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Shedding of Large Functionally Active CD11/CD18 Integrin Complexes from Leukocyte Membranes during Synovial Inflammation Distinguishes Three Types of Arthritis through Differential Epitope Exposure

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  • Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology
  • Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center
  • Department of Molecular Biology
  • The Section for Rheumatology
CD18 integrins are adhesion molecules expressed on the cell surface of leukocytes and play a central role in the molecular mechanisms supporting leukocyte migration to zones of inflammation. Recently, it was discovered that CD11a/CD18 is shed from the leukocyte surface in models of inflammation. In this study, we show that shedding of human CD11/CD18 complexes is a part of synovial inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthritis but not in osteoarthritis. In vivo and in vitro data suggest that the shedding is driven by TNF-α, which links the process to central events in the inflammatory response. The shed complexes contain multiple heterodimers of CD11/CD18, are variable in size, and differ according to the type of synovial inflammation. Furthermore, the differential structures determine the avidity of binding of the complexes to the ICAM-1. With the estimated concentrations of CD11/CD18 in plasma and synovial fluid a significant coverage of binding sites in ICAM-1 for CD18 integrins is expected. Based on cell adhesion experiments in vitro, we hypothesize that the large soluble complexes of CD11/CD18 act in vivo to buffer leukocyte adhesion by competing with the membrane-bound receptors for ICAM-1 binding sites. As reported here for synovial inflammation changes in the concentration or structure of these complexes should be considered as likely contributors to disease activity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume185
Issue7
Pages (from-to)4154-68
Number of pages14
ISSN0022-1767
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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