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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1999 Jun 22;876:246-54.

Melatonin influences interleukin-12 and nitric oxide production by primary cultures of rheumatoid synovial macrophages and THP-1 cells.

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1
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genova, Italy.

Abstract

Because some of the clinical symptoms related to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovitis, such as joint morning stiffness and gelling, might be related to the effects exerted by the diurnal rhythmicity of the neurohormone melatonin (MLT) on synovial immune cell activation, we decided to evaluate the influence of MLT on the production of IL-12 and nitric oxide (NO) on primary cultures of RA synovial macrophages. Synovial macrophages were also prestimulated with lipopolysaccaride (LPS). Results were compared with those obtained on cultured human myeloid monocytic cells (THP-1). A significant increase in IL-12 (p = 0.01) was found in media of MLT-stimulated synovial macrophages versus RMPI-treated synovial macrophage controls. Interestingly, a significant decrease of IL-12 (p < 0.0001) was observed in media of synovial macrophages previously activated with LPS and then treated with MLT, when compared to synovial macrophages treated with LPS alone. A significant increase in NO levels (p = 0.01) was found in MLT-stimulated synovial macrophages versus RMPI-treated synovial macrophage controls. Interestingly, a nonsignificant increase of NO levels was observed in media of synovial macrophages previously activated with LPS and then treated with MLT, when compared to cynovial macrophages treated with LPS alone. Finally, a significant increase in IL-12 (p = 0.03) and NO (p = 0.002) concentrations was observed in media of MLT-stimulated THP-1 cells versus RMPI-treated controls. Our results therefore show that MLT induces IL-12 secretion and NO production by unstimulated cultured RA synovial macrophages and human monocytic myeloid THP-1 cells. The unexpected and opposite effects on IL-12 and NO production in RA synovial macrophages treated with LPS may be related to dose-dependent mechanisms exerted by MLT or to altered cell priming in RA macrophages; these are matters of our further research. This study strongly supports the role of MLT in immune response modulation and in particular suggests a close relationship between diurnal rhythmicity of neuroendocrine pathways, cytokine and reactive oxygen intermediate production by monocyte/macrophages, and synovial arthritis symptomatology, at least in RA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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