Objective: To investigate the effects of a 1,000-mg intravenous pulse of methylprednisolone succinate (MP) on cell adhesion molecule expression on the synovial vascular endothelium in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods: Sequential arthroscopic biopsy samples were taken before and 24 hours after MP administration (10 patients) and at the time of RA flare (2 patients) and after retreatment with MP (1 patient). Immunoperoxidase staining for E-selectin (CD62E), P-selectin (CD62P), intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1; CD54) and platelet-endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM; CD31) was performed, and the staining was quantified by color video image analysis.
Results: MP caused a rapid (within 24 hours) and substantial decrease in the expression of E-selectin on the synovial vascular endothelium, with a smaller reduction in ICAM-1 expression on synovial vascular endothelium and the synovial lining. There were no similar effects on synovial membrane P-selectin or PECAM expression.
Conclusion: A potential mechanism by which MP impairs neutrophil trafficking into inflamed RA joints might be by reducing E-selectin, and possibly, ICAM-1, expression in the synovial membrane.