-time quantitative PCR analyses indicated that among the ADAMs, ADAM15 mRNA was more frequently expressed in the RA samples and its expression level was significantly 3.8-fold higher in RA than in OA (p < 0.01). In situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting demonstrated that ADAM15 is expressed in active and precursor forms in the synovial lining cells, endothelial cells of blood vessels and macrophage-like cells in the sublining layer of RA synovium. There was a direct correlation between ADAM15 mRNA expression levels and vascular density in the synovial tissues (r = 0.907, p < 0.001; n = 20). ADAM15 was constitutively expressed in RA synovial fibroblasts and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), and the expression level was increased in HUVECs by treatment with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)165. On the other hand, ADAM15 expression in RA synovial fibroblasts was enhanced with VEGF165 only if vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-2 expression was induced by treatment with tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and the expression was blocked with SU1498, a specific inhibitor of VEGFR-2. These data demonstrate that ADAM15 is overexpressed in RA synovium and its expression is up-regulated by the action of VEGF165 through VEGFR-2, and suggest the possibility that ADAM15 is involved in angiogenesis in RA synovium.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>Synovial fibroblasts (SF) undergo phenotypic changes in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that contribute to inflammatory joint destruction. This study was undertaken to evaluate the clinical and functional significance of ectopic podoplanin (gp38) expression by RA SF.<h4>Methods</h4>Expression of gp38 and its CLEC2 receptor was analyzed by immunohistochemistry in synovial arthroscopic biopsies from RA patients and normal and osteoarthritic controls. Correlation between gp38 expression and RA clinicopathological variables was analyzed. In patients rebiopsied after anti-TNF-? therapy, changes in gp38 expression were determined. Platelet-SF coculture and gp38 silencing in SF were used to analyze the functional contribution of gp38 to SF migratory and invasive properties, and to SF platelet crosstalk.<h4>Results</h4>gp38 was abundantly but variably expressed in RA, and it was undetectable in normal synovial tissues. Among clinicopathologigal RA variables, significantly increased gp38 expression was only found in patients with lymphoid neogenesis (LN), and RF or ACPA autoantibodies. Cultured synovial but not dermal fibroblasts showed strong constitutive gp38 expression that was further induced by TNF-?. In RA patients, anti-TNF-? therapy significantly reduced synovial gp38 expression. In RA synovium, CLEC2 receptor expression was only observed in platelets. gp38 silencing in cultured SF did not modify their migratory and invasive properties but reduced the expression of IL-6 and IL-8 genes induced by SF-platelet interaction.<h4>Conclusions</h4>In RA, synovial expression of gp38 is strongly associated to LN and it is reduced after anti-TNF-? therapy. Interaction between gp38 and CLEC2 platelet receptor is feasible in RA synovium in vivo and can specifically contribute to gene expression by SF.
Project description:Synovial injury and healing are complex processes including catabolic effects by proinflammatory cytokines and anabolic processes by anti-inflammatory mediators. Here we examined the expression of pro- versus anti-inflammatory mediators in synovium of patients with diagnostic arthroscopy (control), joint trauma (JT), osteoarthritis (OA), and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Synovial samples from these patients were subjected to RT-PCR and double immunofluorescence confocal microscopy of pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators as well as immune cell markers. Interestingly, pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators were expressed predominantly in granulocytes in patients with JT and in macrophages, lymphocytes, and plasma cells in patients with OA and RA. Interestingly, parallel to the severity of inflammation, proinflammatory mediators IL-1?, TNF-?, and 5-LOX specific mRNA as well as immunoreactive (IR) cells were significantly more abundant in patients with RA and JT than in those with OA. However, anti-inflammatory mediators 15-LOX, FPR2, and IL-10 specific mRNA as well as IR cells were significantly more abundant in patients with OA than in those with JT and RA. These findings show that upregulation of proinflammatory mediators contributes to the predominantly catabolic inflammatory process in JT and RA synovium, whereas upregulation of anabolic anti-inflammatory mediators counteracts inflammation resulting in the inferior inflammatory process in OA synovium.
Project description:INTRODUCTION: Methotrexate (MTX) exerts at least part of its anti-inflammatory effects through adenosine receptors (ADOR). The aims of this study were to determine the expression of all four adenosine receptor genes (ADORA1, ADORA2A, ADORA2B, ADORA3 and ADORA3variant) in rheumatoid synovial tissue and any influence of MTX exposure on this expression. Furthermore, we investigated whether polymorphisms within ADORA3 were associated with response and/or adverse effects associated with MTX. METHODS: Adenosine receptor gene expression was undertaken using PCR in 20 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial samples. A separate cohort of 225 RA patients receiving MTX was genotyped for SNPs in the ADORA3 receptor gene. Double immunofluorescence was used to identify cells expressing ADOR protein. RESULTS: All ADOR genes were expressed in all synovial samples. ADORA3 and A3variant were the dominant subtypes expressed irrespective of MTX therapy. Expression of ADORA2A and ADORA2B was increased in patients receiving MTX compared to those not receiving MTX. There was no association between the ADORA3 rs1544224 SNP and high and low disease activity or MTX-associated adverse effects. ADORA2B protein expression was most obvious in vascular endothelial cells whereas ADORA3 protein was more abundant and expressed by synovial fibroblasts. CONCLUSIONS: We have shown that adenosine receptors are expressed in RA synovium. There is differential expression of receptors such that ADORA3 is expressed at significantly higher levels. This evidence demonstrates the potential for MTX to exert its anti-inflammatory effects at the primary site of pathology within the joints of patients with RA.
Project description:Receptor activator of nuclear factor ?B ligand (RANKL) is critically involved in bone erosion of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We previously reported association between younger age at onset of RA and a RANKL promoter SNP that conferred an elevated promoter activity via binding to a transcription factor SOX5. Here we study the regulation of SOX5 levels in relation to RANKL expression in RA synovial fibroblasts (SF) and the development of bone erosion in the collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) mouse. Our data indicated SOX5 levels were higher in synovium and synovial fluid from RA compared to osteoarthritis patients. Pro-inflammatory cytokines upregulated SOX5 and RANKL expression in both primary RA SF and the rheumatoid synovial fibroblast cell line, MH7A. Overexpression of SOX5 resulted in significantly increased RANKL levels, while knockdown of SOX5 resulted in diminished IL-6 mediated RANKL upregulation in MH7A cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) showed approximately 3-fold enrichment of RANKL-specific DNA in anti-SOX5 immunoprecipitate in IL-6 treated MH7A cells as compared to untreated cells. Locally silencing SOX5 gene significantly diminished RANKL positive cells and bone erosion in CIA mice. These findings suggest SOX5 is an important regulator of IL-6-induced RANKL expression in RA SF.