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RAC1 expression and role in IL-1β production and oxidative stress generation in familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) patients

José-Noel Ibrahim, Rania Jounblat, Nadine Jalkh, Joelle Abou Ghoch, Cynthia Al Hageh, Eliane Chouery, André Mégarbané, Jean-Claude Lecron, Myrna Medlej-Hashim
European Cytokine Network 2019 January 28
Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is a recessively inherited autoinflammatory disorder. The caspase-1-dependent cytokine, IL-1β, plays an important role in FMF pathogenesis, and RAC1 protein has been recently involved in IL-1β secretion. This study aims to investigate RAC1 expression and role in IL-1β and caspase-1 production and oxidative stress generation in FMF. The study included 25 FMF patients (nine during attack and remission, and 16 during remission only), and 25 controls. RAC1 expression levels were analyzed by real-time PCR. Ex vivo production of caspase-1, IL-1β, IL-6 and markers of oxidative stress (malondialdehyde, catalase, and glutathione system) were evaluated respectively in supernatants of patients' and controls' PBMC and PMN cultures, in the presence and absence of RAC1 inhibitor. RAC1 gene expression and IL-1β levels were increased in patients in crises compared to those in remission or controls. RAC1 expression levels were correlated with MEFV genotypes, patients carrying the M694V/M694V genotype having a two-fold increase in the expression levels compared to those carrying other genotypes. Caspase-1 levels were higher in LPS-induced PBMC of patients in remission than controls. Spontaneous and LPS-induced IL-1β production were comparable in patients in remission and controls, whereas LPS-induced IL-6 production was enhanced in patients, compared to controls. RAC1 inhibition resulted in a decrease in caspase-1 and IL-1β, but not IL-6, levels. Malondialdehyde levels produced by LPS-stimulated PMNs were increased in patients in remission compared to those in controls, but decreased following RAC1 inhibition. Catalase and GSH activities were reduced in unstimulated PMN culture supernatants of patients in remission compared to controls and were increased in the presence of RAC1 inhibitor. These results show the involvement of RAC1 in the inflammatory process of FMF by enhancing IL-1β production, through caspase-1 activation, and generating oxidative stress, even during asymptomatic periods.


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