The role of interleukin-6 trans-signalling on cardiovascular dysfunction in inflammatory arthritis

Ruth Davies*, Jessica Williams, Katie Sime, Hyun-Sun Jin, Charlotte Thompson, Lauren Jordan, Derek Lang, Julian P Halcox, Elizabeth Ellins, Gareth W Jones, Simon A Jones, Stefan Rose-John, Anwen Williams, Ernest Choy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Cardiovascular (CV) mortality in RA patients is 50% higher than in the general population. There is increasing recognition that systemic inflammation is a major driver of this. IL-6 is implicated in cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the general population but its role in CVD in RA is undefined. Of the two modes of IL-6 signalling, trans-signalling is pro-inflammatory whereas classical signalling is linked with inflammation resolution. This study examines the role of IL-6 trans-signalling in CVD in a mouse model and patients with RA.

METHODS: Myography determined the effect of IL-6 trans-signalling blockade, using sgp130Fc, on aortic constriction in murine collagen-induced arthritis. Serum CCL2 and sVCAM-1 as soluble biomarkers of sIL-6R trans-signalling were investigated in a human cross-sectional study. An observational longitudinal study investigated the association between these biomarkers and progression of subclinical atherosclerosis in early RA by measuring carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT).

RESULTS: sgp130Fc reduced arthritis severity, serum CCL2 and sVCAM-1 and restored vascular function in collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). In established RA, sVCAM-1 correlated with the 28-joint DAS (DAS28) and CV risk. In early RA, baseline DAS28 was associated with CIMT change at 6 months. CIMT 'rapid progressors' at 12 months had higher baseline sVCAM-1, haemoglobin A1c, cholesterol:high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio and LDL cholesterol.

CONCLUSIONS: IL-6 trans-signalling plays a pivotal role in vascular dysfunction in CIA. In early RA, sVCAM-1 was associated with progression of subclinical atherosclerosis. Inflammation from RA onset in CVD-susceptible individuals may accelerate atherosclerosis. IL-6 trans-signalling blockade may be beneficial to RA patients and perhaps for atherosclerosis in the general population.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberkeaa725
Number of pages10
JournalRheumatology
Volume(2020)
Early online date11 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • RA
  • inflammation
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • experimental arthritis

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