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J Inflamm (Lond). 2005 Nov 25;2:15.

Nurr1 dependent regulation of pro-inflammatory mediators in immortalised synovial fibroblasts.

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  • 1Respiratory and Inflammation Research Department, AstraZeneca, Mereside, Alderley Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 4TG, UK. mark.r.davies@astrazeneca.com



Nurr1 is an orphan member of the nuclear receptor superfamily; these orphan receptors are a group for which a ligand has yet to be identified. Nurr1 has been shown to regulate the expression of a small number of genes as a monomeric, constitutively active receptor. These Nurr1 regulated genes are primarily associated with dopamine cell maturation and survival. However, previous reports have shown an increased expression of Nurr1 in the synovium of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) suggesting a pro-inflammatory role for Nurr1 in RA. In this study we investigate the potential pro-inflammatory role of Nurr1 by monitoring Nurr1 dependent gene expression in an immortalised synoviocyte cell line, K4IM.


We overexpressed the wild type and a dominant negative form of the orphan nuclear receptor Nurr1, in a model synoviocyte cell line. Using the Affymetrix HG-U133 Genechips we demonstrate the effects on the transcriptome by the receptor. Further evidence of gene expression change was demonstrated using quantitative RT-PCR and ELISA analysis.


We show that Nurr1 regulates transcription of a small number of genes for pro-inflammatory modulators of which the most significant is interleukin-8 (IL-8). We also demonstrate increased synthesis and secretion of IL-8 further supporting a role for Nurr1 in inflammatory signalling pathways.


Using microarray analysis we show that elevated levels of Nurr1 leads to increased gene expression of pro-inflammatory genes: IL-8, Amphiregulin and Kit ligand in a model cell line. This data provides further evidence for an additional role for Nurr1 in inflammation and may play a role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis.

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