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FASEB J. 1999 Apr;13(6):715-25.

Decreased expression and activity of G-protein-coupled receptor kinases in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, University Hospital for Children and Youth, 'Het Wilhelmina Kinderziekenhuis', 3584 EA Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Beta2-Adrenergic and chemokine receptor antagonists delay the onset and reduce the severity of joint injury in rheumatoid arthritis. beta2-Adrenergic and chemokine receptors belong to the G-protein-coupled receptor family whose responsiveness is turned off by the G-protein-coupled receptor kinase family (GRK-1 to 6). GRKs phosphorylate receptors in an agonist-dependent manner resulting in receptor/G-protein uncoupling via subsequent binding of arrestin proteins. We assessed the activity of GRKs in lymphocytes of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients by rhodopsin phosphorylation. We found a significant decrease in GRK activity in RA subjects that is mirrored by a decrease in GRK-2 protein expression. Moreover, GRK-6 protein expression is reduced in RA patients whereas GRK-5 protein levels were unchanged. In search of an underlying mechanism, we demonstrated that proinflammatory cytokines induce a decrease in GRK-2 protein levels in leukocytes from healthy donors. Since proinflammatory cytokines are abundantly expressed in RA, it may provide an explanation for the decrease in GRK-2 expression and activity in patients. No changes in beta2-adrenergic receptor number and Kd were detected. However, RA patients showed a significantly increased cAMP production and inhibition of TNF-alpha production by beta2-adrenergic stimulation, suggesting that reduced GRK activity is associated with increased sensitivity to beta2-adrenergic activation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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