OBJECTIVE - In a previous study, we demonstrated that Tie2 regulates angiogenesis in arthritis. The current study was performed to determine whether systemic delivery of a soluble Tie2 receptor (ExTek) using an adenoviral vector (AdExTek) as a Tie2 inhibitor affects arthritis development and progression in an animal model.
METHODS - We used a collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) mouse model to study the outcome of treatment with either AdExTek or a control vector. The onset, incidence, and severity of arthritis were quantified. Immunohistologic analysis of endothelium obtained from the paws was performed. Bone destruction in paws was analyzed using phase-contrast radiography.
RESULTS - The data showed that systemic delivery of ExTek before disease development significantly inhibited the onset, incidence, and severity of arthritis. When AdExTek was given after disease onset, the severity of disease in mice treated with AdExTek was significantly lower than that in the control group at 35 days postimmunization, which correlated with significantly diminished angiogenesis in mouse paws. Strikingly, AdExTek treatment protected bone from erosion in the CIA model and reduced levels of RANKL. No differences in collagen-specific antibodies were detected between these 2 groups.
CONCLUSION - We demonstrated that blocking Tie2 receptor activation inhibits angiogenesis and arthritis development and protects against bone destruction in a CIA mouse model. These findings identify Tie2 as a therapeutic target for arthritis treatment and imply that interventions designed to target the Tie2 pathway could be clinically beneficial.