Cytokines of the Th1 and Th2 type in sera of rheumatoid arthritis patients; correlations with anti-Hsp40 immune response and diagnostic markers

Acta Biochim Pol. 2010;57(3):327-32. Epub 2010 Sep 9.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disease which affects approximately 1% of the population worldwide. Recent research on the role of heat shock proteins (Hsps) in RA development indicates that they may have pro- or anti-inflammatory effect, most probably via modulating cytokine secretion. We investigated type Th1 (INFγ, TNFα, IL-2) and type Th2 (IL-10, IL-6, IL-4) cytokine levels in sera of RA patients and healthy controls, using flow cytometric bead array assay, and searched for correlations between the cytokine levels and serum antibodies against bacterial (DnaJ) and human (Hdj1, Hdj2 and Hdj3) Hsp40 proteins, as well as clinical and laboratory parameters. The levels of all cytokines studied were significantly increased in RA patients; the highest increase relative to healthy controls (7-fold) was observed for IL-6 and its levels correlated positively with the antibodies directed to DnaJ and to the C-terminal domain of Hdj2, and with diagnostic parameters (DAS 28, Steinbrocker RTG criteria, ARA/7, ESR, TEN, SW and GH). INFγ levels correlated negatively with DAS 28, ESR, TEN and SW. No correlations were found for TNFα, IL-2 or IL-4. Our results support the hypothesis of Hsp40 involvement in RA as well as indicate that IL-6 serum level is a good marker of the RA activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies / blood*
  • Antibodies / immunology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • HSP40 Heat-Shock Proteins / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / blood
  • Interleukin-10 / blood
  • Interleukin-2 / blood
  • Interleukin-4 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Th1 Cells / metabolism*
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies
  • HSP40 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma