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Immunol Lett. 2012 Nov-Dec;148(1):59-68. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2012.05.008. Epub 2012 Jul 24.

Retinal attenuates inflammatory arthritis by reciprocal regulation of IL-17-producing T cells and Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells and the inhibition of osteoclastogenesis.

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


Retinoids (e.g., vitamin A and its derivatives) can regulate immune responses. The aim of this study was to determine whether all-trans retinaldehyde (retinal), a vitamin A derivative, can inhibit inflammatory responses and joint destruction in DBA/1J mice with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). The arthritis score and incidence of arthritis were lower in mice treated with retinal compared to those treated with cottonseed oil. Histopathologic evidence of joint damage was lower in mice treated with retinal, corresponding with a reduction in the infiltration of immune cells in mice treated with retinal type II collagen (CII)-stimulated spleen cells. In addition, the expression of proinflammatory cytokines, oxidative stress proteins, and osteoclast markers were significantly reduced in mice treated with retinal. In vitro, retinal induced increased Foxp3 expression and inhibited Th17 development. The proportion of Foxp3(+) Treg cells was increased in the spleens of mice treated with retinal, whereas the proportion of Th17 cells was reduced. In both mice and a human culture system, tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) positive mononuclear cells and multinucleated cells were significantly reduced after treatment with retinal. The expression of osteoclast differentiation markers was dramatically decreased upon addition of retinal. This is the first study to demonstrate the therapeutic effect of retinal on an autoimmune arthritis model in mice through reciprocal regulation of Th17 and regulatory T cells and protection of differentiation and activation of osteoclasts. Taken together, our findings indicate that retinal has profound immunoregulatory functions and potential value for the treatment of autoimmune inflammatory disorders.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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