PloS one

Tyro3/Axl/Mertk-deficient mice develop bone marrow edema which is an early pathological marker in rheumatoid arthritis.

PMID 30335822


Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease of the synovial joints, hallmarked by chronic inflammation and subsequent progressive tissue destruction. TYRO3, AXL and MER (gene name Mertk) (TAM) receptors are part of a negative feedback signaling system in the immune reaction and mediate efferocytosis thereby tempering the inflammatory process. We have shown that Axl-/- and Mertk-/- mice develop more severe arthritis whereas activating these receptors by overexpressing their ligands Pros1 and Gas6 ameliorates arthritis. Mice genetically ablated for the three genes of the TAM receptor family Tyro3/Axl/Mertk (TAM triple knock-out or TKO) have been described to spontaneously develop macroscopic signs of arthritis. In this study we aimed to analyze arthritis development in TAM TKO mice histologically to determine the extent and sequence of pathological changes in the joint. Ankle joints of three different age groups, adolescence (14 weeks), mature adult (34 weeks) and middle-age (52 weeks), of TAM TKO or wild-type mice were examined macroscopically, histologically and immunohistochemically. Surprisingly, until the age of 52 weeks, none of the mice examined developed spontaneous macroscopic signs of arthritis. There was no synovial inflammation nor any signs of damage to the cartilage or bone. However, bone marrow edema was observed in TAM TKO mice in the two latter age groups. The infiltrate in the bone marrow was characterized by both myeloid cells and lymphocytes. This study showed that TAM TKO mice developed a pre-stage (pre-clinical phase) of arthritis marked by bone marrow edema.

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Trypsin from bovine pancreas, powder, ≥7,500 BAEE units/mg solid