Objective: We undertook this study to examine microRNA (miRNA) expression across rheumatoid arthritis (RA) phenotypes, along with the effects and mechanisms of action of miRNA-17-5p (miR-17).
Methods: A miRNA array was performed in synovial tissue biopsied from patients with naive erosive RA (n = 3) and patients with nonerosive RA (n = 3). MicroRNA-17 lipoplex was delivered intraarticularly in the murine collagen-induced arthritis model. Clinical, histologic, and structural effects were studied over the course of arthritis. In-depth studies of the mechanisms of action of miR-17 were performed in primary RA fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) isolated from synovial tissue.
Results: Fifty-five miRNAs including miR-17 were reduced in erosive RA. The miR-17 transfection into arthritic paws reduced the clinical inflammation score between day 2 and day 7 (2.8 versus 1.9; P = 0.03). Synovial B cell, T cell, macrophage, and polynuclear neutrophil infiltration was significantly reduced. Structural damage was also decreased, as shown by a reduction in the number of osteoclasts detected using tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase staining (osteoclast surface/bone surface 32% versus 18%; P = 0.005) and erosion score by computed tomography analysis (2.9 versus 1.7; P = 0.023). Proinflammatory cytokines from the interleukin-6 (IL-6) family and IL-1β expression were also significantly reduced, but tumor necrosis factor was not. MicroRNA-17 directly targeted the 3'-untranslated regions of STAT3 and JAK1. STAT3 and JAK1 messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein expression were reduced in RA FLS following miR-17 transfection. STAT3 and JAK1 mRNA and activation of STAT3, as assessed by immunohistochemistry, were also reduced in injected paws (% stained area 93% versus 62%; P = 0.035).
Conclusion: We demonstrate an antiinflammatory and antierosive role of miR-17 in vivo. This effect involves the suppression of the IL-6 family autocrine-amplifying loop through the direct targeting of JAK1 and STAT3.
© 2020 The Authors. Arthritis & Rheumatology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American College of Rheumatology.