The impact of airborne endotoxin exposure on rheumatoid arthritis-related joint damage, autoantigen expression, autoimmunity, and lung disease

Int Immunopharmacol. 2021 Aug 27;100:108069. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2021.108069. Online ahead of print.


Airborne biohazards are risk factors in the development and severity of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and RA-associated lung disease, yet the mechanisms explaining this relationship remain unclear. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS, endotoxin) is a ubiquitous inflammatory agent in numerous environmental and occupational air pollutant settings recognized to induce airway inflammation. Combining repetitive LPS inhalation exposures with the collagen induced arthritis (CIA) model, DBA1/J mice were assigned to either: sham (saline injection/saline inhalation), CIA (CIA/saline), LPS (saline/LPS 100 ng inhalation), or CIA + LPS for 5 weeks. Serum anti-citrullinated (CIT) protein antibody (ACPA) and anti-malondialdehyde-acetaldehyde (MAA) antibodies were strikingly potentiated with co-exposure (CIA + LPS). CIT- and MAA-modified lung proteins were increased with co-exposure and co-localized across treatment groups. Inhaled LPS exacerbated arthritis with CIA + LPS > LPS > CIA versus sham. Periarticular bone loss was demonstrated in CIA and CIA + LPS but not in LPS alone. LPS induced airway inflammation and neutrophil infiltrates were reduced with co-exposure (CIA + LPS). Potentially signaling transition to pro-fibrotic processes, there were increased infiltrates of activated CD11c+CD11b+ macrophages and transitioning CD11c+CD11bint monocyte-macrophage populations with CIA + LPS. Moreover, several lung remodeling proteins including fibronectin and matrix metalloproteinases as well as complement C5a were potentiated with CIA + LPS compared to other treatment groups. IL-33 concentrations in lung homogenates were enhanced with CIA + LPS with IL-33 lung staining driven by LPS. IL-33 expression was also significantly increased in lung tissues from patients with RA-associated lung disease (N = 8) versus controls (N = 7). These findings suggest that patients with RA may be more susceptible to developing interstitial lung disease following airborne biohazard exposures enriched in LPS.

PMID:34461491 | DOI:10.1016/j.intimp.2021.108069

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