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MAPK activated kinase 2 inhibition shifts the chemokine signature in arthritis synovial fluid mononuclear cells from CXCR3 to CXCR2

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BACKGROUND: The development of novel treatment strategies of immune-mediated inflammatory arthritis (IMIA) is still a clinical unmet need. The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway is activated by environmental stressors, growth factors and inflammatory cytokines. However, the inhibition of central MAPK proteins has so far had undesirable side effects. The MAPK-activated protein kinase 2 (MK2) is a downstream mediator in the MAPK signaling pathway.

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to explore the effects of a small molecule inhibiting MK2 on synovial fluid mononuclear cells from patients with IMIA.

METHODS: Synovial fluid mononuclear cells (SFMCs) were obtained from a study population consisting of patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA), peripheral spondyloarthritis (SpA) or psoriatic arthritis (PsA) with at least one swollen joint (for obtaining synovial fluid) (n = 11). SFMCs were cultured for 48 h with and without the MK2 inhibitor CC0786512 at 1000 nM, 333 nM and 111 nMand cell free supernatants were harvested and frozen before they were analyzed by the Olink proseek multiplex interferon panel.

RESULTS: In SFMCs cultured for 48 h, the MK2 inhibitor decreased the production of chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 9 (CXCL9) (P < 0.001), CXCL10 (P < 0.01), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) (P < 0.01), CXCL11 (P < 0.01), tumor necrosisfactor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) (P < 0.05), and interleukin 12B (IL-12B) (P < 0.05) and increased the production of CXCL5 (P < 0.0001), CXCL1 (P < 0.0001), CXCL6 (P < 0.001), transforming growthfactoralpha (TGFα) (P = 0.01), monocyte-chemotactic protein 3 (MCP-3) (P < 0.01), latency-associated peptide (LAP) TGFβ (P < 0.05) dose-dependently.

CONCLUSIONS: This study reveals the downstream effects of MK2 inhibition on the secretory profile of SFMCs. Specifically, C-X-C motif chemokine receptors 3 (CXCR3) chemokines were decreased and CXCR2 chemokines were increased. This shift in the chemokine milieu may be one of the mechanisms behind the anti-inflammatory effects of MK2 inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Immunopharmacology
Pages (from-to)109267
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Sep 2022

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