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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast-like synoviocytes co-cultured with PBMC increased peripheral CD4 + CXCR5 + ICOS + T cell numbers

Y Tang, B Wang, X Sun, H Li, X Ouyang, J Wei, B Dai, Y Zhang, X Li
Clinical and Experimental Immunology 2017, 190 (3): 384-393
28833034
'Circulating' T follicular helper cells (Tfh), characterized by their surface phenotypes CD4+ chemokine receptor 5 (CXCR5)+ inducible co-stimulatory molecule (ICOS)+ , have been identified as the CD4+ T cell subset specialized in supporting the activation, expansion and differentiation of B cells. Fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) are critical in promoting inflammation and cartilage destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and the interaction between FLS and T cells is considered to facilitate FLS activation and T cell recruitment. However, it remains unknown whether RA-FLS co-cultured with activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) has immunoregulatory effects on peripheral Tfh. In the present study, we co-cultured RA-FLS with or without anti-CD3/CD28-stimulated PBMC. The results showed that RA-FLS co-cultured with stimulated PBMC could increase the numbers of CD4+ CXCR5+ ICOS+ T cells of RA PBMC possibly via the production of interleukin (IL)-6, a critical cytokine involved in the differentiation of Tfh cells. We also observed increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in the co-culture system of RA-FLS and PBMC. The percentage of CD4+ CXCR5+ ICOS+ T cells was decreased when ROS production was inhibited by N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), a specific inhibitor which can decrease ROS production. In addition, we showed that the higher levels of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α and IL-1β in the co-culture system and the blocking of TNF receptor 2 (TNF-R2) and IL-1β receptor (IL-1βR) both decreased the numbers of CD4+ CXCR5+ ICOS+ T cells. Our study reveals a novel mechanistic insight into how the interaction of RA-FLS and PBMC participates in the RA pathogenesis, and also provides support for the biologicals application for RA.

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