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Year of Publication
1.  Ultrasonographic Assessment of Enthesitis in HLA-B27 Positive Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a Matched Case-Only Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58616.
Introduction
HLA-B27 has a modifier effect on the phenotype of multiple diseases, both associated and non-associated with it. Among these effects, an increased frequency of clinical enthesitis in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) has been reported but never explored again. We aimed to replicate this study with a sensitive and quantitative assessment of enthesitis by using standardized ultrasonography (US).
Methods
The Madrid Sonography Enthesitis Index (MASEI) was applied to the US assessment of 41 HLA-B27 positive and 41 matched HLA-B27 negative patients with longstanding RA. Clinical characteristics including explorations aimed to evaluate spondyloarthrtitis and laboratory tests were also done.
Results
A significant degree of abnormalities in the entheses of the patients with RA were found, but the MASEI values, and each of its components including the Doppler signal, were similar in HLA-B27 positive and negative patients. An increase of the MASEI scores with age was identified. Differences in two clinical features were found: a lower prevalence of rheumatoid factor and a more common story of low back pain in the HLA-B27 positive patients than in the negative. The latter was accompanied by radiographic sacroiliitis in two HLA-B27 positive patients. No other differences were detected.
Conclusion
We have found that HLA-B27 positive patients with RA do not have more enthesitis as assessed with US than the patients lacking this HLA allele. However, HLA-B27 could be shaping the RA phenotype towards RF seronegativity and axial involvement.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058616
PMCID: PMC3591382  PMID: 23505543
2.  All‐cause and cause‐specific mortality in rheumatoid arthritis are not greater than expected when treated with tumour necrosis factor antagonists 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2007;66(7):880-885.
Background
Mortality is increased in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), mainly because of cardiovascular (CV) events, cancer and infections. Recent data suggest that treatment with tumour necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists may affect this trend.
Objective
To assess whether treatment with TNF antagonists is associated with reduction in CV events, cancer and infection rates, and in mortality in patients with RA treated and not treated with TNF antagonists.
Methods
BIOBADASER is a registry for active long‐term follow‐up of safety of biological treatments in patients with RA. It includes 4459 patients with RA treated with TNF antagonists. EMECAR is an external RA cohort (n = 789) established to define the characteristics of the disease in Spain and to assess comorbidity. The incidence density (ischaemic heart disease) of CV events, cancer and infections was estimated and compared. The standardised mortality ratio was compared with the rate in the general population. A propensity score was used to match cohorts by the probability of being treated.
Results
Rates of CV and cancer events are significantly higher in EMECAR than in BIOBADASER (RR 5–7 for different CV events, and RR 2.9 for cancer), whereas the rate of serious infections is significantly higher in BIOBADASER (RR 1.6). Mortality ratio of BIOBADASER by EMECAR is 0.32 (0.20–0.53) for all causes of death, 0.58 (0.24–1.41) for CV events, 0.52 (0.21–1.29) for infection and 0.36 (0.10–1.30) for cancer‐related deaths.
Conclusion
Morbidity, other than infection, and mortality are not higher than expected in patients with RA treated with TNF antagonists.
doi:10.1136/ard.2006.067660
PMCID: PMC1955107  PMID: 17324968
4.  Role of Adipokines in Atherosclerosis: Interferences with Cardiovascular Complications in Rheumatic Diseases 
Mediators of Inflammation  2012;2012:125458.
Patients with rheumatic diseases have an increased risk of mortality by cardiovascular events. In fact, several rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and ankylosing spondylitis are associated with a higher prevalence of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Although traditional cardiovascular risk factors have been involved in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases in rheumatic patients, these alterations do not completely explain the enhanced cardiovascular risk in this population. Obesity and its pathologic alteration of fat mass and dysfunction, due to an altered pattern of secretion of proinflammatory adipokines, could be one of the links between cardiovascular and rheumatic diseases. Indeed, the incidence of CVDs is augmented in obese individuals with rheumatic disorders. Thus, in this paper we explore in detail the relationships among adipokines, rheumatic diseases, and cardiovascular complications by giving to the reader a holistic vision and several suggestions for future perspectives and potential clinical implications.
doi:10.1155/2012/125458
PMCID: PMC3403095  PMID: 22910888
5.  Matrix metalloproteinase-8 deficiency increases joint inflammation and bone erosion in the K/BxN serum-transfer arthritis model 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(6):R224.
Introduction
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which joint inflammation leads to progressive cartilage and bone erosion. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) implicated in homeostasis of the extracellular matrix play a central role in cartilage degradation. However, the role of specific MMPs in arthritis pathogenesis is largely unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of Mmp-8 (collagenase-2) in an arthritis model.
Methods
Arthritis was induced in Mmp8-deficient and wildtype mice by K/BxN serum transfer. Arthritis severity was measured by a clinical index and ankle sections were scored for synovial inflammation, cartilage damage and bone erosion. cDNA microarray analysis, real-time PCR and western blot were performed to identify differential changes in gene expression between mice lacking Mmp8 and controls.
Results
Mmp8 deficiency increased the severity of arthritis, although the incidence of disease was similar in control and deficient mice. Increased clinical score was associated with exacerbated synovial inflammation and bone erosion. We also found that the absence of Mmp8 led to increased expression of IL-1β, pentraxin-3 (PTX3) and prokineticin receptor 2 (PROKR2) in arthritic mice joints.
Conclusions
Lack of Mmp-8 is accompanied by exacerbated synovial inflammation and bone erosion in the K/BxN serum-transfer arthritis model, indicating that this Mmp has a protective role in arthritis.
doi:10.1186/ar3211
PMCID: PMC3046537  PMID: 21190566
6.  Akt activity protects rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts from Fas-induced apoptosis by inhibition of Bid cleavage 
Introduction
Synovial hyperplasia is a main feature of rheumatoid arthritis pathology that leads to cartilage and bone damage in the inflamed joints. Impaired apoptosis of resident synoviocytes is pivotal in this process. Apoptosis resistance seems to involve defects in the extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of PI3Kinase/Akt and the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway in the resistance of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) fibroblast like synovial cells (FLS) to Fas-mediated apoptosis.
Methods
Apoptosis was assessed by ELISA quantification of nucleosomal release, Hoechst staining and activated caspase-3/7 measure in cultured RA FLS stimulated with anti-Fas antibody. Two Phosphoinositol-3-kinase/protein Kinase B (PI3 Kinase) inhibitors, Wortmannine and LY294002, were used before anti-Fas stimulation. Proapoptotic BH3 interacting domain death agonist (Bid) was suppressed in RA FLS by small interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection. Bid was overexpressed by transfection with the pDsRed2-Bid vector. Phosphorylated Akt, caspase-9, and Bid expression were analysed by western blot.
Results
PI3 kinase inhibition sensitizes RA FLS to Fas-induced apoptosis by increasing cleavage of Bid protein. Bid suppression completely abrogated Fas-induced apoptosis and Bid overexpression highly increased apoptotic rate of RA FLS in association with cleavage of caspase-9.
Conclusions
In RA FLS, phosphorylation of Akt protects against Fas-induced apoptosis through inhibition of Bid cleavage. The connection between the extrinsic and the intrinsic apoptotic pathways are critical in this Fas- mediated apoptosis and points to PI3Kinase as potential therapeutic target for RA.
doi:10.1186/ar2941
PMCID: PMC2875667  PMID: 20187936
7.  Survival of TNF antagonists in spondylarthritis is better than in rheumatoid arthritis. Data from the Spanish registry BIOBADASER 
The aim of the present work is to compare drug survival and safety of infliximab, etanercept, and adalimumab (tumor necrosis factor [TNF] antagonists) in spondylarthritis (SpA) with those of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). To this purpose, we analysed the data in BIOBADASER (2000–2005), a drug registry launched in 2000 for long-term follow-up of the safety of these biologics in rheumatic diseases. The rates of drug discontinuation and adverse events (AEs) in SpA (n = 1,524) were estimated and compared with those of RA (n = 4,006). Cox regression analyses were used to adjust for independent factors. Total exposure to TNF antagonists for SpA was 2,430 patient-years and 7,865 for RA. Drug survival in SpA was significantly greater than in RA at 1, 2, and 3 years. The hazard ratio (HR) for discontinuation in SpA compared with RA was 0.66 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.57–0.76) after adjustment for age, gender, and use of infliximab. The difference remained after controlling for the individual medication and its place in the sequence of treatment. There were fewer SpA patients with AEs (17%) than RA patients (26%; p < 0.001). The HR for AEs in SpA was 0.80 (95% CI, 0.70–0.91) compared with RA after adjustment for age, disease duration, and use of infliximab. In conclusion, due in part to a better safety profile, survival of TNF antagonists in SpA is better than in RA. TNF antagonists are at present a safe and effective therapeutic option for long-term treatment of patients with SpA failing to respond to traditional drugs. Because chronic therapy is necessary, continual review of this issue is necessary.
doi:10.1186/ar1941
PMCID: PMC1526631  PMID: 16620398
8.  Partial protection against collagen antibody-induced arthritis in PARP-1 deficient mice 
Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) is a nuclear DNA-binding protein that participates in the regulation of DNA repair and maintenance of genomic integrity. In addition, PARP-1 has a role in several models of inflammation disease, where its absence or inactivation confers protection. The aim of this study was to analyze the impact of selective PARP-1 suppression in collagen antibody-induced arthritis. We show that PARP-1 deficiency partially reduces the severity of arthritis, although the incidence of disease was similar in control and deficient mice. Decreased clinical scores were accompanied by partial reduction of histopathological findings. Interestingly, quantitative real-time PCR and ELISA analysis revealed that the absence of PARP-1 down-regulated IL-1β and monocyte chemotactic protein 1 expression in arthritic joints whereas tumor necrosis factor-α transcription was not impaired. Our results provide evidence of the contribution of PARP-1 to the progression of arthritis and identify this protein as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
doi:10.1186/ar1865
PMCID: PMC1526570  PMID: 16356201
9.  DAS-28-based EULAR response and HAQ improvement in rheumatoid arthritis patients switching between TNF antagonists 
Introduction
No definitive data are available regarding the value of switching to an alternative TNF antagonist in rheumatoid arthritis patients who fail to respond to the first one. The aim of this study was to evaluate treatment response in a clinical setting based on HAQ improvement and EULAR response criteria in RA patients who were switched to a second or a third TNF antagonist due to failure with the first one.
Methods
This was an observational, prospective study of a cohort of 417 RA patients treated with TNF antagonists in three university hospitals in Spain between January 1999 and December 2005. A database was created at the participating centres, with well-defined operational instructions. The main outcome variables were analyzed using parametric or non-parametric tests depending on the level of measurement and distribution of each variable.
Results
Mean (± SD) DAS-28 on starting the first, second and third TNF antagonist was 5.9 (± 2.0), 5.1 (± 1.5) and 6.1 (± 1.1). At the end of follow-up, it decreased to 3.3 (± 1.6; Δ = -2.6; p > 0.0001), 4.2 (± 1.5; Δ = -1.1; p = 0.0001) and 5.4 (± 1.7; Δ = -0.7; p = 0.06). For the first TNF antagonist, DAS-28-based EULAR response level was good in 42% and moderate in 33% of patients. The second TNF antagonist yielded a good response in 20% and no response in 53% of patients, while the third one yielded a good response in 28% and no response in 72%. Mean baseline HAQ on starting the first, second and third TNF antagonist was 1.61, 1.52 and 1.87, respectively. At the end of follow-up, it decreased to 1.12 (Δ = -0.49; p < 0.0001), 1.31 (Δ = -0.21, p = 0.004) and 1.75 (Δ = -0.12; p = 0.1), respectively. Sixty four percent of patients had a clinically important improvement in HAQ (defined as ≥ -0.22) with the first TNF antagonist and 46% with the second.
Conclusion
A clinically significant effect size was seen in less than half of RA patients cycling to a second TNF antagonist.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-10-91
PMCID: PMC2724400  PMID: 19627609

Results 1-9 (9)