Expression and clinical significance of the m6A reader YTHDF2 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from rheumatoid arthritis patients
As an important m6A reader, the YT521-B homology domain family 2 (YTHDF2) has been shown to regulate mRNA degradation and translation, and to be involved in inflammation. However, little is known about the role of YTHDF2 in the autoimmune-based inflammatory disease rheumatoid arthritis (RA). To begin to ascertain any role for this reader, 74 RA patients and 63 healthy controls (HC) were recruited for this study. Blood was collected from each subject and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) isolated. Thereafter, mRNA expression of YTHDF2, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α in the cells was determined by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). The harvested blood was also assessed for a variety of parameters, including levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rates (ESR), white blood cell counts (WBC), neutrophils counts (N)/neutrophils percentages (N%), and neutrophil:lymphocyte ratios (NLR) - each markers of inflammation during RA. The results showed that YTHDF2 mRNA expression in RA patient PBMC was decreased significantly vs that in healthy control subject cells. Further, YTHDF2 mRNA expression in RA patient PBMC negatively-correlated with ESR, CRP levels, WBC counts, as well as neutrophils counts, percentages, and NLR values. In addition, it was seen that YTHDF2 mRNA expression in RA patient PBMC was associated with host serum RF levels and treatment. Moreover, it was found that mRNA expression of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and TNFα was increased in PBMC from RA patients relative to in control subject cells; however, only the increased IL-1β expression was seen to be negatively-correlated with decreased YTHDF2 mRNA expression. In conclusion, the present study illustrated that YTHDF2 expression might have some regulatory role in the underlying mechanisms associated with the autoimmune disease RA and that this m6A reader could at some point represent a potential target for regulating inflammatory responses that occur during RA.