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Blood. 2000 Jul 15;96(2):727-31.

Expression of the familial Mediterranean fever gene and activity of the C5a inhibitor in human primary fibroblast cultures.

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  • 1Hematology Unit, Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel.


Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is an inherited disease whose manifestations are acute but reversible attacks of sterile inflammation affecting synovial and serosal spaces. The FMF gene (MEFV) was recently cloned, and it codes for a protein (pyrin/marenostrin) homologous to known nuclear factors. We previously reported the deficient activity of a C5a/interleukin (IL)-8 inhibitor, a physiologic regulator of inflammatory processes, in FMF serosal and synovial fluids. We now describe the concomitant expression of MEFV and C5a/IL-8-inhibitor activity in primary cultures of human fibroblasts. Fibroblasts grown from synovial and peritoneal tissues displayed C5a/IL-8-inhibitor activity that could be further induced with phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) and IL-1 beta. Very low levels of chemotactic inhibitor were evident in skin fibroblast cultures or in peritoneal and skin fibroblasts obtained from FMF patients. MEFV was expressed in peritoneal and skin fibroblasts at a lower level than in neutrophils and could be further induced by PMA and IL-1 beta. In the FMF cultures, the MEFV transcript carried the M694V mutation, consistent with the genetic defect found in patients with this disease. MEFV was also expressed in other cell lines that do not produce C5a/IL-8 inhibitor. These findings suggest that human primary fibroblast cultures express MEFV and produce C5a/IL-8-inhibitor activity. The interrelationship between pyrin, the MEFV product, and the C5a/IL-8 inhibitor requires further investigation. (Blood. 2000;96:727-731)

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