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Expression of sterile-α and armadillo motif in rheumatoid arthritis monocytes correlates with TLR2 induced IL-1β and disease activity

Thwaites, Ryan, Unterberger, Sarah, Chamberlain, Giselle, Gray, Henry, Jordan, Kelsey, Davies, Kevin, Harrison, Neil ORCID: and Sacre, Sandra 2021. Expression of sterile-α and armadillo motif in rheumatoid arthritis monocytes correlates with TLR2 induced IL-1β and disease activity. Rheumatology 60 (12) , pp. 5843-5853. 10.1093/rheumatology/keab162

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Objective Cartilage and bone damage in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are associated with elevated IL-1β. The effects of IL-1β can be reduced by biological therapies that target IL-1β or TNFα. However, the mechanisms responsible for increased IL-1β and the effect of anti-TNFα have not been fully elucidated. Recently, sterile-α and armadillo motif-containing protein (SARM) was identified as a negative regulator of toll-like receptor (TLR) induced IL-1β secretion through an interaction with the inflammasome. This study set out to investigate SARM during TLR induced IL-1β secretion in RA peripheral blood monocytes and in patients commencing anti-TNFα treatment. Methods Monocytes were isolated from RA patients and healthy controls; disease activity was measured by DAS28. IL-1β secretion was measured by ELISA following TLR1/2, TLR4 and TLR7/8 stimulation. The mRNA expression of SARM, IL-1β and the components of the NOD-like receptor family, pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome were measured by quantitative PCR. SARM protein expression was measured by western blotting. Results TLR1/2 activation induced elevated IL-1β in RA monocytes compared with heathy controls (p= 0.0009), which negatively correlated with SARM expression (p = 0.0086). Lower SARM expression also correlated with higher disease activity (p = 0.0246). Additionally, patients responding to anti-TNFα treatment demonstrated a rapid upregulation of SARM, which was not observed in non-responders. Conclusion Together, these data highlight a potential contribution from SARM to RA pathophysiology where decreased SARM may lead to elevated IL-1β associated with RA pathogenesis. Furthermore, the data additionally present a potential mechanism by which TNFα blockade can modify IL-1β secretion.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1462-0324
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 February 2021
Date of Acceptance: 4 February 2021
Last Modified: 23 May 2023 23:19

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