In a recent paper, researchers have discovered and described a protein known as sulfatase-2 that may be a key role player in the pathology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (Figure 1). This finding helps researchers understand the mechanisms underlying the inflammation seeing in RA. Currently there is no cure, but these findings may lead to improved treatments of the disease.
RA is a chronic disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s own joint tissues. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) is a common and major inflammatory marker driving RA and is the target of many therapies. Patients can develop resistant to treatments overtime; therefore new treatments are needed.
Investigating sulfatase-2 in synovial fibroblasts (cells which line the joints and lubricate them), the researchers removed the protein from one group of cells and stimulated the cells with TNF-α. They were able to show that the cells without sulfatase-2 showed reduced inflammation. This could open the field to new research into using the inhibition of sulfatase-2 to reduce RA symptoms.
Journal article: Siegel, R.J., et al., 2022. Extracellular sulfatase-2 is overexpressed in rheumatoid arthritis and mediates the TNF-α-induced inflammatory activation of synovial fibroblasts. Cellular & Molecular Immunology.
Summary by Stefan Botha