Objective: To investigate the production of proinflammatory cytokines and expression of cell adhesion molecules in the rheumatoid nodule.
Methods: Cytokine content (tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNFalpha], interleukin-1beta [IL-1beta], and IL-1 receptor antagonist [IL-1Ra]), at the messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein levels, and cell adhesion molecule expression were studied in 16 rheumatoid nodules and 6 synovial membranes.
Results: Macrophages in the rheumatoid nodules contained TNFalpha, IL-1beta, and IL-1Ra mRNA and protein, particularly in perivascular cells of the stroma and in the palisading layer. All cell adhesion molecules studied were expressed in both the rheumatoid nodules and synovial membranes, with increased expression of E-selectin in the rheumatoid nodule compared with the synovial membrane, and with the absence of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 expression on cells of the palisading layer in the rheumatoid nodule.
Conclusion: The presence of similar proinflammatory cytokines and cell adhesion molecules in the rheumatoid nodule and synovial membrane suggests that similar pathogenic processes result in the chronic inflammation and tissue destruction in these lesions.