C/EBPβ in rheumatoid arthritis: Correlation with inflammation, not disease specificity

Richard M. Pope, Rosa Lovis, Shubhangee Mungre, Harris Perlman, Alisa E. Koch, G. Kenneth Haines

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33 Scopus citations


Rheumatoid arthritis synovial tissue was examined and compared with osteoarthritis tissue for the presence of the nuclear transcription factor C/EBPβ (NF-IL-6). The region (lining or sublining), cell type, and subcellular distribution (cytoplasmic or nuclear) of the expression of C/EBPβ was characterized. Rheumatoid arthritis synovial fluid and blood and normal peripheral blood were also examined. C/EBPβ was detected in the synovial lining and in sublining cells of synovial tissue from patients with both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. A significant (P < 0.001 and < 0.05, respectively) increase in the percentage of cells with nuclear staining was seen in the lining layer, compared to cells in the sublining region, in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. In both diseases a strong correlation (r = 0.79, P < 0.001) was observed between the percentage of cells in the synovial lining that were positive for nuclear C/EBPβ and lining cell depth. Two- color immunohistochemistry demonstrated that both macrophages and fibroblast- like synoviocytes were positive for nuclear C/EBPβ. The presence of C/EBPβ was confirmed by immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis with isolated synovial fibroblasts. Nuclear C/EBPβ was also detected in rheumatoid synovial fluid monocytes/macrophages, but not in lymphocytes or neutrophils. Western blot analysis confirmed the presence of C/EBPβ in these cells. The intensity of C/EBPβ staining was greater (P < 0.001) in synovial fluid monocytes than in those from normal or rheumatoid peripheral blood. In conclusion, the enhanced nuclear staining for C/EBPβ in the synovial lining, compared to the sublining, suggesting activation in the lining, and the positive correlation of lining layer depth with the percentage of cells in the lining positive for nuclear C/EBPβ, suggest a potential role for C/EBPβ in chronic inflammation. The regulation of the production or activity of C/EBPβ, to inhibit inflammatory mediator expression by synovial macrophages and fibroblasts, offers a novel approach to therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-282
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1999


  • C/EBPβ
  • Inflammation
  • Rheumatoid arthritis


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