Expression of interleukin-32 in the inflamed arteries of patients with giant cell arteritis

Francesco Ciccia, Riccardo Alessandro, Aroldo Rizzo, Simona Principe, Francesca Raiata, Alberto Cavazza, Giuliana Guggino, Antonina Accardo-Palumbo, Luigi Boiardi, Angelo Ferrante, Alfonso Principato, Annarita Giardina, Giacomo De Leo, Carlo Salvarani, Giovanni Triolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective Giant cell (temporal) arteritis (GCA) is a vasculitis that mainly affects the large and medium arteries, especially the branches of the proximal aorta. Interleukin-32 (IL-32) is a recently described Th1 proinflammatory cytokine, and is mainly induced by interferon-Î (IFNÎ), IL-1β, and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα). This study was undertaken to investigate the expression and tissue distribution of IL-32 in artery biopsy specimens from patients with GCA. Methods Quantitative gene expression analysis of IL-32, IL-1β, TNFα, IFNÎ, IL-6, and IL-27 was performed in artery biopsy specimens obtained from 18 patients with GCA and 15 controls. Immunohistochemistry analysis was performed to evaluate IL-32 tissue distribution and identify IL-32-producing cells. Circulating Th1 lymphocytes were evaluated by flow cytometry. Results We demonstrated a strong and significant up-regulation of IL-32 at both the messenger RNA and protein levels in the artery biopsy samples from patients with GCA. IL-32 was abundantly expressed by vascular smooth muscle cells of inflamed arteries and neovessels within inflammatory infiltrates. IL-32 expression strongly correlated with the intensity of the systemic inflammatory response. IL-32 overexpression was accompanied by strong overexpression of Th1 cytokines, such as IFNÎ and IL-27p28, in inflamed arteries from GCA patients. The Th1 lymphocyte population was also expanded among peripheral blood mononuclear cells from GCA patients and produced higher amounts of IL-32 compared to controls. Conclusion Our findings indicate that overexpression of IL-32 together with a clear Th1 response immunologically characterizes the inflammatory response in GCA. In particular, IL-32 seems to be an important mediator of artery inflammation in GCA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2097-2104
Number of pages8
JournalArthritis and Rheumatism
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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    Ciccia, F., Alessandro, R., Rizzo, A., Principe, S., Raiata, F., Cavazza, A., Guggino, G., Accardo-Palumbo, A., Boiardi, L., Ferrante, A., Principato, A., Giardina, A., De Leo, G., Salvarani, C., & Triolo, G. (2011). Expression of interleukin-32 in the inflamed arteries of patients with giant cell arteritis. Arthritis and Rheumatism, 63(7), 2097-2104.