Author(s): Healy AM, Izmailova E, Fitzgerald M, Walker R, Hattersley M,
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Abstract T cell effector functions contribute to the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. PKC-theta transduces the signal from the TCR through activation of transcription factors NF-kappaB, AP-1, and NFAT. We examined the effects of PKC-theta deficiency on two Th1-dependent models of Ag-induced arthritis and found that PKC-theta-deficient mice develop disease, but at a significantly diminished severity compared with wild-type mice. In the methylated BSA model, cellular infiltrates and articular cartilage damage were mild in the PKC-theta-deficient mice as compared with wild-type mice. Quantitation of histopathology reveals 63 and 77\% reduction in overall joint destruction in two independent experiments. In the type II collagen-induced arthritis model, we observed a significant reduction in clinical scores (p < 0.01) in three independent experiments and diminished joint pathology (p < 0.005) in PKC-theta-deficient compared with wild-type littermates. Microcomputerized tomographic imaging revealed that PKC-theta deficiency also protects from bone destruction. PKC-theta-deficient CD4(+) T cells show an impaired proliferative response, decreased intracellular levels of the cytokines IFN-gamma, IL-2, and IL-4, and significantly diminished cell surface expression of the activation markers CD25, CD69, and CD134/OX40 on memory T cells. We demonstrate decreased T-bet expression and significantly reduced IgG1 and IgG2a anti-collagen II Ab levels in PKC-theta-deficient mice. Collectively, our results demonstrate that PKC-theta deficiency results in an attenuated response to Ag-induced arthritis, which is likely mediated by the reduced T cell proliferation, Th1/Th2 cell differentiation and T cell activation before and during disease peak.
This article was published in J Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology