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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Role of Bcl-2 proteins in neutrophil activation and delayed apoptosis in crystal-induced arthritis Higo, Tobi T.


The inflammatory response caused by the deposition of crystals of monosodium urate monohydrate (MSUM) and calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPPD) in the synovial fluid of joints, results from the interaction of the crystals with neutrophils. Neutrophils (whose function in the body is to remove hazardous microorganisms and inflammatory debris) are activated by the binding of the crystals to the neutrophil cellular membrane, which leads to respiratory burst activity, engulfment of the crystals and release of proteolytic enzymes. Furthermore, we have found that crystals delay the normal “cell death program” or apoptosis, thus allowing for the accumulation of these cells, and extended inflammatory responses. Very little is known about the mechanisms of activation and delay of apoptosis, however, bcl-2 family proteins have been implicated in the control of neutrophil apoptosis. This study helps to define the role of several bcl-2 family proteins (both pro- and anti-apoptotic) by examining the differential expression of these proteins upon stimulation with crystals. Subsequent identification of signaling targets that function to regulate this process in response to crystals could lead to potential therapeutics for crystal-induced inflammatory diseases.

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