Objectives: To explore the presence of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in inflamed temporal artery biopsies (TABs) of patients with GCA.
Methods: Ten patients with GCA [five with limited and five with associated generalized vascular involvement, as defined by 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose PET with CT (PET/CT)] and eight with PMR were studied. The presence, location, quantitation and decoration of NETs with IL-6, IL-1β and IL-17A were assessed in TABs at the time of disease diagnosis by tissue immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy. Paired serum levels of IL-6 and IL-17A were also evaluated in all patients.
Results: All temporal artery biopsies from GCA, but not PMR, patients had NETs located mainly in the adventitia, adjacent to the vasa vasorum. NETs decorated with IL-6 were present in 8/10 TABs of GCA patients, of whom 5 were PET/CT(+) and 3 PET/CT(-) patients. IL-17A(+) NETs were observed in all GCA patients. IL-1β(+) NETs were not detected in any GCA patient. No relation was found between serum IL-6 and IL-17A levels and NETs containing IL-6 and/or IL-17A.
Conclusions: NETs bearing pro-inflammatory cytokines are present in inflamed GCA-TABs. Future studies with a larger number of patients from different centres will show whether the findings regarding neutrophils/NETs in the TAB are consistent and disclose their clinical impact.
Keywords: IL-17A; IL-6; NETs; giant cell arteritis; neutrophils; temporal arteries; vasculitis.
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