Mechanisms governing entry and exit of immune cells into and out of inflamed joints remain poorly understood. We sought herein to identify the key molecular pathways regulating such migration. Using murine models of inflammation in conjunction with mice expressing a photoconvertible fluorescent protein, we characterized the migration of cells from joints to draining lymph nodes and performed RNA-Seq analysis on isolated cells, identifying genes associated with migration and retention. We further refined the gene list to those specific for joint inflammation. RNA-Seq data revealed pathways and genes previously highlighted as characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis in patient studies, validating the methodology. Focusing on pathways associated with cell migration, adhesion, and movement, we identified genes involved in the retention of immune cells in the inflamed joint, namely junctional adhesion molecule A (JAM-A), and identified a role for such molecules in T cell differentiation in vivo. Thus, using a combination of cell-tracking approaches and murine models of inflammatory arthritis, we identified genes, pathways, and anatomically specific tissue signatures regulating cell migration in a variety of inflamed sites. This skin- and joint-specific data set will be an invaluable resource for the identification of therapeutic targets for arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.
Catriona T. Prendergast, Robert A. Benson, Hannah E. Scales, Caio Santos Bonilha, John J. Cole, Iain McInnes, James M. Brewer, Paul Garside