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Cytokine. 2012 Oct;60(1):143-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2012.06.285. Epub 2012 Jul 21.

TWEAK promotes the production of Interleukin-17 in rheumatoid arthritis.

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  • 1The Rheumatism Research Center, Catholic Research Institute of Medical Science, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, South Korea.


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) is an inflammatory cytokine that modulates several biological responses by inducing chemokines and proinflammatory cytokines. We hypothesized that TWEAK could promote secretion of IL-17, an amplifier of inflammatory arthritis. To test this, we investigated the capacity of TWEAK to induce IL-17 production in T cells via the fibroblast growth factor-inducible gene 14 (Fn14, also known as TWEAK receptor) signal pathway in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Fn14 and IL-17 were highly expressed in arthritic tissues of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) mice. TWEAK induced production of IL-17 alone and synergistically with lipopolysaccharide. In naïve murine T cells, TWEAK promoted Th17 differentiation. The expression of Fn14 was predominant in Th17 cells. TWEAK and IL-17 concentrations were significantly higher in synovial fluid and serum in RA patients than OA patients. In addition, we identified CD4(+)IL-17(+)Fn14(+) cells in synovium from RA patients. TWEAK promoted IL-17 production synergistically with IL-23 or IL-21 and blockade of Fn14 with Fn14-Fc suppressed Th17 differentiation. Conversely, this treatment enhanced Treg differentiation. These results suggest that TWEAK induces IL-17 production and may be a therapeutic target in the treatment of RA.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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