Rho-GTPase pathways may differentiate treatment response to TNF-alpha and IL-17A inhibitors in psoriatic arthritis

Sci Rep. 2020 Dec 10;10(1):21703. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-78866-2.


Biological therapies have dramatically improved the therapeutic landscape of psoriatic arthritis (PsA); however, 40-50% of patients are primary non-responders with response rates declining significantly with each successive biological therapy. Therefore, there is a pressing need to develop a coherent strategy for effective initial and subsequent selection of biologic agents. We interrogated 40 PsA patients initiating either tumour necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFi) or interleukin-17A inhibitors (17Ai) for active PsA. Patients achieving low disease activity according to the Disease Activity Index for PsA (DAPSA) at 3 months were classified as responders. Baseline and 3-month CD4+ transcript profiling were performed, and novel signaling pathways were identified using a multi-omics profiling and integrative computational analysis approach. Using transcriptomic data at initiation of therapy, we identified over 100 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) that differentiated IL-17Ai response from non-response and TNFi response from non-response. Integration of cell-type-specific DEGs with protein-protein interactions and further comprehensive pathway enrichment analysis revealed several pathways. Rho GTPase signaling pathway exhibited a strong signal specific to IL-17Ai response and the genes, RAC1 and ROCKs, are supported by results from prior research. Our detailed network and pathway analyses have identified the rewiring of Rho GTPase pathways as potential markers of response to IL17Ai but not TNFi. These results need further verification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adalimumab
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / pharmacology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / genetics*
  • Biological Therapy / methods*
  • Interleukin-17 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Interleukin-17
  • RAC1 protein, human
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • golimumab
  • ixekizumab
  • secukinumab
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Adalimumab