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Arthritis Rheum. 2013 Mar;65(3):639-49. doi: 10.1002/art.37807.

Simvastatin inhibits cysteine-rich protein 61 expression in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts through the regulation of sirtuin-1/FoxO3a signaling.

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National Taiwan University and National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.



To examine the role of sirtuin-1 (SIRT-1)/FoxO3a in the expression of cysteine-rich protein 61 (CYR-61) in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASFs) and the influence of simvastatin on this pathway, and to determine the relationship between disease progression and FoxO3a/CYR-61 signaling in synovial fibroblasts in vivo using a rat model of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA).


In RASFs, the expression of CYR-61 and SIRT-1, the localization of FoxO3a in the nucleus/cytoplasm, and the phosphorylation/acetylation of FoxO3a were examined by Western blotting. Secretion of CCL20 was assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Promoter activity of the Cyr61 gene was evaluated by luciferase assay, with or without forced expression of FoxO3a and SIRT-1 by lentiviral transduction. FoxO3a-Cyr61 promoter interaction was examined by chromatin immunoprecipitation. In rats with CIA, the expression of CYR-61 and phosphorylated FoxO3a in synovial fibroblasts was examined by immunohistochemistry.


In RASFs, simvastatin suppressed the tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα)-induced production of CYR-61 and CCL20. Nuclear levels of FoxO3a were decreased after TNFα stimulation of RASFs, and forced expression of FoxO3a reversed the inductive effects of TNFα on CYR-61. Simvastatin inhibited the nuclear export, phosphorylation, and acetylation of FoxO3a and maintained its binding to the Cyr61 promoter. Forced expression of SIRT-1 in RASFs led to decreased levels of CYR-61 and deacetylation of FoxO3a. Following treatment with simvastatin, the expression of SIRT-1 was up-regulated and SIRT-1/FoxO3a binding was enhanced in RASFs. In rats with CIA, intraarticular injection of simvastatin alleviated arthritis and suppressed CYR-61 expression and FoxO3a phosphorylation in synovial fibroblasts.


CYR-61 is important in the pathogenesis of RA, and SIRT-1/FoxO3a signaling is crucial to induction of CYR-61 in RASFs. Simvastatin plays a beneficial role in inflammatory arthritis through its up-regulation of SIRT-1/FoxO3a signaling in synovial fibroblasts. Continued study of the pathways linking sirtuins, FoxO proteins, and the inflammatory responses of RASFs may provide new insights into the pathophysiology of RA.

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