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Niu X.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | He D.,GuangHua Rheumatology Hospital | Deng S.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Li W.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | And 7 more authors.
Molecular Immunology | Year: 2011

Anakinra, a human recombinant IL-1 receptor antagonist, is approved for the treatment of RA. In this study, 12 patients received the placebo plus MTX treatment, 38 patients received Anakinra combined with MTX treatment. Compared with the placebo plus MTX group, serum levels of IL-17, IFN-γ, IL-21 and IL-1β significantly decreased, the percentages of Th17 cells and Th1 cells were lower and the percentage of Treg cells was higher after receiving Anakinra combined with MTX treatment. The observed regulatory immune responses collectively correlated with clinical improvement in treated patients. A substantial response, ACR 20 at 24. w were consistent with those at 12. w, 16. w and 20. w, and was accompanied by a marked improvement in RA related laboratory parameters. The study reveals that the combination of Anakinra and MTX is safe and well tolerated, which induces regulatory immune responses and significantly provides greater clinical benefit than the placebo plus MTX group. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Chen G.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Zhang X.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Li R.,CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences | Fang L.,CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences | And 5 more authors.
Arthritis and Rheumatism | Year: 2010

Objective. Osteopontin (OPN) that is aberrantly produced in rheumatoid synovium is thought to play an important role in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This study was undertaken to investigate the role of OPN in the differentiation and accumulation of Th17 cells in rheumatoid synovium. Methods. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells and purified CD4+ T cells derived from patients with RA or healthy controls were used to test the effect of OPN in vitro. Cytokine expression was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Intracellular staining and flow cytometry were used to detect the percentages of Th17 cells and OPN receptors. Signaling and molecular events were analyzed by immunoblotting and chromatin immunoprecipitation. Results. The levels of OPN correlated significantly with interleukin-17 (IL-17) production and the frequency of Th17 cells in the synovial fluid (SF) of RA patients. Endogenous OPN produced in RA SF was responsible for markedly increased production of IL-17 in T cells, which was blocked by OPN antibody. The effect of OPN in Th17 differentiation was mediated through a mechanism independent of the IL-6/STAT-3 pathway or other cytokines and specifically involved the OPN receptors CD44 and CD29 and the transcription factor retinoic acid-related orphan receptor (ROR). Furthermore, OPN was found to induce H3 acetylation of the IL17A gene promoter, mainly through the CD44 binding domain in CD4+ T cells, allowing the interaction of the IL17A gene locus with ROR. Conclusion. This study reveals new evidence of the critical role of OPN in Th17 differentiation in rheumatoid synovitis. © 2010, American College of Rheumatology.


Zhu S.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Pan W.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Song X.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Liu Y.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | And 11 more authors.
Nature Medicine | Year: 2012

Inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-17 (IL-17) promote inflammatory autoimmune diseases. Although several microRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to regulate autoimmune pathogenesis by affecting lymphocyte development and function, the role of miRNAs in resident cells present in inflammatory lesions remains unclear. Here we show that miR-23b is downregulated in inflammatory lesions of humans with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, as well as in the mouse models of lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis. IL-17 downregulates miR-23b expression in human fibroblast-like synoviocytes, mouse primary kidney cells and astrocytes and is essential for the downregulation of miR-23b during autoimmune pathogenesis. In turn, miR-23b suppresses IL-17-, tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α)-or IL-1β-induced NF-κB activation and inflammatory cytokine expression by targeting TGF-β-activated kinase 1/MAP3K7 binding protein 2 (TAB2), TAB3 and inhibitor of nuclear factor κ-B kinase subunit α (IKK-α) and, consequently, represses autoimmune inflammation. Thus, IL-17 contributes to autoimmune pathogenesis by suppressing miR-23b expression in radio-resident cells and promoting proinflammatory cytokine expression. © 2012 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.


Lin J.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Huo R.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Xiao L.,Guanghua Rheumatology Hospital | Zhu X.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | And 10 more authors.
Arthritis and Rheumatology | Year: 2014

Objective: We previously showed that Cyr61 acts to promote fibroblast-like synoviocyte (FLS) proliferation and Th17 cell differentiation, suggesting that Cyr61 plays an important role in mediating the joint inflammation and damage in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The aim of this study was to investigate whether Cyr61 expression is regulated at the posttranscription level, and if so, how this regulation connects to other etiologic factors in RA. Methods: Expression of microRNA-22 (miR-22) in synovial tissue was detected by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using miRNA-specific TaqMan MGB probes. MicroRNA-22 promoter activity was analyzed using a Dual-Luciferase Reporter Assay. Cytokine expression was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and the expression of other factors was measured by real-time PCR or Western blotting. Results: MicroRNA-22 directly targeted the 3'-untranslated region of Cyr61 messenger RNA and inhibited Cyr61 expression. Expression of miR-22 was down-regulated and was negatively correlated with Cyr61 expression in RA synovial tissue. Furthermore, wild-type p53 activated miR-22 transcription by binding to the promoter region of the miR-22 gene, while the mutant forms of p53 frequently found in RA synovial tissue were shown to have lost the ability to activate miR-22 expression. As a result, miR-22 was downregulated, contributing to the overexpression of Cyr61 in RA FLS. Conclusion: Our results not only reveal a novel mechanism whereby p53 is involved in the posttranscriptional regulation of Cyr61 expression via miRNA-22, but also provide a molecular explanation for the role of somatic mutations of p53, which are frequently observed in RA synovial tissue, in the etiology of this autoimmune disease. © 2014, American College of Rheumatology.


Nie H.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Zheng Y.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Li R.,CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences | Guo T.B.,CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences | And 11 more authors.
Nature Medicine | Year: 2013

Regulatory T (Treg) cells suppress autoimmune disease, and impaired Treg cell function is associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Here we demonstrate that forkhead box P3 (FOXP3) transcriptional activity and, consequently, Treg cell suppressive function areregulated by phosphorylation at Ser418 in the C-terminal DNA-binding domain. In rheumatoid arthritis-derived Treg cells, the Ser418 site was specifically dephosphorylated by protein phosphatase 1 (PP1), whose expression and enzymatic activity were induced in the inflamed synovium by tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), leading to impaired Treg cell function. Moreover, TNF-α-induced Treg cell dysfunction correlated with increased numbers of interleukin-17 (IL-17)+ and interferon-γ (IFN-γ)+ CD4+ T cells within the inflamed synovium in rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment with a TNF-α-specific antibody restored Treg cell function in subjects with rheumatoid arthritis, which was associated with decreased PP1 expression and increased FOXP3 phosphorylation in Treg cells. Thus, TNF-α controls the balance between T reg cells and pathogenic TH17 and TH1 cells in the synovium of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis through FOXP3 dephosphorylation. Copyright © 2013 Nature America, Inc.


Niu X.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | He D.,GuangHua Rheumatology Hospital | Zhang X.,CAS Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences | Yue T.,GuangHua Rheumatology Hospital | And 5 more authors.
Human Immunology | Year: 2010

IL-21 is a type I cytokine that like IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, IL-9, and IL-15 uses the common γ chain of cytokine receptor. IL-21 has been shown to regulate the function of T cells, B cells, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells in immune responses. Although activated CD4+ T cells produce IL-21, recent data suggest that novel subsets of effector T cells are the major producers in immune responses. In this study, we show that IL-21 expression correlates with the presence of Th17 cells in synovial fluid (SF) and peripheral blood in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Human CCR6+ CD4+ T cells produce high levels of both IL-21 and IL-17. Similar to mouse T cells, IL-21 auto-regulates its own production in human CD4+ T cells. IL-21 potently enhances Th17 proliferation and suppresses Foxp3 expression, leading to the expression of RORC. IL-21 is therefore an autocrine cytokine that regulates human Th17 cells in rheumatoid arthritis, and serves as a good target for treating this autoimmune disease. © 2010 American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics.


Niu X.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Deng S.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Li S.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Li S.,Fudan University | And 7 more authors.
Molecular Medicine | Year: 2016

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease that results in a chronic and inflammatory disorder. Dynamic balance of helper T cells (Th) 1 and 17 and regulatory T cells (Treg) is broken in RA. Since there is no cure for RA at present, it is necessary to find a truly effective and convenient treatment. Several studies have intended to induce ergotopic regulation to treat autoimmune diseases. This study was undertaken to find potential ergotope peptides and investigate their effects in treating the animal model of RA and their underlying regulatory mechanisms. First, we selected functional ergotope peptides from 25 overlapping peptides derived from the interleukin 2 receptor (IL-2R) α chain, and then used these peptides to treat collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). We showed ergotope peptides as immunomodulatory factors with great benefits at the clinical and pathologic levels. This effect was associated with inhibition of type II collagen (CII)-specific proliferation and autoantibody production as well as induction of antiergotypic immune response, downregulation of both Th1 and Th17 cells and their related components, and emergence of Treg cells that had suppressive action on autoreactive T cells. We also proved that cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) and IL-10 are two important mediators that are critical to Treg suppressive function. Inhibition of Th1 and Th17 in established CIA could be attributed to ergotope-induced Treg cells. Our findings reveal that ergotope peptides induce regulatory immune responses and restore immune tolerance, suggesting that treatment with ergotope peptides may be a novel approach to therapy for RA patients and has good application prospects, with cheap, effective, convenient, wide-spectrum features. © 2016 Uninversity of Michigan. All rights reserved.


Li C.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Li C.,Guanghua Rheumatology Hospital | Xi Y.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | Li S.,Shanghai JiaoTong University | And 6 more authors.
Molecular Immunology | Year: 2015

Th1 and Th17 cells, and their associated cytokines, have been associated with the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease. Berberine (BBR), a compound long used in traditional Chinese medicines, has been reported to have therapeutic effects in treating experimental colitis. In this study, we show that BBR had a protective effect on mice with TNBS-induced colitis. BBR inhibited levels of IFN-γ, IL-17, IL-6, IL-1β and TNF-α both in the local colon and sera, and transiently increased levels of IL-22. BBR also markedly increased sIgA expression in the colon. BBR had pronounced effects on macrophage populations. Treatment with BBR adjusted the M2/M1 ratio. In addition, BBR exerted effects on adaptive immunity by suppressing numbers of Th1 and Th17 cells, as well as expression levels of their associated cytokines and transcriptional factors. BBR downregulated STAT3 and STAT1 phosphorylation, and inhibited phosphorylation of NF-kB. In vitro experiments showed that BBR inhibited the differentiation of Th17 and, to a lesser degree, Th1 cells, without affecting regulatory T cells. Therefore, we conclude that BBR plays a regulatory role in modulating the balance of immune responses in TNBS-induced colitis. Our study will help us understand the regulatory mechanisms exerted by BBR in the treatment of IBD. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | Guanghua Rheumatology Hospital and Shanghai JiaoTong University
Type: | Journal: Molecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.) | Year: 2016

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease that results in a chronic and inflammatory disorder. Dynamic balance of helper T cells (Th)1, Th17 and regulatory T cells (Treg) is broken in RA. Since there is no cure for RA at present, its necessary to find a truly effective and convenient treatment. Several studies intended to induce ergotopic regulation to treat autoimmune diseases. This study was undertaken to find the potential ergotope peptides and investigate its effect in treating the animal model of RA and their underlying regulatory mechanisms. Firstly, we selected the functional ergotope peptides from 25 overlapping peptides derived from interlukin(IL)-2 receptor (IL-2R) chain, and then used these peptides to treat collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). The study showed ergotope peptides as immunomodulatory factors with great benefits at the clinical and pathologic levels. This effect was associated with the inhibition of type II collagen (CII)-specific proliferation and autoantibody production as well as the induction of anti-ergotypic immune response, the down-regulation of both Th1 and Th17 cells and their related components, and the emergence of Treg cells that had suppressive actions on autoreactive T cells. We also proved that cytotoxic T lymphocyte associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) and IL-10 are two important mediators which are critical to Treg suppressive function. The inhibition of Th1 and Th17 in established CIA could be attributed to ergotope induced Treg cells. Our findings reveal that ergotope peptides induce regulatory immune responses and restore immune tolerance, suggesting ergotope peptides treatment appears to be a novel approach to the therapy of RA patients and has a good application prospect with cheap, effective, convenient, wide-spectrum features.

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