Objective: To investigate whether monocyte chemotactic and activating factor (MCAF) contributes to the accumulation of macrophages in the joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods: MCAF was measured by radioimmunoassay. MCAF gene expression was determined by Northern blotting and reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Recombinant human MCAF was injected into rabbit joints to evaluate the effect of MCAF on infiltration of macrophages.
Results: High levels of MCAF were detected in synovial fluid from patients with RA. Cells freshly isolated from synovial fluid expressed MCAF messenger RNA (mRNA). Fibroblast-like synoviocytes were found to express MCAF mRNA and to secrete MCAF in response to interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor in vitro. IL-1 also promoted MCAF gene expression in rabbit synovial tissue in vivo. MCAF caused marked infiltration of macrophages in rabbit synovial tissue.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that MCAF may contribute to the accumulation of macrophages in inflamed rheumatoid joints.