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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2009 Nov;48(11):1352-8. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kep235. Epub 2009 Aug 27.

TREM-1 expression is increased in the synovium of rheumatoid arthritis patients and induces the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

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  • 1Department of Inflammation, Wyeth Research, 200 Cambridge Park Drive, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA.



To investigate the expression and function of triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-1 (TREM-1) in the synovium of human RA patients as well as the level of soluble TREM-1 in the plasma of RA patients.


Twenty-four RA synovial samples were analysed by gene expression oligonucleotide microarrays. Expression levels of TREM-1 mRNA in murine CIA paws were determined by quantitative PCR (qPCR). TREM-1 protein expression was detected by immunohistochemistry in five RA synovial samples and two OA synovial samples. TREM-1-positive cells from five RA synovial tissues were analysed by FACS staining to determine the cell type. Activation of TREM-1 was tested in five RA synovial samples. Soluble TREM-1 was measured in serum from 32 RA patients.


The expression of TREM-1 mRNA was found to increase 6.5-fold in RA synovial samples, whereas it was increased 132-fold in CIA paws. Increased numbers of TREM-1-positive cells were seen in RA synovium sections and these cells co-expressed CD14. Using a TREM-1-activating cross-linking antibody in RA synovial cultures, multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines were induced. The average amount of soluble TREM-1 in plasma from RA patients was found to be higher than that in plasma from healthy volunteers.


These findings suggest that the presence of high levels of functionally active TREM-1 in RA synovium may contribute to the development or maintenance of RA, or both. Inhibiting TREM-1 activity may, therefore, have a therapeutic effect on RA. High levels of soluble TREM-1 in the plasma of RA patients compared with healthy volunteers may indicate disease activity.

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