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Open Access Research article

Differential expression of the FAK family kinases in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis synovial tissues

Shiva Shahrara1, Hernan P Castro-Rueda1, G Kenneth Haines23 and Alisa E Koch145*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA

2 Department of Pathology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA

3 Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA

4 Veteran's Administration, Chicago Health Care System, Lakeside Division, Chicago Illinois 60611, USA

5 Veteran's Administration and the University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2007, 9:R112  doi:10.1186/ar2318

Published: 26 October 2007

Abstract

The focal adhesion kinase (FAK) family kinases, including FAK and proline-rich kinase 2 (Pyk)2, are the predominant mediators of integrin αvβ3 signaling events that play an important role in cell adhesion, osteoclast pathology, and angiogenesis, all processes important in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Using immunohistochemical and western blot analysis, we studied the distribution of phospho (p)FAK, pPyk2, pSrc, pPaxillin and pPLCγ in the synovial tissue (ST) from patients with RA, osteoarthritis (OA) and normal donors (NDs) as well as in RA ST fibroblasts and peripheral blood differentiated macrophages (PB MΦs) treated with tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) or interleukin-1β (IL1β). RA and OA STs showed a greater percentage of pFAK on lining cells and MΦs compared with ND ST. RA ST fibroblasts expressed pFAK at baseline, which increased with TNFα or IL1β stimulation. Pyk2 and Src were phosphorylated more on RA versus OA and ND lining cells and MΦs. pPyk2 was expressed on RA ST fibrobasts but not in MΦs at baseline, however it was upregulated upon TNFα or IL1β activation in both cell types. pSrc was expressed in RA ST fibroblasts and MΦs at baseline and was further increased by TNFα or IL1β stimulation. pPaxillin and pPLCγ were upregulated in RA versus OA and ND lining cells and sublining MΦs. Activation of the FAK family signaling cascade on RA and OA lining cells may be responsible for cell adhesion and migration into the diseased STs. Therapies targeting this novel signaling pathway may be beneficial in RA.