Aryl hydrocarbon receptor antagonism mitigates cytokine-mediated inflammatory signalling in primary human fibroblast-like synoviocytes

Tejas S. Lahoti, Kaarthik John, Jarod M. Hughes, Ann Kusnadi, Iain A. Murray, Gowdahalli Krishnegowda, Shantu Amin, Gary H. Perdew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Objectives Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease of unclear aetiology, which is associated with inflamed human fibroblast-like synoviocytes (HFLS). Epidemiological studies have identified a positive correlation between tobacco smoking (a rich source of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) agonists) and aggressive RA phenotype. Thus, we hypothesise that antagonism of AHR activity by a potent AHR antagonist GNF351 can attenuate the inflammatory phenotype of HFLS-RA cells. Methods Quantitative PCR was used to examine IL1Binduced mRNA expression in primary HFLS-RA cells. A structurally diverse AHR antagonist CH223191 and transient AHR repression using AHR small interfering RNA (siRNA) in primary HFLS-RA cells were used to demonstrate that effects observed by GNF351 are AHRmediated. The levels of PTGS2 were determined by western blot and secretory cytokines such as IL1B and IL6 by ELISA. Chromatin-immunoprecipitation was used to assess occupancy of the AHR on the promoters of IL1B and IL6. Results Many of the chemokine and cytokine genes induced by IL1B in HFLS-RA cells are repressed by cotreatment with GNF351 at both the mRNA and protein level. Pretreatment of HLFS-RA cells with CH223191 or transient gene ablation of AHR by siRNA confirmed that the effects of GNF351 are AHR-mediated. GNF351 inhibited the recruitment of AHR to the promoters of IL1B and IL6 confirming occupancy of AHR at these promoters is required for enhanced inflammatory signalling. Conclusions These data suggest that AHR antagonism may represent a viable adjuvant therapeutic strategy for the amelioration of inflammation associated with RA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1708-1716
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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