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

The Anti-rheumatic Gold Salt Aurothiomalate Suppresses Interleukin-1beta-induced Hyaluronan Accumulation by Blocking HAS1 Transcription and by Acting as a COX-2 Transcriptional Repressor.

Gold compounds are among the oldest disease-modifying drugs and are still widely used today for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Despite decades of use, little is known about the mode of action of this class of drugs. Here we have demonstrated that aurothiomalate (AuTM) suppresses hyaluronan accumulation by blocking interleukin (IL)-1beta-induced hyaluronan synthase-1 transcription. We have further demonstrated that, in fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs), AuTM acts as a specific COX-2 transcriptional repressor in that IL-1beta-induced COX-2 transcription is blocked, whereas COX-1 transcription and translation is unaffected. As a consequence, PGE2 levels released by FLS are dose-dependently reduced in cells exposed to AuTM. Of similar importance is the demonstration that AuTM does block NFkappaB-DNA interaction. In addition, two other transcription factors implicated in inflammatory events, namely AP-1 and STAT3, are blocked as well. The effect on NFkappaB likely explains the inhibition of COX-2 as well as that of HAS1, as both are genes that depend on the activation of NFkappaB. Interestingly, AuTM does not interfere with IL-1beta-induced IkappaBalpha degradation, in most cases a prerequisite for subsequent NFkappaB activation. Furthermore, evidence is presented that, in FLS, AuTM blocks NFkappaB-DNA interaction neither by binding to NFkappaB binding sites nor by interacting with activated NFkappaB proteins. Taken together, AuTM treatment of FLS blocks two of the most important proinflammatory events that are associated with rheumatoid arthritis. AuTM blocks the release of PGE2 and prevents the activation of NFkappaB, therefore blocking IL-1beta-induced hyaluronan accumulation and likely a series of other pro-inflammatory NFkappaB-dependent genes.[1]


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