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1.  Association of Functional Polymorphisms in Interferon Regulatory Factor 2 (IRF2) with Susceptibility to Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A Case-Control Association Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109764.
Interferon regulatory factor 2 (IRF2) negatively regulates type I interferon (IFN) responses, while it plays a role in induction of Th1 differentiation. Previous linkage and association studies in European-American populations suggested genetic role of IRF2 in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); however, this observation has not yet been confirmed. No studies have been reported in the Asian populations. Here we investigated whether IRF2 polymorphisms contribute to susceptibility to SLE in a Japanese population. Association study of 46 IRF2 tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) detected association of an intronic SNP, rs13146124, with SLE. When the association was analyzed in 834 Japanese patients with SLE and 817 healthy controls, rs13146124 T was significantly increased in SLE compared with healthy controls (dominant model, P = 5.4×10−4, Bonferroni-corrected P [Pc] = 0.026, odds ratio [OR] 1.48, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.18–1.85). To find causal SNPs, resequencing was performed by next-generation sequencing. Twelve polymorphisms in linkage disequilibrium with rs13146124 (r2: 0.30–1.00) were identified, among which significant association was observed for rs66801661 (allele model, P = 7.7×10−4, Pc = 0.037, OR 1.53, 95%CI 1.19–1.96) and rs62339994 (dominant model, P = 9.0×10−4, Pc = 0.043, OR 1.46, 95%CI 1.17–1.82). The haplotype carrying both of the risk alleles (rs66801661A–rs62339994A) was significantly increased in SLE (P = 9.9×10−4), while the haplotype constituted by both of the non-risk alleles (rs66801661G–rs62339994G) was decreased (P = 0.0020). A reporter assay was carried out to examine the effect of the IRF2 haplotypes on the transcriptional activity, and association of the IRF2 risk haplotype with higher transcriptional activity was detected in Jurkat T cells under IFNγ stimulation (Tukey's test, P = 1.2×10−4). In conclusion, our observations supported the association of IRF2 with susceptibility to SLE, and the risk haplotype was suggested to be associated with transcriptional activation of IRF2.
PMCID: PMC4186848  PMID: 25285625
2.  Tocilizumab treatment safety in rheumatoid arthritis in a patient with multiple sclerosis: a case report 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7(1):641.
Multiple sclerosis is a relatively rare disease, and complications of multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis are much rarer. Since anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy increases exacerbations of multiple sclerosis, complications of demyelinating diseases contraindicate anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy. There have been few reports of anti-interleukin-6 receptor therapy for patients with rheumatoid arthritis complicated with multiple sclerosis.
Case presentation
A 53-year-old Japanese woman with multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis was admitted to our hospital because her rheumatoid arthritis was uncontrolled with oral methotrexate, tacrolimus, and prednisolone. She had developed multiple sclerosis when she was 25 years old and was treated with glucocorticoid therapy. Her multiple sclerosis was in remission for more than 9 years. Because anti-tumour necrosis factor therapy can exacerbate demyelinating disease, the anti-interleukin-6 receptor antibody tocilizumab was started at 8 mg/kg every 4 weeks. At the second administration of tocilizumab, complete remission was achieved. She has remained in remission with tocilizumab without recurrence of multiple sclerosis for more than 5 years.
Anti-interleukin-6 therapy was safely used in this patient with rheumatoid arthritis without exacerbations of multiple sclerosis.
PMCID: PMC4171561  PMID: 25216562
Rheumatoid arthritis; Multiple sclerosis; Tocilizumab; Interleukin-6; Tumour necrosis factor
3.  Protective Effect of the HLA-DRB1*13:02 Allele in Japanese Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99453.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic inflammatory disease. Certain HLA-DRB1 “shared-epitope” alleles are reported to be positively associated with increased RA susceptibility, whereas some of the other alleles may be negatively associated. However, studies on the latter are rare. Here, we focus on the protective effects of DRB1 alleles in Japanese RA patients in an association study. Relative predispositional effects (RPE) were analyzed by sequential elimination of carriers of each allele with the strongest association. The protective effects of DRB1 alleles were investigated in patients stratified according to whether they possessed anti-citrullinated peptide antibodies (ACPA). The DRB1*13:02 allele was found to be negatively associated with RA (P = 4.59×10−10, corrected P (Pc) = 1.42×10−8, odds ratio [OR] 0.42, 95% CI 0.32–0.55, P [RPE] = 1.27×10−6); the genotypes DRB1*04:05/*13:02 and *09:01/*13:02 were also negatively associated with RA. The protective effect of *13:02 was also present in ACPA-positive patients (P = 3.95×10−8, Pc = 1.22×10−6, OR 0.42, 95%CI 0.31–0.58) whereas *15:02 was negatively associated only with ACPA-negative RA (P = 8.87×10−5, Pc = 0.0026, OR 0.26, 95%CI 0.12–0.56). Thus, this study identified a negative association of DRB1*13:02 with Japanese RA; our findings support the protective role of DRB1*13:02 in the pathogenesis of ACPA-positive RA.
PMCID: PMC4049831  PMID: 24911054
4.  Affine Transform to Reform Pixel Coordinates of EOG Signals for Controlling Robot Manipulators Using Gaze Motions 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2014;14(6):10107-10123.
Biosignals will play an important role in building communication between machines and humans. One of the types of biosignals that is widely used in neuroscience are electrooculography (EOG) signals. An EOG has a linear relationship with eye movement displacement. Experiments were performed to construct a gaze motion tracking method indicated by robot manipulator movements. Three operators looked at 24 target points displayed on a monitor that was 40 cm in front of them. Two channels (Ch1 and Ch2) produced EOG signals for every single eye movement. These signals were converted to pixel units by using the linear relationship between EOG signals and gaze motion distances. The conversion outcomes were actual pixel locations. An affine transform method is proposed to determine the shift of actual pixels to target pixels. This method consisted of sequences of five geometry processes, which are translation-1, rotation, translation-2, shear and dilatation. The accuracy was approximately 0.86° ± 0.67° in the horizontal direction and 0.54° ± 0.34° in the vertical. This system successfully tracked the gaze motions not only in direction, but also in distance. Using this system, three operators could operate a robot manipulator to point at some targets. This result shows that the method is reliable in building communication between humans and machines using EOGs.
PMCID: PMC4118336  PMID: 24919013
EOG; gaze motions; affine transform; linear relationship; actual pixels; target pixels; robot manipulator
5.  Classification and characteristics of Japanese patients with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis in a nationwide, prospective, inception cohort study 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2014;16(2):R101.
We investigated the clinical and serological features of patients with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV) in Japan using data from a nationwide, prospective, inception cohort study.
In total, 156 Japanese patients with newly diagnosed AAV were classified according to the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) algorithm with exploratory surrogate markers for AAV-related non-granulomatous pulmonary lesions, predefined as alveolar haemorrhage and interstitial lung disease (ILD), and their clinical and serological features were evaluated.
Using the EMEA algorithm, we identified 14 patients (9.0%) with eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA), 33 (21.2%) with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), 78 (50.0%) with microscopic polyangiitis and renal-limited vasculitis (MPA/RLV), and 31 (19.9%) with unclassifiable vasculitis. The average ages of patients with EGPA (male/female, 5/9), GPA (12/21), and MPA/RLV (35/43) and unclassifiable (9/22) were 58.0, 63.6, 71.1, and 70.6 years, respectively. Myeloperoxidase (MPO)-ANCA and proteinase-3 ANCA positivity was 50.0% and 0% for EGPA, 54.6% and 45.5% for GPA, 97.4% and 2.6% for MPA/RLV, and 93.5% and 3.2% for unclassifiable, respectively. According to the Birmingham Vasculitis Activity Score (BVAS), cutaneous (71.4%) and nervous system (92.9%) manifestations were prominent in EGPA and ear, nose, and throat manifestations (84.9%) and chest manifestations (66.7%) in GPA. Renal manifestations developed frequently in MPA/RLV (91.0%) and GPA (63.6%). The average serum creatinine levels were 0.71 mg/dL for EGPA, 1.51 mg/dL for GPA, 2.46 mg/dL for MPA/RLV, and 0.69 mg/dL for unclassifiable. The percentages of patients with ILD were 14.3% for EGPA, 9.0% for GPA, 47.4% for MPA/RLV, and 61.3% for unclassifiable. Patients with ILD (n = 61) had significantly lower BVAS (P = 0.019) with fewer ear, nose, and throat and cardiovascular manifestations than patients without ILD (n = 95).
MPO-ANCA-positive MPA/RLV is the most common form of AAV in Japanese patients, and one-half of patients with GPA were positive for MPO-ANCA. ILD is an important clinical manifestation in Japanese patients with AAV. Unclassifiable vasculitis with MPO-ANCA positivity and ILD may represent a novel variant of MPA.
Trial Registration
The University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials Registry: UMIN000001648. Registered 28 February 2009.
PMCID: PMC4060546  PMID: 24758294
6.  Human Leukocyte Antigens and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A Protective Role for the HLA-DR6 Alleles DRB1*13:02 and *14:03 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87792.
Many studies on associations between human leukocyte antigen (HLA) allele frequencies and susceptibility to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have been performed. However, few protective associations with HLA-DRB1 alleles have been reported. Here, we sought protective, as well as predispositional, alleles of HLA-DRB1 in Japanese SLE patients. An association study was conducted for HLA-DRB1 in Japanese SLE patients. Relative predispositional effects were analyzed by sequential elimination of carriers of each allele with the strongest association. We also explored the association of DRB1 alleles with SLE phenotypes including the presence of autoantibody and clinical manifestations. Significantly different carrier frequencies of certain DRB1 alleles were found to be associated with SLE as follows: increased DRB1*15:01 (P = 5.48×10−10, corrected P (Pc) = 1.59×10−8, odds ratio [OR] 2.17, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.69–2.79), decreased DRB1*13:02 (P = 7.17×10−5, Pc = 0.0020, OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.34–0.63) and decreased DRB1*14:03 (P = 0.0010, Pc = 0.0272, OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.18–0.63). Additionally, the “*15:01/*13:02 or *14:03” genotype tended to be negatively associated with SLE (P = 0.4209, OR 0.66), despite there being significant positive associations with *15:01 when present together with alleles other than *13:02 or *14:03 (P = 1.79×10−11, OR 2.39, 95% CI 1.84–3.10). This protective effect of *13:02 and *14:03 was also confirmed in SLE patients with different clinical phenotypes. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of a protective association between the carrier frequencies of HLA-DRB1*13:02 and *14:03 and SLE in the Japanese population.
PMCID: PMC3912000  PMID: 24498373
7.  ATTED-II in 2014: Evaluation of Gene Coexpression in Agriculturally Important Plants 
Plant and Cell Physiology  2014;55(1):e6.
ATTED-II ( is a database of coexpressed genes that was originally developed to identify functionally related genes in Arabidopsis and rice. Herein, we describe an updated version of ATTED-II, which expands this resource to include additional agriculturally important plants. To improve the quality of the coexpression data for Arabidopsis and rice, we included more gene expression data from microarray and RNA sequencing studies. The RNA sequencing-based coexpression data now cover 94% of the Arabidopsis protein-encoding genes, representing a substantial increase from previously available microarray-based coexpression data (76% coverage). We also generated coexpression data for four dicots (soybean, poplar, grape and alfalfa) and one monocot (maize). As both the quantity and quality of expression data for the non-model species are generally poorer than for the model species, we verified coexpression data associated with these new species using multiple methods. First, the overall performance of the coexpression data was evaluated using gene ontology annotations and the coincidence of a genomic feature. Secondly, the reliability of each guide gene was determined by comparing coexpressed gene lists between platforms. With the expanded and newly evaluated coexpression data, ATTED-II represents an important resource for identifying functionally related genes in agriculturally important plants.
PMCID: PMC3894708  PMID: 24334350
Arabidopsis; Comparative transcriptomics; Database; Gene coexpression; Gene network; Non-model species
8.  Nicotine-Induced Expression of Low-Density Lipoprotein Receptor in Oral Epithelial Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82563.
Nicotine use is one of the most important risk factors for the development of cardiovascular and periodontal diseases. Numerous reports have suggested the possible contribution of disturbed lipid metabolism for the development of both disease groups. Despite these observations, little is known about the relationship between tobacco smoking and the development of these diseases. Our previous microarray data revealed that nicotine induced low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) expression in oral epithelial cells (OECs). The aim of the present study was to confirm nicotine-mediated LDLR induction and to elucidate the signaling mechanisms leading to the augmented expression of LDLR in OECs.
Methods and Results
LDLR and nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subunit expression was detected by real-time PCR. The production of LDLR was demonstrated by immunofluorescence staining. nAChR-mediated LDLR induction was examined by pre-incubation of the cells with its specific inhibitor, α-bungarotoxin (α-BTX). The functional importance of transcription factor specific protein 1 (Sp1) was examined by luciferase assay, mithramycin pre-incubation or by small interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection. The specific binding of Sp1 to R3 region of LDLR 5’-untranslated region was demonstrated with electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and streptavidin-agarose precipitation assay followed by western blotting. The results confirmed that nicotine induced LDLR expression at the transcriptional level. Nicotine was sensed by nAChR and the signal was transduced by Sp1 which bound to the R3 region of LDLR gene. Augmented production of LDLR in the gingival epithelial cells was further demonstrated by immunofluorescence staining using the gingival tissues obtained from the smoking patients.
Taken together, the results suggested that nicotine might contribute to the development of both cardiovascular and periodontal diseases by inducing the LDLR in OECs thereby disturbing lipid metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3864957  PMID: 24358207
9.  Diagnosis and management of insulinoma 
Insulinomas, the most common cause of hypoglycemia related to endogenous hyperinsulinism, occur in 1-4 people per million of the general population. Common autonomic symptoms of insulinoma include diaphroresis, tremor, and palpitations, whereas neuroglycopenenic symptoms include confusion, behavioural changes, personality changes, visual disturbances, seizure, and coma. Diagnosis of suspected cases is based on standard endocrine tests, especially the prolonged fasting test. Non-invasive imaging procedures, such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, are used when a diagnosis of insulinoma has been made to localize the source of pathological insulin secretion. Invasive modalities, such as endoscopic ultrasonography and arterial stimulation venous sampling, are highly accurate in the preoperative localization of insulinomas and have frequently been shown to be superior to non-invasive localization techniques. The range of techniques available for the localization of insulinomas means that blind resection can be avoided. Intraoperative manual palpation of the pancreas by an experienced surgeon and intraoperative ultrasonography are both sensitive methods with which to finalize the location of insulinomas. A high proportion of patients with insulinomas can be cured with surgery. In patients with malignant insulinomas, an aggressive medical approach, including extended pancreatic resection, liver resection, liver transplantation, chemoembolization, or radiofrequency ablation, is recommended to improve both survival and quality of life. In patients with unresectable or uncontrollable insulinomas, such as malignant insulinoma of the pancreas, several techniques should be considered, including administration of ocreotide and/or continuous glucose monitoring, to prevent hypoglycemic episodes and to improve quality of life.
PMCID: PMC3574879  PMID: 23430217
Pancreas; Insulinoma; Neuroendocrine pancreatic tumor; Diagnosis; Management; Continuous blood glucose monitoring
10.  COXPRESdb: a database of comparative gene coexpression networks of eleven species for mammals 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;41(Database issue):D1014-D1020.
Coexpressed gene databases are valuable resources for identifying new gene functions or functional modules in metabolic pathways and signaling pathways. Although coexpressed gene databases are a fundamental platform in the field of plant biology, their use in animal studies is relatively limited. The COXPRESdb ( provides coexpression relationships for multiple animal species, as comparisons of coexpressed gene lists can enhance the reliability of gene coexpression determinations. Here, we report the updates of the database, mainly focusing on the following two points. First, we updated our coexpression data by including recent microarray data for the previous seven species (human, mouse, rat, chicken, fly, zebrafish and nematode) and adding four new species (monkey, dog, budding yeast and fission yeast), along with a new human microarray platform. A reliability scoring function was also implemented, based on coexpression conservation to filter out coexpression with low reliability. Second, the network drawing function was updated, to implement automatic cluster analyses with enrichment analyses in Gene Ontology and in cis elements, along with interactive network analyses with Cytoscape Web. With these updates, COXPRESdb will become a more powerful tool for analyses of functional and regulatory networks of genes in a variety of animal species.
PMCID: PMC3531062  PMID: 23203868
11.  Successful Control of Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation by Recombinant Thrombomodulin during Arsenic Trioxide Treatment in Relapsed Patient with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia 
Case Reports in Hematology  2012;2012:908196.
Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) frequently occurs in patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). With the induction of therapy in APL using all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), DIC can be controlled in most cases as ATRA usually shows immediate improvement of the APL. However, arsenic trioxide (ATO) which has been used for the treatment of relapse in APL patients has shown to take time to suppress APL cells, therefore the control of DIC in APL with ATO treatment is a major problem. Recently, the recombinant soluble thrombomodulin fragment has received a lot of attention as the novel drug for the treatment of DIC with high efficacy. Here, we present a relapsed patient with APL in whom DIC was successfully and safely controlled by rTM during treatment with ATO.
PMCID: PMC3447328  PMID: 23008787
12.  A Genome-Wide Association Study Identified AFF1 as a Susceptibility Locus for Systemic Lupus Eyrthematosus in Japanese 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(1):e1002455.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that causes multiple organ damage. Although recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have contributed to discovery of SLE susceptibility genes, few studies has been performed in Asian populations. Here, we report a GWAS for SLE examining 891 SLE cases and 3,384 controls and multi-stage replication studies examining 1,387 SLE cases and 28,564 controls in Japanese subjects. Considering that expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) have been implicated in genetic risks for autoimmune diseases, we integrated an eQTL study into the results of the GWAS. We observed enrichments of cis-eQTL positive loci among the known SLE susceptibility loci (30.8%) compared to the genome-wide SNPs (6.9%). In addition, we identified a novel association of a variant in the AF4/FMR2 family, member 1 (AFF1) gene at 4q21 with SLE susceptibility (rs340630; P = 8.3×10−9, odds ratio = 1.21). The risk A allele of rs340630 demonstrated a cis-eQTL effect on the AFF1 transcript with enhanced expression levels (P<0.05). As AFF1 transcripts were prominently expressed in CD4+ and CD19+ peripheral blood lymphocytes, up-regulation of AFF1 may cause the abnormality in these lymphocytes, leading to disease onset.
Author Summary
Although recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) approaches have successfully contributed to disease gene discovery, many susceptibility loci are known to be still uncaptured due to strict significance threshold for multiple hypothesis testing. Therefore, prioritization of GWAS results by incorporating additional information is recommended. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that causes multiple organ damage. Considering that abnormalities in B cell activity play essential roles in SLE, prioritization based on an expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) study for B cells would be a promising approach. In this study, we report a GWAS and multi-stage replication studies for SLE examining 2,278 SLE cases and 31,948 controls in Japanese subjects. We integrated eQTL study into the results of the GWAS and identified AFF1 as a novel SLE susceptibility loci. We also confirmed cis-regulatory effect of the locus on the AFF1 transcript. Our study would be one of the initial successes for detecting novel genetic locus using the eQTL study, and it should contribute to our understanding of the genetic loci being uncaptured by standard GWAS approaches.
PMCID: PMC3266877  PMID: 22291604
13.  TLR7 single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the 3' untranslated region and intron 2 independently contribute to systemic lupus erythematosus in Japanese women: a case-control association study 
The Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) gene, encoded on human chromosome Xp22.3, is crucial for type I interferon production. A recent multicenter study in East Asian populations, comprising Chinese, Korean and Japanese participants, identified an association of a TLR7 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) located in the 3' untranslated region (3' UTR), rs3853839, with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), especially in males, although some difference was observed among the tested populations. To test whether additional polymorphisms contribute to SLE in Japanese, we systematically analyzed the association of TLR7 with SLE in a Japanese female population.
A case-control association study was conducted on eight tag SNPs in the TLR7 region, including rs3853839, in 344 Japanese females with SLE and 274 healthy female controls.
In addition to rs3853839, two SNPs in intron 2, rs179019 and rs179010, which were in moderate linkage disequilibrium with each other (r2 = 0.53), showed an association with SLE (rs179019: P = 0.016, odds ratio (OR) 2.02, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.15 to 3.54; rs179010: P = 0.018, OR 1.75, 95% CI 1.10 to 2.80 (both under the recessive model)). Conditional logistic regression analysis revealed that the association of the intronic SNPs and the 3' UTR SNP remained significant after we adjusted them for each other. When only the patients and controls carrying the risk genotypes at the 3' UTR SNPpositionwere analyzed, the risk of SLE was significantly increased when the individuals also carried the risk genotypes at both of the intronic SNPs (P = 0.0043, OR 2.45, 95% CI 1.31 to 4.60). Furthermore, the haplotype containing the intronic risk alleles in addition to the 3' UTR risk allele was associated with SLE under the recessive model (P = 0.016, OR 2.37, 95% CI 1.17 to 4.80), but other haplotypes were not associated with SLE.
The TLR7 intronic SNPs rs179019 and rs179010 are associated with SLE independently of the 3' UTR SNP rs3853839 in Japanese women. Our findings support a role of TLR7 in predisposition for SLE in Asian populations.
PMCID: PMC3132023  PMID: 21396113
14.  Association of TNFAIP3 interacting protein 1, TNIP1 with systemic lupus erythematosus in a Japanese population: a case-control association study 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(5):R174.
TNFAIP3 interacting protein 1, TNIP1 (ABIN-1) is involved in inhibition of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation by interacting with TNF alpha-induced protein 3, A20 (TNFAIP3), an established susceptibility gene to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Recent genome-wide association studies revealed association of TNIP1 with SLE in the Caucasian and Chinese populations. In this study, we investigated whether the association of TNIP1 with SLE was replicated in a Japanese population. In addition, association of TNIP1 with RA was also examined.
A case-control association study was conducted on the TNIP1 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs7708392 in 364 Japanese SLE patients, 553 RA patients and 513 healthy controls.
Association of TNIP1 rs7708392C was replicated in Japanese SLE (allele frequency in SLE: 76.5%, control: 69.9%, P = 0.0022, odds ratio [OR] 1.40, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.13-1.74). Notably, the risk allele frequency in the healthy controls was considerably greater in Japanese (69.9%) than in Caucasians (24.3%). A tendency of stronger association was observed in the SLE patients with renal disorder (P = 0.00065, OR 1.60 [95%CI 1.22-2.10]) than in all SLE patients (P = 0.0022, OR 1.40 [95%CI 1.13-1.74]). Significant association with RA was not observed, regardless of the carriage of human leukocyte antigen DR β1 (HLA-DRB1) shared epitope. Significant gene-gene interaction between TNIP1 and TNFAIP3 was detected neither in SLE nor RA.
Association of TNIP1 with SLE was confirmed in a Japanese population. TNIP1 is a shared SLE susceptibility gene in the Caucasian and Asian populations, but the genetic contribution appeared to be greater in the Japanese and Chinese populations because of the higher risk allele frequency. Taken together with the association of TNFAIP3, these observations underscore the crucial role of NF-κB regulation in the pathogenesis of SLE.
PMCID: PMC2991001  PMID: 20849588
16.  Association of TNFAIP3 Polymorphism with Susceptibility to Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in a Japanese Population 
Recent genome-wide association studies demonstrated association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TNFAIP3 region at 6q23 with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in European-American populations. In this study, we investigated whether SNPs in the TNFAIP3 region are associated with SLE also in a Japanese population. A case-control association study was performed on the SNPs rs13192841, rs2230926, and rs6922466 in 318 Japanese SLE patients and 444 healthy controls. Association of rs2230926 G allele with SLE was replicated in Japanese (allelic association P = .033, odds ratio [OR] 1.47, recessive model P = .023, OR 8.52). The association was preferentially observed in the SLE patients with nephritis. When the TNFAIP3 mRNA levels of the HapMap samples were examined using GENEVAR database, the presence of TNFAIP3 rs2230926 G allele was associated with lower mRNA expression of TNFAIP3 (P = .013). These results indicated that TNFAIP3 is a susceptibility gene to SLE both in the Caucasian and Asian populations.
PMCID: PMC2896654  PMID: 20617138
17.  Significance of antiprothrombin antibodies in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: clinical evaluation of the antiprothrombin assay and the antiphosphatidylserine/prothrombin assay, and comparison with other antiphospholipid antibody assays 
Modern Rheumatology  2006;16(3):158-164.
Antibodies against prothrombin are detected by enzyme immunoassays (EIA) in sera of patients with antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). However, there are two methods for antiprothrombin EIA; one that uses high binding plates (aPT-A), and another that utilizes phosphatidylserine bound plates (aPS/PT). We aimed to evaluate and compare aPT-A and aPS/PT in a clinical setting. We performed EIA for anti-PT, anti-PS/PT, IgG, and IgM anticardiolipin antibodies (aCL), and IgG β2-glycoprotein I-dependent aCL (aβ2GPI/CL) with serum samples from 139 systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients (16 with history of at least one thrombotic episode) and 148 controls. We observed that: (1) although titers of anti-PT and anti-PS/PT were significantly related with each other (P < 0.0001, ρ = 0.548), titer of anti-PT and anti-PS/PT differed greatly in some samples; (2) odds ratio and 95% confidence interval for each assay was 3.556 (1.221–10.355) for aPT-A, 4.591 (1.555–15.560) for aPS/PT, 4.204 (1.250–14.148) for IgG aCL, 1.809 (0.354–9.232) for IgM aCL, and 7.246 (2.391–21.966) for aβ2GPI/CL. We conclude that, while all EIA performed in this study except IgM aCL are of potential value in assessing the risk of thrombosis, aPS/PT and aβ2GPI/CL seemed to be highly valuable in clinical practice, and that autoantibodies detected by anti-PT and anti-PS/PT are not completely identical.
PMCID: PMC2778700  PMID: 16767554
Antiphospholipid syndrome; Antiprothrombin antibody; Enzyme immunoassay; Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
18.  Altered peptide ligands inhibit arthritis induced by glucose-6-phosphate isomerase peptide 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2009;11(6):R167.
Immunosuppressants, including anti-TNFα antibodies, have remarkable effects in rheumatoid arthritis; however, they increase infectious events. The present study was designed to examine the effects and immunological change of action of altered peptide ligands (APLs) on glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (GPI) peptide-induced arthritis.
DBA/1 mice were immunized with hGPI325-339, and cells of draining lymph node (DLN) were stimulated with hGPI325-339 to investigate the T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire of antigen-specific CD4+ T cells by flow cytometry. Twenty types of APLs with one amino acid substitution at a TCR contact site of hGPI325-339 were synthesized. CD4+ T cells primed with human GPI and antigen-presenting cells were co-cultured with each APL and cytokine production was measured by ELISA to identify antagonistic APLs. Antagonistic APLs were co-immunized with hGPI325-339 to investigate whether arthritis could be antigen-specifically inhibited by APL. After co-immunization, DLN cells were stimulated with hGPI325-339 or APL to investigate Th17 and regulatory T-cell population by flow cytometry, and anti-mouse GPI antibodies were measured by ELISA.
Human GPI325-339-specific Th17 cells showed predominant usage of TCRVβ8.1 8.2. Among the 20 synthesized APLs, four (APL 6; N329S, APL 7; N329T, APL 12; G332A, APL 13; G332V) significantly reduced IL-17 production by CD4+ T cells in the presence of hGPI325-339. Co-immunization with each antagonistic APL markedly prevented the development of arthritis, especially APL 13 (G332V). Although co-immunization with APL did not affect the population of Th17 and regulatory T cells, the titers of anti-mouse GPI antibodies in mice co-immunized with APL were significantly lower than in those without APL.
We prepared antagonistic APLs that antigen-specifically inhibited the development of experimental arthritis. Understanding the inhibitory mechanisms of APLs may pave the way for the development of novel therapies for arthritis induced by autoimmune responses to ubiquitous antigens.
PMCID: PMC3003534  PMID: 19900268
19.  Tumor necrosis factor α-induced adipose-related protein expression in experimental arthritis and in rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2009;11(4):R118.
Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) plays a pivotal role in rheumatoid arthritis (RA); however, the mechanism of action of TNFα antagonists in RA is poorly defined. Immunization of DBA/1 mice with glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (GPI) induces severe acute arthritis. This arthritis can be controlled by TNFα antagonists, suggesting similar etiology to RA. In this study, we explored TNFα-related mechanisms of arthritis.
First, we performed GeneChip analysis using splenocytes of mice with GPI-induced arthritis. Expression of TNFα-induced adipose-related protein (TIARP) mRNA and protein in spleens, joints and lymph nodes was evaluated, and fluctuation of TIARP mRNA was analyzed after administration of anti-TNFα monoclonal antibody (mAb). Localization of TIARP in spleen and joints was also explored. Six-transmembrane epithelial antigen of the prostate (STEAP) families of proteins, the human ortholog of TIARP gene, were also evaluated in human peripheral blood mononucleocytes and synovium.
Among the arrayed TNFα-related genes, the expression of TIARP mRNA was the highest (more than 20 times the control). TIARP mRNA was detected specifically in joints and spleens of arthritic mice, and their levels in the synovia correlated with severity of joint swelling. Treatment with anti-TNF mAb significantly reduced TIARP mRNA expression in splenocytes. Among the splenocytes, CD11b+ cells were the main source of TIARP mRNA. Immunohistochemistry showed that TIARP protein was mainly localized in hyperplastic synovium. Among the STEAP family of proteins, STEAP4 was highly upregulated in joints of patients with RA and especially co-localized with CD68+ macrophages.
The results shed light on the new mechanism of action of TNFα antagonists in autoimmune arthritis, suggesting that TIARP plays an important role in inflammatory arthritis, through the regulation of inflammatory cytokines.
PMCID: PMC2745801  PMID: 19660107
20.  A new low-field extremity magnetic resonance imaging and proposed compact MRI score: evaluation of anti-tumor necrosis factor biologics on rheumatoid arthritis 
Modern Rheumatology  2009;19(4):358-365.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a useful tool for evaluating disease activity and therapeutic efficacy in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, conventional whole-body MRI is inconvenient on several levels. We have therefore developed a new low-field extremity MRI (compact MRI, cMRI) and examined its clinical utility. Thirteen RA patients treated with anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) biologics were included in the study. The MRI was performed twice using a 0.21-T extremity MRI system. The MRI images were scored using our proposed cMRI scoring system, which we devised with reference to the Outcome Measures in Rheumatology Clinical Trials RA MRI score (OMERACT RAMRIS). In our cMRI scoring system, synovitis, bone edema, and bone erosion are separately graded on a scale from 0 to 3 by imaging over the whole hand, including the proximal interphalangeal joint. The total cMRI score (cMRIS) is then obtained by calculating the total bone erosion score × 1.5 + total bone edema score × 1.25 + total synovitis score. In this study, one patient showed a progression of bone destruction even under low clinical activity, as assessed by the disease activity score on 28 joints (DAS28); however, another patient’s cMRIS decreased concurrently with the decrease in DAS28, with the positive correlation observed between ΔDAS28 and ΔcMRIS (R = 0.055, P < 0.05). We conclude that cMRI and cMRIS are useful for assessing total disease activity and as a method linking MRI image evaluation to clinical evaluation.
PMCID: PMC2720580  PMID: 19370385
Anti-TNF biologics; Bone edema; Bone erosion; Low-field extremity MRI; MRI scoring system; Rheumatoid arthritis
21.  Efficacy of mizoribine pulse therapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis who show a reduced or insufficient response to infliximab 
Modern Rheumatology  2009;19(3):229-234.
The efficacy of infliximab, a chimeric antibody against tumor necrosis factor-α used to treat patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), tends to decrease as patients develop human antichimeric antibody against infliximab (HACA). The clinical study reported here was designed to evaluate the efficacy of mizoribine (MZR) pulse therapy in patients who show a reduced or insufficient response to infliximab. Ten RA patients who had active arthritis despite infliximab therapy were treated with MZR pulse therapy at a dose of 100 mg MZR and methotrexate (MTX) and the disease activity assessed at baseline and at weeks 4–8, 12–16, and 20–24. The dose was increased to 150 mg in those patients who showed an insufficient response to MZR. The mean 28-joint disease activity score (DAS28) at weeks 12–16 and 20–24 of therapy was significantly lower than that at baseline. A moderate or good European League against Rheumatism (EULAR) response was achieved in seven patients (70%) at weeks 12–16 and in five patients (50%) at weeks 20–24. The dose of 150 mg MZR was effective in one of the three patients who showed an insufficient response to pulse therapy with 100 mg MZR. Based on these results, we propose that MZR pulse therapy should be attempted before the patient is switched to other biologics.
PMCID: PMC2689357  PMID: 19326186
Infliximab; Mizoribine; Rheumatoid arthritis
22.  Arthritogenic T cell epitope in glucose-6-phosphate isomerase-induced arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2008;10(6):R130.
Arthritis induced by immunisation with glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (GPI) in DBA/1 mice was proven to be T helper (Th) 17 dependent. We undertook this study to identify GPI-specific T cell epitopes in DBA/1 mice (H-2q) and investigate the mechanisms of arthritis generation.
For epitope mapping, the binding motif of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II (I-Aq) from DBA/1 mice was identified from the amino acid sequence of T cell epitopes and candidate peptides of T cell epitopes in GPI-induced arthritis were synthesised. Human GPI-primed CD4+ T cells and antigen-presenting cells (APCs) were co-cultured with each synthetic peptide and the cytokine production was measured by ELISA to identify the major epitopes. Synthetic peptides were immunised in DBA/1 mice to investigate whether arthritis could be induced by peptides. After immunisation with the major epitope, anti-interleukin (IL) 17 monoclonal antibody (mAb) was injected to monitor arthritis score. To investigate the mechanisms of arthritis induced by a major epitope, cross-reactivity to mouse GPI peptide was analysed by flow cytometry and anti-GPI antibodies were measured by ELISA. Deposition of anti-GPI antibodies on the cartilage surface was detected by immunohistology.
We selected 32 types of peptides as core sequences from the human GPI 558 amino acid sequence, which binds the binding motif, and synthesised 25 kinds of 20-mer peptides for screening, each containing the core sequence at its centre. By epitope mapping, human GPI325–339 was found to induce interferon (IFN) γ and IL-17 production most prominently. Immunisation with human GPI325–339 could induce polyarthritis similar to arthritis induced by human GPI protein, and administration of anti-IL-17 mAb significantly ameliorated arthritis (p < 0.01). Th17 cells primed with human GPI325–339 cross-reacted with mouse GPI325–339, and led B cells to produce anti-mouse GPI antibodies, which were deposited on cartilage surface.
Human GPI325–339 was identified as a major epitope in GPI-induced arthritis, and proved to have the potential to induce polyarthritis. Understanding the pathological mechanism of arthritis induced by an immune reaction to a single short peptide could help elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms of autoimmune arthritis.
PMCID: PMC2656230  PMID: 18992137
23.  Role of STAT4 polymorphisms in systemic lupus erythematosus in a Japanese population: a case-control association study of the STAT1-STAT4 region 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2008;10(5):R113.
Recent studies identified STAT4 (signal transducers and activators of transcription-4) as a susceptibility gene for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). STAT1 is encoded adjacently to STAT4 on 2q32.2-q32.3, upregulated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from SLE patients, and functionally relevant to SLE. This study was conducted to test whether STAT4 is associated with SLE in a Japanese population also, to identify the risk haplotype, and to examine the potential genetic contribution of STAT1. To accomplish these aims, we carried out a comprehensive association analysis of 52 tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) encompassing the STAT1-STAT4 region.
In the first screening, 52 tag SNPs were selected based on HapMap Phase II JPT (Japanese in Tokyo, Japan) data, and case-control association analysis was carried out on 105 Japanese female patients with SLE and 102 female controls. For associated SNPs, additional cases and controls were genotyped and association was analyzed using 308 SLE patients and 306 controls. Estimation of haplotype frequencies and an association study using the permutation test were performed with Haploview version 4.0 software. Population attributable risk percentage was estimated to compare the epidemiological significance of the risk genotype among populations.
In the first screening, rs7574865, rs11889341, and rs10168266 in STAT4 were most significantly associated (P < 0.01). Significant association was not observed for STAT1. Subsequent association studies of the three SNPs using 308 SLE patients and 306 controls confirmed a strong association of the rs7574865T allele (SLE patients: 46.3%, controls: 33.5%, P = 4.9 × 10-6, odds ratio 1.71) as well as TTT haplotype (rs10168266/rs11889341/rs7574865) (P = 1.5 × 10-6). The association was stronger in subgroups of SLE with nephritis and anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies. Population attributable risk percentage was estimated to be higher in the Japanese population (40.2%) than in Americans of European descent (19.5%).
The same STAT4 risk allele is associated with SLE in Caucasian and Japanese populations. Evidence for a role of STAT1 in genetic susceptibility to SLE was not detected. The contribution of STAT4 for the genetic background of SLE may be greater in the Japanese population than in Americans of European descent.
PMCID: PMC2592800  PMID: 18803832
24.  Therapeutic effects of antibodies to tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-6 and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 immunoglobulin in mice with glucose-6-phosphate isomerase induced arthritis 
Immunization with glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (GPI) induces severe arthritis in DBA/1 mice. The present study was designed to identify the cytokines and co-stimulatory molecules involved in the development of GPI-induced arthritis.
Arthritis was induced in DBA/1 mice with 300 μg human recombinant GPI. CD4+ T cells and antigen-presenting cells from splenocytes of arthritic mice were cultured in the presence of GPI. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, and IL-12 levels were assessed using cytometric bead array. Monoclonal antibodies to TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-12, CD40L, inducible co-stimulator (ICOS), and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 immunoglobulin (CTLA-4Ig) were used to block TNF-α and IFN-γ production, examine clinical index in mice with GPI-induced arthritis, and determine anti-GPI antibody production.
Large amounts of TNF-α and IFN-γ and small amounts of IL-2 and IL-6 were produced by splenocytes from mice with GPI-induced arthritis. Anti-TNF-α mAbs and CTLA-4Ig suppressed TNF-α production, whereas anti-IFN-γ mAbs, anti-IL-12 mAbs, and CTLA-4 Ig inhibited IFN-γ production. A single injection of anti-TNF-α and anti-IL-6 mAbs and two injections of CTLA-4Ig reduced the severity of arthritis in mice, whereas injections of anti-IFN-γ and anti-IL-12 mAbs tended to exacerbate arthritis. Therapeutic efficacy tended to correlate with reduction in anti-GPI antibodies.
TNF-α and IL-6 play an important role in GPI-induced arthritis, whereas IFN-γ appears to function as a regulator of arthritis. Because the therapeutic effects of the tested molecules used in this study are similar to those in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, GPI-induced arthritis appears to be a suitable tool with which to examine the effect of various therapies on rheumatoid arthritis.
PMCID: PMC2483457  PMID: 18534002
25.  Nuclear localization of beta-catenin involved in precancerous change in oral leukoplakia 
Molecular Cancer  2007;6:62.
Oral leukoplakia is a precancerous change developed in the oral mucosa, and the mechanism that oral leukoplakia becomes malignant through atypical epithelium is not known. Here we compared the β-catenin expression detected by immunohistochemical staining in the normal oral epithelium and in the oral leukoplakia with or without dysplasia.
The normal oral epithelium showed β-catenin expression only in the cell membrane, but not in the nuclei. In the oral leukoplakia without dysplasia, 7 out of 17 samples (41%) showed β-catenin expression in the cell membrane, and 5 samples (29%) showed expression in the nuclei. In the oral leukoplakia with dysplasia, nuclear expression of β-catenin was shown in 11 out of 12 samples (92%). Incidence of nuclear β-catenin expression was significantly different between dysplasia and normal oral epithelium (P < 0.01), and also between oral leukoplakia with dysplasia and those without dysplasia (P < 0.01). Wnt3 expression was detected in the epithelial cell membrane or cytoplasm in oral leukoplakia where nuclear expression of β-catenin was evident, but not in epithelial cells without nuclear expression of β-catenin.
The components of canonical Wnt pathway, such as Wnt3, β-catenin, and cyclin D1, were detected, implying that this pathway is potentially involved in the progression of dysplasia in oral leukoplakia.
PMCID: PMC2140063  PMID: 17922924

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