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Arthritis Res Ther. 2005;7(6):R1208-20. Epub 2005 Aug 25.

Pro-inflammatory properties of stromal cell-derived factor-1 (CXCL12) in collagen-induced arthritis.

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Laboratory of Immunobiology, Rega Institute, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.


CXCL12 (stromal cell-derived factor 1) is a unique biological ligand for the chemokine receptor CXCR4. We previously reported that treatment with a specific CXCR4 antagonist, AMD3100, exerts a beneficial effect on the development of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in the highly susceptible IFN-gamma receptor-deficient (IFN-gammaR KO) mouse. We concluded that CXCL12 plays a central role in the pathogenesis of CIA in IFN-gammaR KO mice by promoting delayed type hypersensitivity against the auto-antigen and by interfering with chemotaxis of CXCR4+ cells to the inflamed joints. Here, we investigated whether AMD3100 can likewise inhibit CIA in wild-type mice and analysed the underlying mechanism. Parenteral treatment with the drug at the time of onset of arthritis reduced disease incidence and modestly inhibited severity in affected mice. This beneficial effect was associated with reduced serum concentrations of IL-6. AMD3100 did not affect anti-collagen type II antibodies and, in contrast with its action in IFN-gammaR KO mice, did not inhibit the delayed type hypersensitivity response against collagen type II, suggesting that the beneficial effect cannot be explained by inhibition of humoral or cellular autoimmune responses. AMD3100 inhibited the in vitro chemotactic effect of CXCL12 on splenocytes, as well as in vivo leukocyte infiltration in CXCL12-containing subcutaneous air pouches. We also demonstrate that, in addition to its effect on cell infiltration, CXCL12 potentiates receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand-induced osteoclast differentiation from splenocytes and increases the calcium phosphate-resorbing capacity of these osteoclasts, both processes being potently counteracted by AMD3100. Our observations indicate that CXCL12 acts as a pro-inflammatory factor in the pathogenesis of autoimmune arthritis by attracting inflammatory cells to joints and by stimulating the differentiation and activation of osteoclasts.

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