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Galectin-9 Is a Possible Promoter of Immunopathology in Rheumatoid Arthritis by Activation of Peptidyl Arginine Deiminase 4 (PAD-4) in Granulocytes

Wiersma, V. R., Clarke, A., Pouwels, S. D., Perry, E., Abdullah, T. M., Kelly, C., Soyza, A. D., Hutchinson, D., Eggleton, P. & Bremer, E., 19-Aug-2019, In : International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 20, 16, 20 p., 4046.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

The aetiology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is unknown, but citrullination of proteins is thought to be an initiating event. In addition, it is increasingly evident that the lung can be a potential site for the generation of autoimmune triggers before the development of joint disease. Here, we identified that serum levels of galectin-9 (Gal-9), a pleiotropic immunomodulatory protein, are elevated in RA patients, and are even further increased in patients with comorbid bronchiectasis, a lung disease caused by chronic inflammation. The serum concentrations of Gal-9 correlate with C-reactive protein levels and DAS-28 score. Gal-9 activated polymorphonuclear leukocytes (granulocytes) in vitro, which was characterized by increased cytokine secretion, migration, and survival. Further, granulocytes treated with Gal-9 upregulated expression of peptidyl arginine deiminase 4 (PAD-4), a key enzyme required for RA-associated citrullination of proteins. Correspondingly, treatment with Gal-9 triggered citrullination of intracellular granulocyte proteins that are known contributors to RA pathogenesis (i.e., myeloperoxidase, alpha-enolase, MMP-9, lactoferrin). In conclusion, this study identifies for the first time an immunomodulatory protein, Gal-9, that triggers activation of granulocytes leading to increased PAD-4 expression and generation of citrullinated autoantigens. This pathway may represent a potentially important mechanism for development of RA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4046
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume20
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 19-Aug-2019

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