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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2003 Apr;42(4):541-8.

Influence of therapy with chimeric monoclonal tumour necrosis factor-alpha antibodies on intracellular cytokine profiles of T lymphocytes and monocytes in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Allergology and Rheumatology, University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

It has been shown that T lymphocytes and monocytes/macrophages, producing pro-inflammatory cytokines, play a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In recent placebo-controlled double-blind randomized studies, chimeric (human/mouse) tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha) antibodies (cA2) proved to be very effective in improving clinical disease activity and reducing inflammatory parameters in RA.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate whether anti-TNFalpha therapy influences the in vitro intracellular cytokine production in peripheral blood monocytes and T lymphocytes of RA patients after one single (24 h) and multiple intravenous infusions (6 months).

METHODS:

An intracellular flow cytometric technique was applied to measure interleukin 1beta (IL-1beta), IL-6, TNFalpha, IL-10 and IL-12 in monocytes and IL-2, IL-4 and interferon-gamma in T lymphocytes of 15 patients, before, after 24 h and after 6 months of therapy with monoclonal chimeric anti-TNFalpha antibodies (3 mg/kg, bimonthly i.v.). All patients were on stable therapy with methotrexate (15-20 mg/week i.m.). Cytokine content in monocytes was measured directly after blood sampling (basal levels), after 8 h of culture (spontaneous production) and after 8 h of stimulation with lipopolysaccharides (LPS-stimulated production).

RESULTS:

Basal levels and production (after 8 h) of IL-1beta, IL-6 and TNFalpha were significantly decreased 24 h after the first administration of anti-TNFalpha (for IL-1beta P < 0.01; for IL-6 P < 0.01; for TNF P < 0.003) and after 6 months of therapy (for IL-1beta P < 0.02; for IL-6 P < 0.03; for TNFalpha P < 0.001). For IL-12, basal levels were significantly decreased 24 h and 6 months after the start of therapy with anti-TNFalpha antibodies (P=0.0001; P=0.003, respectively). In contrast, IL-10 production increased significantly after 24 h and after 6 months (P=0.02; P=0.01). The T(H2)/T(H1) cytokine ratio in CD4+ T cells was significantly increased after 24 h and after 6 months of anti-TNFalpha therapy (P=0.003; P=0.0007).

CONCLUSION:

Anti-TNFalpha therapy might down-regulate the monocytic capacity to produce pro-inflammatory cytokines and induces a shift to a more pronounced anti-inflammatory T(H2) cytokine production.

PMID:
12649401
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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