Objective: To investigate whether the soluble form of interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor accessory protein (sIL-1RAcP), whose physiologic function remains to be established, can serve as a specific inhibitor of IL-1 signaling in vitro, and to evaluate its applicability in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA).
Methods: Soluble IL-1RAcP was cloned from murine liver complementary DNA and expressed by the use of either an adenoviral vector (AdRGD) for sIL-1RAcP or a stable-transfected NIH3T3 fibroblast cell line. The ability of affinity-purified sIL-1RAcP to inhibit IL-1 signaling was tested on NF-kappaB luciferase reporter fibroblasts and quantified by luminometer. To investigate therapeutic efficacy, sIL-1RAcP was both locally (knee joint) and systemically overexpressed in collagen-immunized male DBA/1 mice. Severity of arthritis was monitored visually, and the pathologic process in the joint was examined histologically. Serum was obtained from mice to quantify IL-6 and anti-bovine type II collagen (BCII) antibody levels.
Results: Incubation of the NF-kappaB reporter fibroblast with purified sIL-1RAcP protein showed a marked reduction of IL-1-induced, but not tumor necrosis factor-induced, NF-kappaB activation. This showed a novel role for sIL-1RAcP as a specific inhibitor of IL-1 signaling. Local transplantation of sIL-1RAcP-producing NIH3T3 fibroblasts into the knee before onset of CIA had little or no effect on general disease severity in these mice. Histologic evaluation of the knee joints receiving sIL-1RAcP cell transplantation showed a marked reduction in both joint inflammation and bone and cartilage erosion. Local treatment with sIL-1RAcP had no profound effect on serum levels of IL-6 and anti-BCII antibodies, which is indicative of the ongoing presence of arthritis in distal joints. In contrast to local treatment, systemic treatment with the AdRGD for sIL-1RAcP markedly ameliorated CIA in all joints.
Conclusion: In this study we demonstrated that sIL-1RAcP is a biologically active and innovative inhibitor of IL-1, and treatment of mice with sIL-1RAcP had a profound prophylactic effect on collagen-induced arthritis.