Angiogenesis is an early and a critical event in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Neovascularization is dependent on endothelial cell activation, migration and proliferation, and inhibition of angiogenesis may provide a novel therapeutic approach in RA. In this study, we document a novel role of IL-17 in mediating angiogenesis. Local expression of IL-17 in mouse ankles increases vascularity.We further demonstrate that IL-17 is angiogenic by showing its ability to promote blood vessel growth in Matrigel plugs in vivo. Additionally, IL-17, in concentrations present in the RA joint, induces human lung microvascular endothelial cell (HMVEC) migration mediated through the PI3K/AKT1 pathway. Furthermore, suppression of the PI3K pathway markedly reduces IL-17-induced tube formation. We also show that both IL-17-induced HMVEC chemotaxis and tube formation are mediated primarily through IL-17 receptor C. Neutralization of either IL-17 in RA synovial fluids or IL-17 receptor C on HMVECs significantly reduces the induction of HMVEC migration by RA synovial fluid. Finally, RA synovial fluid immunoneutralized with anti-IL-17 and antivascular endothelial growth factor does not reduce HMVEC migration beyond the effect detected by immunodepleting each factor alone. These observations identify a novel function for IL-17 as an angiogenic mediator in RA, supporting IL-17 as a therapeutic target in RA.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy