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1.  Molecular discrimination of responders and nonresponders to anti-TNFalpha therapy in rheumatoid arthritis by etanercept 
About 30% of rheumatoid arthritis patients fail to respond adequately to TNFα-blocking therapy. There is a medical and socioeconomic need to identify molecular markers for an early prediction of responders and nonresponders.
RNA was extracted from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 19 rheumatoid arthritis patients before the first application of the TNFα blocker etanercept as well as after 72 hours. Clinical response was assessed over 3 months using the 28-joint-count Disease Activity Score and X-ray scans. Supervised learning methods were applied to Affymetrix Human Genome U133 microarray data analysis to determine highly selective discriminatory gene pairs or triplets with prognostic relevance for the clinical outcome evinced by a decline of the 28-joint-count Disease Activity Score by 1.2.
Early downregulation of expression levels secondary to TNFα neutralization was associated with good clinical responses, as shown by a decline in overall disease activity 3 months after the start of treatment. Informative gene sets include genes (for example, NFKBIA, CCL4, IL8, IL1B, TNFAIP3, PDE4B, PPP1R15A and ADM) involved in different pathways and cellular processes such as TNFα signalling via NFκB, NFκB-independent signalling via cAMP, and the regulation of cellular and oxidative stress response. Pairs and triplets within these genes were found to have a high prognostic value, reflected by prediction accuracies of over 89% for seven selected gene pairs and of 95% for 10 specific gene triplets.
Our data underline that early gene expression profiling is instrumental in identifying candidate biomarkers to predict therapeutic outcomes of anti-TNFα treatment regimes.
PMCID: PMC2483439  PMID: 18454843
3.  Higher susceptibility to Fas ligand induced apoptosis and altered modulation of cell death by tumor necrosis factor-α in periarticular tenocytes from patients with knee joint osteoarthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2003;5(5):R253-R261.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the expression of Fas in periarticular tenocytes of patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and to study their susceptibility to Fas ligand-mediated apoptosis. Tendon samples were obtained from the quadriceps femoris muscle of patients with knee OA and used for histological evaluation, for immunohistochemical detection of Fas, and to establish tenocyte cultures. The expression of Fas mRNA was determined by quantitative PCR. Levels of soluble Fas and soluble tumour necrosis factor (TNF) receptor I were measured using ELISA. Apoptosis was induced with recombinant human Fas ligand and measured by a histone fragmentation assay and flow cytometry. The effects of TNF-α were studied by stimulation with TNF-α alone or 24 hours before the induction of apoptosis. Tendon samples from non-OA patients were used as controls. Histological evaluation revealed degenerative changes in the tendons of all OA patients but not in the controls. Fas was detected by immunohistochemistry in all specimens, but quantitative PCR revealed significantly higher levels of Fas mRNA in OA tenocytes. In contrast, lower levels of soluble Fas were found in OA tenocytes by ELISA. OA tenocytes were significantly more susceptible to Fas ligand induced apoptosis than were control cells. TNF-α reduced the Fas ligand induced apoptosis in OA tenocytes but had no effects on control tenocytes. These data suggest that knee OA is associated with higher susceptibility of periarticular tenocytes to Fas ligand induced apoptosis because of higher expression of Fas but lower levels of apoptosis-inhibiting soluble Fas. These changes may contribute to decreased cellularity in degenerative tendons and promote their rupturing. The antiapoptotic effects of TNF-α in OA tenocytes most likely reflect regenerative attempts and must be taken into account when anti-TNF strategies are considered for OA.
PMCID: PMC193726  PMID: 12932288
apoptosis; osteoarthritis; Fas ligand; tenocytes; tumour necrosis factor-α
6.  Long-term persistence and effects of fetal microchimerisms on disease onset and status in a cohort of women with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus 
The discovery of a fetal cells transfer to the mother is a phenomenon with multiple implications for autoimmunity and tolerance. The prevalence and meaning of the feto-maternal microchimerism (MC) in rheumatic diseases has not been thoroughly investigated. The aim of this study was to analyze the prevalence of fetal MC in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases and to investigate the association of MC with disease onset and current status.
A total of 142 women who gave birth to at least one male offspring were recruited: 72 women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 16 women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and 54 healthy women. For the detection of fetal microchimerism a nested PCR method was used to amplify a Y chromosome specific sequence (TSPY1). For characterization of disease activity we analyzed autoantibody profiles and X-rays in RA, and in addition complement levels in SLE respectively.
A significant higher prevalence of fetal MC was found in RA (18%) and SLE (31%) compared to controls (3.7%) (p = 0.02 and p = 0.006, resp.). The mean age at disease onset was comparable in MC + and MC- RA patients. Disease onset occurred 18.7 (MC +) and 19.8 (MC-) years post partum of the first son, respectively. The presence of anti-CCP and RF did not differ significantly, anti-CCP were found in 75% of MC + and 87% of MC- patients, RF in 75% of both MC + and MC- patients. A slightly higher mean Steinbrocker score in MC + patients was associated with longer disease duration in MC + compared to MC- RA. In SLE patients the mean age at disease onset was 42.6 years in MC + and 49.1 years in MC- patients. Disease onset occurred 24.0 and 26.4 years post partum of the first son for MC + and MC- patients, respectively. The presence of ANA and anti-dsDNA antibodies, C3, C4 and CH50 did not differ significantly.
Our results indicate a higher frequency of long-term male MC in RA and SLE patients compared with controls without impact on disease onset and status in RA and SLE.
PMCID: PMC3835618  PMID: 24245522
Microchimerism; RA; SLE; Pregnancy
7.  Interleukin 10 promoter microsatellite polymorphisms are associated with response to long term treatment with etanercept in patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2004;64(4):575-581.
Objectives: To analyse the association of interleukin 10 (IL10) promoter polymorphisms, which have been shown to be related to IL10 secretion capacity, with the response to long term treatment with etanercept in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods: Fifty patients with active RA were treated for up to 4 years (median 39 months, range 3–52) with stable doses of etanercept as monotherapy. Treatment response was assessed as defined by the EULAR criteria in an intention to treat analysis, with the last observation carried forward. IL10 promoter microsatellite polymorphisms IL10.R and IL10.G were genotyped by fragment length analysis in patients and 189 healthy controls matched for ethnicity, age, and sex. Haplotypes were reconstructed using a method based on bayesian, coalescent theory with the PHASE software.
Results: IL10 microsatellite polymorphisms were not associated with susceptibility to RA. When patients with good treatment response (n = 25) were compared with patients with moderate (n = 17) or no response (n = 8), a significantly different distribution of the prevailing alleles R2, R3 and G9, G13, respectively, became evident. Good treatment response was associated with carriage of the R3 allele or R3-G9 haplotype, whereas the allele G13 and the haplotype R2-G13 predominated in patients with moderate or no response.
Conclusion: Genotyping of the IL10 promoter microsatellites may be useful in predicting the clinical response to etanercept in patients with RA. The high prevalence of the presumptive IL10 low producer allele R3 in patients with a favourable response suggests that IL10 promotes disease activity in RA under the specific condition of tumour necrosis factor antagonism.
PMCID: PMC1755447  PMID: 15345504
9.  Soluble tumour necrosis factor receptor treatment does not affect raised transforming growth factor ß levels in rheumatoid arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2002;61(3):254-256.
Methods: Plasma levels of TGFß1 and TGFß2 were determined in 26 patients with RA during six months of etanercept treatment and compared with disease activity and laboratory parameters, including matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3) and interleukin 6 (IL6).
Results: Before treatment all patients had raised TGFß1, IL6, and MMP-3 levels. In the course of treatment IL6 and MMP-3 levels decreased significantly, accompanied by a drop in serological markers (C reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate) and clinical disease activity (visual analogue scale and Thompson joint score). By contrast, high levels of latent TGFß1 were present in all specimens over the entire six months. TGFß2 levels did not change during treatment.
Conclusions: Etanercept treatment induces subtle changes in the cytokine network. Although the proinflammatory cytokine IL6 is down regulated, the persistence of high TGFß plasma levels indicates the existence of as yet unknown mechanisms for TGFß overexpression in RA. This may predispose to severe infections and can cause an altered tumour defence.
PMCID: PMC1754023  PMID: 11830433
10.  Regulating apoptosis in fibroblasts 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2005;7(Suppl 1):S15.
PMCID: PMC2833993
12.  Complex genetic predisposition in adult and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis 
BMC Genetics  2004;5:2.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) are complex multifactorial diseases caused by environmental influences and an unknown number of predisposing genes. The present study was undertaken in order to investigate association of polymorphisms in candidate genes with RA and JRA in German subjects.
Up to 200 unrelated German RA and JRA patients each and 300–400 healthy controls have been genotyped for HLA-DRB1, TNFa, TNFA -238a/g, TNFA -308a/g, TNFA -857c/t, TNFR1 -609g/t, TNFR1 P12P, TNFR2 del 15bp, IKBL -332a/g, IKBL -132t/a, IKBL C224R, CTLA4 -318c/t, CTLA4 T17A, PTPRC P57P, MIF -173g/c, the MIF and IFNG microsatellites as well as for D17S795, D17S807, D17S1821 by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis, restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis or allele specific hybridization. None of the investigated genetic markers is associated with both, RA and JRA, but there are some statistically significant differences between patients and controls that have to be discussed sensibly.
The difficulty in investigating the genetics of complex disorders like RA and JRA may arise from genetic heterogeneity in the clinically defined disease cohorts (and generally limited power of such studies). In addition, several to many genes appear to be involved in the genetic predisposition, each of which exerting only small effects. The number of investigated patients has to be increased to establish the possibility of subdivison of the patients according their clinical symptoms, severity of disease, HLA status and other genetic characteristics.
PMCID: PMC356909  PMID: 15018649
14.  Osteoclast-independent bone resorption by fibroblast-like cells 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2003;5(3):R163-R173.
To date, mesenchymal cells have only been associated with bone resorption indirectly, and it has been hypothesized that the degradation of bone is associated exclusively with specific functions of osteoclasts. Here we show, in aseptic prosthesis loosening, that aggressive fibroblasts at the bone surface actively contribute to bone resorption and that this is independent of osteoclasts. In two separate models (a severe combined immunodeficient mouse coimplantation model and a dentin pit formation assay), these cells produce signs of bone resorption that are similar to those in early osteoclastic resorption. In an animal model of aseptic prosthesis loosening (i.e. intracranially self-stimulated rats), it is shown that these fibroblasts acquire their ability to degrade bone early on in their differentiation. Upon stimulation, such fibroblasts readily release acidic components that lower the pH of their pericellular milieu. Through the use of specific inhibitors, pericellular acidification is shown to involve the action of vacuolar type ATPases. Although fibroblasts, as mesenchymal derived cells, are thought to be incapable of resorbing bone, the present study provides the first evidence to challenge this widely held belief. It is demonstrated that fibroblast-like cells, under pathological conditions, may not only enhance but also actively contribute to bone resorption. These cells should therefore be considered novel therapeutic targets in the treatment of bone destructive disorders.
PMCID: PMC165048  PMID: 12723988
aseptic prosthesis loosening; bone resorption; dentin; fibroblasts; severe combined immunodeficient mouse
15.  Homologous and nonhomologous retroviral recombinations are both involved in the transfer by infectious particles of defective avian leukosis virus-derived transcomplementing genomes. 
Journal of Virology  1996;70(8):5651-5657.
We previously described avian leukosis virus-based packaging cell lines that produce stocks of retroviral vectors in which replication-competent viruses were not detectable. However, following infection of target cells with these retroviral stocks, we recently obtained colonies resulting from the transmission of recombinant genomes. Here, we have analyzed their genetic structure and shown that (i) each of them results from recombination between the packaging- and integration-defective transcomplementing genomes and the retroviral vector; (ii) recombination probably occurred during the reverse transcription step, involving strand switching of the reverse transcription growing point from the infectious retroviral vector to the transcomplementing RNA; and (iii) sequence identity and nonhomologous sequences were both used for the strand switching.
PMCID: PMC190528  PMID: 8764082
16.  Role of a carboxy-terminal site of toxic shock syndrome toxin 1 in eliciting immune responses of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. 
Infection and Immunity  1995;63(3):1095-1101.
Staphylococcus aureus toxic shock syndrome toxin 1 (TSST-1) is involved in the pathogenesis of toxic shock syndrome and perhaps other staphylococcal diseases. Recently, the C-terminal part of the TSST-1 toxin has been shown to be responsible for mitogenic activity in animal models. We studied the role of the C-terminal structural unit of TSST-1 with regard to proliferation, cytokine release (tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNF-alpha], interleukin-6 [IL-6], and IL-8), mRNA expression for IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, TNF-alpha, and CD40 ligand (CD40L), synthesis of immunoglobulin E (IgE), IgA, IgG, and IgM, CD23 expression, and soluble CD23 (sCD23) release from human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). For this purpose, we used the recombinant wild-type TSST-1 (p17) mutant toxin Y115A (tyrosine residue modified to alanine) and toxin H135A (histidine residue modified to alanine). Unmodified toxin p17 and mutant toxin Y115A, at a concentration below 5 ng, to a lesser degree, induced a strong proliferation. Toxin p17 followed by toxin Y115A was the most pronounced inducer for mRNA expression for IL-10 and CD40L and cytokine generation (mRNA and protein) for TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-8. Mutant protein H135A failed to activate human PBMC. Both toxins p17 and, to a lesser degree, Y115A significantly suppressed IL-4- and anti-CD40-induced synthesis of all four Igs as well as IL-4-induced CD23 expression and sCD23 release. Mutant toxin H135A failed to do so. Thus, our data show that a region in the C terminus of TSST-1 is responsible not only for mitogenic activity but also for additional immunomodulating biological activities of TSST-1. More specifically, histidine residue H135A of the 194-amino-acid toxin appears to be critical for the expression of biological activities in a human in vitro model.
PMCID: PMC173115  PMID: 7532624
17.  Modifications in the binding domain of avian retrovirus envelope protein to redirect the host range of retroviral vectors. 
Journal of Virology  1994;68(7):4609-4619.
On the basis of theoretical structural and comparative studies of various avian leukosis virus SU (surface) envelope proteins, we have identified four small regions (I, II, III, and IV) in their receptor-binding domains that could potentially be involved in binding to receptors. From the envelope gene of an avian leukosis virus of subgroup A, we have constructed a set of SU mutants in which these regions were replaced by the coding sequence of FLA16, a 16-amino-acid RGD-containing peptide known to be the target for several cellular integrin receptors. Helper-free retroviral particles carrying a neo-lacZ retroviral vector were produced with the mutant envelopes. SU mutants in which regions III and IV were substituted yielded normal levels of envelope precursors but were not detectably processed or incorporated in viral particles. In contrast, substitutions in regions I and II did not affect the processing and the viral incorporation of SU mutants. When FLA16 was inserted in region II, it could be detected with antibodies against FLA16 synthetic peptide, but only when viral particles were deglycosylated. Viral particles with envelopes mutated in region I or II were able to infect avian cells through the subgroup A receptor at levels similar to those of the wild type. When viruses with envelopes containing FLA16 peptide in region II were applied to plastic dishes, they were found to promote binding of mammalian cells resistant to infection by subgroup A avian leukosis viruses but expressing the integrins recognized by FLA16. Deglycosylated helper-free viruses obtained by mild treatment with N-glycosidase F have been used to infect these mammalian cells, and infections have been monitored by neomycin selection. No neomycin-resistant clones could be obtained after infection by viruses with wild-type envelopes. Conversely, colonies were obtained after infection by viruses with envelopes bearing FLA16 in region II, and the genome of the retroviral vector was found correctly integrated in cell DNA of these colonies. By using a blocking peptide containing the minimal adhesive RGD sequence contained in FLA16, we have shown that preincubation of target cells could specifically inhibit infection by viruses with FLA16.
PMCID: PMC236388  PMID: 8207835
18.  Packaging cells for avian leukosis virus-based vectors with various host ranges. 
Journal of Virology  1992;66(9):5671-5676.
Using our previously described Haydée semipackaging cell line (F. L. Cosset, C. Legras, Y. Chebloune, P. Savatier, P. Thoraval, J. L. Thomas, J. Samarut, V. M. Nigon, and G. Verdier, J. Virol. 64:1070-1078, 1990) which produces avian leukosis virus gag and pol proteins, we have constructed packaging cells with subgroups B, C, and E envelope specificities. This allows us to produce helper-free avian leukosis virus particles carrying the lacZ reporter gene and the A, B, C, or E subgroup specificities. Titers of the recombinant lacZ virus are shown to be dependent upon the type of the env subgroup and the target avian cell.
PMCID: PMC289136  PMID: 1323718
19.  Immune response and resistance to Rous sarcoma virus challenge of chickens immunized with cell-associated glycoproteins provided with a recombinant avian leukosis virus. 
Journal of Virology  1991;65(10):5374-5380.
The Rous-associated virus 1 env gene, which encodes the envelope gp85 and gp37 glycoproteins, was isolated and inserted in place of the v-erbB oncogene into an avian erythroblastosis virus-based vector, carrying the neo resistance gene substituted for the v-erbA oncogene, to generate the pNEA recombinant vector. A helper-free virus stock of the pNEA vector was produced on an avian transcomplementing cell line and used to infect primary chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEFs) or quail QT6 cells. These infected cells, selected with G418 (CEF/NEA and QT6/NEA, respectively) were found to be resistant to superinfections with subgroup A retroviruses. The CEF/NEA preparations were used as a cell-associated antigen to inoculate adult chickens by the intravenous route compared with direct inoculations of NEA recombinant helper-free virus used as a cell-free antigen. Chickens injected with the cell-associated antigen (CEF/NEA) exhibited an immune response demonstrated by induction of high titers of neutralizing antibodies and were found to be protected against tumor production after Rous sarcoma virus A challenge. Conversely, no immune response and no protection against Rous sarcoma virus A challenge were observed in chickens directly inoculated with cell-free NEA recombinant virus or in sham-inoculated chickens.
PMCID: PMC249018  PMID: 1654445

Results 1-19 (19)