Control of cytokine mRNA degradation by the histone deacetylase inhibitor ITF2357 in rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast-like synoviocytes: beyond transcriptional regulation

Arthritis Res Ther. 2018 Jul 20;20(1):148. doi: 10.1186/s13075-018-1638-4.


Background: Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) suppress cytokine production in immune and stromal cells of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Here, we investigated the effects of the HDACi givinostat (ITF2357) on the transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of inflammatory markers in RA fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS).

Methods: The effects of ITF2357 on the expression and messenger RNA (mRNA) stability of IL-1β-inducible genes in FLS were analyzed using array-based qPCR and Luminex. The expression of primary and mature cytokine transcripts, the mRNA levels of tristetraprolin (TTP, or ZFP36) and other AU-rich element binding proteins (ARE-BP) and the cytokine profile of fibroblasts derived from ZFP36+/+ and ZFP36-/- mice was measured by qPCR. ARE-BP silencing was performed by small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown, and TTP post-translational modifications were analyzed by immunoblotting.

Results: ITF2357 reduced the expression of 85% of the analyzed IL-1β-inducible transcripts, including cytokines (IL6, IL8), chemokines (CXCL2, CXCL5, CXCL6, CXCL10), matrix-degrading enzymes (MMP1, ADAMTS1) and other inflammatory mediators. Analyses of mRNA stability demonstrated that ITF2357 accelerates IL6, IL8, PTGS2 and CXCL2 mRNA degradation, a phenomenon associated with the enhanced transcription of TTP, but not other ARE-BP, and the altered post-translational status of TTP protein. TTP knockdown potentiated cytokine production in RA FLS and murine fibroblasts, which in the latter case was insensitive to inhibition by ITF2357 treatment.

Conclusions: Our study identifies that regulation of cytokine mRNA stability is a predominant mechanism underlying ITF2357 anti-inflammatory properties, occurring via regulation of TTP. These results highlight the therapeutic potential of ITF2357 in the treatment of RA.

Keywords: Fibroblast-like synoviocytes; Histone deacetylase inhibitor; ITF2357; Inflammation; Rheumatoid arthritis; Tristetraprolin; mRNA stability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / drug effects
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxamic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • RNA Stability / drug effects
  • RNA, Messenger / drug effects
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Synoviocytes / drug effects*
  • Synoviocytes / metabolism
  • Tristetraprolin / biosynthesis


  • Cytokines
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Hydroxamic Acids
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tristetraprolin
  • givinostat hydrochloride