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Open Access Research article

Blocking the janus-activated kinase pathway reduces tumor necrosis factor alpha-induced interleukin-18 bioactivity by caspase-1 inhibition

Hubert Marotte12, Pei-Suen Tsou1, Tatiana Fedorova1, Adam J Pinney1, Benjamin Lewis1 and Alisa E Koch13*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine/Division of Rheumatology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA

2 Currently INSERM U1059 Laboratoire Biologie intégrée du Tissu Osseux, Université de Lyon, F-42023 Saint-Etienne, France

3 VA Medical Service, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI 48108, USA

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2014, 16:R102  doi:10.1186/ar4551

Published: 24 April 2014

Abstract

Introduction

Our objective was to examine the role of the janus-activated kinase (JAK) pathway in the modulation of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF)-induced-IL-18 bioactivity by reduction of caspase-1 function.

Methods

Caspase-1 expression in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial fibroblasts treated with TNF was assessed by qRT-PCR and Western blot. Interleukin (IL)-18 was assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in cell lysates and conditioned media and detected by immunofluorescence (IF) staining in RA synovial fibroblasts. The critical pathways for TNF-induced caspase-1 expression were determined by using chemical inhibitors of signaling followed by TNF stimulation. IL-18 bioactivity was assessed using human myelomonocytic KG-1 cells.

Results

TNF induced RA synovial fibroblast caspase-1 expression at the protein level in a time-dependant manner (P < 0.05). Blocking the JAK pathway reduced TNF-induced-caspase-1 expression at the transcriptional and protein levels by approximately 60% and 40%, respectively (P < 0.05). Blocking the JAK pathway reduced TNF-induced-caspase-1 expression at the transcriptional, protein, and activity levels by approximately 60%, 40%, and 53%, respectively (P < 0.05). We then confirmed by IF that TNF-induced IL-18 and investigated roles of the ERK1/2 and JAK pathways. Blocking the JAK pathway, TNF induced intracytoplasmic granular IL-18 expression suggesting a defect of caspase-1. Finally, blocking the JAK pathway, we observed a reduction of IL-18 bioactivity by 52% in RA synovial fibroblasts (P < 0.05).

Conclusions

These results provide a new way to regulate TNF-induced-IL-18 bioactivity by blocking capase-1. These data present a novel role for JAK inhibition in RA patients and emphasize JAK inhibition use as a new therapeutic option in RA management.