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Arthritis Rheumatol. 2014 Apr;66(4):863-73. doi: 10.1002/art.38303.

Regulation of apoptosis and inflammatory responses by insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 in fibroblast-like synoviocytes and experimental animal models of rheumatoid arthritis.

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  • 1Chonbuk National University Medical School, Jeonju, Jeonbuk, Republic of Korea.



Insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) is known to interfere with the NF-κB signaling pathway, and it effectively promotes apoptosis in tumor cells by a variety of mechanisms. NF-κB activation and apoptosis resistance of fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) play pivotal roles in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This study was undertaken to evaluate whether IGFBP-3 has antiarthritic effects.


To deliver IGFBP-3, we used an adenovirus containing IGFBP-3 complementary DNA (AdIGFBP-3) or IGFBP-3 mutant that is devoid of IGF binding affinity but retains IGFBP-3 receptor binding ability (AdmtIGFBP-3). The regulatory roles of IGFBP-3 in inflammation and bone destruction were investigated in mice with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA).


IGFBP-3 levels were significantly higher in patients with RA than in those with osteoarthritis (OA) and were notably higher in patients with active RA. AdIGFBP-3 suppressed NF-κB activation, chemokine production, and matrix metalloproteinase secretion induced by tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) in RA FLS. AdIGFBP-3 sensitized RA FLS to TNFα-induced apoptosis in vitro and also significantly increased apoptosis in an in vivo model of Matrigel implants engrafted into immunodeficient mice. AdIGFBP-3-injected mice with CIA had attenuated arthritis severity and reduced radiologic and pathologic abnormalities. Moreover, AdIGFBP-3 down-regulated local and systemic levels of NF-κB-targeted proinflammatory cytokines. Of note, RA FLS and mice with CIA treated with AdmtIGFBP-3 exhibited similar effects as those treated with AdIGFBP-3.


Our results suggest that both the inflammatory response and bone destruction are reduced with blockage of NF-κB activation and induction of apoptosis in RA FLS by IGFBP-3. Therefore, IGFBP-3 may have therapeutic potential in RA.

Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Rheumatology.

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