Background: Angiogenesis plays a central role in the pathophysiology of rheumatic diseases. Patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) demonstrate increased vascularity over patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), with unknown mechanisms.
Methods: We evaluated the serum levels of several pro- and anti-angiogenic factors in 62 PsA patients with active disease, 39 PsA patients in remission, 33 active RA patients, and 33 healthy controls (HC). Additionally, we used an in vitro co-culture system of fibroblast (HT1080) and monocytic-like (MM6) cell lines, to evaluate how their interactions affect the secretion of angiogenic factors and angiogenesis promoting abilities using scratch and tube formation assays.
Results: PsA patients, regardless of disease activity, exhibited higher levels of EMMPRIN/CD147, IL-17, and TNF-α relative to RA patients or HC. Factors, such as IL-6, and the ratio between CD147 and thrombospondin-1, exhibited elevated levels in active PsA patients relative to PsA patients in remission. Secretion of CD147, VEGF, and MMP-9 was increased in vitro. CD147 neutralization with an antibody reduced these levels and the ability of endothelial cells to form tube-like structures or participate in wound healing.
Conclusions: CD147 plays a role in mediating angiogenesis in PsA, and the therapeutic possibilities of neutralizing it merit further investigation.
Keywords: Angiogenesis; EMMPRIN/CD147; Psoriatic arthritis (PsA); Thrombospondin-1 (Tsp-1).