Objective: To investigate the potential role of interleukin (IL) 27 in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by examining the expression of IL27 in the articular joints of patients with RA and the effect of recombinant IL27 in vivo in a murine model of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA).
Methods: Synovial membranes from patients with RA were examined for the presence of IL27 by immunohistochemistry and by western blot. Mice developing CIA were treated with IL27 and the ensuing disease progression and immunological profile determined. The effect of IL27 on T-cell response in vitro was also ascertained.
Results: IL27 was clearly detected in the RA synovial membranes. Short-term administration of IL27 at the onset of the disease significantly attenuated disease severity compared with untreated controls. Histological examination showed that while untreated mice developed severe cellular infiltration in the joints, synovial hyperplasia and joint erosion, this pathology was profoundly reduced in IL27-treated animals. Treatment of mice with IL27 also decreased the amounts of serum IL6 and collagen-specific IgG2a. Spleen and lymph node cells from the IL27-treated mice produced significantly less interferon γ and IL17 than cells from the control mice when cultured with collagen in vitro.
Conclusion: These results demonstrate that IL27 may be a potential therapeutic agent against RA at the onset of the disease.
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Funding: This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council, UK; Arthritis Research Campaign, UK; the Chief Scientist’s Office, Scotland and the European Union. WN was also supported by the Committee of Scientific Research of Poland (grants 4PO 5BO 1319 and 2PO 5BO 8527).
Competing interests: None.
Ethics approval: Approved by local ethical committees.
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