RMD Open 2017 28;3(2):e000456. Epub 2017 Jul 28.
Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, College of Medicine, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
Objectives: To seek evidence of the danger molecule, high-mobility group protein B1 (HMGB1) expression in human tendinopathy and thereafter, to explore mechanisms where HMGB1 may regulate inflammatory mediators and matrix regulation in human tendinopathy.
Methods: Torn supraspinatus tendon (established pathology) and matched intact subscapularis tendon (representing 'early pathology') biopsies were collected from patients undergoing arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Control samples of subscapularis tendon were collected from patients undergoing arthroscopic stabilisation surgery. Markers of inflammation and HMGB1 were quantified by reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry. Human tendon-derived primary cells were derived from hamstring tendon tissue obtained during hamstring tendon anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and used through passage 3. In vitro effects of recombinant HMGB1 on tenocyte matrix and inflammatory potential were measured using quantitative RT-PCR, ELISA and immunohistochemistry staining.
Results: Tendinopathic tissues demonstrated significantly increased levels of the danger molecule HMGB1 compared with control tissues with early tendinopathy tissue showing the greatest expression. The addition of recombinant human HMGB1 to tenocytes led to significant increase in expression of a number of inflammatory mediators, including interleukin 1 beta (IL-1β), IL-6, IL-33, CCL2 and CXCL12, in vitro. Further analysis demonstrated rhHMGB1 treatment resulted in increased expression of genes involved in matrix remodelling. Significant increases were observed in Col3, Tenascin-C and Decorin. Moreover, blocking HMGB1 signalling via toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) silencing reversed these key inflammatory and matrix changes.
Conclusion: HMGB1 is present in human tendinopathy and can regulate inflammatory cytokines and matrix changes. We propose HMGB1 as a mediator driving the inflammatory/matrix crosstalk and manipulation of the HMGB1/TLR4 axis may offer novel therapeutic approaches targeting inflammatory mechanisms in the management of human tendon disorders.