Author(s): Kang KY, Kim YK, Yi H, Kim J, Jung HR,
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Abstract INTRODUCTION: This study was undertaken to determine whether metformin has anti-inflammatory effects in the collagen antibody-induced arthritis (CAIA) murine model. The effect of metformin on Th17 cell differentiation was also investigated. METHODS: CAIA mice were treated with 100 and 150 mg/kg i.p. metformin (low- and high-dose groups, respectively). Arthritis activity and histological joint destruction were studied. Flow cytometry was used to (i) determine RORγt-expressing CD4+ percentages in draining axillary lymph nodes (ALNs) from metformin-treated and untreated mice with CAIA, (ii) determine Th17 percentages in splenic CD4+ T cells cultured ex vivo for 3 days in Th17-differentiation-inducing conditions, and (iii) determine the percentages of RORγt+CD4+ T cells when normal splenic T cells from DBA/1 mice were cultured in Th17-differentiation-inducing conditions together with various metformin doses. Western blot analysis was used to assess the intracellular signaling of the metformin-treated splenocytes. RESULTS: Metformin attenuated both arthritis scores and bone destruction in CAIA mice, decreased the serum levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines, TNF-α and IL-1, and reduced the number of RORγt+CD4+ T cells in the ALNs. Splenocytes from metformin-treated CAIA mice differentiated less readily into Th17 cells upon ex vivo stimulation. Metformin treatment of normal cells cultured in Th17-differentiation-inducing conditions decreased the number of RORγt-expressing CD4+ cells in a dose-dependent manner and downregulated STAT3 phosphorylation via the AMPK pathway. CONCLUSIONS: Metformin had an anti-inflammatory effect on murine autoimmune arthritis due to the inhibition of Th17 cell differentiation. Metformin may have a possible therapeutic value for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Int Immunopharmacol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology