A specific anti-citrullinated protein antibody profile identifies a group of rheumatoid arthritis patients with a toll-like receptor 4-mediated disease.

Arthritis Res Ther 2016 10 6;18(1):224. Epub 2016 Oct 6.

, NovImmune SA, 14 chemin des Aulx, 1228, Plan les Ouates, Switzerland.

Background: Increased expression of toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and its endogenous ligands, is characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovitis. In this study, we evaluated how these TLR4 ligands may drive pathogenic processes and whether the fine profiling of anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA) based on their target specificity might provide a simple means to predict therapeutic benefit when neutralizing TLR4 in this disease.

Methods: The capacity of RA synovial fluids (RASF) to stimulate cytokine production in monocytes from patients with RA was analyzed by ELISA. The presence of TLR4 activators in RASF was determined by measuring the levels of ACPA, ACPA subtypes with reactivity to specific citrullinated peptides and other TLR4 ligands. Neutralization of TLR4 signaling was investigated using NI-0101, a therapeutic antibody that targets TLR4.

Results: RASF exhibited a heterogeneous capacity to induce production of proinflammatory cytokines by monocytes isolated from patients with RA. Such cytokine responses were significantly modified by TLR4 blockade achieved using NI-0101. The analysis of the content of RASF and matched sera demonstrated that ACPA fine specificities in patient samples predict cellular response to anti-TLR4 exposure in vitro.

Conclusion: TLR4 represents a possible therapeutic target in RA. Our study demonstrates that TLR4 inhibition in an ex vivo model of RA pathogenesis can significantly modulate cytokine release and does so in specific subgroups of RA patient-derived samples. It also suggests that ACPA fine profiling has the potential to identify RA patients with a predominantly TLR4-driven pathotype that could be used to predict preferential response to TLR4 antagonism.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13075-016-1128-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5053084PMC
October 2016
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