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1.  Adolescent onset of lupus results in more aggressive disease and worse outcomes: results of a nested matched case—control study within LUMINA, a multiethnic US cohort (LUMINA LVII) 
Lupus  2008;17(4):314.
The objective of this study is to examine the clinical features and outcomes of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) whose disease began in adolescence [juvenile-onset SLE (jSLE)] compared with adult-onset patients [adult-onset SLE (aSLE)] from a large multiethnic cohort. Systemic lupus erythematosus patients of African-American, Caucasian, or Hispanic ethnicity and ≥1 year follow-up were studied in two groups: jSLE (diagnosed at ≤18 years); aSLE (diagnosed at 19–50 years; matched for gender and disease duration at enrolment). Sociodemographic data, SLE manifestations, disease activity, damage accrual, SLE-related hospitalizations or emergency room visits, drug utilization, mortality and psychosocial characteristics and quality of life were compared. Data were analysed by univariable and multivariable analyses. Seventy-nine patients were studied (31 jSLE, 48 aSLE); 90% were women. Mean (SD) total disease duration was 6.8 (2.7) years in jSLE and 5.6 (3.3) years in aSLE (p = 0.077). Mean age at cohort entry was 18.4 (1.8) and 33.9 (9.2) years in jSLE and aSLE respectively. By univariable analysis, jSLE patients were more commonly of African-American descent, were more likely to have renal and neurological involvements, and to accrue renal damage; jSLE patients had lower levels of helplessness and scored higher in the physical component measure of the SF-36 than aSLE patients. Renal involvement [OR = 1.549, 95% CI (1.397–15.856)] and neurological involvement [OR = 1.642, 95% CI (1.689–15.786)] were independently associated with jSLE by multivariable analysis. There was a larger proportion of African-Americans within the jSLE group. After adjusting for ethnicity and follow-up time, jSLE patients experienced more renal and neurological manifestations, with more renal damage. There was a two-fold higher mortality rate in the jSLE group.
doi:10.1177/0961203307087875
PMCID: PMC2818044  PMID: 18413413
juvenile-onset SLE; outcome
2.  Selective Involvement of the Amygdala in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e499.
Background
Antibodies specifically affect the amygdala in a mouse model of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The aim of our study was to investigate whether there is also specific involvement of the amygdala in human SLE.
Methods and Findings
We analyzed a group of 37 patients with neuropsychiatric SLE (NP-SLE), 21 patients with SLE, and a group of 12 healthy control participants with diffusion weighted imaging (DWI). In addition, in a subset of eight patients, plasma was available to determine their anti-NMDAR antibody status. From the structural magnetic resonance imaging data, the amygdala and the hippocampus were segmented, as well as the white and gray matter, and the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) was retrieved. ADC values between controls, patients with SLE, and patients with NP-SLE were tested using analysis of variance with post-hoc Bonferroni correction. No differences were found in the gray or white matter segments. The average ADC in the amygdala of patients with NP-SLE and SLE (940 × 10−6 mm2/s; p = 0.006 and 949 × 10−6 mm2/s; p = 0.019, respectively) was lower than in healthy control participants (1152 × 10−6 mm2/s). Mann-Whitney analysis revealed that the average ADC in the amygdala of patients with anti-NMDAR antibodies (n = 4; 802 × 10−6 mm2/s) was lower (p = 0.029) than the average ADC of patients without anti-NMDAR antibodies (n = 4; 979 × 10−6 mm2/s) and also lower (p = 0.001) than in healthy control participants.
Conclusions
This is the first study to our knowledge to observe damage in the amygdala in patients with SLE. Patients with SLE with anti-NMDAR antibodies had more severe damage in the amygdala compared to SLE patients without anti-NMDAR antibodies.
Patients with SLE who also had antibodies against the NMDA receptor had more severe damage in the amygdala as compared with patients with SLE without these antibodies.
Editors' Summary
Background.
The human body is continually attacked by viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites, but the immune system usually prevents these pathogens from causing disease. To be effective, the immune system has to respond rapidly to foreign antigens (bits of proteins that are unique to the pathogen) but ignore self-antigens. In autoimmune diseases, this ability to discriminate between self and nonself fails for unknown reasons, and the immune system begins to destroy human tissues. In the chronic autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), the immune system attacks the skin, joints, nervous system, and many other organs. Patients with SLE make numerous “autoantibodies” (antibodies are molecules made by the immune system that recognize and attack antigens; autoantibodies attack self-antigens). These autoantibodies start the attack on the body; then other parts of the immune system join in, causing inflammation and forming deposits of immune cells, both of which damage tissues. Common symptoms of SLE include skin rashes and arthritis, but some patients develop NP-SLE, a form of SLE that includes neuropsychiatric symptoms such as amnesia, dementia, mood disorders, strokes, and seizures. There is no cure for SLE, but mild cases are controlled with ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; severe cases are kept in check with corticosteroids and other powerful immunosuppressants.
Why Was This Study Done?
In most of the tissues affected by SLE, the damage done by autoantibodies and immune cells can be seen when the tissues are examined with a microscope. But there is little microscopic damage visible in the brains of patients with NP-SLE. More generally, it is unclear how or even whether the immune system affects mental functions and emotion. In this study, researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate whether there are any structural changes in the brains of patients with NP-SLE that could explain their neuropsychiatric symptoms. They have also examined whether any changes in the brain can be linked to the presence of autoantibodies that recognize a protein called the NMDA receptor (anti-NMDAR antibodies) that is present on brain cells.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used an MRI technique called diffusion weighted imaging to examine the brains of several patients with NP-SLE or SLE and the brains of several healthy individuals. Using this technique, it is possible to quantify the amount of structural damage in different regions of the brain. The researchers found no differences in most areas of the brain between the two groups of patients and the healthy controls. However, there were clear signs of damage in the amygdala (the part of the brain that regulates emotions and triggers responses to danger) in the patients with SLE or NP-SLE when compared to the control individuals. The researchers also found that the damage was more severe in the patients who had anti-NMDAR autoantibodies than in those that did not have these autoantibodies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that autoantibodies produced by patients with SLE specifically damage the amygdala, a discovery that helps to explain some of the neuropsychiatric symptoms of this condition. Previous work has shown that the treatment of mice with anti-NMDAR antibodies and epinephrine, a stress hormone that causes leaks in the blood-brain barrier (antibodies can't usually get into the brain because of this barrier), results in damage to the amygdala and a deficient response to dangerous stimuli. The researchers suggest that a similar series of events might happen in SLE—patients often mention that a period of major stress precedes the development of symptoms. To provide stronger evidence for such a scenario, a detailed study of how stress relates to neuropsychiatric symptoms is needed. The damage to the amygdala (and the lack of damage elsewhere in the brain) and the possible association between brain damage and anti-NMDAR antibodies seen in this small study also need to be confirmed in more patients. Nevertheless, these findings provide an intriguing glimpse into the interplay between the immune system and the brain and into how stress might lead to physical damage in the brain.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030499.
MedlinePlus encyclopedia pages on autoimmunity and on systemic lupus erythematosus
US National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases booklet for patients with SLE
American College of Rheumatology information for patients on SLE
NHS Direct Online Health Encyclopedia pages on SLE
The Lupus Foundation of America information and support for patients with SLE
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030499
PMCID: PMC1702559  PMID: 17177602
3.  Robotic-Assisted Minimally Invasive Surgery for Gynecologic and Urologic Oncology 
Executive Summary
Objective
An application was received to review the evidence on the ‘The Da Vinci Surgical System’ for the treatment of gynecologic malignancies (e.g. endometrial and cervical cancers). Limitations to the current standard of care include the lack of trained physicians on minimally invasive surgery and limited access to minimally invasive surgery for patients. The potential benefits of ‘The Da Vinci Surgical System’ include improved technical manipulation and physician uptake leading to increased surgeries, and treatment and management of these cancers.
The demand for robotic surgery for the treatment and management of prostate cancer has been increasing due to its alleged benefits of recovery of erectile function and urinary continence, two important factors of men’s health. The potential technical benefits of robotic surgery leading to improved patient functional outcomes are surgical precision and vision.
Clinical Need
Uterine and cervical cancers represent 5.4% (4,400 of 81,700) and 1.6% (1,300 of 81,700), respectively, of incident cases of cancer among female cancers in Canada. Uterine cancer, otherwise referred to as endometrial cancer is cancer of the lining of the uterus. The most common treatment option for endometrial cancer is removing the cancer through surgery. A surgical option is the removal of the uterus and cervix through a small incision in the abdomen using a laparoscope which is referred to as total laparoscopic hysterectomy. Risk factors that increase the risk of endometrial cancer include taking estrogen replacement therapy after menopause, being obese, early age at menarche, late age at menopause, being nulliparous, having had high-dose radiation to the pelvis, and use of tamoxifen.
Cervical cancer occurs at the lower narrow end of the uterus. There are more treatment options for cervical cancer compared to endometrial cancer, however total laparoscopic hysterectomy is also a treatment option. Risk factors that increase the risk for cervical cancer are multiple sexual partners, early sexual activity, infection with the human papillomavirus, and cigarette smoking, whereas barrier-type of contraception as a risk factor decreases the risk of cervical cancer.
Prostate cancer is ranked first in men in Canada in terms of the number of new cases among all male cancers (25,500 of 89,300 or 28.6%). The impact on men who develop prostate cancer is substantial given the potential for erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. Prostate cancer arises within the prostate gland, which resides in the male reproductive system and near the bladder. Radical retropubic prostatectomy is the gold standard treatment for localized prostate cancer. Prostate cancer affects men above 60 years of age. Other risk factors include a family history of prostate cancer, being of African descent, being obese, consuming a diet high in fat, physical inactivity, and working with cadium.
The Da Vinci Surgical System
The Da Vinci Surgical System is a robotic device. There are four main components to the system: 1) the surgeon’s console, where the surgeon sits and views a magnified three-dimensional image of the surgical field; 2) patient side-cart, which sits beside the patient and consists of three instrument arms and one endoscope arm; 3) detachable instruments (endowrist instruments and intuitive masters), which simulate fine motor human movements. The hand movements of the surgeon’s hands at the surgeon’s console are translated into smaller ones by the robotic device and are acted out by the attached instruments; 4) three-dimensional vision system: the camera unit or endoscope arm. The main advantages of use of the robotic device are: 1) the precision of the instrument and improved dexterity due to the use of “wristed” instruments; 2) three-dimensional imaging, with improved ability to locate blood vessels, nerves and tissues; 3) the surgeon’s console, which reduces fatigue accompanied with conventional laparoscopy surgery and allows for tremor-free manipulation. The main disadvantages of use of the robotic device are the costs including instrument costs ($2.6 million in US dollars), cost per use ($200 per use), the costs associated with training surgeons and operating room personnel, and the lack of tactile feedback, with the trade-off being increased visual feedback.
Research Questions
For endometrial and cervical cancers,
1. What is the effectiveness of the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopy and laparotomy for women undergoing any hysterectomy for the surgical treatment and management of their endometrial and cervical cancers?
2. What are the incremental costs of the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopy and laparotomy for women undergoing any hysterectomy for the surgical treatment and management of their endometrial and cervical cancers?
For prostate cancer,
3. What is the effectiveness of robotically-assisted radical prostatectomy using the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopic radical prostatectomy and retropubic radical prostatectomy for the surgical treatment and management of prostate cancer?
4. What are the incremental costs of robotically-assisted radical prostatectomy using the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopic radical prostatectomy and retropubic radical prostatectomy for the surgical treatment and management of prostate cancer?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on May 12, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, Wiley Cochrane, CINAHL, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination/International Agency for Health Technology Assessment for studies published from January 1, 2000 until May 12, 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist, then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Inclusion Criteria
English language articles (January 1, 2000-May 12, 2010)
Journal articles that report on the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness for the comparisons of interest using a primary data source (e.g. obtained in a clinical setting)
Journal articles that report on the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness for the comparisons of interest using a secondary data source (e.g. hospital- or population-based registries)
Study design and methods must be clearly described
Health technology assessments, systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, non-randomized controlled trials and/or cohort studies, case-case studies, regardless of sample size, cost-effectiveness studies
Exclusion Criteria
Duplicate publications (with the more recent publication on the same study population included)
Non-English papers
Animal or in-vitro studies
Case reports or case series without a referent or comparison group
Studies on long-term survival which may be affected by treatment
Studies that do not examine the cancers (e.g. advanced disease) or outcomes of interest
Outcomes of Interest
For endometrial and cervical cancers,
Primary outcomes:
Morbidity factors
- Length of hospitalization
- Number of complications*
Peri-operative factors
- Operation time
- Amount of blood loss*
- Number of conversions to laparotomy*
Number of lymph nodes recovered
For prostate cancer,
Primary outcomes:
Morbidity factors
- Length of hospitalization
- Amount of morphine use/pain*
Peri-operative factors
- Operation time
- Amount of blood loss*
- Number of transfusions*
- Duration of catheterization
- Number of complications*
- Number of anastomotic strictures*
Number of lymph nodes recovered
Oncologic factors
- Proportion of positive surgical margins
Long-term outcomes
- Urinary continence
- Erectile function
Summary of Findings
Robotic use for gynecologic oncology compared to:
Laparotomy: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of shorter length of hospitalization and less blood loss. These results indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of reduced morbidity and safety, respectively, in the context of study design limitations.
The beneficial effect of robotic surgery was shown in pooled analysis for complications, owing to increased sample size.
More work is needed to clarify the role of complications in terms of safety, including improved study designs, analysis and measurement.
Laparoscopy: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of shorter length of hospitalization, less blood loss and fewer conversions to laparotomy likely owing to the technical difficulty of conventional laparoscopy, in the context of study design limitations.
Clinical significance of significant findings for length of hospitalizations and blood loss is low.
Fewer conversions to laparotomy indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of reduced morbidity.
Robotic use for urologic oncology, specifically prostate cancer, compared to:
Retropubic surgery: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of shorter length of hospitalization and less blood loss/fewer individuals requiring transfusions. These results indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of reduced morbidity and safety, respectively, in the context of study design limitations. There was a beneficial effect in terms of decreased positive surgical margins and erectile dysfunction. These results indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of improved cancer control and functional outcomes, respectively, in the context of study design limitations.
Surgeon skill had an impact on cancer control and functional outcomes.
The results for complications were inconsistent when measured as either total number of complications, pain management or anastomosis. There is some suggestion that robotic surgery is safe with respect to less post-operative pain management required compared to retropubic surgery, however improved study design and measurement of complications need to be further addressed.
Clinical significance of significant findings for length of hospitalizations is low.
Laparoscopy: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of less blood loss and fewer individuals requiring transfusions likely owing to the technical difficulty of conventional laparoscopy, in the context of study design limitations.
Clinical significance of significant findings for blood loss is low.
The potential link between less blood loss, improved visualization and improved functional outcomes is an important consideration for use of robotics.
All studies included were observational in nature and therefore the results must be interpreted cautiously.
Economic Analysis
The objective of this project was to assess the economic impact of robotic-assisted laparoscopy (RAL) for endometrial, cervical, and prostate cancers in the province of Ontario.
A budget impact analysis was undertaken to report direct costs associated with open surgery (OS), endoscopic laparoscopy (EL) and robotic-assisted laparoscopy (RAL) based on clinical literature review outcomes, to report a budget impact in the province based on volumes and costs from administrative data sets, and to project a future impact of RAL in Ontario. A cost-effectiveness analysis was not conducted because of the low quality evidence from the clinical literature review.
Hospital costs were obtained from the Ontario Case Costing Initiative (OCCI) for the appropriate Canadian Classification of Health Intervention (CCI) codes restricted to selective ICD-10 diagnostic codes after consultation with experts in the field. Physician fees were obtained from the Ontario Schedule of Benefits (OSB) after consultation with experts in the field. Fees were costed based on operation times reported in the clinical literature for the procedures being investigated. Volumes of procedures were obtained from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) administrative databases.
Direct costs associated with RAL, EL and OS included professional fees, hospital costs (including disposable instruments), radiotherapy costs associated with positive surgical margins in prostate cancer and conversion to OS in gynecological cancer. The total cost per case was higher for RAL than EL and OS for both gynecological and prostate cancers. There is also an acquisition cost associated with RAL. After conversation with the only supplier in Canada, hospitals are looking to spend an initial 3.6M to acquire the robotic surgical system
Previous volumes of OS and EL procedures were used to project volumes into Years 1-3 using a linear mathematical expression. Burden of OS and EL hysterectomies and prostatectomies was calculated by multiplying the number of cases for that year by the cost/case of the procedure.
The number of procedures is expected to increase in the next three years based on historical data. RAL is expected to capture this market by 65% after consultation with experts. If it’s assumed that RAL will capture the current market in Ontario by 65%, the net impact is expected to be by Year 3, 3.1M for hysterectomy and 6.7M for prostatectomy procedures respectively in the province.
RAL has diffused in the province with four surgical systems in place in Ontario, two in Toronto and two in London. RAL is a more expensive technology on a per case basis due to more expensive robot specific instrumentation and physician labour reflected by increased OR time reported in the clinical literature. There is also an upfront cost to acquire the machine and maintenance contract. RAL is expected to capture the market at 65% with project net impacts by Year 3 of 3.1M and 6.7M for hysterectomy and prostatectomy respectively.
PMCID: PMC3382308  PMID: 23074405
4.  Time to Renal Disease and End-Stage Renal Disease in PROFILE: A Multiethnic Lupus Cohort 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(10):e396.
Background
Renal involvement is a serious manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); it may portend a poor prognosis as it may lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The purpose of this study was to determine the factors predicting the development of renal involvement and its progression to ESRD in a multi-ethnic SLE cohort (PROFILE).
Methods and Findings
PROFILE includes SLE patients from five different United States institutions. We examined at baseline the socioeconomic–demographic, clinical, and genetic variables associated with the development of renal involvement and its progression to ESRD by univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression analyses. Analyses of onset of renal involvement included only patients with renal involvement after SLE diagnosis (n = 229). Analyses of ESRD included all patients, regardless of whether renal involvement occurred before, at, or after SLE diagnosis (34 of 438 patients). In addition, we performed a multivariable logistic regression analysis of the variables associated with the development of renal involvement at any time during the course of SLE.
In the time-dependent multivariable analysis, patients developing renal involvement were more likely to have more American College of Rheumatology criteria for SLE, and to be younger, hypertensive, and of African-American or Hispanic (from Texas) ethnicity. Alternative regression models were consistent with these results. In addition to greater accrued disease damage (renal damage excluded), younger age, and Hispanic ethnicity (from Texas), homozygosity for the valine allele of FcγRIIIa (FCGR3A*GG) was a significant predictor of ESRD. Results from the multivariable logistic regression model that included all cases of renal involvement were consistent with those from the Cox model.
Conclusions
Fcγ receptor genotype is a risk factor for progression of renal disease to ESRD. Since the frequency distribution of FCGR3A alleles does not vary significantly among the ethnic groups studied, the additional factors underlying the ethnic disparities in renal disease progression remain to be elucidated.
Fcγ receptor genotype is a risk factor for progression of renal disease to ESRD but does not explain the ethnic disparities in renal disease progression.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE, commonly known as “lupus”) is an illness of many manifestations that appear to result from the immune system attacking components of the body's own cells. One of the unfortunate effects of SLE is kidney damage, which can, in a minority of patients, progress to kidney failure (formally called “end-stage renal disease,” or ESRD). Compared to White Americans, other ethnic groups tend to develop renal complications of lupus more often and with worse outcomes.
Why Was This Study Done?
It is unclear why some people with lupus develop kidney problems. The purpose of this US-based study was to confirm the factors that increase the risk of kidney damage and kidney failure, particularly in racial and ethnic minority patients, and to determine which of these factors accelerate the pace of kidney disease. Knowing these risk factors could allow the development and targeting of interventions, such as screening tests and preventive treatments, to prevent long-term loss of kidney function in patients with lupus.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers measured a number of factors in a multi-ethnic group of 1,008 patients with lupus, almost half of whom had some degree of kidney involvement. They found that those who developed kidney damage after being diagnosed with lupus tended to be younger, to have had lupus for a longer time, and to have experienced more effects of lupus in general than those who did not have kidney involvement. Those who developed kidney problems were also more likely to have been unemployed, to have had fewer years of formal education, and to have had high blood pressure before developing kidney involvement. African-American and Texan Hispanic individuals with lupus were more likely to develop kidney involvement, and tended to develop it more rapidly, than White Americans or Puerto Rican Hispanic ethnicity. Actual kidney failure (ESRD requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation) was more likely to occur among Texan Hispanics with kidney involvement than in the other ethnic groups. Diabetes and high blood pressure were not found to predict ESRD, but people with a particular variant of a protein that helps antibodies bind to cells (know as Fc-gamma receptor IIIa, or FcγRIIIa) were found to be more likely to develop ESRD, and to develop it more quickly.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results suggest that the emergence and progression of kidney disease in patients with lupus depends on medical, genetic, and socioeconomic factors. Because no single test or intervention can be expected to address all of these factors, those treating patients with lupus must remain aware of the complexity of their patients lives at a variety of levels. In particular, ethnic disparities in the risk of serious kidney disease remain to be addressed.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030396.
MedlinePlus page on lupus
Lupus Foundation of America
American College of Rheumatology pages on lupus
Wikipedia entry on lupus (note: Wikipedia is a free Internet encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030396
PMCID: PMC1626549  PMID: 17076550
5.  Association of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus with Angiographically-defined Coronary Artery Disease: A Retrospective Cohort Study 
Arthritis care & research  2013;65(2):266-273.
Objective
To determine if systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is associated with a higher prevalence of coronary artery disease (CAD) in selected patients undergoing coronary angiography, we compared the extent of angiographic abnormalities, CAD risk factors, and all-cause mortality in SLE patients with non-SLE controls.
Methods
We identified SLE patients (N=86) and controls matched by sex and year of cardiac catheterization (N=258) undergoing cardiac catheterization for the evaluation of CAD (median follow up of 4.3 years). Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine if SLE was associated with obstructive CAD defined as ≥ 70% stenosis in a major epicardial coronary artery. Risk adjusted survival differences between the two groups were assessed using Cox proportional hazards modeling.
Results
SLE patients (85% female) were younger than non-SLE patients (median age 49 years vs. 70 years, p<0.001) and were less likely to have diabetes and hyperlipidemia, but had similar rates of hypertension (70% vs.71%, p=0.892). In unadjusted analyses, SLE patients and non-SLE patients had similar rates of obstructive CAD by angiography (52% vs. 62% overall p=0.11). After adjustment for known CAD risk factors, SLE was associated with a significantly increased likelihood of CAD (OR 2.24, 95% CI: 1.08, 4.67). SLE was also associated with a non-significant increase in all-cause mortality (HR 1.683, 95% CI: 0.98, 2.89 p=0.060).
Conclusion
In this selected population, SLE was significantly associated with the presence of CAD as defined by coronary angiography, the gold standard for assessing flow-limiting lesions in this disease. The patients with SLE showed a similar severity of CAD as the controls despite having less than half the rate of diabetes and being 20 years younger.
doi:10.1002/acr.21782
PMCID: PMC3496832  PMID: 22745037
6.  HYSTERECTOMY IS ASSOCIATED WITH LARGE ARTERY STIFFENING IN ESTROGEN-DEFICIENT POSTMENOPAUSAL WOMEN 
Menopause (New York, N.Y.)  2012;19(9):1000-1007.
Objective
Hysterectomy, with or without oophorectomy is associated with increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk due, in part, to an adverse CVD risk factor profile. Large artery stiffening, a biomarker of vascular aging, increases the risk for CVD. We determined whether hysterectomy with or without bilateral oophorectomy (BLO) is associated with arterial stiffening in healthy postmenopausal women.
Methods
We conducted a cross-sectional study including estrogen-deficient postmenopausal women who had a hysterectomy with ovarian preservation (N= 24; 59±1 year, mean±SE) or with BLO (N=21; 58±2 year), and had no hysterectomy/no BLO (N=58; 58±1 year). Arterial stiffness (arterial compliance and beta stiffness index) was measured by ultrasonography of the carotid artery.
Results
Carotid artery compliance was lower in women with hysterectomy alone and in women with hysterectomy with BLO compared to women with no hysterectomy (0.66±0.03 and 0.71±0.06 versus 0.89±0.03 mm2/mmHg×10−1, respectively, both P<0.05). There were no differences in traditional CVD risk factors (i.e., adiposity, blood pressure and fasted lipids and lipoproteins, glucose and insulin) between the groups. After adjustment for age, menopause duration, prior menopausal hormone therapy duration, parity, waist-to-hip ratio, systolic blood pressure and sex-hormone binding globulin, hysterectomy status remained a significant predictor of arterial compliance.
Conclusions
These results indicate that hysterectomy status (with or without BLO) is associated with greater arterial stiffening in estrogen-deficient postmenopausal women. The greater arterial stiffening with hysterectomy was not related to an adverse CVD risk profile. Large artery stiffening may be an important mechanism by which hysterectomy increases the risk of CVD in postmenopausal women.
doi:10.1097/gme.0b013e31825040f9
PMCID: PMC3428437  PMID: 22692329
vascular function; aging; menopause
7.  Elevated Serum Levels of Interferon-Regulated Chemokines Are Biomarkers for Active Human Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e491.
Background
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a serious systemic autoimmune disorder that affects multiple organ systems and is characterized by unpredictable flares of disease. Recent evidence indicates a role for type I interferon (IFN) in SLE pathogenesis; however, the downstream effects of IFN pathway activation are not well understood. Here we test the hypothesis that type I IFN-regulated proteins are present in the serum of SLE patients and correlate with disease activity.
Methods and Findings
We performed a comprehensive survey of the serologic proteome in human SLE and identified dysregulated levels of 30 cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, and soluble receptors. Particularly striking was the highly coordinated up-regulation of 12 inflammatory and/or homeostatic chemokines, molecules that direct the movement of leukocytes in the body. Most of the identified chemokines were inducible by type I IFN, and their levels correlated strongly with clinical and laboratory measures of disease activity.
Conclusions
These data suggest that severely disrupted chemokine gradients may contribute to the systemic autoimmunity observed in human SLE. Furthermore, the levels of serum chemokines may serve as convenient biomarkers for disease activity in lupus.
A comprehensive survey of the serologic proteome in human SLE suggests that severely disrupted chemokine gradients may contribute to the systemic autoimmunity observed.
Editors' Summary
Background.
The term “lupus,” meaning wolf in Latin, is often used as an abbreviation for the disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The name may have been given because some people with SLE have a rash that slightly resembles a wolf's face. The condition affects around 50 to 100 people per 100,000, and is much more common in women than men. SLE is a complicated disease that comes about when antibodies inappropriately attack the body's own connective tissues, although it is not known why this happens. Symptoms vary between different people; the disease may get better and then worse, without explanation; and can affect many different organs including the skin, joints, kidneys, blood cells, and brain and nervous system. SLE is difficult for doctors to diagnose. Although the disease cannot be cured, patients who are diagnosed with SLE can be treated for their symptoms, and the right management can slow progress of the disease. One area of SLE research focuses on finding “molecular markers” (e.g., proteins or other compounds) that could be tested for in the blood. Researchers hope this would help doctors to more accurately diagnose SLE initially, and then also help to track progress in a patient's condition.
Why Was This Study Done?
“Gene expression” is a term meaning the process by which a gene's DNA sequence is converted into the structures and functions of a cell. These investigators had found in previous studies that certain genes were more “highly expressed” in the blood cells of patients with SLE. Some of these genes were already known to be regulated by interferons (a group of proteins, produced by certain blood cells, that are important in helping to defend against viral infections). The investigators performing this study wanted to understand more clearly the role of interferon in SLE and to see whether the genes that are more highly expressed in patients with SLE go on to produce higher levels of protein, which might then provide useful markers for monitoring the condition.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
This research project was a “case-control” study, in which the researchers compared the levels of certain proteins in the blood of people who had SLE with the levels in people who did not have the condition. Thirty people were recruited as cases, from a group of patients with SLE who have been under evaluation at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine since 1987. Fifteen controls were recruited from a group of healthy people of similar age and sex as the patients with SLE; everyone involved in the study gave their consent to take part. Blood samples were taken from each individual, and the serum (liquid component of blood) was separated out. The serum levels of 160 different blood proteins were then measured. When comparing levels of blood proteins between the groups, the researchers found that 30 specific proteins were present at higher or lower levels in the SLE-affected patients. Many of these proteins are cytokines, which are regulated by interferons and are involved in the process of “signaling” within the immune system. A few proteins were found at lower levels. Levels of the interferon-regulated proteins were, on average, seen at higher levels in people whose condition was more severe.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results suggest that patients with SLE are likely to have a very different pattern of regulation of certain proteins within the blood, particularly the proteins involved in signaling within the immune system. The authors propose that these proteins may be involved in the progression of the disease. There is also the possibility that some of these proteins may prove useful in diagnostic tests, or in tests for monitoring how the disease progresses. However, before any such tests could be used in clinical practice, they would need to be further developed and then thoroughly tested in clinical trials.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030491
Patient information from the UK National Health Service on systemic lupus erythematosus
Patient handout from the US National Institutes of Health
MedlinePLUS encyclopedia entry on lupus
Information on lupus from the UK Arthritis Research Campaign
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030491
PMCID: PMC1702557  PMID: 17177599
8.  Hysterectomy and predictors for opioid prescription in a chronic pain clinic sample 
Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.)  2011;12(2):196-203.
Objectives
To describe the prevalence of hysterectomy for women aged 18-45 seeking treatment at a chronic pain clinic, to describe patient characteristics (pain intensity, age, smoking status, hormone replacement status, and psychosocial factors) based on opioid and hysterectomy status, and to determine whether hysterectomy status predicted receipt of opioid prescription.
Design
Retrospective cross-sectional chart review.
Participants
Total 323 new female patients aged 18-45 who completed the Brief Pain Inventory-Short Form at initial evaluation at a chronic pain clinic during a 12-month period (July 2008- June 2009).
Measures
Data were collected from the Brief Pain Inventory and medical charts. Variables included opioid prescription, average pain intensity, pain type, age, hysterectomy status, smoking status, and pain-related dysfunction across domains measured by the Brief Pain Inventory. The association of opioid prescription with hysterectomy and other factors were determined by logistic regression.
Results
Prevalence of hysterectomy was 28.8%. Average pain intensity was not associated with either hysterectomy or opioid prescription status. However, hysterectomy and high levels of pain-related dysfunction were significantly and independently associated with opioid prescription after adjusting for age and pain intensity. More than 85% of women with hysterectomy and high pain-related dysfunction had opioid prescription.
Conclusions
Hysterectomy may confer risk for pain-related dysfunction and opioid prescription in women 45 and younger. More research is needed to understand (1) how patient characteristics influence prescribing patterns; and (2) the specific medical risks and consequences of chronic opioid therapy in this population.
doi:10.1111/j.1526-4637.2010.01038.x
PMCID: PMC3076049  PMID: 21223499
hysterectomy; chronic pain; opioids; pain-related dysfunction; hormone replacement
9.  Differences in Long-Term Disease Activity and Treatment of Adult Patients With Childhood-and Adult-Onset Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2009;61(1):13-20.
Objective
To compare differences in long-term outcome between adults with childhood-onset (age at diagnosis <18 years) systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and with adult-onset SLE.
Methods
Data were derived from the University of California Lupus Outcomes Study, a longitudinal cohort of 885 adult subjects with SLE (90 childhood-onset [cSLE], 795 adult-onset [aSLE]). Baseline and 1-year followup data were obtained via structured 1-hour telephone interviews conducted between 2002 and 2006. Using self-report data, differences in organ involvement and disease morbidity, current disease status and activity, past and current medication use, and number of physician visits were compared, based on age at diagnosis of SLE.
Results
Average disease duration for the cSLE and aSLE subgroups was 16.5 and 13.4 years, respectively, and mean age at followup was 30.5 and 49.9 years, respectively. When compared with aSLE subjects, cSLE subjects had a higher frequency of SLE-related renal disease, whereas aSLE subjects were more likely to report a history of pulmonary disease. Rates of clotting disorders, seizures, and myocardial infarction were similar between the 2 groups. At followup, cSLE subjects had lower overall disease activity, but were more likely to be taking steroids and other immunosuppressive therapies. The total number of yearly physician visits was similar between the 2 groups, although cSLE subjects had a higher number of nephrology visits.
Conclusion
This study demonstrates important differences in the outcomes of patients with cSLE and aSLE, and provides important prognostic information about long-term SLE disease activity and treatment.
doi:10.1002/art.24091
PMCID: PMC2875186  PMID: 19116979
10.  Cross-sectional analysis of adverse outcomes in 1,029 pregnancies of Afro-Caribbean women in Trinidad with and without systemic lupus erythematosus 
The objective of the study was to examine pregnancy outcomes in women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and population controls in Trinidad. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of adverse outcomes in pregnancies of Afro-Caribbean women with SLE and without SLE. One hundred and twenty-two female adult cases of SLE and 203 neighbourhood age-matched women without SLE were interviewed concerning details of their reproductive history, and the anticardiolipin antibody (ACL) status was established for women with SLE. A total of 1,029 pregnancies were reported (356 by women with SLE, 673 by women without SLE). In women with ≥ 1 pregnancy the total number of pregnancies was similar in women with a diagnosis of SLE and women without; however, a lower proportion of women with SLE had ever been pregnant compared with women without SLE (80% versus 91%, P = 0.002). In multivariate logistic regression analyses adjusted for maternal age, district of residence, pregnancy order and smoking, SLE pregnancies were more than twice as likely to end in foetal death than non-SLE pregnancies (odds ratio (OR), 2.4; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.2–4.7). This effect was driven by a large increase in the odds of stillbirth (OR, 8.5; 95% CI, 2.5–28.8). The odds of early miscarriage (OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 0.6–3.1) and of mid-trimester miscarriage (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 0.4–9.5) were higher, but were not statistically significantly different, in SLE pregnancies than in non-SLE pregnancies. The odds of ectopic pregnancy (OR, 7.5; 95% CI, 0.9–62.5) and of preterm birth (OR, 3.4; 95% CI, 1.2–10.0) were higher in SLE pregnancies conceived after diagnosis than in non-SLE pregnancies. There was no evidence of raised levels of IgG or IgM ACL among the majority (93/97 women, 96%) of SLE cases who reported sporadic mid-trimester miscarriage or stillbirth, although there was evidence of high levels of IgM and IgG ACL among women reporting three or more miscarriages and three consecutive miscarriages, and of raised IgG ACL among those experiencing ectopic pregnancy. In conclusion, we found evidence for a large increase in risk of stillbirth in the pregnancies of Afro-Caribbean Trinidadian women with SLE (not accounted for by high ACL status). There was some evidence of an increased risk of preterm delivery and ectopic pregnancy in pregnancies conceived after a diagnosis of maternal SLE.
doi:10.1186/ar2332
PMCID: PMC2246243  PMID: 18042277
11.  Late onset systemic lupus erythematosus in southern Chinese 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1998;57(7):437-440.
OBJECTIVE—Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multisystem disorder that predominately affects women of the reproductive age. Onset of the disease beyond the age of 50 years is unusual. This study was undertaken to compare retrospectively the clinical and laboratory features between early and late onset (onset of disease beyond the age of 50 years) SLE patients in a Chinese population.
METHODS—Case records of all SLE patients who attended our rheumatology clinics between 1971 and 1997 were reviewed. Patients with a disease onset beyond the age of 50 years were identified. One hundred consecutive SLE patients who had their disease onset before the age of 50 were recruited as controls. The presenting clinical features, autoantibody profile, number of major organs involved, number of major relapses, and the use of cytotoxic agents in the two groups of patients were obtained and compared.
RESULTS—25 patients with late onset SLE were identified. All the female patients in the late onset group were postmenopausal. The female to male ratio was 3.2 to 1, compared with 13.3 to 1 in the control group (p<0.02). Both groups had a comparable duration of disease. There were no significant differences in the presenting features between the two groups except for a lower prevalence of malar rash (24% v 86%, p<0.0001) and a higher prevalence of rheumatoid factor (32% v 1%, p<0.0001) in the late onset patients. On subsequent visits, the late onset group had a lower prevalence of lupus nephritis (4% v 51%, p<0.001), fewer major organs involved (mean number of major organs involved; 0.3 v 0.9, p<0.02), fewer major relapses (mean number of major relapses/patient; 0.08 v 0.47, p<0.002, number of major relapses/patient year; 0.009 v 0.12, p<0.001), and required fewer cytotoxic agents for disease control (percentage of patients on cytotoxic agents; 32% v 79%, p<0.002).
CONCLUSION—Late onset SLE in Chinese tends to run a more benign course with fewer major organ involvement and fewer major relapses. The significantly higher incidence of male sex in late onset SLE and the milder disease course in the postmenopausal female patients suggest that oestrogen status may influence disease activity.

 Keywords: systemic lupus erythematosus; southern Chinese; Asians
PMCID: PMC1752656  PMID: 9797573
12.  Differential Genetic Associations for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Based on Anti–dsDNA Autoantibody Production 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(3):e1001323.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a clinically heterogeneous, systemic autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibody formation. Previously published genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have investigated SLE as a single phenotype. Therefore, we conducted a GWAS to identify genetic factors associated with anti–dsDNA autoantibody production, a SLE–related autoantibody with diagnostic and clinical importance. Using two independent datasets, over 400,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were studied in a total of 1,717 SLE cases and 4,813 healthy controls. Anti–dsDNA autoantibody positive (anti–dsDNA +, n = 811) and anti–dsDNA autoantibody negative (anti–dsDNA –, n = 906) SLE cases were compared to healthy controls and to each other to identify SNPs associated specifically with these SLE subtypes. SNPs in the previously identified SLE susceptibility loci STAT4, IRF5, ITGAM, and the major histocompatibility complex were strongly associated with anti–dsDNA + SLE. Far fewer and weaker associations were observed for anti–dsDNA – SLE. For example, rs7574865 in STAT4 had an OR for anti–dsDNA + SLE of 1.77 (95% CI 1.57–1.99, p = 2.0E-20) compared to an OR for anti–dsDNA – SLE of 1.26 (95% CI 1.12–1.41, p = 2.4E-04), with pheterogeneity<0.0005. SNPs in the SLE susceptibility loci BANK1, KIAA1542, and UBE2L3 showed evidence of association with anti–dsDNA + SLE and were not associated with anti–dsDNA – SLE. In conclusion, we identified differential genetic associations with SLE based on anti–dsDNA autoantibody production. Many previously identified SLE susceptibility loci may confer disease risk through their role in autoantibody production and be more accurately described as autoantibody propensity loci. Lack of strong SNP associations may suggest that other types of genetic variation or non-genetic factors such as environmental exposures have a greater impact on susceptibility to anti–dsDNA – SLE.
Author Summary
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease that can involve virtually any organ system. SLE patients produce antibodies that bind to their own cells and proteins (autoantibodies) which can cause irreversible organ damage. One particular SLE–related autoantibody directed at double-stranded DNA (anti–dsDNA) is associated with kidney involvement and more severe disease. Previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in SLE have studied SLE itself, not particular SLE manifestations. Therefore, we conducted this GWAS of anti–dsDNA autoantibody production to identify genetic associations with this clinically important autoantibody. We found that many previously identified SLE–associated genes are more strongly associated with anti–dsDNA autoantibody production than SLE itself, and they may be more accurately described as autoantibody propensity genes. No strong genetic associations were observed for SLE patients who do not produce anti–dsDNA autoantibodies, suggesting that other factors may have more influence in developing this type of SLE. Further investigation of these autoantibody propensity genes may lead to greater insight into the causes of autoantibody production and organ damage in SLE.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1001323
PMCID: PMC3048371  PMID: 21408207
13.  Early disease onset is predicted by a higher genetic risk for lupus and is associated with a more severe phenotype in lupus patients 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2010;70(1):151-156.
Background
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic, multiorgan, autoimmune disease that affects people of all ages and ethnicities.
Objectives
To explore the relationship between age at disease onset and many of the diverse manifestations of SLE. Additionally, to determine the relationship between age of disease onset and genetic risk in patients with SLE.
Methods
The relationship between the age at disease onset and SLE manifestations were explored in a multiracial cohort of 1317 patients. Patients with SLE were genotyped across 19 confirmed genetic susceptibility loci for SLE. Logistic regression was used to determine the relationships between the number of risk alleles present and age of disease onset.
Results
Childhood-onset SLE had higher odds of proteinuria, malar rash, anti-dsDNA antibody, haemolytic anaemia, arthritis and leucopenia (OR=3.03, 2.13, 2.08, 2.50, 1.89, 1.53, respectively; p values <0.0001, 0.0004, 0.0005, 0.0024, 0.0114, 0.045, respectively). In female subjects, the odds of having cellular casts were 2.18 times higher in childhood-onset than in adult-onset SLE (p=0.0027). With age of onset ≥50, the odds of having proteinuria, cellular casts, anti-nRNP antibody, anti-Sm antibody, anti-dsDNA antibody and seizures were reduced. However, late adult-onset patients with SLE have higher odds of developing photosensitivity than early adult-onset patients. Each SLE-susceptibility risk allele carried within the genome of patients with SLE increased the odds of having a childhood-onset disease in a race-specific manner: by an average of 48% in Gullah and 25% in African-Americans, but this was not significant in Hispanic and European-American lupus patients.
Conclusions
The genetic contribution towards predicting early-onset disease in patients with SLE is quantified for the first time. A more severe SLE phenotype is found in patients with early-onset disease in a large multi-racial cohort, independent of gender, race and disease duration.
doi:10.1136/ard.2010.141697
PMCID: PMC3034281  PMID: 20881011
14.  Patterns of Ambulatory Medical Care Utilization and Rheumatologist Consultation Predating the Diagnosis of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A National Population-Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101485.
Objective
To investigate the records of ambulatory medical care from patients predating the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) using nationwide, population-based claims data.
Methods
The frequencies and costs of ambulatory medical care utilization in 337 newly-diagnosed SLE cases between 2004 and 2010, identified from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database, were compared with 1,348 controls who were frequency matched for sex, age, and the catastrophic illness certificate application year of the cases.
Results
Patients with SLE had a median frequency of ambulatory medical care utilization compared with controls one year prior to the index date (22 vs. 2, P<0.001). The differences were significant throughout all eight annual periods. Similarly, the inflation-adjusted costs of ambulatory medical care utilization in patients with SLE increased annually over the study period, from a median of US$18 eight years prior to the index date to US$680 one year prior to the index date. Diseases of the respiratory system (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification [ICD-9-CM] codes 460–519), digestive system (ICD-9-CM codes 520–579), musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (ICD-9-CM codes 710–739, excluding 710.0), and skin and subcutaneous tissue (ICD-9-CM codes 680–709) were the top four common causes of visits in the 0.5 to 2 year period preceding the index date and percentages of SLE patients suffered from these disorders increased progressively over the study period. Only 56.4% of the patients with SLE had consulted a rheumatologist and most of the serology tests were done within one year predating the index date.
Conclusions
Increased frequencies and costs of ambulatory care utilization among Taiwanese patients with SLE occurred several years predating their definitive SLE diagnosis. When multisystemic disorders are presented in young female patients, the possibility of SLE should be considered and screened with tools such as the antinuclear antibody test.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101485
PMCID: PMC4084818  PMID: 24999630
15.  Risk Factors for Pelvic Floor Repair After Hysterectomy 
Obstetrics and gynecology  2009;113(3):601-608.
Objective
Having demonstrated that prior history of prolapse was a risk factor for pelvic floor repair procedures after hysterectomy, the objective of this study was to assess medical risk factors for pelvic floor repair after hysterectomy.
Methods
Using the Rochester Epidemiology Project database of 8,220 Olmsted County, Minnesota women who had hysterectomy for benign indications in 1965-2002, we conducted a nested case-control study in 144 pairs, comparing women who underwent pelvic floor repair after hysterectomy (cases) to controls matched for known risk factors (ie, age, pelvic floor disorders at baseline, year and type of hysterectomy, and pelvic floor repair during hysterectomy).
Results
The median duration between hysterectomy and pelvic floor repair was 13 years. Chronic pulmonary disease (odds ratio [OR] 14.3; 95% CI 1.2 to 178) but not obstetric history, obesity, indication for hysterectomy, or chronic constipation was associated with an increased risk of pelvic floor repair after hysterectomy. Between the hysterectomy and subsequent pelvic floor repair, overall pelvic organ prolapse severity changed by 1 grade or less in 54 cases (38%, Group A) but increased by 2 or more grades in 72 cases (50%, Group B). In Group A, but not Group B, uterine prolapse (OR 25; 95% CI 2.1 to 300) and chronic pulmonary disease (OR 22; 95% CI 1.5 to 328) at baseline remained risk factors for pelvic floor repair after hysterectomy.
Conclusion
In this matched case-control study, chronic pulmonary disease was the only risk factor for pelvic floor repair after hysterectomy for benign indications, underscoring the need to address pulmonary status prior to surgery.
doi:10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181998998
PMCID: PMC2720564  PMID: 19300323
16.  Effects of genital prolapse surgery and hysterectomy on pelvic floor function 
Facts, Views & Vision in ObGyn  2009;1(3):194-207.
This study was aimed to evaluate the effects of hysterectomy on pelvic floor function.
We conducted a prospective observational multicenter study with three-year follow-up in thirteen teaching and nonteaching hospitals in the Netherlands. Four-hundred-thirty females who underwent hysterectomy for benign disease other than symptomatic uterine prolapse were included. Validated disease-specific quality-of-life questionnaire were completed before surgery and at 6 months, 12 months and three years after surgery to assess the presence of micturition symptoms, defecation symptoms and sexual problems.
Micturition symptoms at three year after surgery were more common following vaginal hysterectomy than following abdominal hysterectomy (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.3-4.0). Micturition symptoms that more often disappeared following ­abdominal hysterectomy included urgency (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.0-5.5) and obstructive micturition (OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.0-8.2).
Constipation had developed in 2% of the patients without constipation before surgery and persisted in 46% of the ­patients with constipation before surgery.
Sexual pleasure statistically significantly improved in all patients, independently of the performed technique of ­hysterectomy. At six months after vaginal, subtotal abdominal hysterectomy and total abdominal hysterectomy, the prevalence of one or more bothersome sexual problems was 43%, 41% and 39% respectively (Chi-square test: p = 0.88).
From our prospective study it can be concluded that removal of the cervix during hysterectomy does not worsen pelvic floor function. Abdominal hysterectomy might have benefits over vaginal hysterectomy with respect to micturition. Hysterectomy does not cause constipation. Sexual function following hysterectomy does not depend on the performed technique and is on average better than before surgery.
PMCID: PMC4255511  PMID: 25489465
Constipation; hysterectomy; pelvic floor function; prospective study; quality of life
17.  TAM receptor ligands in lupus: Protein S but not Gas6 levels reflect disease activity in systemic lupus erythematosus 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(4):R146.
Introduction
The TAM (tyro 3, axl, mer) kinases are key regulators of innate immunity and are important in the phagocytosis of apoptotic cells. Gas6 and protein S are ligands for these TAM kinases and bind to phosphatidyl serine residues exposed during apoptosis. In animal models, absence of TAM kinases is associated with lupus-like disease. To test whether human systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients might have deficient levels of TAM ligands, we measured Gas 6 and protein S levels in SLE.
Methods
107 SLE patients were recruited. Of these, 45 SLE patients were matched age, gender and ethnicity with normal controls (NC). Gas6 and free protein S were measured with sandwich enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs).
Results
Overall, the plasma concentrations of Gas6 and free protein S were not different between 45 SLE patients and 45 NC. In SLE patients, the levels of free protein S were positively correlated with age (r = 0.2405, P = 0.0126), however those of Gas6 were not. There was no correlation between the concentrations of Gas6 and free protein S in individuals. Levels of free protein S were significantly lower in SLE patients with a history of serositis, neurologic disorder, hematologic disorder and immunologic disorder. Gas6 levels were elevated in patients with a history of neurologic disorder. The SLE patients with anti-Sm or anti-cardiolipin IgG showed lower free protein S levels. Circulating free protein S was positively correlated with complement component 3 (C3) (r = 0.3858, P < 0.0001) and complement component 4 (C4) (r = 0.4275, P < 0.0001). In the patients with active BILAG hematologic involvement, the levels of free protein S were lower and those of Gas6 were higher.
Conclusions
In SLE, free protein S was decreased in patients with certain types of clinical history and disease activity. Levels of free protein S were strongly correlated with C3 and C4 levels. Gas6 levels in SLE patients differed little from levels in NC, but they were elevated in the small numbers of patients with a history of neurological disease. The correlation of decreased protein S levels with lupus disease activity is consistent with a role for the TAM receptors in scavenging apoptotic cells and controlling inflammation. Protein S appears more important functionally in SLE patients than Gas6 in this regard.
doi:10.1186/ar3088
PMCID: PMC2945040  PMID: 20637106
18.  Sex differences in the expression of lupus-associated miRNAs in splenocytes from lupus-prone NZB/WF1 mice 
Background
A majority of autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), occur predominantly in females. Recent studies have identified specific dysregulated microRNAs (miRNAs) in both human and murine lupus, implying an important contribution of these miRNAs to lupus pathogenesis. However, to date, there is no study that examined sex differences in miRNA expression in immune cells as a plausible basis for sex differences in autoimmune disease. This study addresses this aspect in NZB/WF1 mice, a classical murine lupus model with marked female bias, and further investigates estrogen regulation of lupus-associated miRNAs.
Methods
The Taqman miRNA assay system was used to quantify the miRNA expression in splenocytes from male and female NZB/WF1 mice at 17–18, 23, and 30 weeks (wks) of age. To evaluate potential estrogen's effect on lupus-associated miRNAs, 6-wk-old NZB/WF1 male mice were orchidectomized and surgically implanted with empty (placebo) or estrogen implants for 4 and 26 wks, respectively. To assess the lupus status in the NZB/WF1 mice, serum anti-dsDNA autoantibody levels, proteinuria, and renal histological changes were determined.
Results
The sex differences in the expression of lupus-associated miRNAs, including the miR-182-96-183 cluster, miR-155, miR-31, miR-148a, miR-127, and miR-379, were markedly evident after the onset of lupus, especially at 30 wks of age when female NZB/WF1 mice manifested moderate to severe lupus when compared to their male counterparts. Our limited data also suggested that estrogen treatment increased the expression of aforementioned lupus-associated miRNAs, with the exception of miR-155, in orchidectomized male NZB/WF1 mice to a similar level in age-matched intact female NZB/WF1 mice. It is noteworthy that orchiectomy, itself, did not affect the expression of lupus-associated miRNAs.
Conclusion
To our knowledge, this is the first study that demonstrated sex differences in the expression of lupus-associated miRNAs in splenocytes, especially in the context of autoimmunity. The increased expression of lupus-associated miRNA in female NZB/WF1 mice and conceivably in estrogen-treated orchidectomized male NZB/WF1 mice was associated with lupus manifestation. The notable increase of lupus-associated miRNAs in diseased, female NZB/WF1 mice may be a result of both lupus manifestation and the female gender.
doi:10.1186/2042-6410-4-19
PMCID: PMC3843556  PMID: 24175965
Sex differences; Lupus; microRNA; Estrogen; Splenocytes; NZB/WF1
19.  Brain Morphometric Changes Associated With Childhood-Onset Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Neurocognitive Deficit 
Arthritis and Rheumatism  2013;65(8):2190-2200.
ObjectiveTo use structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to characterize changes in gray matter and white matter volumes between patients with childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and matched controls, between patients with childhood-onset SLE with and those without neurocognitive deficit, and in relation to disease duration and treatment with steroids.
MethodsTwenty-two patients with childhood-onset SLE and 19 healthy controls underwent high-resolution structural MRI. Probability density maps for gray matter and white matter were compared between groups.
ResultsNeuropsychological testing confirmed the presence of neurocognitive deficit in 8 patients with childhood-onset SLE. Multiple brain regions had reduced gray matter volume in the patients with childhood- onset SLE with neurocognitive deficit versus controls or patients with childhood-onset SLE without neurocognitive deficit. Neither disease duration nor cumulative oral or intravenous steroid doses accounted for decreases in gray matter. White matter volume was also reduced in patients with childhood-onset SLE with neurocognitive deficit, and the reduction was positively associated with both disease duration and cumulative oral steroid dose. Conversely, higher cumulative intravenous steroid doses were associated with higher white matter volumes.
ConclusionNeurocognitive deficit in patients with childhood-onset SLE is associated with multifocal decreases in both gray and white matter volumes. Since only white matter volume changes are related to disease duration and cumulative oral steroid use, this may suggest that gray and white matter alterations relate to different underlying mechanisms. Further work is needed to understand the relationship between gray and white matter alterations in childhood-onset SLE, whether the underlying mechanisms relate to immunologic, vascular, or other causes, and whether the changes are reversible or preventable. Likewise, the protective properties of intravenous steroids in maintaining white matter volumes require confirmation in larger cohorts.
doi:10.1002/art.38009
PMCID: PMC3840703  PMID: 23666759
20.  Herpes Zoster Infections in SLE in a University Hospital in Saudi Arabia: Risk Factors and Outcomes 
Autoimmune Diseases  2010;2010:174891.
Patients with SLE carry an increased risk of infection that account for 11–23% of all hospitalized patients and 50% of all SLE patients develop major infections during the course of their disease. Globally Herpes Zoster has been reported as the most frequent viral infection in SLE patients. We determined the clinical spectrum, disease sequelae and the risk factors associated with the development of Herpes Zoster in patients with SLE and their outcomes. Retrospective case control study of Herpes Zoster infections was done in SLE patients between 1982 and 2006. Cases were matched 1:2 to controls for age, race, sex and duration of follow up. Clinical features of the cases from the time of lupus diagnosis to the time of Zoster were compared to their respective controls over similar time periods. Thirty two SLE cases were compared to sixty four controls. Cases were more likely to have received cyclophosphamide (P = .0223) and intravenous methylprednisolone pulse therapy (P = .0026), MMF (P < .02), had leucopenia (P = .0407) and hemolytic anemia (P = .0344). More cases than controls had lupus nephritis, cerebritis, thrombocytopenia but the differences did not reach statistical significance. The mean oral prednisolone dose and proportion of patients receiving immunosuppressives including pulse methylprednisolone therapy, IV Cyclophosphamide and mycophenolate was significantly higher in patients with active SLE compared to patients with SLE in remission at the time of Herpes Zoster (P < .05). Disseminated Zoster developed in patients with active SLE (7/9) compared to patients with SLE in remission (0/23). None of the patients had postherpetic neuralgia or bacterial super infection. Immunosuppressive medications were discontinued at the time of diagnosis of Zoster in 19 of 32 patients and all patients received antiviral medications.There were no permanent neurologic deficits or deaths. We conclude that Herpes Zoster infections occur at increased frequency among patients with SLE and carry significant morbidity. Immunosuppressive therapy and severe manifestations of lupus may be risk factors for the development of Herpes Zoster although not necessarily at the time of disease flare or immunosuppressive therapy. Our study suggests that although Herpes Zoster occurs frequently in patients with SLE, it has a relatively benign course.
doi:10.4061/2010/174891
PMCID: PMC2989732  PMID: 21152215
21.  Hysterectomies and Urologic Symptoms: Results from the Boston Area Community Health (BACH) Survey 
Objectives
To describe the characteristics of women who have had a hysterectomy and to assess the association of a past hysterectomy on current urologic symptoms.
Methods
The Boston Area Community Health (BACH) survey is a random sample of Boston, Massachusetts residents aged 30–79 years using a stratified two-stage cluster design (3202 women; 1067 Black, 1111 Hispanic, 1024 White). Urologic symptoms, hysterectomy, co-morbidities, lifestyle factors, and medical indications for a hysterectomy were by self-report. Socioeconomic status was measured as a combination of education and income.
Results
Hysterectomies were reported by 587 women and 1782 women reported one or more urologic symptoms. Minorities and those of lower socioeconomic status are more likely to have had a hysterectomy, even after adjusting for age and potential medical indications for a hysterectomy. Hispanic women were least likely to report fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or genitourinary cancers, but they were more likely to have had a hysterectomy if they reported these conditions than Black or White women. Women with a hysterectomy were more likely to report lower urinary tract symptoms, painful bladder syndrome, urinary frequency, urgency, and overactive bladder after adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, body mass index, depression, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, smoking history, alcohol use, and physical activity.
Conclusions
Minorities and those of lower socioeconomic status are more likely to report having a hysterectomy and urologic symptoms (including painful bladder syndrome) may be an unintended consequence of a hysterectomy.
PMCID: PMC3060564  PMID: 21423814
Health disparities; hysterectomy; urologic symptoms
22.  High mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) and anti-HMGB1 antibodies and their relation to disease characteristics in systemic lupus erythematosus 
Introduction
High Mobility Group Box 1 (HMGB1) is a nuclear non-histone protein. HMGB1, which is secreted by inflammatory cells and passively released from apoptotic and necrotic cells, may act as a pro-inflammatory mediator. As apoptotic cells accumulate in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), HMGB1 levels might be increased in SLE. HMGB1 may also serve as an autoantigen, leading to the production of anti-HMGB1 antibodies. In this study we determined levels of HMGB1 and anti-HMGB1 in SLE patients in comparison to healthy controls (HC) and analysed their relation with disease activity.
Methods
The study population consisted of 70 SLE patients and 35 age- and sex-matched HC. Thirty-three SLE patients had quiescent disease, the other 37 patients were selected for having active disease. Nineteen of these had lupus nephritis. HMGB1 levels were measured with both Western blot and ELISA. Anti-HMGB1 levels were measured by ELISA. Clinical and serological parameters were assessed according to routine procedures.
Results
HMGB1 levels in SLE patients could be measured reliably by Western blotting only, and were significantly increased compared to HC. During active disease HMGB1 levels increased, in particular in patients with renal involvement. Serum HMGB1 levels correlated with SLEDAI, proteinuria, and anti-dsDNA levels, and showed a negative correlation with complement C3. Anti-HMGB1 levels were significantly increased in SLE patients compared to HC, and positively correlated with HMGB1 levels.
Conclusions
Levels of HMGB1 in the sera of SLE patients, in particular in those with active renal disease, are increased. Serum HMGB1 levels are related to SLEDAI scores and proteinuria, as well as to levels of anti-HMGB1 antibodies. These findings suggest that besides HMGB1, HMGB1-anti-HMGB1 immune complexes play a role in the pathogenesis of SLE, in particular in patients with renal involvement.
doi:10.1186/ar3332
PMCID: PMC3218880  PMID: 21548924
23.  Patterns and influence of familial autoimmunity in pediatric systemic lupus erythematosus 
Background
A high prevalence of autoimmune disease (AD) has been documented in relatives of adult patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, data on familial inheritance patterns in pediatric SLE patients is scarce.
Findings
The charts of 69 patients with pediatric-onset SLE were reviewed retrospectively. The primary aim was to describe the prevalence and types of AD in relatives of children with SLE. The secondary aims were: 1) to compare severity of SLE in children with and without relatives affected by AD, and 2) to evaluate the impact of baseline demographics on severity of SLE in subjects. At diagnosis, 42% of subjects had one or more first, second, or third degree relative(s) with AD; and 32% of subjects had one or more first degree relative(s) with AD. The most common diseases in relatives of children with SLE were SLE (21%) and thyroid disease (15%). Subjects with no family history of AD were more likely to have severe SLE. SLE severity in subjects did not differ by gender. Children presenting with SLE at an earlier age were found to have more severe disease.
Conclusions
This study demonstrated a high prevalence of AD in families of children with SLE, although a family history of AD did not correlate with more severe SLE in subjects. Future larger studies are necessary to elucidate patterns of familial inheritance and baseline patient characteristics that may affect severity of disease in pediatric SLE.
doi:10.1186/1546-0096-10-22
PMCID: PMC3542590  PMID: 22891746
Pediatric systemic lupus erythematosus; Severity; Inheritance patterns
24.  Anti-dsDNA, anti-Sm antibodies, and the lupus anticoagulant: significant factors associated with lupus nephritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2003;62(6):556-560.
Background: Lupus nephritis (LN) is a common manifestation in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Autoantibodies and ethnicity have been associated with LN, but the results are controversial.
Objective: To study the immunological and demographic factors associated with the development of LN.
Patients and methods: A retrospective case-control study of 127 patients with biopsy-proven LN, and 206 randomly selected patients with SLE without nephritis as controls was designed. All patients had attended our lupus unit during the past 12 years. Standard methods were used for laboratory testing.
Results: Patients with LN were significantly younger than the controls at the time of SLE diagnosis (mean (SD) 25.6 (8.8) years v 33.7 (12.5) years; p<0.0001). The proportion of patients of black ethnic origin was significantly higher in the group with nephritis (p=0.02). There were no differences in sex distribution or duration of follow up. A higher proportion of anti-dsDNA, anti-RNP, anti-Sm, and lupus anticoagulant (LA) was seen in the group with nephritis (p=0.002; p=0.005; p=0.0001; p=0.01, respectively). In univariate, but not in multivariate, analysis male sex and absence of anti-dsDNA were associated with earlier onset of renal disease (p=0.03; p=0.008). In multivariate analysis the only factors associated with nephritis were younger age at diagnosis of SLE, black race, presence of anti-dsDNA, anti-Sm, and LA. No demographic or immunological associations were seen with WHO histological classes.
Conclusions: Young, black patients with anti-dsDNA, anti-Sm antibodies, and positive LA, appear to have a higher risk of renal involvement. These patients should be carefully monitored for the development of LN.
doi:10.1136/ard.62.6.556
PMCID: PMC1754557  PMID: 12759294
25.  Pregnancy-Related Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Clinical Features, Outcome and Risk Factors of Disease Flares — A Case Control Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104375.
Objective
To investigate the clinical features, outcome, and risk factors of disease flares in patients with pregnancy-related lupus (PRL).
Methods
Medical charts of 155 consecutive PRL inpatients were systematically reviewed, including demographic data, clinical features, laboratory findings, treatment, complications, and outcome.
Results
PRL cases were divided into active (a-PRL) (n = 82, 53.0%) and stable lupus (s-PRL) (n = 73, 47.0%). Compared with nonpregnant active female systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients, a-PRL including new-onset lupus (n-PRL) and flare lupus (f-PRL) (n = 41 respectively), had a higher incidence of renal and hematological involvement but less mucocutaneous and musculoskeletal involvement (p<0.05). The incidence of preeclampsia/eclampsia, fetal loss, and preterm birth were significantly higher in a-PRL than in s-PRL (p<0.05). Despite receiving a more vigorous glucocorticoid treatment, a-PRL mothers had a poorer prognosis (p<0.001). Five (6.1%) of them died and 13 (15.9%) developed severe irreversible organ failure, whereas none of these events was observed in the s-PRL group. Multivariate logistic analysis indicated that a history of lupus flares and serological activity (hypocomplementemia and/or anti-dsDNA positivity) at the time of conception were associated with lupus flares in PRL mothers.
Conclusions
SLE patients with a flare history and serological activity at the time of conception were at an increased risk of disease flares during pregnancy and puerperium. a-PRL patients were more prone to renal and hematological involvement, pregnancy complications, and a poorer prognosis despite more vigorous glucocorticoid treatment.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104375
PMCID: PMC4131906  PMID: 25118692

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