To explore biologic correlates to age at onset in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) using peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) gene expression analysis.
PBMCs were isolated from 56 healthy controls and 104 patients with recent-onset JIA (39 with persistent oligoarticular JIA, 45 with rheumatoid factor–negative polyarticular JIA, and 20 with systemic JIA). RNA was amplified and labeled using NuGEN Ovation, and gene expression was assessed with Affymetrix HG-U133 Plus 2.0 GeneChips.
A total of 832 probe sets revealed gene expression differences (false discovery rate 5%) in PBMCs from children with oligoarticular JIA whose disease began before age 6 years (early-onset disease) compared with those whose disease began at or after age 6 years (late-onset disease). In patients with early-onset disease, there was greater expression of genes related to B cells and less expression of genes related to cells of the myeloid lineage. Support vector machine analyses identified samples from patients with early- or late-onset oligoarticular JIA (with 97% accuracy) or from patients with early- or late-onset polyarticular JIA (with 89% accuracy), but not from patients with systemic JIA or healthy controls. Principal components analysis showed that age at onset was the major classifier of samples from patients with oligoarticular JIA and patients with polyarticular JIA.
PBMC gene expression analysis reveals biologic differences between patients with early-and late-onset JIA, independent of classification based on the number of joints involved. These data suggest that age at onset may be an important parameter to consider in JIA classification. Furthermore, pathologic mechanisms may vary with age at onset, and understanding these processes may lead to improved treatment of JIA.
Previous observations suggest that active systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA) is associated with a prominent erythropoiesis gene-expression signature. The aim of this study was to determine the association of this signature with peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) subpopulations and its specificity for sJIA as compared with related conditions.
The 199 patients with JIA (23 sJIA and 176 non-sJIA) and 38 controls were studied. PBMCs were isolated and analyzed for multiple surface antigens with flow cytometry and for gene-expression profiles. The proportions of different PBMC subpopulations were compared among sJIA, non-sJIA patients, and controls and subsequently correlated with the strength of the erythropoiesis signature. Additional gene-expression data from patients with familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (FHLH) and from a published sJIA cohort were analyzed to determine whether the erythropoiesis signature was present.
Patients with sJIA had significantly increased proportions of immature cell populations, including CD34+ cells, correlating highly with the strength of the erythropoiesis signature. The erythropoiesis signature strongly overlapped with the gene-expression pattern in purified immature erythroid precursors. The expansion of immature cells was most prominently seen in patients with sJIA and anemia, even in the absence of reticulocytosis. Patients with non-sJIA and anemia did not exhibit the erythropoiesis signature. The erythropoiesis signature was found to be prominent in patients with FHLH and in a published cohort of patients with active sJIA, but not in patients with inactive sJIA.
An erythropoiesis signature in active sJIA is associated with the expansion of CD34+ cells, also is seen in some patients with FHLH and infection, and may be an indicator of ineffective erythropoiesis and hemophagocytosis due to hypercytokinemia.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is characterized by synovial inflammation, followed by hyperplastic changes of the synovium, and destruction of articular cartilage along with underlying bone. This hyperplastic process is the result of inflammation-induced activation of NF-κB, which may be accompanied by decreased osteogenic differentiation of synovial mesenchymal progenitors and contribute to bone resorption. We aimed to explore osteoblast differentiation of synovial fluid (SF)-derived mesenchymal progenitors and correlate it with intensity of inflammation in patients with JIA.
Peripheral blood from 18 patients with oligoarticular (o)JIA, 22 patients with polyarticular (p)JIA and 18 controls was collected along with SF from 18 patients with oJIA and 9 patients with pJIA. SF-derived cells were cultured to assess osteoblastogenesis, using alkaline phosphatase histochemical staining and colorimetric activity assay. The expression of osteoblast-related genes, Runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2), Osteoprotegerin (OPG), Receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL) and arthritis-related cytokine/chemokine genes, Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α, Fas, Fas ligand (FasL), Interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-4, IL-6, IL-17, IL-18, CC chemokine ligand (CCL)-2, CCL3, CCL4 was evaluated. Osteoblastogenesis was correlated with systemic and local inflammatory indicators. Expression of osteoblast genes was also analyzed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and total SF-derived cells from patients with JIA. Additionally, we assessed the inhibitory effect of SF from patients with JIA on differentiation of human bone marrow (hBM)-derived osteoblasts.
Osteoblastogenesis from SF-derived progenitors was decreased in patients with pJIA compared to those with oJIA. Osteoblastogenesis from primary SF-derived cells negatively correlated with erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ρ = -0.391, P = 0.05), C-reactive protein concentration (ρ = -0.527, P<0.01) and synovial concentration of IL-17 (ρ = -0.552, P = 0.01). SF-derived osteoblasts from pJIA patients expressed more CCL2 and CCL3 genes than in oJIA (P = 0.04 and P = 0.03, respectively; Mann-Whitney test). Expression of Fas was significantly higher in osteoblasts from patients with pJIA than those with oJIA (P = 0.03, Mann-Whitney test). SF-derived cells from patients with pJIA expressed higher levels of RANKL than in oJIA (P = 0.05, Mann-Whitney test). PBMCs from patients with JIA expressed less OPG than healthy control patients (P = 0.05, Kruskal-Wallis test). SF from all tested JIA patients inhibited differentiation of hBM-derived osteoblasts (P = 0.04, Kruskal-Wallis test).
Osteoblast differentiation was decreased in patients with severe forms of JIA and accompanied by altered cytokine/chemokine expression pattern. Development of therapeutic interventions targeting synovial mesenchymal or osteoblast lineage cells in JIA would contribute to alleviating both bone destruction and inflammation in severe forms of the disease.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) has long been assumed to be an autoimmune disease, triggered by aberrant recognition of "self" antigens by T-cells. However, systems biology approaches to this family of diseases have suggested complex interactions between innate and adaptive immunity that underlie JIA. In particular, new data suggest an important role for neutrophils in JIA pathogenesis. In this short review, we will discuss the new data that support a role for neutrophils in JIA, discuss regulatory functions that link neutrophils to adaptive immune responses, and discuss future areas of investigation. Above all else, we invite the reader to re-consider the use of the term "autoimmunity" as applied to the family of illnesses we collectively call JIA.
Systemic onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SoJIA) encompasses ∼10% of cases of arthritis that begin in childhood. The disease is unique in terms of clinical manifestations, severity of joint involvement, and lack of response to tumor necrosis factor blockade. Here, we show that serum from SoJIA patients induces the transcription of innate immunity genes, including interleukin (IL)-1 in healthy peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Upon activation, SoJIA PBMCs release large amounts of IL-1β. We administered recombinant IL-1 receptor antagonist to nine SoJIA patients who were refractory to other therapies. Complete remission was obtained in seven out of nine patients and a partial response was obtained in the other two patients. We conclude that IL-1 is a major mediator of the inflammatory cascade that underlies SoJIA and that this cytokine represents a target for therapy in this disease.
Although oligoarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (oJIA) is considered to carry the best prognosis among the JIA subtypes, many children evolve to a chronic course. A few studies have identified clinical risk factors for disease extension, and recent studies have evaluated synovial fluid markers. However, the only biological marker from the serum studied to date is the anti-nuclear antibody (ANA), regarding which there is mixed data regarding prognosis. No studies have evaluated whether additional autoantibodies may affect the articular prognosis of oJIA.
Microarrays containing candidate autoantigens were printed on slides, which were used to profile 36 children with oJIA and 18 controls. Unsupervised clustering analysis was used to identify distinct subgroups of JIA patients. Response to therapy after a mean interval of 4.9 months was evaluated.
Cluster analysis revealed two subgroups of oJIA patients, with identical clustering observed when children with onset over age six were excluded. Cluster 1 had higher levels of multiple autoantibodies compared to both cluster 2 as well as controls, including antibodies against several extracellular matrix (ECM) and nuclear antigens. Although the two patient clusters were similar with respect to clinical features and treatment decisions, children in cluster 1 were less likely to have attained remission by the follow-up visit.
Antibodies against ECM and possibly other antigens may identify a sub-group of children with oJIA who will require more aggressive therapy to attain control of the arthritis.
oligoarticular; juvenile idiopathic arthritis; antibodies
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) consists of a heterogeneous group of disorders with, for the most part, an unknown immunopathogenesis. Although onset and disease course differ, the subtypes of JIA share the occurrence of chronic inflammation of the joints, with infiltrations of immunocompetent cells that secrete inflammatory mediators.
To identify a panel of cytokines specifically related to the inflammatory process in JIA.
Using a new technology, the multiplex immunoassay, 30 cytokines were measured in plasma of 65 patients with JIA , of which 34 were paired with synovial fluid. These data were compared with plasma of 20 healthy controls and 9 patients with type I diabetes, a chronic inflammatory disease.
Patients with JIA had, irrespective of their subclassification, significantly higher levels of tumour necrosis factor α, macrophage inhibitory factor (MIF), CCL2, CCL3, CCL11, CCL22 and CXCL9 in plasma than controls. In paired plasma and synovial fluid samples of patients with JIA, significantly higher levels of interleukin (IL)6, IL15, CCL2, CCL3, CXCL8, CXCL9 and CXCL10 were present in synovial fluid. Cluster analysis in all patients with JIA revealed a predominant pro‐inflammatory cytokine cluster during active disease and a regulatory/anti‐inflammatory‐related cytokine cluster during remission. Whether a discrimination profile of various cytokines could help in the determination of disease classification was tested.
It is suggested that several cytokines (IL18, MIF, CCL2, CCL3, CCL11, CXCL9 and CXCL10) may correspond to the activation status during inflammation in JIA and could be instrumental in monitoring disease activity and outcomes of (new) immunotherapies.
In chronic inflammatory disorders, B cells can contribute to tissue damage by autoantibody production and antigen presentation to T cells. Here, we have characterized synovial fluid and tissue B-cell subsets in patients with oligoarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), an issue not addressed before in detail.
B cells from synovial fluid (SF) and peripheral blood (PB) of 25 JIA patients, as well as from PB of 20 controls of comparable age, were characterized by multicolor flow cytometry. Immunoglobulin-secreting cells were detected by ELISPOT. Immunohistochemical analyses of synovial tissue from three JIA patients were performed.
JIA SF B cells were enriched in CD27+ and CD27- switch memory B cells, but not in CD27+ IgM memory B cells, compared with patient and control PB. Plasma blasts were more abundant in SF and secreted higher amounts of IgG. Lymphoid aggregates not organized in follicle-like structures were detected in synovial tissue sections and were surrounded by CD138+ plasma cells. Finally, transitional B cells were significantly increased in JIA PB versus SF or control PB. CCR5, CCR8, CXCR2, and CXCR3 were upregulated, whereas CCR6, CCR7, and CXCR5 were downregulated on SF CD27+ and CD27- switch memory B cells compared with their circulating counterparts. SF CD27+ and CD27- switch memory B cells expressed at high levels the costimulatory molecule CD86 and the activation marker CD69.
This study demonstrates for the first time an expansion of activated switch memory B cells and of IgG-secreting plasma blasts in the SF from oligoarticular JIA patients. Memory B cells belonged to either the CD27+or the CD27- subsets and expressed CD86, suggesting their involvement in antigen presentation to T cells. Patterns of chemokines-receptor expression on CD27+ and CD27- switch memory B cells delineated potential mechanisms for their recruitment to the inflamed joints.
Among the seven subtypes of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), oligoarticular JIA (oJIA) and psoriatic JIA (psJIA) display a predilection for onset in early childhood. We examined whether meaningful differences in clinical phenotype justify the distinction between these conditions.
We performed a chart review to identify children with psoriatic and non-psoriatic oligoarticular-onset JIA. Clinical and demographic features of the two groups of children were compared.
303 met criteria for oJIA and 87 met criteria for oligoarticular-onset psJIA. Both groups had a peak age of onset at 2 – 3 years, though psJIA had appreciable incidence into adolescence. Onset before 5 years of age was observed in 215 (71%) and 38 (44%) children respectively (p < 0.001). Within this age category, children with psJIA demonstrated similar gender ratio and anti-nuclear antibody status to those with oJIA but exhibited a distinctive clinical pattern, with a tendency to involve the wrists and small joints of the hands and feet. Conversely, among all children presenting with oligoarthritis in early childhood, those with wrist or small joint involvement were more likely to have nail pits, psoriasis, or a family history of psoriasis than those without (p < 0.05), supporting the association of this joint pattern with the psoriatic diathesis.
Even taking into account age of onset and number of joints, oJIA and psJIA remain clinically distinct, though important demographic overlap remains. These findings support separate diagnostic categories but justify further investigation into the similarities as well as differences among these children.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis; Psoriatic arthritis; Oligo-articular arthritis
Re‐expression of the recombination‐activating genes (RAG) in peripheral B cells may be relevant in the development of autoreactive antibodies in autoimmune diseases. The presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) as a hallmark of oligoarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (o‐JIA, early‐onset type) indicates a breakdown in immunological tolerance.
To examine the expression of RAG genes in peripheral blood mature B lymphocytes in patients with o‐JIA.
777 memory B cells from peripheral blood, CD19+ CD27+ CD5+ or CD19+ CD27+ CD5−, isolated from three ANA+ children with o‐JIA and three healthy age‐matched children, were examined for the expression of RAG1 and RAG2 mRNA. mRNA transcripts of activation‐induced cytidine deaminase and immunoglobulin G were searched to further determine their developmental stage.
mRNA was present for any of the two RAG genes in the B cells of children with JIA and controls. However, the predominance of RAG1 or RAG2 was different. A significantly decreased frequency of RAG2‐expressing memory B cells in both CD5+ and CD5− populations was noted in children with JIA (p<0.001), whereas the number of RAG1‐expressing B cells was slightly increased. The coordinate expression of both the RAG genes was a rare event, similar in the CD5+ populations (1% in controls, 2% in children with JIA), but different among the CD5− compartments (5% v 0%; p<0.01).
These results argue for a reduced coordinate RAG expression in the peripheral CD5− memory B cells of patients with o‐JIA. Thus, it was hypothesised that impaired receptor revision contributes to autoimmune pathogenesis in JIA.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the most common autoimmune inflammatory disease in children; joint inflammation is the hallmark of the disease. Thirty-five children with JIA were studied, of whom 26 had active disease and 14 were receiving anti-TNF therapy (5 with Infliximab, 9 with Etanercept). Sixteen healthy controls also were studied. Saliva samples were obtained for analysis of anti-oxidant status, metalloproteinases (MMPs) and sialochemistry. The total antioxidant status was significantly higher in the saliva of all JIA patients, whether treated (P = 0.014) or not treated (P = 0.038) with anti-TNF agents. The increase in antioxidant status (TAS) in the saliva of the active patients was nearly two times higher than that of non-active patients (P = 0.01). MMP levels were significantly lower in JIA patients than in controls. MMP-9, MMP-3 and MMP-2 were lower in JIA patients without anti-TNF treatment by 36.7% (P = 0.01), 30.0% (P = 0.0001) and 10.7% (P = 0.0001), respectively. A greater reduction in MMP levels was observed in the group of patients treated with anti-TNF drugs: MMP-9, MMP-3 and MMP-2 were lower than in controls by 51.1% (P = 0.0001), 61.5% (P = 0.0001) and 55.4% (P = 0.0001), respectively. Children with JIA exhibited a significantly higher salivary antioxidant activity and significantly lower MMP levels. Anti-TNF treatment was associated with a further decrease in MMP levels in the saliva of JIA patients while an active state of JIA was associated with a further increase in the salivary antioxidant activity. Anti-TNF treatment may modulate the degradation process during the course of arthritis by inhibition of the activity of MMP.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is an autoimmune disorder mediated by Th1-immune responses. Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte Antigen 4 (CTLA4), expressed on the T-cell surface, plays a negative role in regulating T-cell activation. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CTLA4 have been implicated in susceptibility to several autoimmune disorders, including JIA. Our objective was to test three functional CTLA4 variants for association with JIA.
Families of 531 children with JIA were genotyped for SNPs located in the promoter region (C-318T), exon-1 (A49G), and the 3’ untranslated region (CT60) of CTLA4 by PCR amplification and digestion. Family-based association test (FBAT) was used to test CTLA4 SNPs and haplotypes for association with JIA. A second independent cohort of more than 300 children with JIA and 500 controls were genotyped for case-control analyses. Case-control analyses of the combined cohorts, as well as meta-analyses of published association studies between CTLA4 and JIA, were performed.
There were no deviations of transmission of any of the CTLA4 variants to children with JIA, or JIA subtypes, by FBAT. There were also no significant associations between CTLA4 C-318T or A49G SNPs in 650 JIA cases and 350 controls. Similarly, there were also no significant associations between CT60 variants with over 800 JIA cases and 500 controls. The meta-analysis also failed to confirm an association between JIA and CTLA4 variants.
These results suggest that C-318T, A49G or CT60 or haplotypes tagged by these CTLA4 SNPs are not associated with JIA or major JIA subtypes.
CTLA4; JRA; genetics; autoimmune; association; juvenile idiopathic arthritis
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) is a heterogeneous group of inflammatory of diseases and there no clinically useful prognostic markers to predict disease outcome in these children. Synovial fluid is likely a reflection of the proteins present in the inflamed synovium. The purpose of this study was to delineate the synovial fluid proteome and determine whether there are differences in the protein expression in subtypes of JIA.
Synovial fluid from children with oligoarticular, polyarticular and systemic JIA were compared. Two dimensional gel electrophoresis for protein separation and Matrix associated laser desorption ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) and Quadripole time of flight mass spectrometry (Q-TOF-MS) for protein identification were used for this study. Synovial fluid cells were analyzed by PCR for the presence of haptoglobin mRNA.
The synovial fluid proteome of the samples was delineated. The majority of proteins showed overexpression in JIA synovial fluid as compared to non-inflammatory controls. There were 24 statistically significant differentially expressed spots (> 2 fold change and p<.05) between the subtypes of JIA. PCR analysis revealed haptoglobin mRNA suggesting that haptoglobin is locally produced in an inflamed joint in JIA.
Despite similar histological appearance of inflamed joints in subtypes of JIA, there are differences in protein expression in the subtypes of JIA. Haptoglobin is differentially expressed between the subtypes of JIA and is locally produced in an inflamed joint in JIA. Haptoglobin and other differentially expressed proteins may be potential biomarkers in JIA.
To measure gelatinase activities in paired synovial fluid (SF) and serum of patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), and to assess how these activities relate to clinical and laboratory measures of disease activity.
A quantitative protein substrate zymography method was adapted and validated for use with serum and SF. Bands of activity were measured by densitometry and correlated with standard laboratory indicators of inflammation: erythrocyte sedimentation rate and platelet count.
Gelatinase activity was found consistently in patients with JIA, with reproducible, quantified bands of activity corresponding to pro‐matrix metalloproteinase‐9 (pro‐MMP‐9), including the neutrophil associated lipocalin complex, and pro‐ and active forms of MMP‐2. Both active MMP‐2 and pro‐MMP‐9 were higher in JIA serum than in controls, though no differences were seen between patients grouped according to age, disease duration, or JIA subtype. However, SF MMP‐9 correlated significantly with the laboratory indicators of inflammation, as did the relative level of active MMP‐2.
Both MMP‐2 and MMP‐9 gelatinolytic activities are raised during active JIA and associated with inflammatory activity regardless of age and disease duration, supporting a role for MMPs in the breakdown of joint components from early in disease. These MMPs may be specific markers of active joint destruction linked to inflammatory JIA, MMP‐9 as a product of infiltrating cells, and the activation of MMP‐2 produced within the joint.
gelatinase; matrix metalloproteinases; zymogram; juvenile idiopathic arthritis; cartilage
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a disease characterized by chronic joint inflammation, caused by a deregulated immune response. In patients with JIA, heat shock proteins (HSPs) are highly expressed in the synovial lining tissues of inflamed joints. HSPs are endogenous proteins that are expressed upon cellular stress and are able to modulate immune responses. In this review, we concentrate on the role of HSPs, especially HSP60, in modulating immune responses in both experimental and human arthritis, with a focus on JIA. We will mainly discuss the tolerogenic immune responses induced by HSPs, which could have a beneficial effect in JIA. Overall, we will discuss the immune modulatory capacity of HSPs, and the underlying mechanisms of HSP60-mediated immune regulation in JIA, and how this can be translated into therapy.
To identify biomarkers in the first synovial fluid (SF) aspirate obtained from children with oligoarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), which could be used to identify children whose disease is likely to extend to a more severe phenotype.
Patients with recent-onset oligoarticular JIA were identified and grouped according to those whose mild disease persisted (persistent disease) or those whose disease would extend from a mild to more severe phenotype (extended-to-be disease) at 1 year after diagnosis. Flow cytometry was used to delineate differences in the mononuclear cell populations between the first blood sample and first SF aspirate from the same patient and between outcome (persistent versus extended-to-be) groups. Proportions of lymphocytes in the joint were modeled on chemotaxis of lymphocytes to CCL5, using Transwell migration assays. Levels of CCL5 in the SF were quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. RNA profiles of SF mononuclear cells were compared between groups using the Affymetrix GeneChip hybridization protocol and hierarchical clustering analyses.
Compared with peripheral blood mononuclear cells, SF mononuclear cells displayed an expansion of CD8+ T cells, reduced proportion of B cells, and expansion of CD16− natural killer cells. The lower CD4:CD8 ratio in the SF was recapitulated in vitro by the observed migration of blood T cells in response to CCL5. Synovial CCL5 levels were higher in children whose disease extended to a more severe phenotype. The CD4:CD8 ratio in the SF was significantly lower in patients with extended-to-be oligoarticular JIA (0.57 compared with 0.90 in the persistent disease group, difference 0.33, 95% confidence interval 0.04–0.62; P = 0.009). Gene expression profiling revealed that 344 genes were >1.5-fold differentially expressed between outcome groups (P < 0.05), and these included genes associated with inflammation and macrophage differentiation, which showed increased levels in patients with extended disease at 1 year, and genes associated with immune regulation, which showed increased levels in patients with persistent disease at 1 year.
Analyses of the proportions of synovial lymphocytes, levels of CCL5, and differential gene expression yielded potential biomarkers with which to predict the likelihood of extension of oligoarticular JIA to a more severe disease phenotype.
Systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA), formerly called Still's disease, is officially classified as a subset of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Beside arthritis, it is characterized by prominent systemic features and a marked inflammatory response. Even if it is still included in the group of juvenile arthritides, sJIA is set apart from all the other forms of JIA. This disorder has markedly distinct clinical and laboratory features suggesting a different pathogenesis. sJIA does not show any association with HLA genes or with autoantibodies and is characterised by an uncontrolled activation of phagocytes with hypersecretion of IL-1 and IL-6. Based on clinical and laboratory features, as well as on new acquisitions on the pathogenesis, it seems evident that sJIA is an autoinflammatory disease related to abnormality in innate immune system. The new insights on the pathogenesis of sJIA have therefore dramatically changed the approach to treatment, with the development of targeted treatments (anti-IL-1 and anti-IL-6 agents) more effective and safer than earlier medications.
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) is a complex autoimmune rheumatic disease of largely unknown cause. Evidence is growing that epigenetic variation, particularly DNA methylation, is associated with autoimmune disease. However, nothing is currently known about the potential role of aberrant DNA methylation in JIA. As a first step to addressing this knowledge gap, we have profiled DNA methylation in purified CD4+ T cells from JIA subjects and controls. Genomic DNA was isolated from peripheral blood CD4+ T cells from 14 oligoarticular and polyarticular JIA cases with active disease, and healthy age- and sex-matched controls. Genome-scale methylation analysis was carried out using the Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation27 BeadChip. Methylation data at >25,000 CpGs was compared in a case-control study design.
Methylation levels were significantly different (FDR adjusted p<0.1) at 145 loci. Removal of four samples exposed to methotrexate had a striking impact on the outcome of the analysis, reducing the number of differentially methylated loci to 11. The methotrexate-naive analysis identified reduced methylation at the gene encoding the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL32, which was subsequently replicated using a second analysis platform and a second set of case-control pairs.
Our data suggests that differential T cell DNA methylation may be a feature of JIA, and that reduced methylation at IL32 is associated with this disease. Further work in larger prospective and longitudinal sample collections is required to confirm these findings, assess whether the identified differences are causal or consequential of disease, and further investigate the epigenetic modifying properties of therapeutic regimens.
Epigenetics; Juvenile idiopathic arthritis; DNA methylation; Autoimmunity; Methylome; Methotrexate
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a group of chronic arthritides affecting children. The polyarthritis category, affecting five or more joints in the first six months, tends to be more aggressive, leading to a destructive joint disease with significant morbidity, disability, and costs to society. The current treatment regimen, which primarily combines methotrexate and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) blockade, still leaves a significant group of patients with an inadequate response. Therefore, the development of new medications that act via other mechanisms of pathogenesis is necessary. T cell lymphocytes are key components in the immune reaction in JIA. Cytotoxic lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) is a potent inhibitor of the costimulation pathway necessary to activate T cells. Abatacept is a recombinant fusion protein comprising the extracellular part of human CTLA-4 connected to a modified Fc part of IgG-1. In a randomized, multinational, blinded withdrawal study in children with polyarticular JIA, abatacept was found to be effective in about 70% of the patients, including 39% of TNF-α blockade failures, with significantly fewer flares occurring during the withdrawal phase than in patients receiving placebo. Abatacept continued to show good efficacy in a three-year open-label extension study, with a beneficial effect on health-related quality of life. The safety profile of abatacept is generally good. In 2008, the US Food and Drug Administration approved abatacept for use in children over six years of age with JIA and a polyarticular course. In 2010, the European Medicines Agency gave approval for abatacept to be used in combination with methotrexate for those who fail at least one disease-modifying medication and TNF-α blockade.
juvenile idiopathic arthritis; treatment; abatacept
The CC chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) has been shown to be important in the recruitment of T-helper cells to the synovium, where they accumulate, drive the inflammatory process and the consequent synovitis and joint destruction. A 32 base-pair insertion/deletion variant (CCR5Δ32) within the gene leads to a frame shift and a nonfunctional receptor. CCR5Δ32 has been investigated for its association with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), with conflicting results. The aim of this study was to investigate whether CCR5Δ32 is associated with JIA in an UK population. CCR5Δ32 was genotyped in JIA cases (n=1054) and healthy controls (n=3129) and genotype and allele frequencies were compared. A meta-analysis of our study combined with previously published studies was performed. CCR5Δ32 was significantly associated with protection from developing JIA, in this UK data set (Ptrend=0.006, odds ratio (OR) 0.79 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 0.66–0.94). The meta-analysis of all published case–control association studies confirmed the protective association with JIA (P=0.001 OR 0.82 95% CI: 0.73–0.93). CCR5Δ32 is a functional variant determining the number of receptors on the surface of T cells, and it is hypothesized that the level of CCR5 expression could influence the migration of proinflammatory T cells into the synovium and thus susceptibility to JIA.
CCR5; juvenile idiopathic arthritis; chemokine
Objectives: To evaluate the responsiveness of children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) to hepatitis B vaccination and to determine the most useful vaccination schedule.
Methods: 39 children with JIA were enrolled in the study; all were in remission and negative to serological testing for hepatitis B surface antigen (HbsAg). The control group consisted of 41 healthy children. There were two different vaccination schedules: group I was vaccinated at 0, 1, and 3 months; group II was vaccinated at 0, 1, and 6 months. Positive responsiveness to the vaccine was defined as an anti-hepatitis B antibody titre above 10 mIU/ml.
Results: All the children except one with systemic JIA developed an antibody response. None of the JIA patients experienced a flare up or clinical deterioration related to the vaccination. The antibody levels in children with JIA were significantly lower than in the healthy controls. Comparison of the antibody levels between the two vaccination schedules showed no statistical difference in the controls; in the JIA subjects the group II schedule resulted in a trend to a greater response than the group I schedule (p<0.07). Vaccine responsiveness was not influenced by either methotrexate or prednisolone treatment.
Conclusions: Children with JIA had an adequate response to hepatitis B vaccination and the response was not affected by immunosuppressive treatment. A vaccination schedule at 0, 1, and 6 months seems to be preferable to 0, 1, and 3 months.
This study focuses upon three chemokines, namely CCL5, CXCL10 and CCL3, which are potential novel therapeutic targets in arthritis. The aim of the study was to analyse the expression and production of these three chemokines within the joints of children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) of the oligoarticular and polyarticular subtypes. All three of these chemokines are highly expressed at the level of mRNA, with the most significant increase in mRNA levels being demonstrated for CCL5 when compared with matched peripheral blood samples and controls. We show that high levels of all three chemokines are present in synovial fluid of children with JIA. We investigate the major source of CCL5 from inflammatory synovial cells, which we show to be CD8+ T cells. This CD8+ synovial T cell population has an unexpected phenotype that has not been described previously, being CCR7- yet predominantly CD28+ and CD45RA-. These cells contain high levels of stored intracellular CCL5, and rapid release of CCL5 takes place on T cell stimulation, without requiring new protein synthesis. In addition, we demonstrate that CCL5 is present in synovial biopsies from these patients, in particular on the endothelium of small and medium sized vessels. We believe this to be the first in depth analysis of these mediators of inflammation in JIA.
The aim of our study was to evaluate the association between circulating levels of serum amyloid A protein (SAA) and disease activity in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Our study group included 41 JIA patients (9 male, 32 female), classified according to the International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) criteria (5); 16 had polyarticular onset disease and 25 had oligoarticular onset disease. Among 25 patients with oligoarticular disease, three had extended oligoarthritis. Serum amyloid A (SAA), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured in both patients and 26 healthy controls. SAA levels were higher in JIA patients versus healthy controls (p<0.001). Significant positive correlations were found between SAA and the presence of active joints (rho=0.363, p<0.05), the number of active joints (rho=0.418, p<0.05), ESR (R=0.702, p<0.05) and CRP (R=0.827, p<0.05). No significant correlations between ESR and the presence of active joints (rho=0.221, p=0.225) or between ESR and the number of active joints (rho=0.118, p=0.520) were demonstrated in JIA patients. No significant correlations were obtained between CRP and the presence of active joints (rho=0.034, p=0.855) or between CRP and the number of active joints (rho=0.033, p=0.859). We discovered a significant increase in SAA levels in JIA patients, compared to controls, and a strong positive correlation between SAA level and JIA disease activity. We also discerned SAA to be a more sensitive laboratory marker than ESR and CRP for evaluating the presence and number of active joints. We suggest that SAA can be used as an additional indicator of disease activity in JIA.
Serum amyloid A; juvenile idiopathic arthritis; inflammatory markers; disease activity
Oligoarticular onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) has a variable disease course. In some patients the disease remains confined to a few joints (persistent oligoarticular) while in others it extends to affect more joints (oligoarticular extended). Osteopontin is thought to play a role in the pathogenesis.
To investigate whether a polymorphic variant in the human osteopontin gene, which is in linkage disequilibrium with recently characterised promoter variants, is associated with the disease course in oligoarticular JIA.
Genotyping of the two base pair insertion/deletion variant at +245 in the first intron was undertaken by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of DNA fragments, using a fluorescently labelled primer, followed by allele detection after rapid separation of PCR products on an automated DNA sequencer.
Allele 2 of the polymorphic variant in the osteopontin first intron was significantly associated with the persistent oligoarticular form rather than the extended form of JIA. This was verified at the level of genotype and allele frequencies.
The results suggest that osteopontin gene polymorphism is associated with the disease course in oligoarticular JIA and might therefore represent a useful genetic marker to characterise patients with oligoarticular JIA who are at risk of a worse outcome.
oligoarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis; osteopontin; polymorphism; disease outcome
Polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a category of JIA where multiple joints are affected by chronic inflammation, and where serious and lasting damage to joints is the expected natural history in untreated disease. There is evidence of response to disease-modifying antirheumatic and biologic drugs, but little evidence of permanent remission from any of the existing therapeutic trials. The TREAT trial by Wallace et al., recently published in Arthritis and Rheumatism, used a collaborative multicenter approach to studying early aggressive treatment of polyarticular JIA in an attempt to achieve full clinical inactive disease after 6 months of treatment. The study's main finding that the earlier in the disease course that treatment is started, the better the chance of disease control, has provided evidence that there is a 'window of opportunity' for treating JIA as there is in adult rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The study provides both a platform and an impetus for concentrating future treatment trials on early rather than established disease and investigating a standard of starting treatment within 10 to 12 weeks.
Childhood arthritis; polyarticular juvenile arthritis; treatment