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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Regulation of CD154-induced interleukin-12 production in synovial fluid macrophages

Milja Möttönen12*, Pia Isomäki2, Reijo Luukkainen3 and Olli Lassila12

Author Affiliations

1 Turku Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Turku University, Turku, Finland

2 Department of Medical Microbiology, Turku University, Turku, Finland

3 Satalinna Hospital, Harjavalta, Finland

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Arthritis Res 2002, 4:R9  doi:10.1186/ar589

Published: 26 July 2002


Interleukin (IL)-12, being a major cytokine that induces T helper (Th) 1 differentiation and inflammatory response, has been postulated to be an important mediator of synovial inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, the regulation of IL-12 production in RA has not been elucidated. Our knowledge is mainly based on studies of the production of IL-12p40 and not the functional IL-12p70 heterodimer. We have studied the CD154-induced IL-12p40 and IL-12p70 production by synovial fluid (SF) macrophages from patients with RA. CD40 ligation induced the secretion of IL-12p40 but not IL-12p70. The observed increase in IL-10 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α production indicated that SF macrophages responded to CD40 ligation. The expression of p40 mRNA was increased significantly and remained upregulated after CD40 ligation, whereas the increase of p35 transcript expression was observed only transiently and at a lower level. We further observed that dendritic cells (DCs) derived in vitro from SF macrophages produced IL-12p70. Most importantly, IL-4 and IL-13 primed SF macrophages to produce IL-12p70, whereas IFN-γ was not observed to activate IL-12p70 production in these cells, in contrast with normal peripheral blood monocytes. These results provide novel information about the regulation of IL-12p70 production and the function of the cytokine network in RA.

CD40; cytokines; IL-12; rheumatoid arthritis