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Mast cells differentiated in synovial fluid and resident in osteophytes exalt the inflammatory pathology of osteoarthritis

Kulkarni, P., Harsulkar, A., Märtson, A-G, Suutre, S., Märtson, A. and Kõks, S. (2022) Mast cells differentiated in synovial fluid and resident in osteophytes exalt the inflammatory pathology of osteoarthritis. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23 (1). Art. 541.

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Introduction: Osteophytes are a prominent feature of osteoarthritis (OA) joints and one of the clinical hallmarks of the disease progression. Research on osteophytes is fragmentary and modes of its contribution to OA pathology are obscure. Aim: To elucidate the role of osteophytes in OA pathology from a perspective of molecular and cellular events. Methods: RNA-seq of fully grown osteophytes, collected from tibial plateau of six OA patients revealed patterns corresponding to active extracellular matrix re-modulation and prominent participation of mast cells. Presence of mast cells was further confirmed by immunohistochemistry, performed on the sections of the osteophytes using anti-tryptase alpha/beta-1 and anti-FC epsilon RI antibodies and the related key up-regulated genes were validated by qRT-PCR. To test the role of OA synovial fluid (SF) in mast cell maturation as proposed by the authors, hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and ThP1 cells were cultured in a media supplemented with 10% SF samples, obtained from various grades of OA patients and were monitored using specific cell surface markers by flow cytometry. Proteomics analysis of SF samples was performed to detect additional markers specific to mast cells and inflammation that drive the cell differentiation and maturation. Results: Transcriptomics of osteophytes revealed a significant upregulation of mast cells specific genes such as chymase 1 (CMA1; 5-fold) carboxypeptidase A3 (CPA3; 4-fold), MS4A2/FCERI (FCERI; 4.2-fold) and interleukin 1 receptor-like 1 (IL1RL1; 2.5-fold) indicating their prominent involvement. (In IHC, anti-tryptase alpha/beta-1 and anti- FC epsilon RI-stained active mast cells were seen populated in cartilage, subchondral bone, and trabecular bone.) Based on these outcomes and previous learnings, the authors claim a possibility of mast cells invasion into osteophytes is mediated by SF and present in vitro cell differentiation assay results, wherein ThP1 and HSCs showed differentiation into HLA-DR+/CD206+ and FCERI+ phenotype, respectively, after exposing them to medium containing 10% SF for 9 days. Proteomics analysis of these SF samples showed an accumulation of mast cell-specific inflammatory proteins. Conclusions: RNA-seq analysis followed by IHC study on osteophyte samples showed a population of mast cells resident in them and may further accentuate inflammatory pathology of OA. Besides subchondral bone, the authors propose an alternative passage of mast cells invasion in osteophytes, wherein OA SF was found to be necessary and sufficient for maturation of mast cell precursor into effector cells.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Molecular Medicine and Innovative Therapeutics (CMMIT)
Publisher: MDPI AG
Copyright: © 2022 The Authors.
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