PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-25 (1538608)

Clipboard (0)
None

Related Articles

1.  Risk factors for ANA positivity in healthy persons 
Introduction
The finding of antinuclear antibody (ANA) positivity in a healthy individual is usually of unknown significance and in most cases is benign. However, a subset of such individuals is at risk for development of autoimmune disease. We examined demographic and immunological features that are associated with ANA positivity in clinically healthy persons to develop insights into when this marker carries risk of progression to lupus.
Methods
Biological samples from healthy individuals and patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) were obtained from the Dallas Regional Autoimmune Disease Registry (DRADR). Measurements carried out on serum samples included ANA, extractable nuclear antibodies (ENA) and autoantibody profiling using an array with more than 100 specificities. Whole blood RNA samples from a subset of individuals were used to analyze gene expression on the Illumina platform. Data were analyzed for associations of high ANA levels with demographic features, the presence of other autoantibodies and with gene expression profiles.
Results
Overall, ANA levels are significantly higher in females than in males and this association holds in patients with the autoimmune diseases lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as well as in healthy controls (HC). Age was not significantly associated with ANA levels and the elevated ANA values could not be explained by higher IgG levels. Another autoantibody, anti- cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP), did not show gender dimorphism in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or healthy individuals. The autoantigen array showed significant elevations of other autoantibodies in high ANA HCs. Some of these autoantibodies were directed to antigens in skin and others were related to autoimmune conditions of kidney, thyroid or joints. Gene expression analyses showed a greater prevalence of significantly upregulated genes in HCs with negative ANA values than in those with significant ANA positivity. Genes upregulated in high ANA HCs included a celiac disease autoantigen and some components of the Type I interferon (IFN) gene signature.
Conclusions
Risks for ANA positivity include female gender and organ-specific autoimmunity. Upregulation of skin-specific autoantibodies may indicate that early events in the break of tolerance take place in cutaneous structures. Some of these changes may be mediated by Type I IFN. Blood profiling for expressed autoantibodies and genes has the potential to identify individuals at risk for development of autoimmune diseases including lupus.
doi:10.1186/ar3271
PMCID: PMC3132017  PMID: 21366908
2.  Reduced serum concentrations of 25-hydroxy vitamin D in Egyptian patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: Relation to disease activity 
Summary
Background
Recently, vitamin D deficiency has been implicated as a potential environmental factor triggering some autoimmune disorders, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)). In addition, patients with SLE, especially those with increased disease activity, were suggested to have decreased vitamin D level, suggesting that vitamin D might play a role in regulating autoantibody production.
Material/Methods
To assess 25 hydroxy vitamin D [25(OH)D] status in Egyptian patients with SLE and its relation to disease activity. Clinical evaluation and assay of serum 25(OH)D, total calcium, phosphorous, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and parathyroid hormone (PTH) were done on 60 SLE patients in comparison to 60 matched-healthy subjects. Serum 25(OH)D levels <30 and 10 ng/ml were defined as vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency, respectively.
Results
Serum 25(OH)D was significantly lower in patients than in controls (26.33±12.05 vs. 42.66±9.20 respectively, p<0.0001), with 13.30% and 60% being deficient and insufficient, respectively. Serum 25(OH)D levels were lower with increased disease activity (p=0.03) and frequency of photosensitivity(p=0.02) and photoprotection (p=0.002). Systemic lupus erythematosus disease activity index (SLEDAI) score (OR: 2.72, 95% CI: 1.42–5.18, P=0.002), photosensitivity (OR: 3.6, 95% CI: 1.9–6.8, P<0.01) and photoprotection (OR: 6.7, 95% CI: 2.9–8.8, P<0.001) were significant predictors of 25(OH)D level among SLE cases.
Conclusions
Low vitamin D status is prevalent in Egyptian SLE patients despite plentiful exposure to sunlight throughout the year, and its level is negatively correlated to disease activity. Future studies looking at a potential role of vitamin D in the pathophysiology and treatment of SLE are warranted.
doi:10.12659/MSM.882131
PMCID: PMC3628141  PMID: 22129903
Egyptian; 25 hydroxy vitamin D; photosensitivity; systemic lupus erythematosus
3.  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
4.  The Impact of Vitamin D on Dendritic Cell Function in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(2):e9193.
Background
Excessive activity of dendritic cells (DCs) is postulated as a central disease mechanism in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Vitamin D is known to reduce responsiveness of healthy donor DCs to the stimulatory effects of Type I IFN. As vitamin D deficiency is reportedly common in SLE, we hypothesized that vitamin D might play a regulatory role in the IFNα amplification loop in SLE. Our goals were to investigate the relationship between vitamin D levels and disease activity in SLE patients and to investigate the effects of vitamin D on DC activation and expression of IFNα-regulated genes in vitro.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In this study, 25-OH vitamin D (25-D) levels were measured in 198 consecutively recruited SLE patients. Respectively, 29.3% and 11.8% of African American and Hispanic SLE patient had 25-D levels <10 ng/ml. The degree of vitamin D deficiency correlated inversely with disease activity; R = −.234, p = .002. In 19 SLE patients stratified by 25-D levels, there were no differences between circulating DC number and phenotype. Monocyte-derived DCs (MDDCs) of SLE patients were normally responsive to the regulatory effects of vitamin D in vitro as evidenced by decreased activation in response to LPS stimulation in the presence of 1,25-D. Additionally, vitamin D conditioning reduced expression of IFNα-regulated genes by healthy donor and SLE MDDCs in response to factors in activating SLE plasma.
Conclusions/Significance
We report on severe 25-D deficiency in a substantial percentage of SLE patients tested and demonstrate an inverse correlation with disease activity. Our results suggest that vitamin D supplementation will contribute to restoring immune homeostasis in SLE patients through its inhibitory effects on DC maturation and activation. We are encouraged to support the importance of adequate vitamin D supplementation and the need for a clinical trial to assess whether vitamin D supplementation affects IFNα activity in vivo and, most importantly, improves clinical outcome.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009193
PMCID: PMC2821911  PMID: 20169063
5.  Association of the IRF5 Risk Haplotype With High Serum Interferon-α Activity in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Patients 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2008;58(8):2481-2487.
Objective
A haplotype of the interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF5) gene has been associated with the risk of developing systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and our previous studies have demonstrated that high levels of serum interferon-α (IFNα) activity are a heritable risk factor for SLE. The aim of this study was to determine whether the IRF5 SLE risk haplotype mediates the risk of SLE by predisposing patients to the development of high levels of serum IFNα activity.
Methods
IFNα levels in 199 SLE patients of European and Hispanic ancestry were measured with a sensitive functional reporter cell assay. The rs2004640, rs3807306, rs10488631, and rs2280714 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in IRF5 were genotyped in these patients. Haplotypes were categorized as SLE risk, neutral, or protective based on published data.
Results
SLE patients with risk/risk and risk/neutral IRF5 genotypes had higher serum IFNα activity than did those with protective/protective and neutral/protective genotypes (P = 0.025). This differential effect of IRF5 genotype on serum IFNα levels was driven largely by SLE patients who were positive for either anti–RNA binding protein (anti-RBP) or anti–double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) autoantibodies (P = 0.012 for risk/risk or risk/neutral versus protective/protective or neutral/protective). The rs3807306 genotype was independently associated with high serum IFNα in this autoantibody group. We found no difference in IFNα activity according to IRF5 genotype in patients lacking either type of autoantibody or in patients positive for both classes of autoantibody.
Conclusion
The IRF5 SLE risk haplotype is associated with higher serum IFNα activity in SLE patients, and this effect is most prominent in patients positive for either anti-RBP or anti-dsDNA autoantibodies. This study demonstrates the biologic relevance of the SLE risk haplotype of IRF5 at the protein level.
doi:10.1002/art.23613
PMCID: PMC2621107  PMID: 18668568
6.  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
7.  IRF5 haplotypes demonstrate diverse serological associations which predict serum interferon alpha activity and explain the majority of the genetic association with systemic lupus erythematosus 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2011;71(3):463-468.
Objective
High serum interferon α (IFNα) activity is a heritable risk factor for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Auto-antibodies found in SLE form immune complexes which can stimulate IFNα production by activating endosomal Toll-like receptors and interferon regulatory factors (IRFs), including IRF5. Genetic variation in IRF5 is associated with SLE susceptibility; however, it is unclear how IRF5 functional genetic elements contribute to human disease.
Methods
1034 patients with SLE and 989 controls of European ancestry, 555 patients with SLE and 679 controls of African–American ancestry, and 73 patients with SLE of South African ancestry were genotyped at IRF5 polymorphisms, which define major haplotypes. Serum IFNα activity was measured using a functional assay.
Results
In European ancestry subjects, anti-double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) and anti-Ro antibodies were each associated with different haplotypes characterised by a different combination of functional genetic elements (OR > 2.56, p >003C; 1.9×10−14 for both). These IRF5 haplotype-auto-antibody associations strongly predicted higher serum IFNα in patients with SLE and explained > 70% of the genetic risk of SLE due to IRF5. In African–American patients with SLE a similar relationship between serology and IFNα was observed, although the previously described European ancestry-risk haplotype was present at admixture proportions in African–American subjects and absent in African patients with SLE.
Conclusions
The authors define a novel risk haplotype of IRF5 that is associated with anti-dsDNA antibodies and show that risk of SLE due to IRF5 genotype is largely dependent upon particular auto-antibodies. This suggests that auto-antibodies are directly pathogenic in human SLE, resulting in increased IFNα in cooperation with particular combinations of IRF5 functional genetic elements.
SLE is a systemic autoimmune disorder affecting multiple organ systems including the skin, musculoskeletal, renal and haematopoietic systems. Humoral autoimmunity is a hallmark of SLE, and patients frequently have circulating auto-antibodies directed against dsDNA, as well as RNA binding proteins (RBP). Anti-RBP autoantibodies include antibodies which recognize Ro, La, Smith (anti-Sm), and ribonucleoprotein (anti-nRNP), collectively referred to as anti-retinol-binding protein). Anti-retinol-binding protein and anti-dsDNA auto-antibodies are rare in the healthy population.1 These auto-antibodies can be present in sera for years preceding the onset of clinical SLE illness2 and are likely pathogenic in SLE.34
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2011-200463
PMCID: PMC3307526  PMID: 22088620
8.  Olf1/EBF associated zinc finger protein interfered with antinuclear antibody production in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus 
Introduction
The aim of the study was to determine whether Olf1/EBF associated zinc finger protein (OAZ), a transcription factor encoded by a positional systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) candidate gene, plays a functional role in the pathogenesis in SLE.
Methods
Gene expression levels in peripheral blood cells (PBLs) measured using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) were assessed for association with disease activity and the presence of specific autoantibodies. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were incubated with specific siRNAs for three days, then cells were harvested for measuring mRNA levels using qPCR, and supernatants for levels of total immunoglobulin (Ig)G and IgM as well as secreted cytokines, chemokine and antinuclear antibodies (ANA) using ELISA. Indirect immunofluorescence was also applied for ANA detection.
Results
OAZ gene expressions in PBLs from 40 ANA-positive SLE patients were significantly increased than those from 30 normal controls (P < 0.0001) and 18 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (P < 0.01). In SLE patients, OAZ transcripts were positively correlated with SLE disease activity index (SLEDAI) score (r = 0.72, P < 0.0001) and higher in those positive for anti-dsDNA or anti-Sm antibodies (both P < 0.05). Co-culturing with OAZ siRNAs reduced mRNA levels of OAZ by 74.6 ± 6.4% as compared to those co-cultured with non-targeting siRNA and OAZ silencing resulted in reduced total IgG, ANA, interferon (IFN)-γ, interleukin (IL)-10, IL-12 and IL-21, but elevated CCL2 levels in culture supernatants (P < 0.05). The declined ANA levels correlated with inhibited OAZ expression (r = 0.88, P = 0.05), reduced IL-21 levels (r = 0.99, P < 0.01), and elevated chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 levels (r = -0.98, P < 0.01). Expressions of ID1-3 were significantly down-regulated by 68.7%, 70.2% and 67.7% respectively after OAZ silence, while ID3 was also highly expressed in SLE PBLs (P < 0.0001) and associated with disease activity (r = 0.76, P < 0.0001) as well as anti-dsDNA or anti-Sm antibodies (both P < 0.05).
Conclusions
Elevated expression of OAZ transcripts in SLE PBLs were strongly correlated with disease activity. Suppression of OAZ expression inhibited downstream ID levels, and secretion of ANA and IL-21, implicating a role of OAZ pathway in the pathogenesis of SLE.
doi:10.1186/ar2972
PMCID: PMC2888210  PMID: 20359360
9.  Prolidase deficiency breaks tolerance to lupus-associated antigens 
Background
Prolidase deficiency is a rare autosomal recessive disease in which one of the last steps of collagen metabolism, cleavage of proline-containing dipeptides, is impaired. Only about 93 patients have been reported with about 10% also having systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Methods
We studied a large extended Amish pedigree with four prolidase deficiency patients and three heterozygous individuals for lupus-associated autoimmunity. Eight unaffected Amish children served as normal controls. Prolidase genetics and enzyme activity were confirmed. Antinuclear antibodies (ANA) were determined using indirect immunofluorescence and antibodies against extractable nuclear antigens were determined by various methods, including double immunodiffusion, immunoprecipitation and multiplex bead assay. Serum C1q levels were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results
Two of the four homozygous prolidase deficiency subjects had a positive ANA. One had anti-double-stranded DNA, while another had precipitating anti-Ro. By the simultaneous microbead assay, three of the four had anti-Sm and anti-chromatin. One of the three heterozygous subjects had a positive ANA and immunoprecipitation of a 75 000 molecular weight protein. The unaffected controls had normal prolidase activity and were negative for autoantibodies.
Conclusions
Prolidase deficiency may be associated with the loss of immune tolerance to lupus-associated autoantigens even without clinical SLE.
doi:10.1111/1756-185X.12254
PMCID: PMC4030668  PMID: 24330273
prolidase deficiency; systemic lupus erythematosus; autoantibodies
10.  Disease-specific definitions of vitamin D deficiency need to be established in autoimmune and non-autoimmune chronic diseases: a retrospective comparison of three chronic diseases 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(5):R191.
Introduction
We compared the odds of vitamin D deficiency in three chronic diseases: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and type 2 diabetes (T2DM), adjusting for medications, demographics, and laboratory parameters, common to all three diseases. We also designed multivariate models to determine whether different factors are associated with vitamin D deficiency in different racial/ethnic groups.
Methods
We identified all patients with non-overlapping diagnoses of SLE, RA, and T2DM, with 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) levels measured between 2000 and 2009. Vitamin D deficiency was defined as 25OHD levels <20 ng/ml, based on previously established definitions. Race/ethnicity was analyzed as African-American non-Hispanic (African-American), Hispanic non-African-American (Hispanic), and Other based on self report.
Results
We included 3,914 patients in the final analysis: 123 SLE, 100 RA, and 3,691 T2DM. Among African-Americans the frequency of vitamin D deficiency was 59% in SLE, 47% in RA, and 67% in T2DM. Among Hispanics the frequency of vitamin D deficiency was 67% in SLE, 50% in RA, and 59% in T2DM. Compared with the SLE group, the adjusted odds ratio of vitamin D deficiency was 1.1, 95% CI (0.62, 2.1) in the RA group, and 2.0, 95% CI (1.3, 3.1) in the T2DM group. In the multivariate analysis, older age, higher serum calcium and bisphosphonate therapy were associated with a lower odds of vitamin D deficiency in all three racial/ethnic groups: 1,330 African-American, 1,257 Hispanic, and 1,100 Other. T2DM, serum creatinine, and vitamin D supplementation were associated with vitamin D deficiency in some, but not all, racial/ethnic groups.
Conclusions
Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in our patients with SLE, RA, and T2DM. While the odds of vitamin D deficiency are similar in RA and SLE patients in a multivariate analysis, T2DM patients have much higher odds of being vitamin D deficient. Different demographic and laboratory factors may be associated with vitamin D deficiency within different racial/ethnic groups. Therefore, disease-specific and race/ethnicity-specific definitions of vitamin D deficiency need to be established in future studies in order to define goals of vitamin D replacement in patients with autoimmune and non-autoimmune chronic diseases.
doi:10.1186/ar3161
PMCID: PMC2991026  PMID: 20946654
11.  Double positive CD4+CD8+ T cells: key suppressive role in the production of autoantibodies in systemic lupus erythematosus 
Background & objectives:
The presence of CD4+CD8+ (double positive) T cells (DPT) in the target organs of several autoimmune diseases has been reported. The aim of this study was to investigate the pathogenic role of DPT in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Methods:
A total of 175 SLE cases and 125 matched healthy controls were investigated for CD3+, CD4+, CD8+ lymphocytes and DPT by flow cytometry. Serum samples from SLE patients and controls were tested for antinuclear antibody (ANA), anti-double strain deoxyribonucleic acid (anti-dsDNA), anti-U1 ribonucleoprotein (anti-U1 RNP), anti-sjogren syndrome A (anti-SSA), anti-ribosomal P protein (anti-rib-P), anti-Smith (anti-Sm), anti-Sjogren syndrome B (anti-SSB), complement 3 (C3) and complement 4 (C4).
Results:
The DPT median and 5-95 per cent range of SLE cases and healthy controls were 0.50 [0.10-2.60] and 0.80 [0.20-2.74] respectively (P<0.001). SLE patients were divided into a ≥1:1000 subgroup and a <1:1000 subgroup according to the ANA titre. The DPT of the former subgroup was significantly lower than that of the latter (P=0.032). The DPT medians of positive subgroups with anti-dsDNA (P<0.001), anti-U1RNP (P=0.018), anti-SSA (P=0.021) or anti-rib-P (P=0.039) were also significantly lower than the negative subgroups. Likewise, DPT was significantly lower in SLE subgroups with low concentration of C3 or C4 than those with high concentration (P<0.006).
Interpretation & conclusions:
Our findings show that the DPT cells may play a key suppressive role in the production of autoantibodies in SLE. Direct evidence that DPT regulates the pathogenesis of SLE needs to be investigated in future work.
PMCID: PMC4277137  PMID: 25488445
Antinuclear antibody; double positive; pathogenic role; SLE; CD4+CD8+; T cell
12.  IFNα Serum Levels Are Associated with Endothelial Progenitor Cells Imbalance and Disease Features in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86069.
Introduction
IFNα has been largely implicated in the ethiopathogenesis of autoimmune diseases but only recently it has been linked to endothelial damage and accelerated atherosclerosis in autoimmunity. In addition, proinflammatory conditions are supposed to be implicated in the cardiovascular status of these patients. Since a role for IFNα in endothelial damage and impaired Endothelial Progenitor Cell (EPC) number and function has been reported in other diseases, we aimed to evaluate the potential associations of IFNα serum levels on EPC populations and cytokine profiles in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patients.
Methods
pre-EPC, EPC and mature EPC (mEPC) populations were quantified by flow cytometry analyzing their differential CD34, CD133 and VEGFR2 expression in blood samples from 120 RA patients, 52 healthy controls (HC), and 83 systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients as disease control. Cytokine serum levels were measured by immunoassays and clinical and immunological data, including cardiovascular (CV) events and CV risk factors, were retrospectively obtained by reviewing clinical records.
Results
Long-standing, but not recent onset RA patients displayed a significant depletion of all endothelial progenitor populations, unless high IFNα levels were present. In fact, the IFNhigh RA patient group (n = 40, 33%), showed increased EPC levels, comparable to SLE patients. In addition, high IFNα serum levels were associated with higher disease activity (DAS28), presence of autoantibodies, higher levels of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-10 and MIP-1α, lower amounts of TGF-β, and increased mEPC/EPC ratio, thus suggesting higher rates of endothelial damage and an endothelial repair failure. Finally, the relationship between high IFNα levels and occurrence of CV events observed in RA patients seems to support this hypothesis.
Conclusions
IFNα serum marker could be used to identify a group of RA patients with increased disease activity, EPC imbalance, enhanced proinflammatory profile and higher cardiovascular risk, probably due, at least in part, to an impaired endothelial repair.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086069
PMCID: PMC3897639  PMID: 24465874
13.  Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Vitamin D Deficiency Are Associated with Shorter Telomere Length among African Americans: A Case-Control Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63725.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease that disproportionately affects African American females. The causes of SLE are unknown but postulated to be a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental triggers. Vitamin D deficiency is one of the possible environmental triggers. In this study we evaluated relationships between vitamin D status, cellular aging (telomere length) and anti-telomere antibodies among African American Gullah women with SLE. The study population included African American female SLE patients and unaffected controls from the Sea Island region of South Carolina. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were measured using a nonchromatographic radioimmunoassay. Telomere length was measured in genomic DNA of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) by monochrome multiplex quantitative PCR. Anti-telomere antibody levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Patients with SLE had significantly shorter telomeres and higher anti-telomere antibody titers compared to age- and gender-matched unaffected controls. There was a positive correlation between anti-telomere antibody levels and disease activity among patients and a significant correlation of shorter telomeres with lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in both patients and controls. In follow-up examination of a subset of the patients, the patients who remained vitamin D deficient tended to have shorter telomeres than those patients whose 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were repleted. Increasing 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in African American patients with SLE may be beneficial in maintaining telomere length and preventing cellular aging. Moreover, anti-telomere antibody levels may be a promising biomarker of SLE status and disease activity.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063725
PMCID: PMC3658981  PMID: 23700431
14.  Genetic Variation at the IRF7/PHRF1 Locus Is Associated With Autoantibody Profile and Serum Interferon-α Activity in Lupus Patients 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(2):553-561.
Objective
Interferon-α (IFNα) is a heritable risk factor for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Genetic variation near IRF7 is implicated in SLE susceptibility. SLE-associated autoantibodies can stimulate IFNα production through the Toll-like receptor/IRF7 pathway. This study was undertaken to determine whether variants of IRF7 act as risk factors for SLE by increasing IFNα production and whether autoantibodies are important to this phenomenon.
Methods
We studied 492 patients with SLE (236 African American, 162 European American, and 94 Hispanic American subjects). Serum levels of IFNα were measured using a reporter cell assay, and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the IRF7/PHRF1 locus were genotyped.
Results
In a joint analysis of European American and Hispanic American subjects, the rs702966 C allele was associated with the presence of anti–double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) antibodies (odds ratio [OR] 1.83, P = 0.0069). The rs702966 CC genotype was only associated with higher serum levels of IFNα in European American and Hispanic American patients with anti-dsDNA antibodies (joint analysis P = 4.1 × 10−5 in anti-dsDNA–positive patients and P = 0.99 in anti-dsDNA–negative patients). In African American subjects, anti-Sm antibodies were associated with the rs4963128 SNP near IRF7 (OR 1.95, P = 0.0017). The rs4963128 CT and TT genotypes were associated with higher serum levels of IFNα only in African American patients with anti-Sm antibodies (P = 0.0012). In African American patients lacking anti-Sm antibodies, an effect of anti-dsDNA–rs702966 C allele interaction on serum levels of IFNα was observed, similar to the other patient groups (overall joint analysis P = 1.0 × 10−6). In European American and Hispanic American patients, the IRF5 SLE risk haplotype showed an additive effect with the rs702966 C allele on IFNα level in anti-dsDNA–positive patients.
Conclusion
Our findings indicate that IRF7/PHRF1 variants in combination with SLE-associated autoantibodies result in higher serum levels of IFNα, providing a biologic relevance for this locus at the protein level in human SLE in vivo.
doi:10.1002/art.27182
PMCID: PMC2832192  PMID: 20112359
15.  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
16.  Preferential Binding to Elk-1 by SLE-Associated IL10 Risk Allele Upregulates IL10 Expression 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(10):e1003870.
Immunoregulatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) is elevated in sera from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) correlating with disease activity. The established association of IL10 with SLE and other autoimmune diseases led us to fine map causal variant(s) and to explore underlying mechanisms. We assessed 19 tag SNPs, covering the IL10 gene cluster including IL19, IL20 and IL24, for association with SLE in 15,533 case and control subjects from four ancestries. The previously reported IL10 variant, rs3024505 located at 1 kb downstream of IL10, exhibited the strongest association signal and was confirmed for association with SLE in European American (EA) (P = 2.7×10−8, OR = 1.30), but not in non-EA ancestries. SNP imputation conducted in EA dataset identified three additional SLE-associated SNPs tagged by rs3024505 (rs3122605, rs3024493 and rs3024495 located at 9.2 kb upstream, intron 3 and 4 of IL10, respectively), and SLE-risk alleles of these SNPs were dose-dependently associated with elevated levels of IL10 mRNA in PBMCs and circulating IL-10 protein in SLE patients and controls. Using nuclear extracts of peripheral blood cells from SLE patients for electrophoretic mobility shift assays, we identified specific binding of transcription factor Elk-1 to oligodeoxynucleotides containing the risk (G) allele of rs3122605, suggesting rs3122605 as the most likely causal variant regulating IL10 expression. Elk-1 is known to be activated by phosphorylation and nuclear localization to induce transcription. Of interest, phosphorylated Elk-1 (p-Elk-1) detected only in nuclear extracts of SLE PBMCs appeared to increase with disease activity. Co-expression levels of p-Elk-1 and IL-10 were elevated in SLE T, B cells and monocytes, associated with increased disease activity in SLE B cells, and were best downregulated by ERK inhibitor. Taken together, our data suggest that preferential binding of activated Elk-1 to the IL10 rs3122605-G allele upregulates IL10 expression and confers increased risk for SLE in European Americans.
Author Summary
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a debilitating autoimmune disease characterized by the production of pathogenic autoantibodies, has a strong genetic basis. Variants of the IL10 gene, which encodes cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) with known function of promoting B cell hyperactivity and autoantibody production, are associated with SLE and other autoimmune diseases, and serum IL-10 levels are elevated in SLE patients correlating with increased disease activity. In this study, to discover SLE-predisposing causal variant(s), we assessed variants within the genomic region containing IL10 and its gene family member IL19, IL20 and IL24 for association with SLE in case and control subjects from diverse ancestries. We identified SLE-associated SNP rs3122605 located at 9.2 kb upstream of IL10 as the most likely causal variant in subjects of European ancestry. The SLE-risk allele of rs3122605 was dose-dependently associated with elevated IL10 expression at both mRNA and protein levels in peripheral blood samples from SLE patients and controls, which could be explained, at least in part, by its preferential binding to Elk-1, a transcription factor activated in B cells during active disease of SLE patients. Elk-1-mediated IL-10 overexpression could be downregulated by inhibiting activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases, suggesting a potential therapeutic target for SLE.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003870
PMCID: PMC3794920  PMID: 24130510
17.  Age- and Sex-Related Patterns of Serum Interferon-α Activity in Lupus Families 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2008;58(7):2113-2119.
Objective
Interferon-α (IFNα) levels are elevated in many patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and may play a primary role in its pathogenesis. The purpose of this study was to determine whether serum IFNα activity in SLE patients and their healthy first-degree relatives is highest in early adulthood, when the incidence of SLE is greatest.
Methods
Serum samples from 315 SLE patients, 359 healthy first-degree relatives, and 141 healthy unrelated donors were measured for IFNα activity using a functional reporter cell assay. IFNα activity was analyzed in relation to age, and subgroups with high levels of IFNα activity were identified within the large data sets using a Mann-Whitney sliding window segmentation algorithm. The significance of each subgrouping was ranked by Kruskal-Wallis testing.
Results
Age was inversely correlated with IFNα activity in female SLE patients (r = −0.20, P = 0.001) as well as their healthy female first-degree relatives (r = −0.16, P = 0.02). In male patients and their healthy male first-degree relatives, there was no significant overall correlation between age and serum IFNα activity. The segmentation algorithm revealed significantly increased IFNα activity between the ages of 12 and 22 years in female SLE patients and between the ages of 16 and 29 years in male SLE patients. Both male and female healthy first-degree relatives had significantly decreased IFNα activity after the age of 50 years.
Conclusion
Serum IFNα activity is higher in younger individuals in the SLE family cohorts, and this tendency is accentuated in affected individuals. This age-related pattern of IFNα activity may contribute to the increased incidence of SLE in early adulthood, and interestingly, males and females had similar age-related patterns of IFNα activity.
doi:10.1002/art.23619
PMCID: PMC2729701  PMID: 18576315
18.  Associations between antinuclear antibody staining patterns and clinical features of systemic lupus erythematosus: analysis of a regional Swedish register 
BMJ Open  2013;3(10):e003608.
Objective
Antinuclear antibody (ANA) analysis by immunofluorescence (IF) microscopy remains a diagnostic hallmark of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The clinical relevance of ANA fine-specificities in SLE has been addressed repeatedly, whereas studies on IF-ANA staining patterns in relation to disease manifestations are very scarce. This study was performed to elucidate whether different staining patterns associate with distinct SLE phenotypes.
Design
Observational cohort study.
Setting
One university hospital rheumatology unit in Sweden.
Participants
The study population consisted of 222 cases (89% women; 93% Caucasians), where of 178 met ≥4/11 of the 1982 American College of Rheumatology (ACR-82) criteria. The remaining 20% had an SLE diagnosis based on positive IF-ANA (HEp-2 cells) and ≥2 typical organ manifestations at the time of diagnosis (Fries’ criteria).
Outcome measures
The IF-ANA staining patterns homogenous (H-ANA), speckled (S-ANA), combined homogenous and speckled (HS-ANA), centromeric (C-ANA), nucleolar (N-ANA)±other patterns and other nuclear patterns (oANA) were related to disease manifestations and laboratory measures. Antigen-specificities were also considered regarding double-stranded DNA (Crithidia luciliae) and the following extractable nuclear antigens: Ro/SSA, La/SSB, Smith antigen (Sm), small nuclear RNP (snRNP), Scl-70 and Jo-1 (immunodiffusion and/or line-blot technique).
Results
54% of the patients with SLE displayed H-ANA, 22% S-ANA, 11% HS-ANA, 9% N-ANA, 1% C-ANA, 2% oANA and 1% were never IF-ANA positive. Staining patterns among patients meeting Fries’ criteria alone did not differ from those fulfilling ACR-82. H-ANA was significantly associated with the 10th criterion according to ACR-82 (‘immunological disorder’). S-ANA was inversely associated with arthritis, ‘immunological disorder’ and signs of organ damage.
Conclusions
H-ANA is the dominant IF-ANA pattern among Swedish patients with SLE, and was found to associate with ‘immunological disorder’ according to ACR-82. The second most common pattern, S-ANA, associated negatively with arthritis and organ damage.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003608
PMCID: PMC3808756  PMID: 24163206
Antinuclear antibodies; Immunofluorescence microscopy; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Organ damage; Ro/SSA
19.  Low frequency of CD4+CD25+ Treg in SLE patients: a heritable trait associated with CTLA4 and TGFβ gene variants 
BMC Immunology  2009;10:5.
Background
CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells play an essential role in maintaining immune homeostasis and preventing autoimmunity. Therefore, defects in Treg development, maintenance or function have been associated with several human autoimmune diseases including Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), a systemic autoimmune disease characterized by loss of tolerance to nuclear components and significantly more frequent in females.
Results
To investigate the involvement of Treg in SLE pathogenesis, we determined the frequency of CD4+CD25+CD45RO+ T cells, which encompass the majority of Treg activity, in the PBMC of 148 SLE patients (76 patients were part of 54 families), 166 relatives and 117 controls. SLE patients and their relatives were recruited in several Portuguese hospitals and through the Portuguese Lupus Association. Control individuals were blood donors recruited from several regional blood donor centers. Treg frequency was significantly lower in SLE patients than healthy controls (z = -6.161, P < 0.00001) and intermediate in the relatives' group. Remarkably, this T cell subset was also lower in females, most strikingly in the control population (z = 4.121, P < 0.001). We further ascertained that the decreased frequency of Treg in SLE patients resulted from the specific reduction of bona fide FOXP3+CD4+CD25+ Treg. Treg frequency was negatively correlated with SLE activity index (SLEDAI) and titers of serum anti-dsDNA antibodies. Both Treg frequency and disease activity were modulated by IVIg treatment in a documented SLE case. The segregation of Treg frequency within the SLE families was indicative of a genetic trait. Candidate gene analysis revealed that specific variants of CTLA4 and TGFβ were associated with the decreased frequency of Treg in PBMC, while FOXP3 gene variants were associated with affection status, but not with Treg frequency.
Conclusion
SLE patients have impaired Treg production or maintenance, a trait strongly associated with SLE disease activity and autoantibody titers, and possibly resulting from the inability to convert FOXP3+CD25- into FOXP3+CD25+ T cells. Treg frequency is highly heritable within SLE families, with specific variants of the CTLA4 and TGFβ genes contributing to this trait, while FOXP3 contributes to SLE through mechanisms not involving a modulation of Treg frequency. These findings establish that the genetic components in SLE pathogenesis include genes related to Treg generation or maintenance.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-10-5
PMCID: PMC2656467  PMID: 19173720
20.  Association of Endogenous Anti–Interferon-α Autoantibodies With Decreased Interferon-Pathway and Disease Activity in Patients With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2011;63(8):2407-2415.
Objective
Numerous observations implicate interferon-α (IFNα) in the pathophysiology of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); however, the potential impact of endogenous anti-IFNα autoantibodies (AIAAs) on IFN-pathway and disease activity is unclear. The aim of this study was to characterize IFN-pathway activity and the serologic and clinical profiles of AIAA-positive patients with SLE.
Methods
Sera obtained from patients with SLE (n = 49), patients with rheumatoid arthritis (n = 25), and healthy control subjects (n = 25) were examined for the presence of AIAAs, using a biosensor immunoassay. Serum type I IFN bioactivity and the ability of AIAA-positive sera to neutralize IFNα activity were determined using U937 cells. Levels of IFN-regulated gene expression in peripheral blood were determined by microarray, and serum levels of BAFF, IFN-inducible chemokines, and other autoantibodies were measured using immunoassays.
Results
AIAAs were detected in 27% of the serum samples from patients with SLE, using a biosensor immunoassay. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering analysis identified 2 subgroups of patients, IFNlow and IFNhigh, that differed in the levels of serum type I IFN bioactivity, IFN-regulated gene expression, BAFF, anti-ribosomal P, and anti-chromatin autoantibodies, and in AIAA status. The majority of AIAA-positive patients had significantly lower levels of serum type I IFN bioactivity, reduced downstream IFN-pathway activity, and lower disease activity compared with the IFNhigh patients. AIAA-positive sera were able to effectively neutralize type I IFN activity in vitro.
Conclusion
Patients with SLE commonly harbor AIAAs. AIAA-positive patients have lower levels of serum type I IFN bioactivity and evidence for reduced downstream IFN-pathway and disease activity. AIAAs may influence the clinical course in SLE by blunting the effects produced by IFNα.
doi:10.1002/art.30399
PMCID: PMC4028124  PMID: 21506093
21.  Clinical utility of antinuclear antibody tests in children 
BMC Pediatrics  2004;4:13.
Background
Antinuclear antibody (ANA) tests are frequently used to screen children for chronic inflammatory diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, the diagnostic utility of this test is limited because of the large number of healthy children who have low-titer positive tests. We sought to determine the clinical utility of ANA tests in screening children for rheumatic disease and to determine whether there are specific signs or symptoms that enhance the clinical utility of ANA tests in children.
Methods
We undertook a retrospective analysis of 509 new patient referrals. Charts of patients referred because of results of ANA testing were selected for further analysis. Children with JRA, SLE, and other conditions were compared using demographic data, chief complaints at the time of presentation, and ANA titers.
Results
One hundred ten patients were referred because of an ANA test interpreted as positive. Ten patients were subsequently diagnosed with SLE. In addition, we identified one patient with mixed connective tissue disease, and an additional child with idiopathic Raynaud's phenomenon. Eighteen children of the children referred for a positive ANA test had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). Another 80 children with positive ANA tests were identified, the majority of whom (n = 39, 49%) had musculoskeletal pain syndromes. Neither the presence nor the titer of ANA served to distinguish children with JRA from children with other musculoskeletal conditions. Children with JRA were readily identified on the basis of the history and physical examination. Children with SLE were therefore compared with children with positive ANA tests who did not have JRA, designated the "comparison group." Non-urticarial rash was more common in children with SLE than in children without chronic inflammatory disease (p = 0.007). Children with SLE were also older (mean ± sd = 14.2 ± 2.5 years) than the comparison group (11.0 ± 3.6 years; p = 0.001). ANA titer was also a significant discriminator between children with SLE and children without chronic inflammatory disease. The median ANA titer in children with SLE was 1: 1,080 compared with 1:160 for other children (p < 0.0001). ANA titers of ≥1,080 had a positive predictive value for SLE of 1.0 while titers of ≤1: 360 had a negative predictive value for lupus of 0.84.
Conclusion
Age and ANA titer assist in discriminating children with SLE from children with other conditions. ANA tests are of no diagnostic utility in either making or excluding the diagnosis of JRA.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-4-13
PMCID: PMC476739  PMID: 15245579
22.  Genetic contributions to the autoantibody profile in a rabbit model of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) 
For the development of rabbit models of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), immunoglobulin allotype-defined pedigreed rabbits from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases rabbit resource more closely approximate human populations due to their non-inbred pedigreed structure. In an initial study from this laboratory, peptides (SM and GR) from the spliceosomal Smith (Sm) and the NMDA glutamate receptor NR2b, on branched polylysine backbones (BB) elicited antinuclear and anti-dsDNA autoantibodies typical of SLE, as well as seizures and nystagmus sometimes observed as neurological manifestations in SLE patients. This suggested the feasibility of further selective breeding to develop a more reproducible rabbit model for investigations of SLE. Here we report the results of GR-MAP-8 and control BB immunization on autoantibody responses in a group of 24 rabbits specifically bred and developed from parents and ancestors tested for autoantibody responses. The changes in hematological profile and blood chemistry in the experimental rabbits were evaluated along with autoantibody responses. Elevations of total white blood cell (WBC), monocyte, eosinophil and basophil counts that developed following immunizations were moderately influenced by litter and presence of the antibody heavy chain allotype VH1a1. Autoantibody development followed a sequential pattern with anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA) followed by anti-dsDNA and subsequently anti-Sm and anti-RNP similar to SLE patients. High autoantibody levels to one autoantigen were not always associated with antibody response to another. Female rabbits had higher prevalence and levels of autoantibodies similar to human SLE. Higher autoantibody levels of anti-dsDNA and -ANA were observed among some full sibs and the presence of high responder ancestors in the pedigree was associated the augmented responses. We observed significant association between highest antibody responses to GR-MAP-8 and highest anti-dsDNA levels. Naturally occurring autoantibodies were found in some pre-immune sera and some unique ANA fluorescent staining patterns within the experimental group were observed. Background immunofluorescence in pre-immune sera, distinct patterns of programmed autoantibody responses unique among individual rabbits may have been modulated by genetic constitution, gender and environmental factors including exposure to antigens. The high incidence and intensity of autoantibody responses among descendants of high responders suggest that there may be an additive mode of inheritance with high heritability. It is conceivable that further rigorous pedigree selection for autoantibody responses could lead to development of rabbit models with spontaneous occurrence of SLE like serology and disease phenotypes.
doi:10.1016/j.vetimm.2008.05.020
PMCID: PMC2561998  PMID: 18602165
Rabbits; Autoantibodies; Antibody heavy chain allotypes; Genetics; Lupus
23.  Investigation of the prevalence and clinical associations of antibodies to human fibronectin in systemic lupus erythematosus. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1995;54(2):117-124.
OBJECTIVES--To assess the prevalence of antibodies to human fibronectin (anti-Fn) in sera of patients with certain connective tissue diseases and to determine their association with disease activity and the pattern of organ involvement in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). METHODS--A capture enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed to quantify anti-Fn antibodies in serum samples from 65 patients with well characterised SLE, 50 with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 15 with Behçet's disease (BD), 15 with systemic vasculitis and 36 healthy subjects. An anti-Fn antibody titre greater than mean + 3SD of the healthy control log values after back transformation to the normal scale was considered positive. Disease activity in SLE patients was scored using the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) Index. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), concentrations of anti-dsDNA antibody, soluble interleukin-2 receptors (sIL-2R), C3, C4, C3 degradation products (C3dg) and immunoglobulin, and antinuclear antibody (ANA) titres were measured in blood samples from SLE patients; neopterin concentration was measured in corresponding urine samples. RESULTS--Anti-Fn antibodies were found in 22 of 65 SLE patients (33.8%), seven of 50 with RA (14%), one of 15 with BD (6.6%) and none of the 15 subjects with vasculitis. Thirty SLE patients had active disease and 35 had inactive disease; their median anti-Fn concentrations were 117 u/ml (range 47-450) and 68 u/ml (range 17-334), respectively (p = 0.0001). The presence of anti-Fn did not correlate with immunoglobulin concentrations or ANA titres in these sera. No significant difference was found between SLE patients with disease activity in one major organ system compared with multiple organ involvement, as defined by BILAG (p = 0.19). However, patients with musculoskeletal manifestations had consistently greater anti-Fn concentrations compared with patients with other clinical manifestations. There were significant correlations between amounts of anti-Fn in SLE sera and ESR (rs = 0.25, p = 0.045), sIL-2R (rs = 0.28, p = 0.024) and urine neopterin (rs = 0.3, p = 0.016) but not with serum anti-dsDNA antibody titres, plasma C3, C3dg or C4. However multiple regression analysis showed a low significant correlation only with sIL-2R and BILAG score (p = 0.047 and 0.042, respectively). CONCLUSION--Anti-Fn antibodies were detected in 34% of SLE patients and in small proportions of RA and BD patients. An association between serum anti-Fn and disease activity in SLE has been identified and most SLE patients with musculoskeletal involvement had increased anti-Fn antibody concentrations.
Images
PMCID: PMC1005533  PMID: 7702398
24.  Constitutive Phosphorylation of Interferon Receptor A-Associated Signaling Proteins in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41414.
Background
Overexpression of type I interferon (IFN-I)-induced genes is a common feature of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and its experimental models, but the participation of endogenous overproduction of IFN-I on it is not clear. To explore the possibility that abnormally increased IFN-I receptor (IFNAR) signaling could participate in IFN-I-induced gene overexpression of SLE, we examined the phosphorylation status of the IFNAR-associated signaling partners Jak1 and STAT2, and its relation with expression of its physiologic inhibitor SOCS1 and with plasma levels of IFNα and IFN-like activity.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from SLE patients with or without disease activity and healthy controls cultured in the presence or in the absence of IFNβ were examined by immunoprecipitation and/or western blotting for expression of the two IFNAR chains, Jak1, Tyk2, and STAT2 and their phosphorylated forms. In SLE but not in healthy control PBMC, Jak1 and STAT2 were constitutively phosphorylated, even in the absence of disease activity (basal pJak1: controls vs. active SLE p<0.0001 and controls vs. inactive SLE p = 0.0006; basal pSTAT2: controls vs. active and inactive SLE p<0.0001). Although SOCS1 protein was slightly but significantly decreased in SLE in the absence or in the presence of IFNβ (p = 0.0096 to p<0.0001), in SOCS1 mRNA levels were markedly decreased (p = 0.036 to p<0.0001). IFNβ induced higher levels of the IFN-I-dependent MxA protein mRNA in SLE than in healthy controls, whereas the opposite was observed for SOCS1. Although there was no relation to increased serum IFNα, active SLE plasma could induce expression of IFN-dependent genes by normal PBMC.
Conclusions/Significance
These findings suggest that in some SLE patients IFN-I dependent gene expression could be the result of a low IFNAR signaling threshold.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041414
PMCID: PMC3408474  PMID: 22859983
25.  Lower vitamin D levels are associated with higher systemic lupus erythematosus activity, but not predictive of disease flare-up 
Lupus Science & Medicine  2014;1(1):e000027.
Objectives
Growing evidence suggests that vitamin D plays a key role in the pathogenesis and progression of autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Recent studies have found an association between lower serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels and higher SLE activity. We studied the relationship between 25(OH)D levels and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) score, and we assessed for the first time the role of vitamin D in predicting SLE flare-ups.
Methods
Serum 25(OH)D levels were measured in 170 patients with SLE who were prospectively followed up for 6 months (Plaquenil LUpus Systemic study, ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT00413361).
Results
The mean SLEDAI score was 2.03±2.43 and 12.3% patients had active disease (SLEDAI ≥6). The mean 25(OH)D level was 20.6±9.8 ng/mL. Deficiency (25(OH)D <10 ng/mL) was observed in 27 (15.9%), insufficiency (10≤25(OH)D<30) in 112 (65.9%) and optimal vitamin D status (25(OH)D≥30) in 31 (18.2%) patients. In multivariate analysis, female gender (p=0.018), absence of defined antiphospholipid syndrome (p=0.002) and higher creatinine clearance (p=0.004) were predictive of lower 25(OH)D levels. In multivariate analysis, lower 25(OH)D levels were associated with high SLE activity (p=0.02). Relapse-free survival rate was not statistically different according to the vitamin D status during the 6-month follow-up (p=0.22).
Conclusions
We found a low vitamin D status in the majority of patients with SLE, and a modest association between lower 25(OH)D levels and high disease activity. There was no association between baseline 25(OH)D levels and relapse-free survival rate.
doi:10.1136/lupus-2014-000027
PMCID: PMC4213833  PMID: 25379192
vitamin D; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; Autoimmune Diseases; hydroxychloroquine

Results 1-25 (1538608)