The Immune Cell Landscape in Different Anatomical Structures of Knee in Osteoarthritis: A Gene Expression-Based Study

Ziming Chen, Yuanchen Ma, Xuerui Li, Zhantao Deng, Minghao Zheng, Qiujian Zheng, Yilun Deng

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Abstract

Background. Immunological mechanisms play a vital role in the pathogenesis of knee osteoarthritis (KOA). Moreover, the immune phenotype is a relevant prognostic factor in various immune-related diseases. In this study, we used CIBERSORT for deconvolution of global gene expression data to define the immune cell landscape of different structures of knee in osteoarthritis. Methods and Findings. By applying CIBERSORT, we assessed the relative proportions of immune cells in 76 samples of knee cartilage, 146 samples of knee synovial tissue, 40 samples of meniscus, and 50 samples of knee subchondral bone. Enumeration and activation status of 22 immune cell subtypes were provided by the obtained immune cell profiles. In synovial tissues, the differences in proportions of plasma cells, M1 macrophages, M2 macrophages, activated dendritic cells, resting mast cells, and eosinophils between normal tissues and osteoarthritic tissues were statistically significant (P<0.05). The area under the curve was relatively large in resting mast cells, dendritic cells, and M2 macrophages in receiver operating characteristic analyses. In subchondral bones, the differences in proportions of resting master cells and neutrophils between normal tissues and osteoarthritic tissues were statistically significant (P<0.05). In subchondral bones, the proportions of immune cells, from the principle component analyses, displayed distinct group-bias clustering. Resting mast cells and T cell CD8 were the major component of first component. Moreover, we revealed the potential interaction between immune cells. There was almost no infiltration of immune cells in the meniscus and cartilage of the knee joint. Conclusions. The immune cell composition in KOA differed substantially from that of healthy joint tissue, while it also differed in different anatomical structures of the knee. Meanwhile, activated mast cells were mainly associated with high immune cell infiltration in OA. Furthermore, we speculate M2 macrophages in synovium and mast cells in subchondral bone may play an important role in the pathogenesis of OA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9647072
JournalBioMed Research International
Volume2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

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