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J Immunol. 2004 Jan 15;172(2):1256-65.

Chemokine secretion of rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts stimulated by Toll-like receptor 2 ligands.

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Center of Experimental Rheumatology, Department of Rheumatology, University Hospital Zürich, Gloriastrasse 25, 8091 Zürich, Switzerland.

Erratum in

  • J Immunol. 2004 Feb 15;172(4):following 2703.


To analyze the role of Toll-like receptors (TLR) in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis, we have assessed the effects of stimulation of cultured synovial fibroblasts by the TLR-2 ligand bacterial peptidoglycan. By using high density oligonucleotide microarray analysis we identified 74 genes that were up-regulated >2.5-fold. Fourteen CC and CXC chemokine genes were among the genes with the highest up-regulation. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis confirmed up-regulation of granulocyte chemotactic protein (GCP)-2, RANTES, monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-2, IL-8, growth-related oncogene-2, and to a lesser extent, macrophage-inflammatory protein 1alpha, MCP-1, EXODUS, and CXCL-16. GCP-2, RANTES, and MCP-2 were detected in culture supernatants of synovial fibroblasts stimulated with peptidoglycan. Chemokine secretion induced by stimulation of rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts via TLR-2 was functionally relevant as demonstrated by chemotaxis assays. GCP-2 and MCP-2 expression, which have not been reported previously in rheumatoid arthritis, was demonstrated in synovial tissue sections of patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis but not in those with osteoarthritis. Correspondingly, synovial fluid levels were significantly higher in patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis as compared with osteoarthritis. Thus, we present evidence for an induction of chemokine secretion by activation of synovial fibroblasts via TLR-2, possibly contributing to the formation of inflammatory infiltrates characteristically found in rheumatoid arthritis joints.

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