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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Macrophage migration inhibitory factor enhances osteoclastogenesis through upregulation of RANKL expression from fibroblast-like synoviocytes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Hae-Rim Kim1, Kyoung-Woon Kim2, Hong Geun Jung3, Kwang-Sup Yoon3, Hye-Jwa Oh4, Mi-La Cho4* and Sang-Heon Lee1*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Rheumatology, Medical Immunology Center, Department of Internal Medicine, Konkuk University School of Medicine, 1 Hwayang-dong, Kwangjin-gu, Seoul 143-729, Korea

2 Medical Immunology Center, Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology, Konkuk University, 1 Hwayang-dong, Kwangjin-gu, Seoul 143-729, Korea

3 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Konkuk University School of Medicine, 1 Hwayang-dong, Kwangjin-gu, Seoul 143-729, Korea

4 The Rheumatism Research Center, Catholic Research Institute of Medical Science, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, South Korea, 505 Banpo-Dong, Seocho-Ku, Seoul 137-040, Korea

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2011, 13:R43  doi:10.1186/ar3279

Published: 14 March 2011

Abstract

Introduction

Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is one of key regulators in acute and chronic immune-inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We examined the effect of MIF on osteoclastogenesis, which is known to play a crucial role in bone destruction in RA.

Methods

The concentration of MIF and receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL) in the synovial fluid was measured by ELISA. MIF-induced RANKL expression of RA synovial fibroblasts was determined by real-time PCR and western blot. Osteoclastogenesis was analyzed in culture of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) with MIF. Osteoclastogenesis was also determined after co-cultures of rhMIF-stimulated RA synovial fibroblasts with human PBMC.

Results

Synovial fluid MIF concentration in RA patients was significantly higher than in osteoarthritis (OA) patients. The concentration of RANKL correlated with that of MIF in RA synovial fluids (r = 0.6, P < 0.001). MIF stimulated the expression of RANKL mRNA and protein in RA synovial fibroblasts, which was partially reduced by blocking of interleukin (IL)-1β. Osteoclasts were differentiated from PBMC cultures with MIF and M-CSF, even without RANKL. Osteoclastogenesis was increased after co-culture of MIF-stimulated RA synovial fibroblasts with PBMC and this effect was diminished by RANKL neutralization. Blocking of PI3 kinase, p38 MAP kinase, JAK-2, NF-κB, and AP-1 also led to a marked reduction in RANKL expression and osteoclastogenesis.

Conclusions

The interactions among MIF, synovial fibroblasts, osteoclasts, RANKL, and IL-1β have a close connection in osteoclastogenesis and they could be a potential gateway leading to new therapeutic approaches in treating bone destruction in RA.