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Arthritis Rheum. 2008 Apr;58(4):990-1000. doi: 10.1002/art.23287.

Defective proliferative capacity and accelerated telomeric loss of hematopoietic progenitor cells in rheumatoid arthritis.

Author information

1
Lowance Center for Human Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), telomeres of lymphoid and myeloid cells are age-inappropriately shortened, suggesting excessive turnover of hematopoietic precursor cells (HPCs). The purpose of this study was to examine the functional competence (proliferative capacity, maintenance of telomeric reserve) of CD34+ HPCs in RA.

METHODS:

Frequencies of peripheral blood CD34+,CD45+ HPCs from 63 rheumatoid factor-positive RA patients and 48 controls matched for age, sex, and ethnicity were measured by flow cytometry. Proliferative burst, cell cycle dynamics, and induction of lineage-restricted receptors were tested in purified CD34+ HPCs after stimulation with early hematopoietins. Telomere sequences were quantified by real-time polymerase chain reaction. HPC functions were correlated with the duration, activity, and severity of RA as well as its treatment.

RESULTS:

In healthy donors, CD34+ HPCs accounted for 0.05% of nucleated cells; their numbers were strictly age dependent and declined at a rate of 1.3% per year. In RA patients, CD34+ HPC frequencies were age-independently reduced to 0.03%. Upon growth factor stimulation, control HPCs passed through 5 replication cycles over 4 days. In contrast, RA-derived HPCs completed only 3 generations. Telomeres of RA CD34+ HPCs were age-inappropriately shortened by 1,600 bp. All HPC defects were independent of disease duration, disease activity, and smoking status, and were present to the same degree in untreated patients.

CONCLUSION:

In RA, circulating bone marrow-derived progenitor cells were diminished, and concentrations stagnated at levels typical of those in old control subjects. HPCs from RA patients displayed growth factor nonresponsiveness and sluggish cell cycle progression; marked telomere shortening indicated proliferative stress-induced senescence. Defective HPC function independent of disease activity markers suggests bone marrow failure as a potential pathogenic factor in RA.

PMID:
18383391
PMCID:
PMC2820283
DOI:
10.1002/art.23287
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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