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posted on 2022-07-08, 12:55 authored by Kerstin Dürholz, Eva Schmid, Michael Frech, Vugar Azizov, Nadine Otterbein, Sébastien Lucas, Manfred Rauh, Georg Schett, Heiko Bruns, Mario M. Zaiss

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular events driven by abnormal platelet clotting effects. Platelets are produced by megakaryocytes, deriving from megakaryocyte erythrocyte progenitors (MEP) in the bone marrow. Increased megakaryocyte expansion across common autoimmune diseases was shown for RA, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS). In this context, we evaluated the role of the microbial-derived short chain fatty acid (SCFA) propionate on hematopoietic progenitors in the collagen induced inflammatory arthritis model (CIA) as we recently showed attenuating effects of preventive propionate treatment on CIA severity. In vivo, propionate treatment starting 21 days post immunization (dpi) reduced the frequency of MEPs in the bone marrow of CIA and naïve mice. Megakaryocytes numbers were reduced but increased the expression of the maturation marker CD61. Consistent with this, functional analysis of platelets showed an upregulated reactivity state following propionate-treatment. This was confirmed by elevated histone 3 acetylation and propionylation as well as by RNAseq analysis in Meg-01 cells. Taken together, we identified a novel nutritional axis that skews platelet formation and function.