It has been suggested that the inflammatory cytokine IL-15 plays an important role in the development of several autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. We have generated a unique lytic and antagonistic IL-15 mutant/Fcγ2a fusion protein (CRB-15) that targets the IL-15R. In the present study we examined the effects of targeting the IL-15R on the prevention and treatment of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in mice and probed the possible mechanisms of action of this IL-15 mutant/Fcγ2a protein. Upon immunization with type II collagen, DBA/1 mice develop severe articular inflammation and destruction. Treatment of DBA/1 mice with a brief course of CRB-15 at the time of type II collagen challenge markedly inhibited the incidence and severity of arthritis. Moreover, in animals with ongoing established arthritis, treatment with CRB-15 effectively blocked disease progression compared with that in control-treated animals. The therapeutic effect of CRB-15 on either disease development or disease progression is remarkably stable, because withdrawal of treatment did not lead to disease relapse. A detailed analysis revealed that treatment with CRB-15 decreased synovitis in the joints; reduced bone erosion and cartilage destruction; reduced in situ production of the proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-17; and decreased the responder frequency of autoreactive T cells. Our study suggests that the effective targeting of IL-15R-triggered events with CRB-15 can be of therapeutic importance in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy