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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Sphingosine kinase 1- mediated inhibition of Fas death signaling in rheumatoid arthritis B lymphoblastoid cells.

OBJECTIVE: It is becoming increasingly apparent that B cells play an important role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis ( RA). Due to the scarcity of B cells in RA, it has been technically difficult to functionally characterize B cell apoptosis in this disease. As a necessary first step to identify candidate aberrations, we investigated Fas-mediated signaling events in immortalized peripheral blood B lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) from patients with RA and controls. METHODS: Cell death was determined by the MTS assay, and apoptosis was detected by the TUNEL assay and DNA laddering. Proteolytic activation of caspase 3 was determined by immunoblotting, and its enzymatic activity was determined by a fluorometric technique. Messenger RNA (mRNA) expression was quantified by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis. The functional role of sphingosine kinase (SPHK) was determined by measuring its enzymatic activity, by quantifying the levels of its product, sphingosine 1-phosphate ( S1P), and by investigating the ability of the SPHK inhibitor N,N-dimethylsphingosine and isozyme-specific small interfering RNA (siRNA) oligonucleotides to reverse signaling aberrations. RESULTS: LCLs from patients with RA displayed disease-specific Fas-mediated signal transduction impairment with consequent resistance to cell death. RA LCLs displayed high constitutive SPHK activity and increased levels of S1P. Real-time PCR analysis showed higher SPHK-1 mRNA expression levels in RA patients compared with paired controls. Increased SPHK-1 (but not SPHK-2) mRNA levels were observed in synovial tissue from RA patients. Competitive inhibitors of SPHK reversed the resistance of RA LCLs to Fas-induced apoptosis. Additionally, resistance to Fas-mediated signaling was reversed by siRNA oligonucleotides specific for SPHK-1 but not by oligonucleotides specific for SPHK-2. CONCLUSION: These findings demonstrate disease-specific resistance to Fas-mediated death signaling in patients with RA and implicate increased SPHK-1 activity as the cause of this aberration.[1]


  1. Sphingosine kinase 1-mediated inhibition of Fas death signaling in rheumatoid arthritis B lymphoblastoid cells. Pi, X., Tan, S.Y., Hayes, M., Xiao, L., Shayman, J.A., Ling, S., Holoshitz, J. Arthritis Rheum. (2006) [Pubmed]
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