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Immunol Lett. 2010 Jan 4;127(2):100-7. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2009.10.012. Epub 2009 Nov 10.

IL-23 induces receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand expression in fibroblast-like synoviocytes via STAT3 and NF-kappaB signal pathways.

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  • 1Dalian University, Medical School Dalian, China.


Interleukin (IL)-23 stimulates T lymphocytes to produce inflammatory molecules, which can cause inflammatory arthritis. This study was undertaken to explore the role of IL-23 in stimulating the expression of the receptor activator of the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB) ligand (RANKL) and osteoclastogenic activity in human fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS). These cells were separated from the synovium of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA-FLS) and osteoarthritis (OA-FLS) and stimulated with IL-23. RANKL expression was measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and immunostaining. Osteoclast precursor cells were cocultured with IL-23-stimulated RA-FLS and OA-FLS and subsequently stained for tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) activity. IL-23 upregulated RANKL expression in RA-FLS. The expression of RANKL mRNA and protein was blocked completely by inhibitors of NF-kappaB (parthenolide) or of the JAK II-STAT3 pathway (AG490), showing that the RANKL expression pathway is mediated by NF-kappaB and STAT3. TRAP-positive osteoclastogenesis was enhanced in IL-23-stimulated FLS. RA-FLS were more responsive to IL-23 in terms of their RANKL expression than OA-FLS or normal FLS. Thus, IL-23 appears to induce joint inflammation and bone destruction by stimulating RANKL expression in RA-FLS. These interactions between IL-23 and FLS indicate possible new therapeutic approaches for treating bone destruction in patients with inflammatory diseases.

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