Induction of the p16INK4a senescence gene as a new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

Nat Med. 1999 Jul;5(7):760-7. doi: 10.1038/10480.


Synovial tissue affected by rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by proliferation, which leads to irreversible cartilage and bone destruction. Current and experimental treatments have been aimed mainly at correcting the underlying immune abnormalities, but these treatments often prove ineffective in preventing the invasive destruction. We studied the expression of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors in rheumatoid synovial cells as a means of suppressing synovial cell proliferation. Synovial cells derived from hypertrophic synovial tissue readily expressed p16INK4a when they were growth-inhibited. This was not seen in other fibroblasts, including those derived from normal and osteoarthritis-affected synovial tissues. In vivo adenoviral gene therapy with the p16INK4a gene efficiently inhibited the pathology in an animal model of rheumatoid arthritis. Thus, the induction of p16INK4a may provide a new approach to the effective treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae
  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Experimental / pathology
  • Arthritis, Experimental / therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / therapy*
  • Cell Division
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / biosynthesis
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / genetics*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / metabolism*
  • Dogs
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Synovial Membrane / pathology
  • Synovial Membrane / physiology*
  • Synovial Membrane / physiopathology
  • beta-Galactosidase / biosynthesis
  • beta-Galactosidase / genetics


  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • beta-Galactosidase