Tumor necrosis factor receptor–associated periodic syndrome (TRAPS) is an inherited autosomal-dominant autoinflammatory condition caused by mutations in the ectodomain of the 55-kd tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor superfamily 1A. Proinflammatory blood monocytes with the phenotype CD14+,CD16+,HLA–DR++ are a major source of TNF, and the number of such monocytes is increased during infection and inflammation. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the expression of circulating CD16+ monocytes is affected in patients with TRAPS.
Peripheral blood obtained from patients with TRAPS and healthy control subjects was stained with monoclonal antibodies to detect CD14++,CD16− monocytes and CD14+,CD16+ monocytes, using flow cytometry. Lipopolysaccharide-induced TNF production was measured by intracellular cytokine staining. Activation-induced shedding of CD16 was investigated by treating blood samples with phorbol myristate acetate.
The level of CD16 expression by CD14+,CD16+ monocytes, but not their absolute number, was significantly elevated in patients with TRAPS, even though the patients were not experiencing clinically overt episodes of autoinflammation at the time of sampling. These findings are similar to those for the C-reactive protein levels and erythrocyte sedimentation rates in the same patients. The enhanced level of CD16 expression by monocytes from patients with TRAPS was not attributable to a defect in activation-induced shedding of CD16. The CD14+,CD16+ monocytes were the predominant source of TNF in both patients and healthy control subjects.
The level of CD16 expression by monocytes was elevated in patients with TRAPS, as a feature of the underlying constitutive inflammation status.