IL-11 facilitates a novel connection between RA joint fibroblasts and endothelial cells
IL-11 has been detected in inflamed joints; however, its role in the pathogenesis of arthritis is not yet clear. Studies were conducted to characterize the expression and functional significance of IL-11 and IL-11R alpha in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). IL-11 levels were elevated in RA synovial fluid (SF) compared to osteoarthritis (OA) SF and plasma from RA, OA and normal individuals (NLs). Morphologic studies established that IL-11 was detected in lining fibroblasts and macrophages in addition to sublining endothelial cells and macrophages at higher levels in RA compared to NL synovial tissues. Since IL-11R alpha was exclusively expressed in RA fibroblasts and endothelial cells, macrophages were not involved in IL-11 effector function. Ligation of IL-11 to IL-11R alpha strongly provoked fibroblast infiltration into RA joint, while cell proliferation was unaffected by this process. Secretion of IL-8 and VEGF from IL-11 activated RA fibroblasts was responsible for the indirect effect of IL-11 on endothelial cell transmigration and tube formation. Moreover, IL-11 blockade impaired RA SF capacity to elicit endothelial cell transmigration and tube formation. We conclude that IL-11 binding to endothelial IL-11R alpha can directly induce RA angiogenesis. In addition, secretion of proangiogenic factors from migrating fibroblasts potentiated by IL-11 can indirectly contribute to RA neovascularization.
Elshabrawy, H.A., Volin, M.V., Essani, A.B. et al. “IL-11 facilitates a novel connection between RA joint fibroblasts and endothelial cells.” Angiogenesis (2018) 21: 215-228. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10456-017-9589-y