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OBJECTIVE - To determine interrelationships between the expression of long intergenic (noncoding) RNA-p21 (lincRNA-p21), NF-κB activity, and responses to methotrexate (MTX) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by analyzing patient blood samples and cell culture models.
METHODS - Expression levels of long noncoding RNA and messenger RNA (mRNA) were determined by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Western blotting and flow cytometry were used to quantify levels of intracellular proteins. Intracellular NF-κB activity was determined using an NF-κB luciferase reporter plasmid.
RESULTS - Patients with RA expressed reduced basal levels of lincRNA-p21 and increased basal levels of phosphorylated p65 (RelA), a marker of NF-κB activation. Patients with RA who were not treated with MTX expressed lower levels of lincRNA-p21 and higher levels of phosphorylated p65 compared with RA patients treated with low-dose MTX. In cell culture using primary cells and transformed cell lines, MTX induced lincRNA-p21 through a DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA PKcs)-dependent mechanism. Deficiencies in the levels of PRKDC mRNA in patients with RA were also corrected by MTX in vivo. Furthermore, MTX reduced NF-κB activity in tumor necrosis factor α-treated cells through a DNA PKcs-dependent mechanism via induction of lincRNA-p21. Finally, we observed that depressed levels of TP53 and lincRNA-p21 increased NF-κB activity in cell lines. Decreased levels of lincRNA-p21 did not alter NFKB1 or RELA transcripts; rather, lincRNA-p21 physically bound to RELA mRNA.
CONCLUSION - Our findings support a model whereby depressed levels of lincRNA-p21 in RA contribute to increased NF-κB activity. MTX decreases basal levels of NF-κB activity by increasing lincRNA-p21 levels through a DNA PKcs-dependent mechanism.
Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Rheumatology.