Accumulating evidence indicates that epigenetic aberrations have a role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, reports on histone modifications are as yet quite limited in RA. Interleukin (IL)-6 is an inflammatory cytokine which is known to be involved in the pathogenesis of RA. Here we report the role of histone modifications in elevated IL-6 production in RA synovial fibroblasts (SFs). The level of histone H3 acetylation (H3ac) in the IL-6 promoter was significantly higher in RASFs than osteoarthritis (OA) SFs. This suggests that chromatin structure is in an open or loose state in the IL-6 promoter in RASFs. Furthermore, curcumin, a histone acetyltransferase (HAT) inhibitor, significantly reduced the level of H3ac in the IL-6 promoter, as well as IL-6 mRNA expression and IL-6 protein secretion by RASFs. Taken together, it is suggested that hyperacetylation of histone H3 in the IL-6 promoter induces the increase in IL-6 production by RASFs and thereby participates in the pathogenesis of RA.
Keywords: Curcumin; Epigenetics; Histone modifications; Interleukin-6; Rheumatoid arthritis; Synovial fibroblasts.
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