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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2007, Article ID 58901, 9 pages
Research Article

Administration of PDE4 Inhibitors Suppressed the Pannus-Like Inflammation by Inhibition of Cytokine Production by Macrophages and Synovial Fibroblast Proliferation

Pharmacological Research Laboratories, Pharmaceutical Research Center, Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co., Ltd., 1188 Shimotogari, Nagaizumi-Cho, Sunto-Gun, Shizuoka-Ken 411-8731, Japan

Received 18 May 2007; Revised 10 August 2007; Accepted 3 September 2007

Copyright © 2007 Katsuya Kobayashi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A marked proliferation of synovial fibroblasts in joints leads to pannus formation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Various kinds of cytokines are produced in the pannus. The purpose of this study is to elucidate the effects of phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibitors in a new animal model for the evaluation of pannus formation and cytokine production in the pannus. Mice sensitized with methylated bovine serum albumin (mBSA) were challenged by subcutaneous implantation of a membrane filter soaked in mBSA solution in the back of the mice. Drugs were orally administered for 10 days. The granuloma formed around the filter was collected on day 11. It was chopped into pieces and cultured in vitro for 24 hr. The cytokines were measured in the supernatants. The type of cytokines produced in the granuloma was quite similar to those produced in pannus in RA. Both PDE4 inhibitors, KF66490 and SB207499, suppressed the production of IL-1β, TNF-α, and IL-12, and the increase in myeloperoxidase activity, a marker enzyme for neutrophils and hydroxyproline content. Compared to leflunomide, PDE4 inhibitors more strongly suppressed IL-12 production and the increase in myeloperoxidase activity. PDE4 inhibitors also inhibited lipopolysaccharide-induced TNF-α and IL-12 production from thioglycolate-induced murine peritoneal macrophages and the proliferation of rat synovial fibroblasts. These results indicate this model makes it easy to evaluate the effect of drugs on various cytokine productions in a granuloma without any purification step and may be a relevant model for evaluating novel antirheumatic drugs on pannus formation in RA. PDE4 inhibitors could have therapeutic effects on pannus formation in RA by inhibition of cytokine production by macrophages and synovial fibroblast proliferation.