Anti-inflammatory effects of infliximab and methotrexate on peripheral blood and synovial fluid mononuclear cells: ex vivo study

S. Gertel*, M. Rokach, A. Polachek, I. Litinsky, M. Anouk, O. Elkayam, V. Furer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate the effects of methotrexate (MTX) and the tumour necrosis factor inhibitor infliximab (IFX) on immune cells derived from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and synovial fluid mononuclear cells (SFMCs) of inflammatory arthritis patients. Method: Phytohaemagglutinin (PHA)-induced proliferation of healthy donors’ PBMCs and synovial intermediate monocytes (CD14+CD16+ cells) in SFMCs derived from psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients was determined by flow cytometry following co-culture with IFX and MTX. PHA-induced interferon-γ (IFN-γ) production in PBMCs was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The drugs’ effect on mRNA expression in SFMCs was determined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Results: The combination of IFX 10 μg/mL + MTX 0.1 μg/mL had the strongest inhibitory effect on PBMC proliferation (91%), followed by MTX 0.1 μg/mL (86%) and IFX 10 μg/mL (49%). In PHA-stimulated PBMCs, IFN-γ production was reduced by IFX 10 μg/mL, MTX 0.1 μg/mL, and IFX 10 μg/mL + MTX 0.1 μg/mL by 68%, 90%, and 85%, respectively. In SFMCs, IFX 10 µg/mL significantly reduced CD14+CD16+ cells compared to medium (PsA 54%, p < 0.01; RA 46%, p < 0.05), while MTX had no effect on this population. IFX + MTX led to a similar suppression of CD14+CD16+ cells as achieved by IFX alone. The drugs had different impacts on SFMC gene expression. Conclusion: Both IFX and MTX effectively inhibited PBMC proliferation and IFN-γ production, but only IFX reduced synovial monocytes and pro-inflammatory gene expression in SFMCs, suggesting a differential impact of IFX and MTX on critical inflammatory cell populations ex vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-198
Number of pages11
JournalScandinavian Journal of Rheumatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2024


Dive into the research topics of 'Anti-inflammatory effects of infliximab and methotrexate on peripheral blood and synovial fluid mononuclear cells: ex vivo study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this