Publications by authors named "Monique M Helsen"

33 Publications

Fibroblast Activation Protein Targeted Photodynamic Therapy Selectively Kills Activated Skin Fibroblasts from Systemic Sclerosis Patients and Prevents Tissue Contraction.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Nov 24;22(23). Epub 2021 Nov 24.

Department of Experimental Rheumatology, Radboud University Medical Centre, Daphne Dorst, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a rare, severe, auto-immune disease characterized by inflammation, vasculopathy and fibrosis. Activated (myo)fibroblasts are crucial drivers of this fibrosis. By exploiting their expression of fibroblast activation protein (FAP) to perform targeted photodynamic therapy (tPDT), we can locoregionally deplete these pathogenic cells. In this study, we explored the use of FAP-tPDT in primary skin fibroblasts from SSc patients, both in 2D and 3D cultures. The FAP targeting antibody 28H1 was conjugated with the photosensitizer IRDye700DX. Primary skin fibroblasts were obtained from lesional skin biopsies of SSc patients via spontaneous outgrowth and subsequently cultured on plastic or collagen type I. For 2D FAP-tPDT, cells were incubated in buffer with or without the antibody-photosensitizer construct, washed after 4 h and exposed to λ = 689 nm light. Cell viability was measured using CellTiter Glo. For 3D FAP-tPDT, cells were seeded in collagen plugs and underwent the same treatment procedure. Contraction of the plugs was followed over time to determine myofibroblast activity. FAP-tPDT resulted in antibody-dose dependent cytotoxicity in primary skin fibroblasts upon light exposure. Cells not exposed to light or incubated with an irrelevant antibody-photosensitizer construct did not show this response. FAP-tPDT fully prevented contraction of collagen plugs seeded with primary SSc fibroblasts. Even incubation with a very low dose of antibody (0.4 nM) inhibited contraction in 2 out of 3 donors. Here we have shown, for the first time, the potential of FAP-tPDT for the treatment of fibrosis in SSc skin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms222312681DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8657852PMC
November 2021

Photodynamic Therapy Targeting Macrophages Using IRDye700DX-Liposomes Decreases Experimental Arthritis Development.

Pharmaceutics 2021 Nov 5;13(11). Epub 2021 Nov 5.

Department of Medical Imaging, Radboudumc, Radboud University, 6525 XZ Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Macrophages play a crucial role in the initiation and progression of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Liposomes can be used to deliver therapeutics to macrophages by exploiting their phagocytic ability. However, since macrophages serve as the immune system's first responders, it is inadvisable to systemically deplete these cells. By loading the liposomes with the photosensitizer IRDye700DX, we have developed and tested a novel way to perform photodynamic therapy (PDT) on macrophages in inflamed joints. PEGylated liposomes were created using the film method and post-inserted with micelles containing IRDye700DX. For radiolabeling, a chelator was also incorporated. RAW 264.7 cells were incubated with liposomes with or without IRDye700DX and exposed to 689 nm light. Viability was determined using CellTiterGlo. Subsequently, biodistribution and PDT studies were performed on mice with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). PDT using IRDye700DX-loaded liposomes efficiently induced cell death in vitro, whilst no cell death was observed using the control liposomes. Biodistribution of the two compounds in CIA mice was comparable with excellent correlation of the uptake with macroscopic and microscopic arthritis scores. Treatment with 700DX-loaded liposomes significantly delayed arthritis development. Here we have shown the proof-of-principle of performing PDT in arthritic joints using IRDye700DX-loaded liposomes, allowing locoregional treatment of arthritis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13111868DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8621465PMC
November 2021

2 Deficiency Reduces Cartilage Damage and Ectopic Bone Formation in an Experimental Model for Osteoarthritis.

Antioxidants (Basel) 2021 Oct 22;10(11). Epub 2021 Oct 22.

Experimental Rheumatology, Department of Rheumatology, Radboud University Medical Center, 6525GA Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a destructive disease of the joint with age and obesity being its most important risk factors. Around 50% of OA patients suffer from inflammation of the synovial joint capsule, which is characterized by increased abundance and activation of synovial macrophages that produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) via NADPH-oxidase 2 (NOX2). Both ROS and high blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) are implicated in OA pathophysiology, which may interact to form oxidized LDL (oxLDL) and thereby promote disease. Therefore, targeting NOX2 could be a viable treatment strategy for OA. Collagenase-induced OA (CiOA) was used to compare pathology between wild-type (WT) and Nox2 knockout () C57Bl/6 mice. Mice were either fed a standard diet or Western diet (WD) to study a possible interaction between NOX2-derived ROS and LDL. Synovial inflammation, cartilage damage and ectopic bone size were assessed on histology. Extracellular ROS production by macrophages was measured in vitro using the Amplex Red assay. macrophages produced basal levels of ROS but were unable to increase ROS production in response to the alarmin S100A8 or the phorbol ester PMA. Interestingly, deficiency reduced cartilage damage, synovial lining thickness and ectopic bone size, whereas these disease parameters were not affected by WD-feeding. These results suggest that NOX2-derived ROS are involved in CiOA development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/antiox10111660DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8614813PMC
October 2021

Targeting of fibroblast activation protein in rheumatoid arthritis patients: imaging and ex vivo photodynamic therapy.

Rheumatology (Oxford) 2021 Aug 27. Epub 2021 Aug 27.

Department of Experimental Rheumatology, Radboudumc, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Objective: Activated synovial fibroblasts are key effector cells in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Selectively depleting these based upon their expression of fibroblast activation protein (FAP) is an attractive therapeutic approach. Here we introduce FAP imaging of inflamed joints using [68Ga]Ga-FAPI-04 in an RA patient, and aim to assess feasibility of anti-FAP targeted photodynamic therapy (FAP-tPDT) ex vivo using 28H1-IRDye700DX on RA synovial explants.

Methods: Remnant synovial tissue from RA patients was processed into 6 mm biopsies and, from several patients, into primary fibroblast cell cultures. Both were treated using FAP-tPDT. Cell viability was measured in fibroblast cultures and biopsies were evaluated for histological markers of cell damage. Selectivity of the effect of FAP-tPDT was assessed using flowcytometry on primary fibroblasts and co-cultured macrophages. Additionally, one RA patient intravenously received [68Ga]Ga-FAPI-04 and was scanned using PET/CT imaging.

Results: In the RA patient,FAPI-04 PET imaging showed high accumulation of the tracer in arthritic joints with very low background signal. In vitro, FAP-tPDT induced cell death in primary RA synovial fibroblasts in a light dose dependent manner. An upregulation of cell damage markers was observed in the synovial biopsies after FAP-tPDT. No significant effects of FAP-tPDT were noted on macrophages after FAP-tPDT of neighbouring fibroblasts.

Conclusion: In this study the feasibility of selective FAP-tPDT in synovium of rheumatoid arthritis patients ex vivo is demonstrated. Furthermore, this study provides the first indication that FAP-targeted PET/CT can be used to image arthritic joints, an important step towards application of FAP-tPDT as a targeted locoregional therapy for RA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/keab664DOI Listing
August 2021

Systemic overexpression of interleukin-22 induces the negative immune-regulator SOCS3 and potently reduces experimental arthritis in mice.

Rheumatology (Oxford) 2021 04;60(4):1974-1983

Department of Experimental Rheumatology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Objective: High levels of IL-22 are present in serum and synovial fluid of patients with RA. As both pro- and anti-inflammatory roles for IL-22 have been described in studies using animal models of RA, its exact function in arthritis remains poorly defined. With this study we aimed to further unravel the mechanism by which IL-22 exerts its effects and to decipher its therapeutic potential by overexpression of IL-22 either locally or systemically during experimental arthritis.

Methods: CIA was induced in DBA-1 mice by immunization and booster injection with type II collagen (col II). Before arthritis onset, IL-22 was overexpressed either locally by intra-articular injection or systemically by i.v. injection using an adenoviral vector and clinical arthritis was scored for a period of 10 days. Subsequently, joints were isolated for histological analysis of arthritis severity and mRNA and protein expression of various inflammatory mediators was determined in the synovium, spleen and serum.

Results: Local IL-22 overexpression did not alter arthritis pathology, whereas systemic overexpression of IL-22 potently reduced disease incidence, severity and pathology during CIA. Mice systemically overexpressing IL-22 showed strongly reduced serum cytokine levels of TNF-α and macrophage inflammatory protein 1α that correlated significantly with the enhanced expression of the negative immune regulator SOCS3 in the spleen.

Conclusion: With this study, we revealed clear anti-inflammatory effects of systemic IL-22 overexpression during CIA. Additionally, we are the first to show that the protective effect of systemic IL-22 during experimental arthritis is likely orchestrated via upregulation of the negative regulator SOCS3.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/keaa589DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8023992PMC
April 2021

Human recombinant interleukin-38 suppresses inflammation in mouse models of local and systemic disease.

Cytokine 2021 01 28;137:155334. Epub 2020 Oct 28.

Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO, USA; Department of Internal Medicine, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Interleukin (IL)-38 belongs to the IL-1 family and is part of the IL-36 subfamily due to its binding to the IL-36 Receptor (IL-1R6). In the current study, we assessed the anti-inflammatory properties of IL-38 in murine models of arthritis and systemic inflammation. First, the anti-inflammatory properties of mouse and human IL-38 precursors were compared to forms with a truncated N-terminus. In mouse bone marrow derived dendritic cells (BMDC), human and mouse IL-38 precursors with a truncation of the two N-terminal amino acids (3-152) suppressed LPS-induced IL-6. Recombinant human IL-38 (3-152) was further investigated for its immunomodulatory potential using four murine models of inflammatory disease: streptococcal cell wall (SCW)-induced arthritis, monosodium urate (MSU) crystal-induced arthritis, MSU crystal-induced peritonitis, and systemic endotoxemia. In each of these models IL-38 significantly reduced inflammation. In SCW and MSU crystal-induced arthritis, joint swelling, inflammatory cell influx, and synovial levels of IL-1β, IL-6, and KC were reduced by 50% or greater. These suppressive properties of IL-38 in SCW-induced arthritis were independent of the anti-inflammatory co-receptor IL-1R8, as IL-38 reduced arthritis equally in IL-1R8 deficient and WT mice. In MSU crystal-induced peritonitis, IL-38 reduced hypothermia, while plasma IL-6 and KC and peritoneal KC levels were reduced by 65-70%. In the LPS endotoxemia model, IL-38 pretreatment reduced systemic IL-6, TNFα and KC. Furthermore, in ex vivo cultured bone marrow, LPS-induced IL-6, TNFα and KC were reduced by 75-90%. Overall, IL-38 exhibits broad anti-inflammatory properties in models of systemic and local inflammation and therefore may be an effective cytokine therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cyto.2020.155334DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7725974PMC
January 2021

Targeted photodynamic therapy selectively kills activated fibroblasts in experimental arthritis.

Rheumatology (Oxford) 2020 12;59(12):3952-3960

Clinical and Experimental Endocrinology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Objective: In RA, synovial fibroblasts become activated. These cells express fibroblast activation protein (FAP) and contribute to the pathogenesis by producing cytokines, chemokines and proteases. Selective depletion in inflamed joints could therefore constitute a viable treatment option. To this end, we developed and tested a new therapeutic strategy based on the selective destruction of FAP-positive cells by targeted photodynamic therapy (tPDT) using the anti-FAP antibody 28H1 coupled to the photosensitizer IRDye700DX.

Methods: After conjugation of IRDye700DX to 28H1, the immunoreactive binding and specificity of the conjugate were determined. Subsequently, tPDT efficiency was established in vitro using a 3T3 cell line stably transfected with FAP. The biodistribution of [111In]In-DTPA-28H1 with and without IRDye700DX was assessed in healthy C57BL/6N mice and in C57BL/6N mice with antigen-induced arthritis. The potential of FAP-tPDT to induce targeted damage was determined ex vivo by treating knee joints from C57BL/6N mice with antigen-induced arthritis 24 h after injection of the conjugate. Finally, the effect of FAP-tPDT on arthritis development was determined in mice with collagen-induced arthritis.

Results: 28H1-700DX was able to efficiently induce FAP-specific cell death in vitro. Accumulation of the anti-FAP antibody in arthritic knee joints was not affected by conjugation with the photosensitizer. Arthritis development was moderately delayed in mice with collagen-induced arthritis after FAP-tPDT.

Conclusion: Here we demonstrate the feasibility of tPDT to selectively target and kill FAP-positive fibroblasts in vitro and modulate arthritis in vivo using a mouse model of RA. This approach may have therapeutic potential in (refractory) arthritis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/keaa295DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7733717PMC
December 2020

Systemic Resolvin E1 (RvE1) Treatment Does Not Ameliorate the Severity of Collagen-Induced Arthritis (CIA) in Mice: A Randomized, Prospective, and Controlled Proof of Concept Study.

Mediators Inflamm 2019 31;2019:5689465. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Department of Rheumatology, Radboud University Medical Center, 6500 HB Nijmegen, Netherlands.

Specialized proresolving mediators (SPRM), which arise from n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3FA), promote resolution of inflammation and may help to prevent progression of an acute inflammatory response into chronic inflammation in patients with arthritis. Thus, this study is aimed at determining whether systemic RvE1 treatment reduces arthritis onset and severity in murine collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) and spontaneous cytokine production by human rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial explants. 10-week-old DBA1/J male mice were subjected to CIA and treated systemically with 0.1 g RvE1, 1 g RvE1, 5 mg/kg anti-TNF (positive control group), PBS (negative control group), or with a combination of 1 g of RvE1 plus 5 mg/kg anti-TNF using prophylactic or therapeutic strategies. After CIA immunization, mice were treated twice a week by RvE1 or anti-TNF for 10 days. Arthritis development was assessed by visual scoring of paw swelling and histology of ankle joints. Moreover, human RA synovial explants were incubated with 1 nM, 10 nM, or 100 nM of RvE1, and cytokine levels (IL-1, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, INF-, and TNF-) were measured using Luminex bead array. CIA triggered significant inflammation in the synovial cavity, proteoglycan loss, and cartilage and bone destruction in the ankle joints of mice. Prophylactic and therapeutic RvE1 regimens did not ameliorate CIA incidence and severity. Anti-TNF treatment significantly abrogated signs of joint inflammation, bone erosion, and proteoglycan depletion, but additional RvE1 treatment did not further reduce the anti-TNF-mediated suppression of the disease. Treatment with different concentrations of RvE1 did not decrease the expression of proinflammatory cytokines in human RA synovial explants in the studied conditions. Collectively, our findings demonstrated that RvE1 treatment was not an effective approach to treat CIA in DBA1/J mice in both prophylactic and therapeutic strategies. Furthermore, no effects were noticed when human synovial explants were incubated with different concentrations of RvE1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2019/5689465DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6875002PMC
May 2020

β-Glucan-Induced Trained Immunity Protects against Leishmania braziliensis Infection: a Crucial Role for IL-32.

Cell Rep 2019 Sep;28(10):2659-2672.e6

Radboud Institute for Molecular Sciences (RILMS), Department of Internal Medicine and Radboud Center of Infectious Diseases (RCI), Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands; Instituto de Patologia Tropical e Saúde Pública, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil. Electronic address:

American tegumentary leishmaniasis is a vector-borne parasitic disease caused by Leishmania protozoans. Innate immune cells undergo long-term functional reprogramming in response to infection or Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination via a process called trained immunity, conferring non-specific protection from secondary infections. Here, we demonstrate that monocytes trained with the fungal cell wall component β-glucan confer enhanced protection against infections caused by Leishmania braziliensis through the enhanced production of proinflammatory cytokines. Mechanistically, this augmented immunological response is dependent on increased expression of interleukin 32 (IL-32). Studies performed using a humanized IL-32 transgenic mouse highlight the clinical implications of these findings in vivo. This study represents a definitive characterization of the role of IL-32γ in the trained phenotype induced by β-glucan or BCG, the results of which improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms governing trained immunity and Leishmania infection control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2019.08.004DOI Listing
September 2019

Supplementation of diet with non-digestible oligosaccharides alters the intestinal microbiota, but not arthritis development, in IL-1 receptor antagonist deficient mice.

PLoS One 2019 8;14(7):e0219366. Epub 2019 Jul 8.

Experimental Rheumatology, Radboudumc, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

The intestinal microbiome is perturbed in patients with new-onset and chronic autoimmune inflammatory arthritis. Recent studies in mouse models suggest that development and progression of autoimmune arthritis is highly affected by the intestinal microbiome. This makes modulation of the intestinal microbiota an interesting novel approach to suppress inflammatory arthritis. Prebiotics, defined as non-digestible carbohydrates that selectively stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial microorganisms, provide a relatively non-invasive approach to modulate the intestinal microbiota. The aim of this study was to assess the therapeutic potential of dietary supplementation with a prebiotic mixture of 90% short-chain galacto-oligosaccharides and 10% long-chain fructo-oligosaccharides (scGOS/lcFOS) in experimental arthritis in mice. We here show that dietary supplementation with scGOS/lcFOS has a pronounced effect on the composition of the fecal microbiota. Interestingly, the genera Enterococcus and Clostridium were markedly decreased by scGOS/lcFOS dietary supplementation. In contrast, the family Lachnospiraceae and the genus Lactobacillus, both associated with healthy microbiota, increased in mice receiving scGOS/lcFOS diet. However, the scGOS/lcFOS induced alterations of the intestinal microbiota did not induce significant effects on the intestinal and systemic T helper cell subsets and were not sufficient to reproducibly suppress arthritis in mice. As expected, we did observe a significant increase in the bone mineral density in mice upon dietary supplementation with scGOS/lcFOS for 8 weeks. Altogether, this study suggests that dietary scGOS/lcFOS supplementation is able to promote presumably healthy gut microbiota and improve bone mineral density, but not inflammation, in arthritis-prone mice.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0219366PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6613703PMC
July 2020

IL-1β-Mediated Activation of Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Results in PMN Reallocation and Enhanced Phagocytosis: A Possible Mechanism for the Reduction of Osteoarthritis Pathology.

Front Immunol 2019 27;10:1075. Epub 2019 May 27.

Experimental Rheumatology, Department of Rheumatology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, Netherlands.

Injection of adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (ASCs) into murine knee joints after induction of inflammatory collagenase-induced osteoarthritis (CiOA) reduces development of joint pathology. This protection is only achieved when ASCs are applied in early CiOA, which is characterized by synovitis and high S100A8/A9 and IL-1β levels, suggesting that inflammation is a prerequisite for the protective effect of ASCs. Our objective was to gain more insight into the interplay between synovitis and ASC-mediated amelioration of CiOA pathology. CiOA was induced by intra-articular collagenase injection. Knee joint sections were stained with hematoxylin/eosin and immunolocalization of polymorphonuclear cells (PMNs) and ASCs was performed using antibodies for NIMP-R14 and CD271, respectively. Chemokine expression induced by IL-1β or S100A8/A9 was assessed with qPCR and Luminex. ASC-PMN co-cultures were analyzed microscopically and with Luminex for inflammatory mediators. Migration of PMNs through transwell membranes toward conditioned medium of non-stimulated ASCs (ASC-CM) or IL-1β-stimulated ASCs (ASC-CM) was examined using flow cytometry. Phagocytic capacity of PMNs was measured with labeled zymosan particles. Intra-articular saline injection on day 7 of CiOA increased synovitis after 6 h, characterized by PMNs scattered throughout the joint cavity and the synovium. ASC injection resulted in comparable numbers of PMNs which clustered around ASCs in close interaction with the synovial lining. IL-1β-stimulation of ASCs strongly increased expression of PMN-attracting chemokines CXCL5, CXCL7, and KC, whereas S100A8/A9-stimulation did not. In agreement, the number of clustered PMNs per ASC was significantly increased after 6 h of co-culturing with IL-1β-stimulated ASCs. Also migration of PMNs toward ASC-CM was significantly enhanced (287%) when compared to ASC-CM. Interestingly, association of PMNs with ASCs significantly diminished KC protein release by ASCs (69% lower after 24 h), accompanied by reduced release of S100A8/A9 protein by the PMNs. Moreover, phagocytic capacity of PMNs was strongly enhanced after priming with ASC-CM. Local application of ASCs in inflamed CiOA knee joints results in clustering of attracted PMNs with ASCs in the synovium, which is likely mediated by IL-1β-induced up-regulation of chemokine release by ASCs. This results in enhanced phagocytic capacity of PMNs, enabling the clearance of debris to attenuate synovitis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2019.01075DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6545928PMC
August 2020

Imaging fibroblast activation protein to monitor therapeutic effects of neutralizing interleukin-22 in collagen-induced arthritis.

Rheumatology (Oxford) 2018 04;57(4):737-747

Department of Experimental Rheumatology, Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Objectives: RA is a chronic autoimmune disease leading to progressive destruction of cartilage and bone. RA patients show elevated IL-22 levels and the amount of IL-22-producing Th cells positively correlates with the extent of erosive disease, suggesting a role for this cytokine in RA pathogenesis. The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility of SPECT/CT imaging with 111In-labelled anti-fibroblast activation protein antibody (28H1) to monitor the therapeutic effect of neutralizing IL-22 in experimental arthritis.

Methods: Mice (six mice/group) with CIA received anti-IL-22 or isotype control antibodies. To monitor therapeutic effects after treatment, SPECT/CT images were acquired 24 h after injection of 111In-28H1. Imaging results were compared with macroscopic, histologic and radiographic arthritis scores.

Results: Neutralizing IL-22 before CIA onset effectively prevented arthritis development, reaching a disease incidence of only 50%, vs 100% in the control group. SPECT imaging showed significantly lower joint tracer uptake in mice treated early with anti-IL-22 antibodies compared with the control-treated group. Reduction of disease activity in those mice was confirmed by macroscopic, histological and radiographic pathology scores. However, when treatment was initiated in a later phase of CIA, progression of joint pathology could not be prevented.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that IL-22 plays an important role in CIA development, and neutralizing this cytokine seems an attractive new strategy in RA treatment. Most importantly, SPECT/CT imaging with 111In-28H1 can be used to specifically monitor therapy responses, and is potentially more sensitive in disease monitoring than the gold standard method of macroscopic arthritis scoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/kex456DOI Listing
April 2018

Alteration of the intestinal microbiome characterizes preclinical inflammatory arthritis in mice and its modulation attenuates established arthritis.

Sci Rep 2017 Nov 15;7(1):15613. Epub 2017 Nov 15.

Department of Rheumatology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Perturbations of the intestinal microbiome have been observed in patients with new-onset and chronic autoimmune inflammatory arthritis. However, it is currently unknown whether these alterations precede the development of arthritis or are rather a consequence of disease. Modulation of intestinal microbiota by oral antibiotics or germ-free condition can prevent arthritis in mice. Yet, the therapeutic potential of modulation of the microbiota after the onset of arthritis is not well characterized. We here show that the intestinal microbial community undergoes marked changes in the preclinical phase of collagen induced arthritis (CIA). The abundance of the phylum Bacteroidetes, specifically families S24-7 and Bacteroidaceae was reduced, whereas Firmicutes and Proteobacteria, such as Ruminococcaceae, Lachnospiraceae and Desulfovibrinocaceae, were expanded during the immune-priming phase of arthritis. In addition, we found that the abundance of lamina propria Th17, but not Th1, cells is highly correlated with the severity of arthritis. Elimination of the intestinal microbiota during established arthritis specifically reduced intestinal Th17 cells and attenuated arthritis. These effects were associated with reduced serum amyloid A expression in ileum and synovial tissue. Our observations suggest that intestinal microbiota perturbations precede arthritis, and that modulation of the intestinal microbiota after the onset of arthritis may offer therapeutic opportunities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-15802-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5688157PMC
November 2017

Higher efficacy of anti-IL-6/IL-21 combination therapy compared to monotherapy in the induction phase of Th17-driven experimental arthritis.

PLoS One 2017 3;12(2):e0171757. Epub 2017 Feb 3.

Department of Experimental Rheumatology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Th17 cells and their cytokines are linked to the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by joint inflammation. Th17 development is initiated by combined signaling of TGF-β and IL-6 or IL-21, and can be reduced in the absence of either IL-6 or IL-21. The aim of this study was to assess whether combinatorial IL-6/IL-21 blockade would more potently inhibit Th17 development, and be more efficacious in treating arthritis than targeting either cytokine. We assessed in vitro Th17 differentiation efficacy in the absence of IL-6 and/or IL-21. To investigate in vivo effects of IL-6/IL-21 blockade on Th17 and arthritis development, antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) was induced in IL-6-/- x IL-21R-/- mice. The therapeutic potential of this combined blocking strategy was assessed by treating mice with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) with anti-IL-6R antibodies and soluble (s)IL-21R.Fc. We demonstrated that combined IL-6/IL-21 blocking synergistically reduced in vitro Th17 differentiation. In mice with AIA, absence of IL-6 and IL-21 signaling more strongly reduced Th17 levels and resulted in stronger suppression of arthritis than the absence of either cytokine. Additionally, anti-IL-6/anti-IL-21 treatment of CIA mice during the arthritis induction phase reduced disease development more potent than IL-6 or IL-21 inhibition alone, as effective as anti-TNF treatment. Collectively, these results suggest dual IL-6/IL-21 inhibition may be a more efficacious therapeutic strategy compared to single cytokine blockade to suppress arthritis development.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0171757PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5291406PMC
August 2017

Liposomal Treatment of Experimental Arthritis Can Be Monitored Noninvasively with a Radiolabeled Anti-Fibroblast Activation Protein Antibody.

J Nucl Med 2017 Jan 4;58(1):151-155. Epub 2016 Aug 4.

Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disorder resulting in synovial inflammation. Fibroblast activation protein (FAP) is overexpressed by fibroblastlike synoviocytes in arthritic joints. Radioimmunoimaging with an anti-FAP antibody might be used to monitor the response to therapy, thus enabling tailored therapy strategies and therapeutic outcomes. The aim of this study was to assess whether a radiolabeled anti-FAP antibody could be used to monitor the efficacy of treatment with long-circulating liposomes (LCL) containing prednisolone phosphate (PLP-LCL) in a mouse model of arthritis.

Methods: Collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) was induced in male DBA/1J mice. Mice were treated with a single injection (10 mg/kg) of PLP-LCL or empty LCL as a control. SPECT and CT images were acquired 24 h after injection of Tc-labeled succinimidyl-hydrazinonicotinamide (Tc-S-HYNIC)-conjugated anti-FAP antibody 28H1 at 2, 5, and 9 d after treatment. The uptake of Tc-S-HYNIC-28H1 in all joints was quantified and correlated with macroscopic arthritis scores.

Results: Treatment of CIA with PLP-LCL significantly suppressed joint swelling. At just 1 d after treatment, the macroscopic arthritis scores had decreased by 50%. Scores decreased further, to only 10% of the initial scores, at 5 and 9 d after treatment. In contrast, macroscopic arthritis scores had increased up to 600% in untreated mice at 9 d after the injection of empty LCL. Tc-S-HYNIC-28H1 uptake ranged from 1.5 percentage injected dose per gram in noninflamed joints to 22.6 percentage injected dose per gram in severely inflamed joints. The uptake of radiolabeled 28H1 in inflamed joints (percentage injected dose) correlated with the arthritis score (Spearman ρ, 0.77; P < 0.0001). Moreover, the uptake of Tc-S-HYNIC-28H1 was slightly increased at 9 d after therapy but was not seen macroscopically, indicating that SPECT/CT imaging might be more sensitive than the macroscopic arthritis scoring method.

Conclusion: SPECT/CT imaging with Tc-S-HYNIC-28H1 specifically monitored the response to therapy, and tracer accumulation correlated with the severity of inflammation. In addition, SPECT/CT imaging was potentially more sensitive than the macroscopic arthritis scoring method. This study showed that SPECT/CT with Tc-S-HYNIC-28H1 could be used to noninvasively monitor the course of CIA in mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2967/jnumed.116.177931DOI Listing
January 2017

Immuno-PET and Immuno-SPECT of Rheumatoid Arthritis with Radiolabeled Anti-Fibroblast Activation Protein Antibody Correlates with Severity of Arthritis.

J Nucl Med 2015 May 9;56(5):778-83. Epub 2015 Apr 9.

Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Unlabelled: One of the most prominent cell populations playing a role in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is activated fibroblast-like synoviocytes. Among many other proteins, fibroblast-like synoviocytes dominantly express fibroblast activation protein (FAP). Because of the high expression of FAP in arthritic joints, radioimmunoimaging of activated fibroblasts with anti-FAP antibodies might be an attractive noninvasive imaging tool in RA.

Methods: SPECT and PET with (111)In- and (89)Zr-labeled anti-FAP antibody 28H1 was performed in mice with CIA. The radioactivity uptake in joints was quantified and correlated with arthritis score.

Results: Both (111)In-28H1 and (89)Zr-28H1 showed high uptake in inflamed joints, being 3-fold higher than that of the irrelevant isotype-matched control antibody DP47GS, clearly indicating specific accumulation of 28H1. Uptake of (111)In-28H1 ranged from 2.2 percentage injected dose per gram (%ID/g) in noninflamed joints to 32.1 %ID/g in severely inflamed joints. DP47GS accumulation ranged from 1.6 %ID/g in noninflamed tissue to 12.0 %ID/g in severely inflamed joints. Uptake of 28H1 in inflamed joints correlated with arthritis score (Spearman ρ, 0.69; P < 0.0001) and increased with severity of arthritis.

Conclusion: SPECT/CT imaging with the anti-FAP antibody (111)In-28H1 specifically visualized arthritic joints with high resolution, and tracer accumulation correlated with the severity of the inflammation in murine experimental arthritis. Background uptake of the radiolabeled antibody was low, resulting in excellent image quality. (89)Zr-28H1 was less favorable for RA imaging because of an elevated bone uptake of (89)Zr. Future studies will focus on the potential role of 28H1 as a tool to monitor therapy response early on.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2967/jnumed.114.152959DOI Listing
May 2015

Periodontal pathogens directly promote autoimmune experimental arthritis by inducing a TLR2- and IL-1-driven Th17 response.

J Immunol 2014 May 28;192(9):4103-11. Epub 2014 Mar 28.

Department of Rheumatology, Rheumatology Research and Advanced Therapeutics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands;

Increasing epidemiologic evidence supports a link between periodontitis and rheumatoid arthritis. The actual involvement of periodontitis in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis and the underlying mechanisms remain, however, poorly understood. We investigated the influence of concomitant periodontitis on clinical and histopathologic characteristics of T cell-mediated experimental arthritis and evaluated modulation of type II collagen (CII)-reactive Th cell phenotype as a potential mechanism. Repeated oral inoculations of periodontal pathogens Porphyromonas gingivalis and Prevotella nigrescens induced periodontitis in mice, as evidenced by alveolar bone resorption. Interestingly, concurrent periodontitis induced by both bacteria significantly aggravated the severity of collagen-induced arthritis. Exacerbation of arthritis was characterized by increased arthritic bone erosion, whereas cartilage damage remained unaffected. Both P. gingivalis and P. nigrescens skewed the CII-specific T cell response in lymph nodes draining arthritic joints toward the Th17 phenotype without affecting Th1. Importantly, the levels of IL-17 induced by periodontal pathogens in CII-specific T cells directly correlated with the intensity of arthritic bone erosion, suggesting relevance in pathology. Furthermore, IL-17 production was significantly correlated with periodontal disease-induced IL-6 in lymph node cell cultures. The effects of the two bacteria diverged in that P. nigrescens, in contrast to P. gingivalis, suppressed the joint-protective type 2 cytokines, including IL-4. Further in vitro studies showed that the Th17 induction strongly depended on TLR2 expression on APCs and was highly promoted by IL-1. Our data provide evidence of the involvement of periodontitis in the pathogenesis of T cell-driven arthritis through induction of Ag-specific Th17 response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1301970DOI Listing
May 2014

Cholesterol accumulation caused by low density lipoprotein receptor deficiency or a cholesterol-rich diet results in ectopic bone formation during experimental osteoarthritis.

Arthritis Res Ther 2013 Nov 4;15(6):R178. Epub 2013 Nov 4.

Introduction: Osteoarthritis (OA) is associated with the metabolic syndrome, however the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We investigated whether low density lipoprotein (LDL) accumulation leads to increased LDL uptake by synovial macrophages and affects synovial activation, cartilage destruction and enthesophyte/osteophyte formation during experimental OA in mice.

Methods: LDL receptor deficient (LDLr-/-) mice and wild type (WT) controls received a cholesterol-rich or control diet for 120 days. Experimental OA was induced by intra-articular injection of collagenase twelve weeks after start of the diet. OA knee joints and synovial wash-outs were analyzed for OA-related changes. Murine bone marrow derived macrophages were stimulated with oxidized LDL (oxLDL), whereupon growth factor presence and gene expression were analyzed.

Results: A cholesterol-rich diet increased apolipoprotein B (ApoB) accumulation in synovial macrophages. Although increased LDL levels did not enhance thickening of the synovial lining, S100A8 expression within macrophages was increased in WT mice after receiving a cholesterol-rich diet, reflecting an elevated activation status. Both a cholesterol-rich diet and LDLr deficiency had no effect on cartilage damage; in contrast, ectopic bone formation was increased within joint ligaments (fold increase 6.7 and 6.1, respectively). Moreover, increased osteophyte size was found at the margins of the tibial plateau (4.4 fold increase after a cholesterol-rich diet and 5.3 fold increase in LDLr-/- mice). Synovial wash-outs of LDLr-/- mice and supernatants of macrophages stimulated with oxLDL led to increased transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) signaling compared to controls.

Conclusions: LDL accumulation within synovial lining cells leads to increased activation of synovium and osteophyte formation in experimental OA. OxLDL uptake by macrophages activates growth factors of the TGF-superfamily.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/ar4367DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3978425PMC
November 2013

Toll-like receptor 2 controls acute immune complex-driven arthritis in mice by regulating the inhibitory Fcγ receptor IIB.

Arthritis Rheum 2013 Oct;65(10):2583-93

Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Objective: Previous studies have demonstrated a protective role of Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR-2) and a proinflammatory function of TLR-4 during chronic T cell-driven arthritis. The involvement of TLRs in T cell-independent arthritic processes, however, remains unclear. This study was undertaken to determine the functional significance of TLR-2 and TLR-4 in T cell-independent immune complex-driven arthritis.

Methods: Serum-transfer arthritis was induced in wild-type and TLR-deficient mice by intraperitoneal injections of arthritogenic K/BxN mouse serum. Arthritis was assessed macroscopically and by histologic analysis. The influence of TLR-2 on macrophage cytokine profile, Fcγ receptor (FcγR) expression, and response to immune complexes was determined.

Results: While TLR-4, unexpectedly, did not play any significant role, TLR-2 deficiency accelerated the onset and markedly increased the severity of acute immune complex-driven arthritis in mice. TLR-2 deficiency resulted in a substantial increase in joint inflammation, bone erosion, and cartilage pathology, indicating a protective function of TLR-2 in passive FcγR-driven disease. Ex vivo study of the macrophage inflammatory phenotype revealed increased production of tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) despite similar levels of IL-10, along with a significant increase in FcγR-specific response, in TLR-2-/- mouse macrophages early in the disease. Although distinct FcγR messenger RNA expression was not affected, cell surface protein expression of the inhibitory FcγRIIB in TLR-2-/- naive primary macrophages was specifically diminished, resulting in a higher proinflammatory response. Accordingly, TLR-2 stimulation specifically up-regulated FcγRIIB, but not the activating FcγR, on macrophages.

Conclusion: TLR-2 regulates acute immune complex-driven arthritis by controlling macrophage FcγR response. Our findings indicate that the protective role of TLR-2 is extended beyond its previously described role in promoting Treg cells during T cell-mediated arthritis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.38087DOI Listing
October 2013

Role of NOD1 polymorphism in susceptibility and clinical progression of rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatology (Oxford) 2013 May 25;52(5):806-14. Epub 2013 Jan 25.

Department of Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Internal postal code 463, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Objective: One of the disease hallmarks of RA is progressive cartilage and bone destruction in the joints. The exact mechanism underlying this disease process is largely unknown. Nod1, an intracellular pattern recognition receptor expressed by the innate immune system, has been previously shown to display anti-inflammatory effects in experimental arthritis. Furthermore, an insertion/deletion polymorphism in NOD1 has been demonstrated to modulate cytokine responses of immune cells. In this study, the effect of the insertion/deletion polymorphism in NOD1 on RA susceptibility and severity was assessed.

Methods: Ex vivo stimulation of primary immune cells and osteoclasts with microbial triggers was performed to measure cytokine responses and osteoclast-specific gene expression in relation to the NOD1 genotype. In total, 1047 RA patients from two centres were genotyped for the NOD1 polymorphism and compared with 431 healthy controls. Clinical scores of joint inflammation and destruction were correlated with the NOD1 genotype.

Results: Functional analysis revealed increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in cells from individuals bearing the NOD1 +32656 insertion allele. Furthermore, osteoclast bone resorption activity was elevated, as reflected by increased expression of the lysosomal protease cathepsin K. However, the insertion allele of the NOD1 +32656 polymorphism was not associated with either susceptibility to, or clinical parameters of, inflammation or bone destruction in RA patients.

Conclusion: These findings demonstrate that the NOD1 polymorphism modulates pro-inflammatory cytokine responses induced through Toll-like receptor or Nod-like receptor ligands. Nevertheless, these effects of genetic variation in NOD1 appear to be redundant in RA susceptibility and severity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/kes404DOI Listing
May 2013

Destructive role of myeloid differentiation factor 88 and protective role of TRIF in interleukin-17-dependent arthritis in mice.

Arthritis Rheum 2012 Jun 6;64(6):1838-47. Epub 2011 Dec 6.

Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Objective: Increasing evidence indicates the involvement of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) in the progression of arthritis; however, the contribution of the two signaling pathways used by TLRs, which are mediated by myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88) and TRIF, remains unclear. The objective of this study was to investigate the specific roles of MyD88 and TRIF in chronic experimental arthritis and the accompanying adaptive immune responses.

Methods: Chronic arthritis was induced in wild-type, MyD88(-/-) , and Trif(lps2) (TRIF(-/-) ) mice by repetitive intraarticular injections of streptococcal cell wall (SCW) fragments. SCW-specific T cell and B cell responses, joint swelling, and histopathologic changes were analyzed during chronic arthritis.

Results: Both MyD88 and TRIF pathways contributed to antigen-specific T cell proliferation and antibody production, with the MyD88 pathway playing the dominant role. The severity of joint swelling and synovial inflammation, as well as the histopathologic damage to cartilage and bone, was strongly dependent on MyD88 signaling, whereas TRIF was redundant. MyD88 signaling was critical for the development of pathogenic T cell response (i.e., interleukin-17 [IL-17] production) in response to SCW antigen. Interestingly, when the T cell-dependent phase was prolonged, TRIF signaling appeared to down-regulate bone erosion, an effect accompanied by an inhibitory effect on IL-17 production.

Conclusion: This study reveals a central role of MyD88 and a counterregulatory function of TRIF in T cell-driven arthritis. The findings provide a rationale for a pathway-specific interference in order to block the pathogenic features and to preserve or stimulate the beneficial aspects of TLR signaling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.34328DOI Listing
June 2012

Inflammatory arthritis in caspase 1 gene-deficient mice: contribution of proteinase 3 to caspase 1-independent production of bioactive interleukin-1beta.

Arthritis Rheum 2009 Dec;60(12):3651-62

Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Objective: Caspase 1, a known cysteine protease, is a critical component of the inflammasome. Both caspase 1 and neutrophil serine proteases such as proteinase 3 (PR3) can process pro-interleukin-1beta (proIL-1beta), a crucial cytokine linked to the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. This study was undertaken to establish the relative importance of caspase 1 and serine proteases in mouse models of acute and chronic inflammatory arthritis.

Methods: Acute and chronic arthritis were induced in caspase 1-/- mice, and the lack of caspase 1 was investigated for its effects on joint swelling, cartilage metabolism, and histopathologic features. In addition, caspase 1 activity was inhibited in mice lacking active cysteine proteases, and the effects of dual blockade of caspase 1 and serine proteases on arthritis severity and histopathologic features were evaluated.

Results: Surprisingly, caspase 1-/- mice, in a model of acute (neutrophil-dominated) arthritis, developed joint swelling to an extent similar to that in wild-type control mice. Joint fluid concentrations of bioactive IL-1beta were comparable in caspase 1-/- mice and controls. In contrast, induction of chronic arthritis (characterized by minimal numbers of neutrophils) in caspase 1-/- mice led to reduced joint inflammation and less cartilage damage, implying a caspase 1-dependent role in this process. In mice lacking neutrophil serine PR3, inhibition of caspase 1 activity resulted in decreased bioactive IL-1beta concentrations in the synovial tissue and less suppression of chondrocyte anabolic function. In addition, dual blockade of both PR3 and caspase 1 led to protection against cartilage and bone destruction.

Conclusion: Caspase 1 deficiency does not affect neutrophil-dominated joint inflammation, whereas in chronic arthritis, the lack of caspase 1 results in reduced joint inflammation and cartilage destruction. These findings suggest that inhibitors of caspase 1 are not able to interfere with the whole spectrum of IL-1beta production, and therefore such inhibitors may be of therapeutic value only in inflammatory conditions in which limited numbers of neutrophils are present.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.25006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2993325PMC
December 2009

Shift from toll-like receptor 2 (TLR-2) toward TLR-4 dependency in the erosive stage of chronic streptococcal cell wall arthritis coincident with TLR-4-mediated interleukin-17 production.

Arthritis Rheum 2008 Dec;58(12):3753-64

Rheumatology Research and Advanced Therapeutics, Department of Rheumatology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Objective: Toll-like receptors (TLRs) may activate innate and adaptive immune responses in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) through recognition of microbial as well as endogenous ligands that have repeatedly been found in arthritic joints. The objective of this study was to investigate the involvement of TLR-2 and TLR-4 in the development of chronic destructive streptococcal cell wall (SCW)-induced arthritis, in which interleukin-1 (IL-1)/IL-17-dependent T cell-driven pathologic changes replace the macrophage-driven acute phase.

Methods: Chronic SCW arthritis was induced by 4 repeated intraarticular injections of SCW fragments in wild-type, TLR-2(-/-), and TLR-4(-/-) mice. Clinical, histopathologic, and immunologic parameters of arthritis were evaluated.

Results: The TLR-2 dependency of joint swelling during the acute phase was shifted to TLR-4 dependency during the chronic phase. Persistent joint inflammation in the latter phase of the model was significantly suppressed in TLR-4(-/-) mice. In the chronic phase, TLR-4 actively contributed to matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-mediated cartilage destruction and to osteoclast formation, since the expression of the MMP-specific aggrecan neoepitope VDIPEN and the osteoclast marker cathepsin K was significantly reduced in TLR-4(-/-) mice. Furthermore, TLR-4(-/-) mice expressed less IL-1beta, tumor necrosis factor alpha, IL-6, and IL-23, cytokines that are implicated in IL-17 production. Accordingly, SCW-specific IL-17 production was found to be dependent on TLR-4 activation, since T cells from arthritic TLR-4(-/-) mice produced markedly less IL-17 upon SCW stimulation, whereas interferon-gamma production remained unaffected.

Conclusion: These data indicate the involvement of TLR-4 in the chronicity and erosive character of arthritis coincident with the antigen-specific IL-17 response. The high position of TLR-4 in the hierarchy of erosive arthritis provides an interesting therapeutic target for RA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.24127DOI Listing
December 2008

Anticytokine treatment of established type II collagen-induced arthritis in DBA/1 mice: a comparative study using anti-TNFalpha, anti-IL-1alpha/beta and IL-1Ra.

Arthritis Rheum 2008 Feb;58(2 Suppl):S110-22

University Hospital Nijimegen, Nijimegen, The Netherlands.

Objective: To examine the role of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha), interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1 alpha), and IL-1 beta in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), immediately after onset and during the phase of established arthritis.

Methods: Male DBA/1 mice with collagen-induced arthritis were treated with antibodies against murine TNF alpha and IL-1 alpha/beta at different time points of the disease. IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) was administered using Alzet osmotic minipumps. The effect of anticytokine treatment was monitored by visual scoring. Histology and cytokine reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analyses were performed at the end of the treatment period.

Results: Anti-TNF alpha treatment showed efficacy shortly after onset of the disease, but had little effect on fully established CIA. Histologic analysis after early treatment revealed that anti-TNF alpha significantly reduced joint pathology, as determined by infiltration of inflammatory cells and cartilage damage. Anti-IL-1 alpha/beta treatment ameliorated both early and full-blown CIA. This clear suppression of established arthritis was confirmed by administration of high doses of IL-1Ra. Dose-response experiments showed that a continuous supply of 1 mg/day was needed for optimal suppression. Histologic analysis showed markedly reduced cartilage destruction both in the knee and the ankle joints. Autoradiography demonstrated full recovery of chondrocyte synthetic function of articular cartilage. In addition, we found that the IL-1 beta isoform plays a dominant role in established CIA. Profound suppression of CIA was observed with anti-IL-1 beta, although elimination of both IL-1 alpha and IL-1 beta still gave better protection. Analysis of messenger RNA with RT-PCR revealed that IL-1 beta was highly upregulated in synovium and cartilage at late stages of CIA, whereas anti-IL-1 beta treatment markedly reduced IL-1 beta message in the synovium.

Conclusion: The present study identified different TNF alpha/IL-1 dependencies in various stages of CIA and revealed that blocking of TNF alpha does not necessarily eliminate IL-1. Continuous, high doses of IL-1Ra are needed to block CIA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.23363DOI Listing
February 2008

T cell dependence of chronic destructive murine arthritis induced by repeated local activation of Toll-like receptor-driven pathways: crucial role of both interleukin-1beta and interleukin-17.

Arthritis Rheum 2008 Jan;58(1):98-108

Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Objective: The pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis is often linked to bacterial infections. The present study was undertaken to develop a mouse model of chronic destructive arthritis induced by repeated intraarticular (IA) exposure to bacterial cell wall fragments and to investigate the cytokine dependence of this model.

Methods: Mice that were deficient in various cytokines were injected IA with cell wall fragments of Streptococcus pyogenes on days 0, 7, 14, and 21. The development of chronic destructive arthritis was compared between groups of mice lacking different cytokines, to assess which cytokines were crucial for development of chronic destructive arthritis.

Results: Repeated exposure of a joint to S pyogenes cell wall fragments resulted in the development of chronic destructive arthritis. In mice deficient in recombination-activating gene 2, streptococcal cell wall (SCW)-directed T cell reactivity was found and chronic arthritis did not develop, implicating T cells in the generation of chronic SCW-induced arthritis. Interleukin-17 (IL-17) receptor-deficient mice showed a reduction of joint destruction in the chronic stage, implicating a detrimental role of the recently discovered IL-17-producing T helper cells (Th17 cells). IL-23 expression was apparent during the late stages of arthritis. Joint swelling was no longer dependent on tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) after the last flare, and pronounced cartilage damage was found after 28 days in TNFalpha-deficient mice. In contrast, IL-1beta-deficient mice were fully protected against joint swelling and cartilage and bone destruction during the late stages of disease.

Conclusion: These findings indicate that the TNFalpha dependence of arthritis is lost during the erosive stage, when Th17 cells become crucial. IL-1beta dependence remains strong, consistent with its pivotal role in the generation of Th17 cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.23152DOI Listing
January 2008

Interleukin-17 acts independently of TNF-alpha under arthritic conditions.

J Immunol 2006 May;176(10):6262-9

Experimental Rheumatology and Advanced Therapeutics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

The proinflammatory T cell cytokine IL-17 is a potent inducer of other cytokines such as IL-1 and TNF-alpha. The contribution of TNF in IL-17-induced joint inflammation is unclear. In this work we demonstrate using TNF-alpha-deficient mice that TNF-alpha is required in IL-17-induced joint pathology under naive conditions in vivo. However, overexpression of IL-17 aggravated K/BxN serum transfer arthritis to a similar degree in TNF-alpha-deficient mice and their wild-type counterparts, indicating that the TNF dependency of IL-17-induced pathology is lost under arthritic conditions. Also, during the course of the streptococcal cell wall-induced arthritis model, IL-17 was able to enhance inflammation and cartilage damage in the absence of TNF. Additional blocking of IL-1 during IL-17-enhanced streptococcal cell wall-induced arthritis did not reduce joint pathology in TNF-deficient mice, indicating that IL-1 is not responsible for this loss of TNF dependency. These data provide further understanding of the cytokine interplay during inflammation and demonstrate that, despite a strong TNF dependency under naive conditions, IL-17 acts independently of TNF under arthritic conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.176.10.6262DOI Listing
May 2006

Blocking of interleukin-17 during reactivation of experimental arthritis prevents joint inflammation and bone erosion by decreasing RANKL and interleukin-1.

Am J Pathol 2005 Jul;167(1):141-9

Department of Rheumatology, Experimental Rheumatology and Advanced Therapeutics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, 189, Geert Grooteplein Zuid 26-28, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by an intermittent course of disease with alternate periods of remission and relapse. T cells, and in particular the T-cell cytokine interleukin-17 (IL-17), are expected to be involved in arthritic flares. Here, we report that neutralizing endogenous IL-17 during reactivation of antigen-induced arthritis prevents joint inflammation and bone erosion. Synovial IL-17 mRNA expression was clearly up-regulated during primary arthritis and was further enhanced after antigen rechallenge. Neutralization of IL-17 significantly prevented joint swelling at day 1 of flare and significantly suppressed joint inflammation and cartilage proteoglycan depletion at day 4, as assessed by histology. Blocking IL-17 also clearly reduced bone erosions. Cathepsin K, a marker of osteoclast-like activity, and synovial RANKL mRNA expression were both suppressed. The degree of bone erosions strongly correlated with the severity of joint inflammation, suggesting that anti-IL-17 treatment reduced bone erosion by suppressing joint inflammation. Interestingly, blocking IL-17 suppressed synovial expression of both IL-1beta and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, whereas blocking IL-1 did not affect tumor necrosis factor-alpha levels. These data indicate that IL-17 is an important upstream mediator in joint pathology during flare-up of experimental arthritis.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1603454PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0002-9440(10)62961-6DOI Listing
July 2005

Induction of cartilage damage by overexpression of T cell interleukin-17A in experimental arthritis in mice deficient in interleukin-1.

Arthritis Rheum 2005 Mar;52(3):975-83

University Medical Center St. Radboud, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Objective: To examine the capacity of T cell interleukin-17A (IL-17A; referred to hereinafter as IL-17) to induce cartilage damage during experimental arthritis in the absence of IL-1.

Methods: Local IL-17 gene transfer was performed in the knee joint of IL-1-deficient mice and wild-type controls during streptococcal cell wall (SCW)-induced arthritis. Knee joints were isolated at various time points for histologic analysis of cartilage proteoglycan (PG) depletion. Expression of messenger RNA for inducible nitric oxide synthase, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) 3, 9, and 13, and ADAMTS-4 was determined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis. VDIPEN staining was analyzed to study MMP-mediated cartilage damage. In addition, systemic anti-IL-1alpha/beta antibody treatment was performed in mice immunized with type II collagen and injected locally with an adenoviral vector expressing IL-17 or with control adenovirus. Knee joints were isolated and analyzed for cartilage PG depletion, chondrocyte death, and cartilage surface erosion.

Results: During SCW-induced arthritis, local T cell IL-17 gene transfer turned this acute, macrophage-driven joint inflammation into a severe, chronic arthritis accompanied by aggravated cartilage damage. Of high interest, the IL-1 dependency of cartilage PG depletion was fully abrogated when IL-17 was locally overexpressed in the joint. Moreover, local IL-17 gene transfer increased MMP expression without the need for IL-1, although IL-1 remained essential for part of the cartilage VDIPEN expression. Furthermore, when IL-17 was overexpressed in the knee joints of mice with collagen-induced arthritis, anti-IL-1 treatment did not reduce the degree of chondrocyte death or cartilage surface erosion.

Conclusion: These data show the capacity of IL-17 to replace the catabolic function of IL-1 in cartilage damage during experimental arthritis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.20885DOI Listing
March 2005

Interleukin-18 promotes joint inflammation and induces interleukin-1-driven cartilage destruction.

Am J Pathol 2004 Sep;165(3):959-67

Rheumatology Research Laboratory and Advanced Therapeutics, University Medical Center Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Interleukin (IL)-18 is a member of the IL-1 family of proteins that exerts proinflammatory effects and is a pivotal cytokine for the development of Th1 responses. The goal of the present study was to investigate whether IL-18 induces joint inflammation and joint destruction directly or via induction of other cytokines such as IL-1 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF). To this end we performed both in vitro and in vivo kinetic studies. For in vivo IL-18 exposure studies C57BL/6, TNF-deficient, and IL-1-deficient mice were injected intra-articularly with 1.10(7) pfu mIL-18 adenovirus followed by histopathological examination. Local overexpression of IL-18 resulted in pronounced joint inflammation and cartilage proteoglycan loss in control mice. Of high interest, IL-18 gene transfer in IL-1-deficient mice did not show cartilage damage, although joint inflammation was similar to that in wild-type animals. Overexpression of IL-18 in TNF-deficient mice showed that TNF was partly involved in IL-18-induced joint swelling and influx of inflammatory cells, but cartilage proteoglycan loss occurred independent of TNF. In vitro cartilage degradation by IL-18 was found after a 72-hour culture period. Blocking of IL-1 with IL-1Ra or an ICE-inhibitor resulted in complete protection against IL-18-mediated cartilage degradation. The present study demonstrated that IL-18 induces joint inflammation independently of IL-1. In addition, we showed that IL-1beta generation, because of IL-18 exposure, was essential for marked cartilage degradation both in vitro and in vivo. These findings implicate that IL-18, in contrast to TNF, contributes through separate pathways to joint inflammation and cartilage destruction.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1618596PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0002-9440(10)63357-3DOI Listing
September 2004
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