Fractalkine functions as a chemoattractant for osteoarthritis synovial fibroblasts and stimulates phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases and Akt

K Klosowska, M V Volin, N Huynh, K K Chong, M M Halloran, J M Woods
Clinical and Experimental Immunology 2009, 156 (2): 312-9
Fractalkine (FKN/CX3CL1) has been detected in synovial fluids from osteoarthritis (OA) patients. Additionally, low-level expression of the FKN receptor, CX3CR1, has been demonstrated in OA synovial lining. This study aimed to determine a biological function for this ligand/receptor pair in OA and to assess a potential signalling mechanism for FKN in this predominant synovial lining cell type, using chemotaxis assays, Western blotting and F-actin staining. Chemotaxis assays demonstrate that the chemokine domain of FKN effectively induces migration of OA fibroblasts. Consistent with this finding, visualization of F-actin demonstrates that 1 or 10 nM FKN induces noticeable reorganization of cytoskeletal structure in OA fibroblasts after 30 min stimulation with a maximal enhancement at approximately 2 h. In addition, Western blotting analysis demonstrates that FKN stimulates phosphorylation of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases p38, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and extracellular-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 as well as the serine-threonine kinase Akt at Ser 473 and Thr 308. All these phosphorylation events occur in a time-dependent manner, with little or no activation within 1 min, and maximal activation occurring typically between 5 and 30 min. Moreover, inhibition of ERK 1/2 significantly reduces FKN-induced OA fibroblast migration. These results suggest that FKN is a novel chemoattractant for OA fibroblasts, consistent with FKN-induced alterations in cytoskeletal structure. In addition, FKN induces OA fibroblast signalling via the MAP kinases p38, JNK and ERK 1/2, as well as Akt.

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