To assess CD154 expression in pediatric lupus and explore a transcriptional mechanism explaining dysregulated CD154 expression.
Cell surface CD154 expression was examined, pre- and post-activation, on peripheral blood CD4 T cells from 29 children with lupus and matched controls by flow cytometry. CD154 expression was correlated with clinical features, laboratory parameters, and treatments received. Increased CD154 expression on lupus CD4 T cells was correlated with CD154 message and transcription rates by real-time RT-PCR and nuclear run-on assays, respectively. NFAT transcriptional activity and NFAT mRNA levels in lupus CD4 T cells were explored by reporter gene analysis and real-time RT-PCR, respectively.
CD154 surface protein levels were increased 1.44-fold on lupus CD4 T cells compared to controls at one day post-activation ex vivo. This increase correlated clinically with the presence of nephritis and elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Increased CD154 protein also correlated with increased CD154 mRNA levels and rates of CD154 transcription, particularly at later time-points post-T cell activation. Reporter gene analyses revealed a trend for increased NFAT, but decreased AP-1 and similar NFκB, activity in lupus CD4 T cell compared to controls. Moreover, NFAT1 and, in particular, NFAT2 mRNA levels were notably increased in lupus CD4 T cells compared to controls.
Following activation, cell surface CD154 is increased on pediatric lupus CD4 T cells compared to controls, and this correlates with the presence of nephritis, increased CD154 transcription rates, and NFAT activity. These results suggest that NFAT/calcineurin inhibitors, such as tacrolimus and cyclosporine, may be beneficial in treating lupus nephritis.
The long history of elevated IFNα in association with disease activity in patients with SLE has taken on high significance in the past decade with accumulating data strongly supporting broad activation of the type I IFN pathway in cells of lupus patients, association of IFN pathway activation with significant clinical manifestations of SLE, and increased disease activity based on validated measures. In addition, a convincing association of IFN pathway activation with the presence of autoantibodies specific for RNA-binding proteins has contributed to delineation of an important role for TLR activation by RNA-containing immune complexes in amplifying innate immune system activation and IFN pathway activation. While the primary triggers of SLE and the IFN pathway remain undefined, rapid progress in lupus genetics is helping to define lupus – associated genetic variants with a functional relationship to IFN production or response in lupus patients. Together, the explosion of data and understanding related to the IFN pathway in SLE have readied the lupus community for translation of those insights to improved patient care. Patience will be needed to allow the required collection of clinical data and biologic specimens across multiple clinical centers that will support the required testing of IFN activity, IFN-inducible gene expression or target chemokine gene products as candidate biomarkers. Meanwhile, promising clinical trials are moving forward to test the safety and efficacy of monoclonal antibody inhibitors of IFNα. Other therapeutic approaches to target the IFN pathway may follow close behind.
Systemic lupus erythematosus; interferon-alpha;; innate immune response
Sjögren’s syndrome (SS) is a systemic autoimmune disease with a variety of presenting symptoms which may delay its diagnosis. We previously discovered a number of candidate salivary biomarkers for primary SS (pSS) using both mass spectrometry and expression microarray analysis (Arthritis Rheumatism, 2007;56(11):3588-3600). In this study, we aim to verify these candidate biomarkers in independent patient populations and to evaluate their predictive values for pSS detection.
In total, 34 patients with pSS, 34 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and 34 healthy individuals were enrolled for the validation studies. Salivary protein biomarkers were measured using either Western blotting or ELISA, and the mRNA biomarkers were measured using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Statistical analysis was performed using R2.9.
Three protein biomarkers, cathepsin D, alpha-enolase and beta-2-microglobulin (B2M), and three mRNA biomarkers, myeloid cell nuclear differentiation antigen (MNDA), Guanylate binding protein 2 (GIP2) and low affinity IIIb receptor for the Fc fragment of IgG (FCGR3B), were significantly elevated in patients with pSS compared to both SLE patients and healthy controls. The combination of three protein biomarkers, cathepsin D, alpha-enolase and B2M, yielded a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) value of 0.99 in distinguishing pSS from healthy controls. The combination of protein biomarkers B2M and two mRNA biomarkers, MNDA and GIP2, reached an ROC of 0.95 in discriminating pSS from SLE.
We have successfully verified a panel of protein and mRNA biomarkers that can discriminate pSS from both SLE and healthy controls. If further validated in pSS patients and those with sicca symptoms but no autoimmune disease, these biomarkers may lead to a simple yet highly discriminatory clinical tool for diagnosis of pSS.
The present review focuses on pathogenic molecular and transcriptional events in patients with lupus nephritis. These factors are renal DNaseI, exposed chromatin fragments and the corresponding chromatin-reactive autoantibodies. Lupus nephritis is the most serious complication in human systemic lupus erythematosus, and is characterised by deposition of chromatin fragment-IgG complexes in the mesangial matrix and glomerular basement membranes. The latter deposition defines end-stage disease. This event is stringently linked to a renal-restricted shutdown of expression of the DNaseI gene, as determined by loss of DNaseI mRNA level and DNaseI enzyme activity. The major aim of the present review is to generate new therapeutic strategies based on new insight into the disease pathogenesis.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disease characterized by unpredictable flares of disease activity and irreversible damage to multiple organ systems. An earlier study showed that SLE patients carrying an interferon gene expression signature in blood have elevated serum levels of interferon (IFN)-regulated chemokines. These chemokines were associated with more severe and active disease and showed promise as SLE disease activity biomarkers. This study was designed to validate IFN regulated chemokines as biomarkers of SLE disease activity in 267 longitudinally-followed SLE patients.
To validate the potential utility of serum chemokine levels as biomarkers for disease activity, we measured serum chemokine levels – CXCL10 (IP-10), CCL2 (MCP-1), and CCL19 (MIP-3B) – in an independent cohort of 267 SLE patients followed longitudinally over one year (1166 total visits).
Serum chemokine levels correlated with current visit lupus activity (p=2×10−10), rising at flare (p=1×10−3) and decreasing as disease remitted (p=1×10−3), and performed better than currently available laboratory tests. Chemokine levels measured at a single baseline visit in patients with SLEDAI ≤4 were predictive of lupus flare over the ensuing year (p=6×10−4).
Monitoring serum chemokine levels in SLE may improve assessment of current disease activity, the prediction of future flare, and overall clinical decision-making.
Compelling support for a central role for interferon-alpha in lupus pathogenesis has led to a new focus on the role of innate immune system activation in the generation of pathogenic mediators. These insights have been extended in translational studies of patients with well-characterized disease activity and clinical manifestations in order to identify informative molecular biomarkers. Chemokines are among the interferon-inducible genes, and new data support an association between the expression of chemokines and both lupus disease activity and organ damage. Longitudinal studies that relate molecular biomarkers to disease activity will be needed to validate these promising data and establish a sensitive measure of change for interventional studies and patient care.
Lupus nephritis is characterized by deposition of chromatin fragment-IgG complexes in the mesangial matrix and glomerular basement membranes (GBM). The latter defines end-stage disease.
In the present study we determined the impact of antibodies to dsDNA, renal Dnase1 and matrix metalloprotease (MMP) mRNA levels and enzyme activities on early and late events in murine lupus nephritis. The major focus was to analyse if these factors were interrelated, and if changes in their expression explain basic processes accounting for lupus nephritis.
Early phases of nephritis were associated with chromatin-IgG complex deposition in the mesangial matrix. A striking observation was that this event correlated with appearance of anti-dsDNA antibodies and mild or clinically silent nephritis. These events preceded down-regulation of renal Dnase1. Later, renal Dnase1 mRNA level and enzyme activity were reduced, while MMP2 mRNA level and enzyme activity increased. Reduced levels of renal Dnase1 were associated in time with deficient fragmentation of chromatin from dead cells. Large fragments were retained and accumulated in GBM. Also, since chromatin fragments are prone to stimulate Toll-like receptors in e.g. dendritic cells, this may in fact explain increased expression of MMPs.
These scenarios may explain the basis for deposition of chromatin-IgG complexes in glomeruli in early and late stages of nephritis, loss of glomerular integrity and finally renal failure.
A previous urine proteomic analysis from our laboratory suggested that hepcidin may be a biomarker for lupus nephritis flare. Immunohistochemical staining of kidney biopsies from lupus patients showed that hepcidin was expressed by infiltrating renal leukocytes. Here we investigated whether inflammatory cytokines relevant to the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis and other glomerular diseases regulate hepcidin expression by human monocytes.
Human CD14+ monocytes were incubated with interferon alpha (IFNα), interferon gamma (IFNγ), interleukin-6 (IL6), interleukin-1 beta (IL1β), monocyte chemotactic factor-1 (MCP1), or tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα). Hepcidin expression was examined by real-time PCR and enzyme immunoassay.
Monocyte hepcidin mRNA increased during adherence to the tissue culture wells, reaching a level 150-fold higher than baseline within 12 hours of plating. After accounting for the effects of adhesion, monocytes showed time and dose-dependent up-regulation of hepcidin mRNA upon treatment with IFNα or IL6. One hour of incubation with IFNα or IL6 increased hepcidin mRNA 20 and 80-fold respectively; by 24 hours the mRNA remained 5 and 2.4-fold higher than baseline. IL1β, IFNγ, and MCP-1 did not affect monocyte hepcidin expression. TNFα inhibited hepcidin induction by IL6 in monocytes by 44%. After 24 hours of treatment with IFNα or IL6, immunoreactive hepcidin production by monocytes increased 3 and 2.6-fold respectively.
Human monocytes produce hepcidin in response to adhesion and the pro-inflammatory cytokines IFNα and IL6.
The appearance of hepcidin in the kidneys or urine during glomerular diseases may be from infiltrating monocytes induced to express hepcidin by adherence and exposure to pro-inflammatory cytokines found in the renal milieu.
Hepcidin; Interferon Alpha; Human Monocytes; Nephritis
Antibodies to double-stranded DNA are important in the pathogenesis of nephritis, a major clinical manifestation in lupus patients. Since earlier diagnosis of renal involvement may lead to better outcomes, identification of the nephritogenic specificity of lupus-associated autoantibodies is important in understanding the disease, while monitoring their titer clinically may serve as an improved biomarker. Based upon work in animal models and cross-sectional human studies, kidney α-actinin was thought to be a plausible cross-reactive target for pathogenic lupus antibodies. Manson and colleagues longitudinally evaluated anti-nucleosome, anti-DNA, and anti-α-actinin antibodies in 16 lupus patients with new-onset nephritis. While anti-nucleosome and anti-DNA antibody levels were significantly associated and correlated with measures of kidney disease, these were not found to be significant with anti-α-actinin antibodies. While in lupus patients the diagnostic use of serum anti-α-actinin antibodies, alone or with other novel biomarkers, is still under investigation, such studies are vital in improving our monitoring of systemic lupus erythematosus patients and in developing new treatment paradigms that meet the continuing clinical challenge of lupus nephritis.
BLyS and APRIL are cytokines from the tumor necrosis factor family which play an important role in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Previous works suggested an association between both molecules and SLE disease activity although their correlation with lupus nephritis is not known. We therefore assessed serum BLyS and APRIL in active lupus nephritis patients.
Serum samples from active lupus nephritis and at 6 months post-treatment were obtained. Serum levels of BLyS and APRIL (n = 47) as well as renal mRNA expression were measured. Serum levels of both molecules and clinical data (n = 27) were available at 6 months follow-up. All biopsy-proven lupus nephritis patients were treated with similar immunosuppressive drugs.
Serum levels of APRIL were associated with proteinuria (Rs = 0.44, P value < 0.01) and degree of histological activity (Rs = 0.34; P value < 0.05) whereas BLyS levels were associated with complement levels (Rs = 0.46; P value < 0.01) and dosage of immunosuppressant. Interestingly, serum APRIL as well as its intrarenal mRNA levels were associated with resistance to treatment. From the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis, high levels (> 4 ng/mL) of serum APRIL predicted treatment failure with a positive predictive value of 93 percent.
APRIL could be a potential biomarker for predicting difficult-to-treat cases of lupus nephritis.
In medicine, mRNA transcripts are being developed as molecular biomarkers for the diagnosis and treatment of a number of diseases. These biomarkers offer early and more accurate prediction and diagnosis of disease and disease progression, and ability to identify individuals at risk. Use of microarrays also offers opportunity to identify orthogonal (uncorrelated) biomarkers not known to be linked with conventional biomarkers. Investigators are increasingly using blood as a surrogate tissue for biopsy and analysis; total RNA isolated from whole blood is predominantly from erythroid cells, and whole blood mRNA share more than 80% of the transcriptome with major tissues. Thus blood mRNA biomarkers for individualized disease prediction and diagnosis are an exciting area in medicine; mRNA biomarkers in nutrition have potential application that parallel these opportunities. Assessment of selenium (Se) status and requirements is one area where tissue mRNA levels have been used successfully. Selenoprotein-H and selenoprotein-W as well as glutathione peroxidase-1 (Gpx1) mRNAs are highly down-regulated in Se deficiency in rat liver, and the minimum dietary Se requirement is 0.06–0.07 μg Se/g based on these biomarkers, similar to requirements determined using conventional biomarkers. Blood Gpx1 mRNA can also be used to determine Se requirements in rats, showing that blood mRNA has potential for assessment of nutrient status. Future research is needed to develop mRNA biomarker panels for all nutrients that will discriminate between deficient, marginal, adequate, and supernutritional individuals and populations, and differentiate between individuals that will benefit versus be adversely affected by nutrient supplementation.
Individualized nutrition; mRNA; Quantitative real-time-PCR; Requirements; Selenium; Selenoprotein
Disease activity in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is typically monitored by measuring serum C3 and C4. However, these proteins have limited utility as lupus biomarkers, because they are substrates rather than products of complement activation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the utility of measuring the erythrocyte-bound complement activation products, erythrocyte-bound C3d (E-C3d) and E-C4d, compared with that of serum C3 and C4 for monitoring disease activity in patients with SLE.
The levels of E-C3d and E-C4d were measured by flow cytometry in 157 patients with SLE, 290 patients with other diseases, and 256 healthy individuals. The patients with SLE were followed up longitudinally. Disease activity was measured at each visit, using the validated Systemic Lupus Activity Measure (SLAM) and the Safety of Estrogens in Lupus Erythematosus: National Assessment (SELENA) version of the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI).
At baseline, patients with SLE had higher median levels of E-C3d and E-C4d (P < 0.0001) in addition to higher within-patient and between-patient variability in both E-C3d and E-C4d when compared with the 2 non-SLE groups. In a longitudinal analysis of patients with SLE, E-C3d, E-C4d, serum C3, and anti–double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) antibodies were each significantly associated with the SLAM and SELENA–SLEDAI. In a multivariable analysis, E-C4d remained significantly associated with these SLE activity measures after adjusting for serum C3, C4, and anti-dsDNA antibodies; however, E-C3d was associated with the SLAM but not with the SELENA–SLEDAI.
Determining the levels of the erythrocyte-bound complement activation products, especially E-C4d, is an informative measure of SLE disease activity as compared with assessing serum C4 levels and should be considered for monitoring disease activity in patients with SLE.
Human plasma has long been a rich source for biomarker discovery. It has recently become clear that plasma RNA molecules, such as microRNA, in addition to proteins are common and can serve as biomarkers. Surveying human plasma for microRNA biomarkers using next generation sequencing technology, we observed that a significant fraction of the circulating RNA appear to originate from exogenous species. With careful analysis of sequence error statistics and other controls, we demonstrated that there is a wide range of RNA from many different organisms, including bacteria and fungi as well as from other species. These RNAs may be associated with protein, lipid or other molecules protecting them from RNase activity in plasma. Some of these RNAs are detected in intracellular complexes and may be able to influence cellular activities under in
vitro conditions. These findings raise the possibility that plasma RNAs of exogenous origin may serve as signaling molecules mediating for example the human-microbiome interaction and may affect and/or indicate the state of human health.
Few biomarkers for SLE have been validated and employed for making clinical decisions. The lack of reliable, specific biomarkers for SLE hampers proper clinical management of patients with SLE, and impedes development of new lupus therapeutics. This void has led to renewed enthusiasm for identifying biomarkers that precisely and specifically reflect the pathophysiologic and clinical changes of SLE. Several laboratory markers have shown early promise as biomarkers for lupus susceptibility, diagnosis, and monitoring. These include polymorphisms and copy number variations of complement C4 and Fcγ receptor genes (disease susceptibility), cell-bound complement C4d (diagnosis and/or disease activity), CD27high plasma cells (disease activity), “interferon signature” (disease activity), and anti-C1q and anti-NMDA (disease activity and organ involvement).
Although these and other promising candidate biomarkers have been identified, they still need to be validated through rigorous, large-scale multicenter studies. This chapter reviews briefly the historical aspects of lupus biomarkers and summarizes current efforts to advance the field.
biomarkers; diagnosis; disease activity; genetics; lupus; SLE
To identify potential biomarkers in immune-mediated nephritis, urine from mice subjected to an augmented passive model of anti-glomerular basement membrane-induced experimental nephritis was resolved using 2D-gels. The urinary proteome in these diseased mice was comprised of at least 71 different proteins. Using orthogonal assays, several of these molecules, including serum amyloid P, prostaglandin D synthase, superoxide dismutase, renin and total protease were validated to be elevated in the urine and kidneys of mice during anti-GBM disease, as well as in mice with spontaneously arising lupus nephritis. Among these, urinary protease was the only marker that appeared to be exclusively renal in origin, whereas the others were partly serum-derived. Longitudinal studies in murine lupus demonstrated that total urinary protease had better predictive value for histologically active nephritis (r = 0.78), compared to proteinuria (r = −0.04) or azotemia (r = 0.28), or the other markers examined, while urine SAP emerged as the single most predictive marker of histological GN. Collectively, these studies uncover total urinary protease, PGDS, SAP and SOD as novel biomarkers of anti-GBM disease and lupus nephritis, with stronger correlation to renal disease compared to currently employed biomarkers. These findings could have important diagnostic and prognostic ramifications in the management of these renal diatheses.
Nephritis; Lupus; Proteomics; Biomarkers; Urine
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.
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.
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).
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.
Identifying a biomarker for Alzheimer's disease that can be obtained from a blood sample has been a goal of researchers for many years. Over the past few years a number of investigators have studied several plasma biomarkers but most frequently plasma amyloid Aβ40 and Aβ42 while others have explored the use of genetic variants as biomarkers for diagnosis or risk. This review considers the cross sectional and longitudinal data regarding plasma Aβ40 and Aβ42 as diagnostic biomarkers as well as risk biomarkers. Review of recent genome wide association studies indicates as many as 10 genetic variants have been associated with susceptibility to AD. Further analysis suggests that these factors have modest effects on risk and are thus not helpful, as yet in the diagnosis of disease. Until the function of these genes is understood, their role in risk and diagnosis will remain uncertain. Thus, there are several types of peripheral biomarkers under investigation, but more work is required before that can be deemed clinically useful.
plasma amyloid β; cross-sectional study; prospective study; genome wide association studies
To elucidate the mechanism of vascular thrombosis in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and the lupus anticoagulant changes in factors associated with haemostasis were investigated. The lupus anticoagulant was associated with an increased incidence of thrombosis, particularly cerebral thrombosis. Concentrations of fibrinopeptide A and fibrinopeptide B beta 15-42 were significantly raised in the plasma of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and the anticoagulant compared with concentrations in patients without the lupus anticoagulant. The tendency towards formation of thrombosis was not found in all lupus patients with the anticoagulant, however. Concentrations of thromboxane B2 were remarkably raised in the plasma of the two patients with the lupus anticoagulant who had recently had thrombosis. Concentrations of 6-keto-prostaglandin F1 alpha, protein C, antithrombin III, and plasminogen were similar in both groups. No significant decrease in serum stimulatory activity on prostacyclin production by cultured aortic endothelial cells was noted in lupus patients with the anticoagulant, but inhibition was present in the two patients with recent thrombosis. These results indicate that although patients with the lupus anticoagulant are not always in a hypercoagulable state, haemostatic abnormalities found in some patients with the anticoagulant may be predictive of thrombotic events.
TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) has been implicated as a mediator of chronic inflammatory processes via prolonged activation of the NF-κB pathway in several tissues, including the kidney. Evidence for the importance of TWEAK in the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis (LN) has been recently introduced. Thus, TWEAK levels may serve as an indication of LN presence and activity.
Multicenter cohorts of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients and controls were recruited for cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis of urinary TWEAK (uTWEAK) and/or serum TWEAK (sTWEAK) levels as potential biomarkers of LN. The performance of TWEAK as a biomarker for nephritis was compared with routinely used laboratory tests in lupus patients, including anti-double stranded DNA antibodies and levels of C3 and C4.
uTWEAK levels were significantly higher in LN patients than in non-LN SLE patients and other disease control groups (P = 0.039). Furthermore, uTWEAK was better at distinguishing between LN and non-LN SLE patients than anti-DNA antibodies and complement levels, while high uTWEAK levels predicted LN in SLE patients with an odds ratio of 7.36 (95% confidence interval = 2.25 to 24.07; P = 0.001). uTWEAK levels peaked during LN flares, and were significantly higher during the flare than at 4 and 6 months prior to or following the flare event. A linear mixed-effects model showed a significant association between uTWEAK levels in SLE patients and their disease activity over time (P = 0.008). sTWEAK levels, however, were not found to correlate with the presence of LN or the degree of nephritis activity.
High uTWEAK levels are indicative of LN, as opposed to non-LN SLE and other healthy and disease control populations, and reflect renal disease activity in longitudinal follow-up. Thus, our study further supports a role for TWEAK in the pathogenesis of LN, and provides strong evidence for uTWEAK as a candidate clinical biomarker for LN.
Studies in human systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) suggest a possible role for histone deacetylases (HDACs) in skewed gene expression and disease pathogenesis. We used the MRL-lpr/lpr murine model of lupus to demonstrate that HDACs play a key role in the heightened levels of both Th1 and Th2 cytokine expression that contribute to disease. The availability of specific HDAC inhibitors (HDIs) such as trichostatin A (TSA) and suberonylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) permits the study of the role of HDACs in gene regulation. Our results indicate that HDIs downregulate IL-12, IFN-γ, IL-6, and IL-10 mRNA and protein levels in MRL-lpr/lpr splenocytes. This effect on gene transcription is associated with an increased accumulation of acetylated histones H3 and H4 in total cellular chromatin. To elucidate the in vivo effects of TSA on lupuslike disease, we treated MRL-lpr/lpr mice with TSA (0.5 mg/kg/d) for 5 weeks. Compared with vehicle-treated control mice, TSA-treated mice exhibited a significant reduction in proteinuria, glomerulonephritis, and spleen weight. Taken together, these findings suggest that increased expression of HDACs leading to an altered state of histone acetylation may be of pathologic significance in MRL-lpr/lpr mice. In addition, TSA or other HDIs may have therapeutic benefit in the treatment of SLE.
To elucidate the mechanisms leading to the functional regionalization of the digestive epithelium, lactase expression was analyzed at the protein, mRNA and gene levels, along the intestinal tract at various stages of the rat postnatal development. In the colon of neonates, the transient expression of mRNA and enzyme correlated well with gene transcription. In contrast to the colon, complex patterns were observed in the small intestine. In suckling animals, the mRNA was present at a high level despite the progressive decline of enzyme activity. Crypts were devoid of mRNA and the transcript mainly accumulated in the lower half of the villi. From weaning onwards, a functional regionalization of the epithelium was defined, characterized by the modification of the longitudinal distribution of lactase mRNA. Indeed the transcript remained abundant in the distal duodenum, jejunum and proximal ileum, but decreased in the proximal duodenum and became virtually absent in the distal ileum. Concomitantly, the mRNA and enzyme distribution along the villi changed in the different segments of the small intestine. Patterns similar to those described in sucklings were retained in the adult jejunum. In contrast, mRNA and enzyme could no longer be detected in the distal ileum, while mosaicism appeared in the proximal duodenum. In vitro transcription assays carried out with isolated nuclei suggested that the decay of lactase mRNA in the proximal duodenum at weaning was associated with a decreasing rate of transcription of the gene. However active gene transcription was retained in the nuclei of the adult jejunum and ileum. The loss of mRNA in the adult distal ileum despite the maintenance of active transcription did not result from an intragenic block of pre-RNA elongation, as shown by transcription assays carried out at various positions of the lactase gene. In addition, we looked for the ontogenic decline of lactase protein despite the maintenance of a high amount of mRNA in the jejunum, and it became evident that the fraction of mRNA present in polysomes was constant with age. Taken together, these data indicate that lactase constitutes an unusual marker of development and of functional regionalization of the intestinal tract which exhibits a complex time- and space-specific pattern of gene, mRNA, and protein expression. The distinct patterns occurring in the duodenum, jejunum, ileum, and the colon of pre- and postweaned rats depend on a combination of transcriptional, posttranscriptional, and posttranslational levels of regulation. and are associated with a different mRNA distribution along villi in each intestinal segment.
This study aimed to determine the value of damage index in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and the association between damage index and disease severity, flare up numbers, disease duration, and antiphospholipid antibodies.
Eighty patients with systemic lupus erythematosus were included. The damage was measured using the SLICC (Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics)/ACR damage index (SDI). The disease flare was defined by the increase in the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index 2000 (SLEDAI-2K). The disease severity surrogates were the presence of class III/IV glomerulonephritis, the presence of severe central nervous system (CNS) involvement, and cyclophosphamide administration. Analysis was performed by independent Student-t and chi-square tests via SPSS16 software.
There were significant association between the damage accrual and the disease severity, flare-up, and antiphospholipid antibodies (p = 0.001, p = 0.004, and p = 0.05, respectively).
The disease severity, frequency of flares, and positive antiphospholipid antibodies are associated with damage accrual in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; Damage Index; Antiphospholipid Antibody
Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) is a systemic inflammatory disease causing substantial morbidity. This study seeks to understand the biology underlying WG, and to discover markers of disease activity useful in prognosis and treatment guidance.
Gene expression profiling was performed using total RNA from PBMC and granulocyte fractions from 41 WG patients and 23 healthy controls. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) was performed to search for candidate WG-associated molecular pathways and disease activity biomarkers. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to visualize relationships between subgroups of WG patients and controls. Longitudinal changes in PR3 expression were evaluated using RT-PCR, and clinical outcomes including remission status and disease activity were determined using the BVAS-WG.
We identified 86 genes significantly up-regulated in WG PBMCs and 40 in WG PMNs relative to controls. Genes up-regulated in WG PBMCs were involved in myeloid differentiation, and included the WG autoantigen, PR3. The coordinated regulation of myeloid differentiation genes was confirmed by gene set analysis. Median expression values of the 86 WG PBMC genes were associated with disease activity (p=1.3 × 10−4), and patients expressing these genes at a lower level were only modestly different from healthy controls (p=0.07). PR3 transcription was significantly up-regulated in the PBMCs (p=1.3 ×10−5, FDR=0.002), but not in the PMNs (p=0.03, FDR=0.28) of WG patients, and changes in BVAS-WG tracked with PBMC PR3 RNA levels in a preliminary longitudinal analysis.
Transcription of PR3 and related myeloid differentiation genes in PBMCs may represent novel markers of disease activity in WG.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia in the elderly. Current treatments for AD are not as effective as needed, nor is there any definitive antemortem diagnostic. Understanding the biological processes that occur during AD onset and/or progression will improve disease diagnosis and treatment. Recent applications of microarray technologies for analysis of messenger (m) RNA expression profiles have elucidated distinct changes in the brain as a function of AD dementia initiation and progression. However, mRNA analysis underestimates post-transcriptional modifications and therefore provides only a partial view of the molecular changes in the AD brain. Combining mRNA studies with protein expression analysis may provide a more global picture of the biological processes associated with AD dementia. Information gathered could lead to the development of select biological indices (biomarkers) for guiding AD diagnosis and therapy. We will provide a brief background on AD, followed by a review on the applications of microarray, proteomics, as well as microRNA expression profile analysis to develop novel diagnostic strategies that may be useful for the diagnosis AD and for monitoring disease progression. The availability of biomarkers that promote early disease diagnosis, particularly among asymptomatic patients, will lead to the application of personalized medicine in AD.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD); Cognitive impairment; Dementia; Genetic risk factors; Biomarkers; Complementary DNA (cDNA) microarray analysis; Protein array analysis; Proteomics; MicroRNA (miRNA)
A growing body of literature has demonstrated that the multifunctional glycoprotein osteopontin (OPN), has a role in type I interferon (IFN) production and may be involved in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) pathogenesis. A recent report has provided further support for this, demonstrating an association between raised baseline circulating plasma osteopontin (cOPN) levels and IFN, and an elevation in cOPN prior to the onset of both increased cumulative disease and end-organ damage. These associations were most marked in paediatric SLE, implying that cOPN may be a useful biomarker of disease activity in childhood lupus.