Global DNA hypomethylation in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASFs) contributes to their intrinsic activation. The aim of this study was to investigate whether increased polyamine metabolism is associated with a decreased level of S-adenosyl methionine (SAM), causing global DNA hypomethylation.
Synovial fibroblasts were isolated from synovial tissue obtained from 12 patients with RA and from 6 patients with osteoarthritis (OA). The cells were stained for S-adenosyl methionine decarboxylase (AMD), spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT1), polyamine-modulated factor 1–binding protein 1 (PMFBP1), solute carrier family 3 member 2 (SLC3A2), DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT-1), α9 integrin, and β1 integrin and analyzed by flow cytometry. Nuclear 5-methylcytosine (5-MeC) was measured by flow cytometry, the expression of diacetylspermine (DASp) in cell culture supernatants and cell extracts was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and SAM expression in cell extracts was measured by fluorometry.
The expression of SSAT1, AMD, and PMFBP1 was significantly increased in RASFs compared with OASFs. The expression of DASp in cell culture supernatants and the expression of SLC3A2 were significantly elevated in RASFs. The levels of SAM in cell culture extracts, as well as the levels of DNMT-1 protein and 5-MeC, were significantly reduced in RASFs. Parameters of polyamine metabolism were negatively correlated with the expression of SAM, DNMT-1, and 5-MeC.
These data clearly show that intrinsic elevations of PMFBP1 and SSAT1 enhance the catabolism and recycling of polyamines in RASFs and suggest that high consumption of SAM via this pathway is an important factor contributing to global DNA hypomethylation in these cells.