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OBJECTIVES: To investigate the expression and function of triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-1 (TREM-1) in the synovium of human RA patients as well as the level of soluble TREM-1 in the plasma of RA patients. METHODS: Twenty-four RA synovial samples were analysed by gene expression oligonucleotide microarrays. Expression levels of TREM-1 mRNA in murine CIA paws were determined by quantitative PCR (qPCR). TREM-1 protein expression was detected by immunohistochemistry in five RA synovial samples and two OA synovial samples. TREM-1-positive cells from five RA synovial tissues were analysed by FACS staining to determine the cell type. Activation of TREM-1 was tested in five RA synovial samples. Soluble TREM-1 was measured in serum from 32 RA patients. RESULTS: The expression of TREM-1 mRNA was found to increase 6.5-fold in RA synovial samples, whereas it was increased 132-fold in CIA paws. Increased numbers of TREM-1-positive cells were seen in RA synovium sections and these cells co-expressed CD14. Using a TREM-1-activating cross-linking antibody in RA synovial cultures, multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines were induced. The average amount of soluble TREM-1 in plasma from RA patients was found to be higher than that in plasma from healthy volunteers. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that the presence of high levels of functionally active TREM-1 in RA synovium may contribute to the development or maintenance of RA, or both. Inhibiting TREM-1 activity may, therefore, have a therapeutic effect on RA. High levels of soluble TREM-1 in the plasma of RA patients compared with healthy volunteers may indicate disease activity.

Original publication




Journal article


Rheumatology (Oxford)

Publication Date





1352 - 1358


Animals, Arthritis, Experimental, Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Biomarkers, Cells, Cultured, Cytokines, Gene Expression, Gene Expression Profiling, Humans, Inflammation Mediators, Male, Membrane Glycoproteins, Mice, Mice, Inbred DBA, Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis, Polymerase Chain Reaction, RNA, Messenger, Receptors, Immunologic, Synovial Membrane, Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid Cells-1