Semaphorin 4D contributes to rheumatoid arthritis by inducing inflammatory cytokine production: Pathogenic and therapeutic implications

Yuji Yoshida, Atsushi Ogata, Sujin Kang, Kousuke Ebina, Kenrin Shi, Satoshi Nojima, Tetsuya Kimura, Daisuke Ito, Keiko Morimoto, Masayuki Nishide, Takashi Hosokawa, Toru Hirano, Yoshihito Shima, Masashi Narazaki, Hideki Tsuboi, Yukihiko Saeki, Tetsuya Tomita, Toshio Tanaka, Atsushi Kumanogoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Semaphorin 4D (Sema4D)/CD100 has pleiotropic roles in immune activation, angiogenesis, bone metabolism, and neural development. We undertook this study to investigate the role of Sema4D in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Methods Soluble Sema4D (sSema4D) levels in serum and synovial fluid were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Cell surface expression and transcripts of Sema4D were analyzed in peripheral blood cells from RA patients, and immunohistochemical staining of Sema4D was performed in RA synovium. Generation of sSema4D was evaluated in an ADAMTS-4-treated monocytic cell line (THP-1 cells). The efficacy of anti-Sema4D antibody was evaluated in mice with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). Results Levels of sSema4D were elevated in both serum and synovial fluid from RA patients, and disease activity markers were correlated with serum sSema4D levels. Sema4D-expressing cells also accumulated in RA synovium. Cell surface levels of Sema4D on CD3+ and CD14+ cells from RA patients were reduced, although levels of Sema4D transcripts were unchanged. In addition, ADAMTS-4 cleaved cell surface Sema4D to generate sSema4D in THP-1 cells. Soluble Sema4D induced tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) production from CD14+ monocytes. IL-6 and TNFα induced ADAMTS-4 expression in synovial cells. Treatment with an anti-Sema4D antibody suppressed arthritis and reduced proinflammatory cytokine production in CIA. Conclusion A positive feedback loop involving sSema4D/IL-6 and TNFα/ADAMTS-4 may contribute to the pathogenesis of RA. The inhibition of arthritis by anti-Sema4D antibody suggests that Sema4D represents a potential therapeutic target for RA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1481-1490
Number of pages10
JournalArthritis and Rheumatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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