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Cyr61 is involved in neutrophil infiltration in joints by inducing IL-8 production by fibroblast-like synoviocytes in rheumatoid arthritis

Xianjin Zhu13, Lianbo Xiao2, Rongfen Huo1, Jie Zhang1, Jinpiao Lin1, Jun Xie2, Songtao Sun2, Yong He2, Yue Sun1, Zhou Zhou1, Baihua Shen1 and Ningli Li1*

Author Affiliations

1 Shanghai Institute of Immunology, Institute of Medical sciences, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, 280 South Chongqing Road, Shanghai 200025, P. R. China

2 Shanghai Guanghua Rheumatology Hospital, 540 Xinhua Road, Shanghai 200025, P. R. China

3 Affiliated Union Hospital of Fujian Medical University, 29 Xinquan Road, Fuzhou 350001, P. R. China

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2013, 15:R187  doi:10.1186/ar4377

Published: 13 November 2013



It is well known that neutrophils play very important roles in the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and interleukin (IL)-8 is a critical chemokine in promoting neutrophil migration. We previously showed that increased production of Cyr61 by fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) in RA promotes FLS proliferation and Th17 cell differentiation, thus Cyr61 is a pro-inflammatory factor in RA pathogenesis. In this study, we explored the role of Cyr61 in neutrophil migration to the joints of RA patients.


RA FLS were treated with Cyr61 and IL-8 expression was analyzed by real-time PCR and ELISA. The migration of neutrophils recruited by the culture supernatants was determined by the use of a chemotaxis assay. Mice with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) were treated with anti-Cyr61 monoclonal antibodies (mAb), or IgG1 as a control. Arthritis severity was determined by visual examination of the paws and joint destruction was determined by hematoxylin-eosin (H&E) staining. Signal transduction pathways in Cyr61-induced IL-8 production were investigated by real-time PCR, western blotting, confocal microscopy, luciferase reporter assay or chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay.


We found that Cyr61 induced IL-8 production by RA FLS in an IL-1β and TNF-α independent pathway. Moreover, we identified that Cyr61-induced IL-8-mediated neutrophil migration in vitro. Using a CIA animal model, we found that treatment with anti-Cyr61 mAb led to a reduction in MIP-2 (a counterpart of human IL-8) expression and decrease in neutrophil infiltration, which is consistent with an attenuation of inflammation in vivo. Mechanistically, we showed that Cyr61 induced IL-8 production in FLS via AKT, JNK and ERK1/2-dependent AP-1, C/EBPβ and NF-κB signaling pathways.


Our results here reveal a novel role of Cyr61 in the pathogenesis of RA. It promotes neutrophil infiltration via up-regulation of IL-8 production in FLS. Taken together with our previous work, this study provides further evidence that Cyr61 plays a key role in the vicious cycle formed by the interaction between infiltrating neutrophils, proliferated FLS and activated Th17 cells in the development of RA.