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J Biol Chem. 2001 Oct 5;276(40):37069-75. Epub 2001 Jul 27.

A novel role for interleukin-18 in adhesion molecule induction through NF kappa B and phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase-dependent signal transduction pathways.

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  • 1Northwestern University Medical School, Department of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, 60611, USA.


Interleukin-18 (IL-18) is a novel proinflammatory cytokine found in serum and joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We studied a novel role for IL-18 in mediating cell adhesion, a vital component of the inflammation found in RA and other inflammatory diseases. We examined the expression of cellular cell adhesion molecules E-selectin, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) on endothelial cells and RA synovial fibroblasts using flow cytometry. Adhesion of the monocyte-like cell line HL-60 to endothelial cells was determined by immunofluorescence. IL-18 significantly enhanced ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 expression on endothelial cells and RA synovial fibroblasts. In addition, IL-18 induced E-selectin expression on endothelial cells and promoted the adhesion of HL-60 cells to IL-18-stimulated endothelial cells. Neutralizing anti-VCAM-1 and anti-E-selectin could completely inhibit HL-60 adherence to endothelial cells. IL-18-induced adhesion molecule expression appears to be mediated through nuclear factor kappa B (NF kappa B) and phosphatidyl-inositol 3 kinase (PI 3-kinase) since addition of inhibitors to either NF kappa B (pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate and N-acetyl-l-cysteine) or PI 3-kinase (LY294002) inhibited RA synovial fibroblast VCAM-1 expression by 50 to 60%. Addition of both inhibitors resulted in inhibition of VCAM-1 expression by 85%. In conclusion, the ability of IL-18 to induce adhesion molecule expression on endothelial cells and RA synovial fibroblasts indicates that IL-18 may contribute to RA joint inflammation by enhancing the recruitment of leukocytes into the joint. IL-18 requires NF kappa B as well as PI 3-kinase to induce VCAM-1 on RA synovial fibroblasts, suggesting that there may be two distinct pathways in IL-18-induced adhesion molecule expression.

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