TDAG8 deficiency reduces satellite glial number and pro-inflammatory macrophage number to relieve rheumatoid arthritis disease severity and chronic pain

Shih-Ping Dai, Wei-Shan Hsieh, Chien-Hua Chen, Yueh-Hao Lu, Hsu-Shan Huang, Der-Ming Chang, Shir-Ly Huang, Wei-Hsin Sun
Journal of Neuroinflammation 2020 May 29, 17 (1): 170

BACKGROUND: The autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects approximately 1% of the global population. RA is characterized with chronic joint inflammation and often associated with chronic pain. The imbalance of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory macrophages is a feature of RA progression. Glial cells affecting neuronal sensitivity at both peripheral and central levels may also be important for RA progression and associated pain. Genetic variants in the T cell death-associated gene 8 (TDAG8) locus are found to associate with spondyloarthritis. TDAG8 was also found involved in RA disease progression and associated hyperalgesia in the RA mouse model. However, its modulation in RA remains unclear.

METHODS: To address this question, we intra-articularly injected complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) into TDAG8+/+ , TDAG8-/- or wild-type mice, followed by pain behavioral tests. Joints and dorsal root ganglia were taken, sectioned, and stained with antibodies to observe the number of immune cells, macrophages, and satellite glial cells (SGCs). For compound treatments, compounds were intraperitoneally or orally administered weekly for 9 consecutive weeks after CFA injection.

RESULTS: We demonstrated that TDAG8 deletion slightly reduced RA pain in the early phase but dramatically attenuated RA progression and pain in the chronic phase (> 7 weeks). TDAG8 deletion inhibited an increase in SGC number and inhibition of SGC function attenuated chronic phase of RA pain, so TDAG8 could regulate SGC number to control chronic pain. TDAG8 deletion also reduced M1 pro-inflammatory macrophage number at 12 weeks, contributing to the attenuation of chronic RA pain. Such results were further confirmed by using salicylanilide derivatives, CCL-2d or LCC-09, to suppress TDAG8 expression and function.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that TDAG8 deletion reduced SGC and M1 macrophage number to relieve RA disease severity and associated chronic pain. M1 macrophages are critical for the development and maintenance of RA disease and pain, but glial activation is also required for the chronic phase of RA pain.

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