Wnt1 inducible signaling pathway protein-3 regulation and microsatellite structure in arthritis

Hyeonjoo Cheon, David L Boyle, Gary S Firestein
Journal of Rheumatology 2004, 31 (11): 2106-14

OBJECTIVE: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial tissue expresses several embryonic gene families, including wingless (wnt) and their receptors, frizzled (fz). The Wnt proteins, including Wnt-1, activate the Wnt inducible signaling pathway proteins (WISP), which are members of the CCN family that regulate cell growth and differentiation. WISP3 is of particular interest because it contains a microsatellite region in its coding region that is susceptible to frameshift mutations and leads to a truncated protein. To investigate the contribution of WISP3 to synovial inflammation, we evaluated its expression and regulation in arthritis.

METHODS: mRNA and protein expression of WISP3 were determined by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Western blot analysis, respectively. For mutation analysis, PCR product amplified from genomic DNA of synovial tissue and cultured fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) was subcloned and sequenced.

RESULTS: WISP3 mRNA is expressed in synovial tissue, but is 11-fold higher in RA than osteoarthritis (OA) or normal samples. Surprisingly, WISP3 protein levels are similar in RA, OA, and normal synovium samples. Immunohistochemistry of synovial tissue reveals that WISP3 protein is located primarily in the synovial intimal lining. WISP3 mRNA expression is also 6-fold higher in RA FLS compared with OA FLS and 50-fold higher in RA than in normal FLS. When RA FLS are stimulated with interleukin 1 or tumor necrosis factor-a, WISP3 mRNA is significantly increased. The cytokines also increase WISP3 mRNA in OA FLS, but the maximal level in stimulated OA FLS is still less than medium-treated RA FLS. Mutation analysis in the coding region microsatellite of the WISP3 gene in RA and OA synovium and FLS shows a limited number of insertion and deletion mutations.

CONCLUSION: WISP3 gene expression is higher in RA synovium and FLS compared with OA and normal synovial tissue and is further induced by proinflammatory cytokines in vitro. Protein levels are not increased, indicating discoordinate regulation of WISP3 protein and mRNA. Although functionally relevant mutations were observed in genomic DNA, they were noted in both OA and RA samples.


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