Cytokine “fine tuning” of enthesis tissue homeostasis as a pointer to spondyloarthritis pathogenesis with a focus on relevant TNF and IL-17 targeted therapies

Tobias Russell, Charlie Bridgewood, Hannah Rowe, Ala Altaie, Elena Jones, Dennis McGonagle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

A curious feature of axial disease in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and related non-radiographic axial spondyloarthropathy (nrAxSpA) is that spinal inflammation may ultimately be associated with excessive entheseal tissue repair with new bone formation. Other SpA associated target tissues including the gut and the skin have well established paradigms on how local tissue immune responses and proven disease relevant cytokines including TNF and the IL-23/17 axis contribute to tissue repair. Normal skeletal homeostasis including the highly mechanically stressed entheseal sites is subject to tissue microdamage, micro-inflammation and ultimately repair. Like the skin and gut, healthy enthesis has resident immune cells including ILCs, γδ T cells, conventional CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and myeloid lineage cells capable of cytokine induction involving prostaglandins, growth factors and cytokines including TNF and IL-17 that regulate these responses. We discuss how human genetic studies, animal models and translational human immunology around TNF and IL-17 suggest a largely redundant role for these pathways in physiological tissue repair and homeostasis. However, disease associated immune system overactivity of these cytokines with loss of tissue repair “fine tuning” is eventually associated with exuberant tissue repair responses in AS. Conversely, excessive biomechanical stress at spinal enthesis or peripheral enthesis with mechanically related or degenerative conditions is associated with a normal immune system attempts at cytokine fine tuning, but in this setting, it is commensurate to sustained abnormal biomechanical stressing. Unlike SpA, where restoration of aberrant and excessive cytokine “fine tuning” is efficacious, antagonism of these pathways in biomechanically related disease may be of limited or even no value.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-206
Number of pages14
JournalSeminars in Immunopathology
Volume43
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Enthesis
  • IL-17
  • Spondyloarthritis
  • TNF

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