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Coexpression and interaction of CXCL10 and CD26 in mesenchymal cells by synergising inflammatory cytokines: CXCL8 and CXCL10 are discriminative markers for autoimmune arthropathies

Paul Proost1*, Sofie Struyf1, Tamara Loos1, Mieke Gouwy1, Evemie Schutyser1, René Conings1, Isabelle Ronsse1, Marc Parmentier2, Bernard Grillet34, Ghislain Opdenakker3, Jan Balzarini5 and Jo Van Damme1

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, Rega Institute for Medical Research, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

2 IRIBHN, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Campus Erasme, Brussels, Belgium

3 Laboratory of Immunobiology, Rega Institute for Medical Research, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

4 Ziekenhuis Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, Terneuzen, The Netherlands

5 Laboratory of Virology and Chemotherapy, Rega Institute for Medical Research, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2006, 8:R107  doi:10.1186/ar1997

Published: 17 July 2006


Leukocyte infiltration during acute and chronic inflammation is regulated by exogenous and endogenous factors, including cytokines, chemokines and proteases. Stimulation of fibroblasts and human microvascular endothelial cells with the inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1β (IL-1β) or tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) combined with either interferon-α (IFN-α), IFN-β or IFN-γ resulted in a synergistic induction of the CXC chemokine CXCL10, but not of the neutrophil chemoattractant CXCL8. In contrast, simultaneous stimulation with different IFN types did not result in a synergistic CXCL10 protein induction. Purification of natural CXCL10 from the conditioned medium of fibroblasts led to the isolation of CD26/dipeptidyl peptidase IV-processed CXCL10 missing two NH2-terminal residues. In contrast to intact CXCL10, NH2-terminally truncated CXCL10(3–77) did not induce extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 or Akt/protein kinase B phosphorylation in CXC chemokine receptor 3-transfected cells. Together with the expression of CXCL10, the expression of membrane-bound CD26/dipeptidyl peptidase IV was also upregulated in fibroblasts by IFN-γ, by IFN-γ plus IL-1β or by IFN-γ plus TNF-α. This provides a negative feedback for CXCL10-dependent chemotaxis of activated T cells and natural killer cells. Since TNF-α and IL-1β are implicated in arthritis, synovial concentrations of CXCL8 and CXCL10 were compared in patients suffering from crystal arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. All three groups of autoimmune arthritis patients (ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis) had significantly increased synovial CXCL10 levels compared with crystal arthritis patients. In contrast, compared with crystal arthritis, only rheumatoid arthritis patients, and not ankylosing spondylitis or psoriatic arthritis patients, had significantly higher synovial CXCL8 concentrations. Synovial concentrations of the neutrophil chemoattractant CXCL8 may therefore be useful to discriminate between autoimmune arthritis types.