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Are neuropeptides important in arthritis? Studies on the importance of bombesin/GRP and substance P in a murine arthritis model.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB).
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Reumatology.
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2007 (English)In: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, ISSN 0077-8923, E-ISSN 1749-6632, Vol. 1110, 525-538 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Interference with the effects of neuropeptides may be of potential therapeutic value for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Two neuropeptides that can be discussed in this context are bombesin/gastrin-releasing peptide (BN/GRP) and substance P (SP). In order to obtain new information on the possible importance of these two peptides, the patterns of immunohistochemical expression of BN/GRP and SP and their related receptors in the mouse knee joint from healthy and arthritic mice were examined. Positive staining for GRP receptor and the SP preferred receptor (the neurokinin-1 receptor [NK-1 R]) was observed in articular chondrocytes. On the whole, there was a decrease in immunoreactions for both the GRP- and the NK-1 receptors in the articular chondrocytes in joints exhibiting severe arthritis. Staining for BN/GRP and GRP receptor was seen in the inflammatory infiltrates of the arthritic joints. New evidence for the occurrence of marked effects of BN/GRP concerning both the articular chondrocytes and the inflammatory process is obtained in this study. With these findings and previous observations of neuropeptide expression patterns and functions we discuss the possibility that interventions with the effects of BN/GRP, SP, and other neuropeptides might be worthwhile in RA.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 1110, 525-538 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-22038DOI: 10.1196/annals.1423.056PubMedID: 17911468OAI: diva2:212454
Available from: 2009-04-22 Created: 2009-04-22 Last updated: 2011-04-14
In thesis
1. Neuropeptides and neurotrophins in arthritis: studies on the human and mouse knee joint
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Neuropeptides and neurotrophins in arthritis: studies on the human and mouse knee joint
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Neuropeptides, such as substance P (SP) and bombesin/gastrin-releasing peptide (BN/GRP), and neurotrophins are involved in neuro-immunomodulatory processes and have marked trophic, growth-promoting and inflammation-modulating properties. The impact of these modulators in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is, however, unclear. An involvement of the innervation, including the peptidergic innervation, is frequently proposed as an important factor for arthritic disease. Many patients with RA, but not all, benefit from treatment with anti-TNF medications.

The studies presented here aimed to investigate the roles of neuropeptides, with an emphasis on BN/GRP and SP, and neurotrophins, especially with attention to brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), in human and murine knee joint tissue. The expression patterns of these substances and their receptors in synovial tissue from patients with either RA or osteoarthritis (OA) were studied in parallel with the levels of these factors in blood and synovial fluid from patients with RA and from healthy controls. Correlation studies were also performed comparing the levels of neuropeptides with those of pro-inflammatory cytokines [tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-6 (IL-6)]. Furthermore, the impact of anti-TNF treatment on the levels of BDNF in blood was investigated. In a murine model of RA, the expression of these substances on articular chondrocytes along with their expression in synovial tissue was investigated.

The expression of BN/GRP in human synovial tissue was confined to fibroblast-like and mononuclear-like cells whereas SP was detected in nerve-related structures. Receptors for these neuropeptides (GRP-R and NK-1R) were frequently present in blood vessel walls, and on fibroblast-like and mononuclear-like cells. The expression of BDNF and its receptors, p75 neurotrophin receptor and TrkB, was mainly confined to nerve structures. The levels of SP, and particularly those of BN/GRP, in synovial fluid and peripheral blood correlated with the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. There were clearly more correlations between SP-BN/GRP and inflammatory parameters than between BDNF and these factors. Plasma levels of BDNF were decreased following anti-TNF-treatment. In the joints of the murine model, there was a marked expression of neurotrophins, neurotrophin receptors and NK-1R/GRP-R in the articular chondrocytes. The expression was down-regulated in the arthritic animals. A neurotrophin system was found to develop in the inflammatory infiltrates of the synovium in the arthritic mice.

The results presented suggest that there is a local, and not nerve-related, supply of BN/GRP in the human synovial tissue. Furthermore, BN/GRP and SP have marked effects in the synovial tissue of patients with RA, i.e., there were abundant receptor expressions, and these neuropeptides are, together with cytokines, likely to be involved in the neuro-immunomodulation that occurs in arthritis. The observations do on the whole suggest that the neuropeptides, rather than BDNF, are related to inflammatory processes in the human knee joint. A new effect of anti-TNF treatment; i.e., lowering plasma levels of BDNF, was observed. Severe arthritis, as in the murine model, lead to a decrease in the levels of neurotrophin, and neurotrophin and neuropeptide receptor expressions in the articular cartilage. This fact might be a drawback for the function of the chondrocytes. Certain differences between the expression patterns in the synovial tissue of the murine model and those of human arthritic synovial tissue were noted. It is obvious that local productions in the synovial tissue, nerve-related supply in this tissue and productions in chondrocytes to different extents occur for the investigated substances.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå Universitet/Integrativ medicinsk biologi, 2008. 66 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1212
neuropeptides, neurotrophins, bombesin/gastrin-releasing peptide, substance P, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, synovial tissue, knee joint, rheumatoid arthritis
National Category
Cell and Molecular Biology
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1863 (URN)978-91-7264-647-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-10-17, Biologihusets stora föreläsningssal, BiA 201, Biologihuset, IMB avd Anatomi, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2008-09-29 Created: 2008-09-29 Last updated: 2009-04-22Bibliographically approved

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Guo, YongzhiNy, TorRantapää-Dahlqvist, SolbrittForsgren, Sture
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