Cyr61 induces IL-6 production by fibroblast-like synoviocytes promoting Th17 differentiation in rheumatoid arthritis

Jinpiao Lin, Zhou Zhou, Rongfen Huo, Lianbo Xiao, Guilin Ouyang, Li Wang, Yue Sun, Baihua Shen, Dangsheng Li, Ningli Li
Journal of Immunology 2012 June 1, 188 (11): 5776-84
Cysteine-rich protein 61 (Cyr61)/CCN1 is a product of an immediate early gene and functions in mediating cell adhesion and inducing cell migration. We previously showed that increased production of Cyr61 by fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) promotes FLS proliferation and participates in RA pathogenesis with the IL-17-dependent pathway. However, whether Cyr61 in turn regulates Th17 cell differentiation and further enhances inflammation of RA remained unknown. In the current study, we explored the potential role of Cyr61 as a proinflammatory factor in RA pathogenesis. We found that Cyr61 treatment dramatically induced IL-6 production in FLS isolated from RA patients. Moreover, IL-6 production was attenuated by Cyr61 knockdown in FLS. Mechanistically, we showed that Cyr61 activated IL-6 production via the αvβ5/Akt/NF-κB signaling pathway. Further, using a coculture system consisting of purified CD4(+) T cells and RA FLS, we found that RA FLS stimulated Th17 differentiation, and the pro-Th17 differentiation effect of RA FLS can be attenuated or stimulated by Cyr61 RNA interference or addition of exogenous Cyr61, respectively. Finally, using the collagen-induced arthritis animal model, we showed that treatment with the anti-Cyr61 mAb led to reduction of IL-6 levels, decrease of Th17 response, and attenuation of inflammation and disease progression in vivo. Taken together, our results reveal a novel role of Cyr61 in promoting Th17 development in RA via upregulation of IL-6 production by FLS, thus adding a new layer into the functional interplay between FLS and Th17 in RA pathogenesis. Our study also suggests that targeting of Cyr61 may represent a novel strategy in RA treatment.

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