A proteinase 3 contribution to juvenile idiopathic arthritis-associated cartilage damage
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A full understanding of the molecular mechanisms implicated in the etiopathogenesis of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is lacking. A critical role for leukocyte proteolytic activity (e.g., elastase and cathepsin G) has been proposed. While leukocyte elastase’s (HLE) role has been documented, the potential contribution of proteinase 3 (PR3), a serine protease present in abundance in neutrophils, has not been evaluated. In this study we investigated: (1) PR3 concentrations in the synovial fluid of JIA patients using ELISA and (2) the cartilage degradation potential of PR3 by measuring the hydrolysis of fluorescently labeled collagen II in vitro. In parallel, concentrations and collagen II hydrolysis by HLE were assessed. Additionally, the levels of the co-secreted primary granule protein myeloperoxidase (MPO) were assessed in synovial fluid of patients diagnosed with JIA. We report the following levels of analytes in JIA synovial fluid: PR3—114 ± 100 ng/mL (mean ± SD), HLE—1272 ± 1219 ng/mL, and MPO—1129 ± 1659 ng/mL, with a very strong correlation between the PR3 and HLE concentrations (rs = 0.898, p < 1 × 10–6 ). Importantly, PR3 hydrolyzed fluorescently labeled collagen II as efficiently as HLE. Taken together, these novel findings suggest that PR3 (in addition to HLE) contributes to JIA-associated joint damage.