Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder characterized by progressive bone erosion. Leflunomide is originally developed to suppress inflammation via its metabolite A77 1726 to attenuate bone erosion. However, distinctive responsiveness to Leflunomide is observed among RA individuals. Here we show that Leflunomide exerts immunosuppression but limited efficacy in RA individuals distinguished by higher serum C-reactive protein (CRPHigher, CRPH), whereas the others with satisfactory responsiveness to Leflunomide show lower CRP (CRPLower, CRPL). CRP inhibition decreases bone erosion in arthritic rats. Besides the immunomodulation via A77 1726, Leflunomide itself induces AHR-ARNT interaction to inhibit hepatic CRP production and attenuate bone erosion in CRPL arthritic rats. Nevertheless, high CRP in CRPH rats upregulates HIF1α, which competes with AHR for ARNT association and interferes Leflunomide-AHR-CRP signaling. Hepatocyte-specific HIF1α deletion or a HIF1α inhibitor Acriflavine re-activates Leflunomide-AHR-CRP signaling to inhibit bone erosion. This study presents a precision medicine-based therapeutic strategy for RA.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)