Increase of Circulating Monocyte–Platelet Conjugates in Rheumatoid Arthritis Responders to IL-6 Blockage
Platelets (PLT) bind to a significant percentage of circulating monocytes and this immunomodulatory interaction is increased in several inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. The therapeutic blockage of IL-6 with Tocilizumab (TCZ) alters PLT and the phenotype and function of monocytes in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, the relationship between monocyte–PLT conjugates (CD14+PLT+) and clinical and immunological variables and the regulation of this interaction by IL-6 blockage are still unknown. Here, we compared the presence of monocyte–PLT conjugates (CD14+PLT+) and membrane CD162 expression using flow cytometry, and, by ELISA, the markers of PLT activation (sCD62P and sCD40L) in healthy donors (HD) and patients with long-standing RA before TCZ (baseline). We found higher percentages and absolute counts of CD14+PLT+, and higher plasmatic levels of sCD62P and sCD40L but lower CD162 expression on monocytes from RA patients than those from HD. Additionally, the levels of CD14+PLT+ inversely correlated with inflammatory parameters. Interestingly, 95% of patients with lower percentages of CD14+PLT+ and only 63% of patients with higher percentages of CD14+PLT+ achieved a EULAR-defined response at four weeks (p = 0.036). After TCZ, the percentage of CD14+PLT+ increased in 92% of RA patients who achieved 12 w-remission (p < 0.001). Our results suggest that the binding of PLTs has a modulatory effect, accentuated by the increased binding of PLTs to monocytes in response to the therapeutic blockage of IL-6.
Monocytes; Rheumatoid arthritis; Tocilizumab
Mariscal A, Zamora C, Díaz-Torné C, Ortiz MÀ, Agustín JJ, Reina D, et al. Increase of Circulating Monocyte-Platelet Conjugates in Rheumatoid Arthritis Responders to IL-6 Blockage. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 May 20;23(10):5748.
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