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Spontaneous and cytokine regulated c-fos gene expression in rheumatoid synovial cells: resistance to cytokine stimulation when the c-fos gene is overexpressed

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To study the effect of cytokines on the transactivation of the c-fos gene in relation to the contribution of overexpression of c-fos/AP-1 in rheumatoid joint destruction.

METHODS The promoter region (−447 to +109) of the human c-fosgene was integrated upstream of the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) reporter gene, and the effect of cytokines on the expression of the c-fos gene was studied in the rheumatoid synovial cells of early (3–4) or late (14–18) passages, in the presence or absence of cytokines, by the transient transfection assay.

RESULTS Expression of c-fos gene was enhanced by tumour necrosis factor α (TNFα) and interleukin 6 (IL6) in the synovial cells of early passage, whereas it was not enhanced in the synovial cells of late passage. The c-fos gene expression was also enhanced by 13-O-tetradecanoyl phorbol-13-acetate (TPA) in early passage but was somewhat suppressed in the late passage. It was found that the c-fos gene and c-Fos protein were both increased in the synovial cells of late passage. Similarly, c-fos gene expression was also not increased by TPA or cytokine stimulation in the stablec-fos transformants (fos-pH8) or H-ras transformed NIH3T3 cells (NIH H-ras cells) that constitutively expressed c-fos genes.

CONCLUSIONS Although TNFα and IL6 augmented c-fos gene expression of rheumatoid synovial cells, transactivation of c-fos gene became resistant against cytokine stimulation under prolonged expression of c-fos gene, which may impart a tumour-like characteristic to rheumatoid synovial cells.

  • c-fos gene
  • interleukin 6
  • rheumatoid synovial cell
  • tumour necrosis factor α

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