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1.  Anti-laminin autoantibodies in collagen vascular diseases: the use of adequate controls in studies of autoimmune responses to laminin. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1994;53(3):191-193.
OBJECTIVES--To determine the significance of anti-laminin antibodies in patients with collagen vascular diseases using a large control population of normal individuals. METHODS--Anti-laminin antibodies of IgG isotypes were determined using an ELISA assay in a population consisting of 73 patients with systemic sclerosis, 10 with urticarial vasculitis, five with leukocytoclastic vasculitis, 13 with giant cell arteritis, and eight with dermatomyositis. Sera from 134 healthy individuals served as controls. RESULTS--Only eight sera in the systemic sclerosis group, one in the leukocytoclastic group and one in the giant cell arteritis group were abnormal. No other sera were abnormal. CONCLUSION--These data contradict previous studies using smaller numbers of controls. The necessity for an adequate control population to define abnormal when comparing immune responses among groups is frequently under-emphasised in rheumatological studies.
PMCID: PMC1005285  PMID: 8154938
2.  Human mast cells stimulate vascular tube formation. Tryptase is a novel, potent angiogenic factor. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1997;99(11):2691-2700.
The presence of mast cells near capillary sprouting sites suggests an association between mast cells and angiogenesis. However, the role of mast cells in blood vessel development remains to be defined. In an attempt to elucidate this relationship, we investigated the effect of human mast cells (HMC-1) and their products on human dermal microvascular endothelial cell (HDMEC) tube formation. Coculture of HMC-1 with HDMEC led to a dose-response increase in the network area of vascular tube growth. Moreover, the extent of neovascularization was enhanced greatly when HMC-1 were degranulated in the presence of HDMEC. Further examination using antagonists to various mast cell products revealed a blunted response (73-88% decrease) in the area of vascular tube formation if specific inhibitors of tryptase were present. Tryptase (3 microg/ml) directly added to HDMEC caused a significant augmentation of capillary growth, which was suppressed by specific tryptase inhibitors. Tryptase also directly induced cell proliferation of HDMEC in a dose-dependent fashion (2 pM-2 nM). Our results suggest that mast cells act at sites of new vessel formation by secreting tryptase, which then functions as a potent and previously unrecognized angiogenic factor.
PMCID: PMC508115  PMID: 9169499
3.  Synovial procollagenase activation by human mast cell tryptase dependence upon matrix metalloproteinase 3 activation. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1989;84(5):1657-1662.
Mast cells have been implicated in the pathogenesis of the matrix degradation observed in the cartilaginous and osseous structures of the rheumatoid joint. We previously reported that human mast cell tryptase, a 134-kD granule-associated neutral protease, is present in rheumatoid synovium and can activate collagenase in crude culture medium in vitro. the present study attempts to depict the precise mechanism of this activation. To express full activation of latent collagenase, matrix metalloproteinase 3 (MMP-3) or stromelysin, can be activated by tryptase in a time and dose-dependent manner. Tryptase was not capable of generating active collagenase in the crude media from cultured rheumatoid synoviocytes depleted of proMMP-3 by immunoadsorption. In addition, the function of the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP) was not altered by tryptase, and SDS-PAGE analysis revealed no degradation of TIMP by tryptase. The tryptase dependent activation of synoviocyte procollagenase thereby appears to be entirely dependent upon its ability to activate proMMP-3.
PMCID: PMC304033  PMID: 2553780
4.  Anti-IgE autoantibodies in systemic sclerosis (scleroderma). 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1989;48(3):201-205.
An enzyme immunoassay was used to determine the prevalence of anti-IgE auto-antibodies in 66 patients with systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) stratified according to extent and duration of disease. Serum IgG anti-IgE antibodies were detected in 14 (21%) patients and IgM anti-IgE antibodies in nine (14%) patients. The overall prevalence of IgG or IgM isotypes was 21/66, (32%). Anti-IgE autoantibodies were not found in six patients with undifferentiated connective tissue disease or two patients with eosinophilic fasciitis. Attempts to demonstrate histamine release from basophils in vitro by using serum samples containing high titre anti-IgE antibody were unsuccessful. By multivariate analysis the presence of anti-IgE antibody was not associated with duration of systemic sclerosis; extent of scleroderma; specific visceral features, including heart, lung, renal, and gastrointestinal involvement; or mortality.
PMCID: PMC1003721  PMID: 2930275
5.  Preliminary observations on the role of magnetic resonance imaging for polymyositis and dermatomyositis. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1987;46(8):569-572.
The potential use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for inflammatory muscle disorders was evaluated in 13 patients with polymyositis and dermatomyositis. Abnormalities in signal intensity (p = 0.0076) and fat replacement (p = 0.0177) were identified and correlated significantly with clinical disease activity. In addition, MRI was useful in directing muscle biopsy of selected abnormal areas.
PMCID: PMC1002201  PMID: 3662649

Results 1-5 (5)