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1.  Resting energy expenditure is not associated with disease activity in women with rheumatoid arthritis: cross-sectional study 
Increased resting energy expenditure (REE) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients is thought to be caused by hypermetabolism associated with production of proinflammatory cytokines. Our aim in the present study was to explore the possible association between REE and disease activity in females with RA.
A total of 499 female RA patients were recruited to this cross-sectional study assessing REE scores on disease activity indices (the routine assessment of patient index data 3 [RAPID3], the disease activity score 28, and the clinical/simplified disease activity index [CDAI/SDAI]) and the levels of RA-associated autoantibodies (rheumatoid factor and anticyclic citrullinated peptide [anti-CCP] antibodies). Age-matched healthy female controls (n = 131) were also enrolled.
REE did not differ between RA patients (all patients, and those in remission or not) and controls, or between RA patients in remission or not (p > 0.05 for all comparisons). Increased REE in total RA patients was associated with younger age and a higher body mass index (BMI) (p < 0.001 and p < 0.001, respectively), but not with disease activity index scores on any of RAPID3, CDAI, or SDAI. BMI was the only clinical parameter exhibiting a significant relationship with REE quartiles (Q1 to Q4; p < 0.001); none of disease duration, functional status, or anti-CCP antibody titer in RA patients was significantly related to REE, based on analysis of covariance.
We found no association between REE and disease activity in RA patients, implying that energy metabolism in RA patients might be independent of RA-associated systemic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4101599  PMID: 25045300
Arthritis, rheumatoid; Resting energy expenditure; Disease activity index
2.  A Case of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Presenting as Malignant Hypertension with Hypertensive Retinopathy 
The variability of cardiovascular abnormalities is one of the characteristics of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Among the cardiovascular manifestations, hypertension is reported in 14% to 58.1% of patients in diverse ethnic populations, and remains a clinically important issue due to its close relationship with early mortality in patients with SLE. The development of hypertension in patients with SLE has been associated with advanced lupus-related renal disease and the medications used for the treatment of lupus. Malignant hypertension is a serious complication of hypertension; it rarely occurs in patients with SLE. However, it can occur in patients with other complicated medical conditions such as the antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS) or cardiac tamponade. Here, we report the case of a patient with SLE and malignant hypertension with hypertensive retinopathy that initially presented without clinical evidence of APS or hypertensive nephropathy.
PMCID: PMC2932950  PMID: 20830234
Lupus erythematosus, systemic; Hypertension, malignant
3.  Serum Cystatin C is a Potential Endogenous Marker for the Estimation of Renal Function in Male Gout Patients with Renal Impairment 
Serum creatinine level is the most commonly used indices for assessment of glomerular filtration rate (GFR), even though these indices have been shown to have some limitations in clinical practice. We investigated the diagnostic efficacy of serum cystatin C compared to that of serum creatinine levels and identified the relating factors associated with changes in serum cystatin C levels in gout patients with renal impairment. A total of 68 gouty patients with renal impairment were enrolled in this study. Diagnostic efficacy of serum cystatin C levels was evaluated through non-parametric receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. The risk factors for changes in serum cystatin C levels were confirmed using multivariate regression analysis. With 24-hr urine creatinine clearance (Ccr) as the reference for GFR, 1/cystatin C (r=0.702, P<0.001) showed a significantly higher correlation with Ccr than 1/creatinine (r=0.665, P<0.001). Multivariate correlation analysis demonstrated that the clinical parameters for increased serum cystatin C are a higher stage of chronic kidney disease, older age, use of allopurinol, and lower high density lipoprotein-cholesterol. The area under the curve (AUC) at ROC plots identified that of serum cystatin C was significantly greater than that of serum creatinine (AUC 0.804 of cystatin C and AUC 0.745 of creatinine). The study suggests that serum cystatin C is a reliable endogenous marker for the assessment of renal function or GFR in gout patients with renal impairment.
PMCID: PMC2800003  PMID: 20052346
Cystatin C; Gout; Creatinine; Kidney Failure; Glomerular Filtration Rate
4.  Successful Etanercept Therapy for Refractory Sacroiliitis in a Patient with Ankylosing Spondylitis and Mixed Connective Tissue Disease 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2008;49(1):159-162.
The concurrence of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in a patient with mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) is rarely described in the literature. Significant and sustained efficacy with tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α blockers has been demonstrated in AS patients. However, evidence to date has revealed associated side effects, including antinuclear antibody induction and development of a lupus-like syndrome. Several authors have reported lupus-like manifestations in MCTD patients treated with TNF-α blockers used to control peripheral polyarthritis. In our case report, we demonstrate a good response to etanercept therapy for refractory sacroiliitis in a patient with coexisting AS and MCTD, without development of a lupus-like syndrome. This demonstrates that etanercept therapy may be an appropriate therapeutic agent for sacroiliitis in MCTD patients, as it is in AS alone.
PMCID: PMC2615276  PMID: 18306484
Ankylosing spondylitis; mixed connective tissue disease; etanercept
5.  Intima-media Thickness and Arterial Stiffness of Carotid Artery in Korean Patients with Behçet's Disease 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2007;22(3):387-392.
Behçet's disease (BD) is a systemic vasculitis involving diverse sizes of arteries and veins. We performed this study to evaluate the vascular changes by assessment of the arterial stiffness and intima-media thickness (IMT) of carotid artery in Korean patients with BD. Forty-one patients with BD and age-, and sex-matched 53 healthy subjects were recruited in this study. Carotid arterial stiffness and IMT were assessed by using high-resolution B-mode ultrasonography. Arterial stiffness parameters such as carotid arterial distensibility coefficient, stiffness index, and incremental elastic modulus (Einc) were significantly increased in BD patients compared with those in healthy subjects, but not in IMT. Positive relationship was noted between age and IMT, whereas age of onset was significantly associated with arterial stiffness in BD. This finding suggests impaired endothelial function before visible structural changes of arterial wall in BD. Age and age of onset may be an independent risk factor for carotid IMT and arterial stiffness, respectively. Further studies in more large populations are required to confirm our results.
PMCID: PMC2693626  PMID: 17596642
Arterial Stiffness; Intima-media Thickness; Carotid Artery; Behçet's Disease
6.  Concurrence of Sjögren's Syndrome in a Patient with Chlamydia-induced Reactive Arthritis; An Unusual Finding 
A 40-year-old Korean man presented with painful swelling and tenderness of both ankle joints as well as the plantar surfaces of both feet, along with inflammatory back pain, and a purulent discharge from the urethral orifice. The patient also complained of sicca-like symptoms including dry eyes and dry mouth. An immunological analysis revealed a high titer of rheumatoid factor, positive results for antinuclear antibody and anti-Ro antibody, and a positive result for HLA-B27. An antibody titer for Chlamydia was also significantly increased. Positive results of the Schirmer's test and for keratoconjunctivitis sicca were confirmed by an ophthalmologist. These clinical manifestations were compatible with Chlamydia-induced reactive arthritis (ReA) accompanied by Sjögren's syndrome (SS). This is the first report of the combination of these two distinct disease entities in the Korean population.
PMCID: PMC3890733  PMID: 16913441
Reactive arthritis; Sjögren's syndrome
7.  Gyejigachulbu-Tang Relieves Oxaliplatin-Induced Neuropathic Cold and Mechanical Hypersensitivity in Rats via the Suppression of Spinal Glial Activation 
Activation of spinal glial cells plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of neuropathic pain. An administration of oxaliplatin, an important anticancer drug, often induces acute neuropathic cold hypersensitivity and/or mechanical hypersensitivity in patients. Gyejigachulbu-tang (GBT), a herbal formula comprising Cinnamomi Cortex, Paeoniae Radix, Atractylodis Lanceae Rhizoma, Zizyphi Fructus, Glycyrrhizae Radix, Zingiberis Rhizoma, and Aconiti Tuber, has been used in East Asia to treat various pain symptoms, especially in cold patients. This study investigated whether and how GBT alleviates oxaliplatin-induced cold and mechanical hypersensitivity in rats. The behavioral signs of cold and mechanical hypersensitivity were evaluated by a tail immersion test in cold water (4°C) and a von Frey hair test, respectively. The significant cold and mechanical hypersensitivity were observed 3 days after an oxaliplatin injection (6 mg/kg, i.p.). Daily oral administration of GBT (200, 400, and 600 mg/kg) for 5 days markedly attenuated cold and mechanical hypersensitivity. Immunoreactivities of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP, astrocyte marker) and OX-42 (microglia marker) in the spinal dorsal horn were significantly increased by an oxaliplatin injection, which were restored by GBT administration. These results indicate that GBT relieves oxaliplatin-induced cold and mechanical hypersensitivity in rats possibly through the suppression of spinal glial activation.
PMCID: PMC4251814  PMID: 25505922
8.  Hypermethylation of EBF3 and IRX1 Genes in Synovial Fibroblasts of Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Molecules and Cells  2013;35(4):298-304.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disease of unknown origin, which exhibits a complex heterogeneity in its pathophysiological background, resulting in differential responses to a range of therapies and poor long-term prognosis. RA synovial fibroblasts (RASFs) are key player cells in RA pathogenesis. Identification of DNA methylation biomarkers is a field that provides potential for improving the process of diagnosis and prognosis of various human diseases. We utilized a genome-wide technique, methylated DNA isolation assay (MeDIA), in combination with a high resolution CpG microarray for discovery of novel hypermethylated genes in RASFs. Thirteen genes (APEX1, EBF3, EGR2, EN1, IRX1, IRX6, KIF12, LHX2, MIPOL1, SGTA, SIN3A, TOLLIP, and ZHX2) with three consecutive hypermethylated probes were isolated as candidate genes through two CpG microarrays. Pyrosequencing assay was performed to validate the methylation status of TGF-β signaling components, EBF3 and IRX1 genes in RASFs and osteoarthritis (OA) SFs. Hypermethylation at CpG sites in the EBF3 and IRX1 genes was observed with a high methylation index (MI) in RASFs (52.5% and 41.4%, respectively), while a lower MI was observed in OASFs and healthy SFs (13.2% for EBF3 and 4.3% for IRX1). In addition, RT-PCR analysis showed a remarkable decrease in their mRNA expression in the RA group, compared with the OA or healthy control, and their reduction levels correlated with MI. The current findings suggest that methylation-associated down-regulation of EBF3 and IRX1 genes may play an important role in a pathogenic effect of TGF-β on RASFs. However, further clinical validation with large numbers of patients is needed in order to confirm our findings.
PMCID: PMC3887890  PMID: 23456299
EBF3; hypermethylation; IRX1; rheumatoid arthritis; synovial fibroblast
9.  Regulatory effect of calcineurin inhibitor, tacrolimus, on IL-6/sIL-6R-mediated RANKL expression through JAK2-STAT3-SOCS3 signaling pathway in fibroblast-like synoviocytes 
This study investigated whether the calcineurin inhibitor, tacrolimus, suppresses receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) expression in fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) through regulation of IL-6/Janus activated kinase (JAK2)/signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT3) and suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS3) signaling.
The expression of RANKL, JAK2, STAT3, and SOCS3 proteins was assessed by western blot analysis, real-time PCR and ELISA in IL-6 combined with soluble IL-6 receptor (sIL-6R)-stimulated rheumatoid arthritis (RA)-FLS with or without tacrolimus treatment. The effects of tacrolimus on synovial inflammation and bone erosion were assessed using mice with arthritis induced by K/BxN serum. Immunofluorescent staining was performed to identify the effect of tacrolimus on RANKL and SOCS3. The tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase staining assay was performed to assess the effect of tacrolimus on osteoclast differentiation.
We found that RANKL expression in RA FLS is regulated by the IL-6/sIL-6R/JAK2/STAT3/SOCS3 pathway. Inhibitory effects of tacrolimus on RANKL expression in a serum-induced arthritis mice model were identified. Tacrolimus inhibits RANKL expression in IL-6/sIL-6R-stimulated FLS by suppressing STAT3. Among negative regulators of the JAK/STAT pathway, such as CIS1, SOCS1, and SOCS3, only SOCS3 is significantly induced by tacrolimus. As compared to dexamethasone and methotrexate, tacrolimus more potently suppresses RANKL expression in FLS. By up-regulating SOCS3, tacrolimus down-regulates activation of the JAK-STAT pathway by IL-6/sIL-6R trans-signaling, thus decreasing RANKL expression in FLS.
These data suggest that tacrolimus might affect the RANKL expression in IL-6 stimulated FLS through STAT3 suppression, together with up-regulation of SOCS3.
PMCID: PMC3672788  PMID: 23406906
10.  Greater prevalence of seropositivity for anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody in unaffected first-degree relatives in multicase rheumatoid arthritis-affected families 
This study determined the prevalence and determinants of seropositivity for rheumatoid factor (RF), anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibody, and anti-mutated citrullinated vimentin (anti-MCV) antibody in unaffected first-degree relatives (FDRs) of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.
A total of 337 subjects (135 with RA and 202 FDRs) were enrolled in this case-control study. Serum RF, anti-CCP antibody, and anti-MCV antibody were assayed. Subjects in multicase families (≥ 2 affected FDRs within the same family) were identified. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify risk factors associated with RA-related autoantibodies.
Seropositivity for RF, anti-CCP antibody, or anti-MCV antibody was detected in 14.4%, 5.0%, or 13.4% of unaffected FDRs, respectively. Anti-CCP antibody seropositivity was more prevalent in FDRs in multicase families (17.8%) than in those not in multicase families (1.3%, p < 0.0001). Significant correlations between RA-associated autoantibodies were detected in the FDR group (between RF and anti-CCP antibody: r = 0.366, p < 0.0001; between RF and anti-MCV antibody: r = 0.343, p < 0.0001; and between anti-CCP antibody and anti-MCV antibody: r = 0.849, p < 0.0001). After adjustment for age and sex, anti-CCP antibody seropositivity in FDRs was significantly associated with being in a multicase family (odds ratio, 49.8; 95% confidence interval, 5.6 to 441.6).
The association between anti-CCP antibody seropositivity in unaffected FDRs and being in a multicase family suggests that genetic and/or environmental factors may increase the risk for RA development in unaffected FDRs.
PMCID: PMC3543960  PMID: 23345996
Rheumatoid arthritis; First-degree relative; Rheumatoid factor; Citrullinated antigen
11.  Fear of Falling in Subacute Hemiplegic Stroke Patients: Associating Factors and Correlations with Quality of Life 
Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine  2012;36(6):797-803.
To determine the associating factors of fear of falling (FOF) and the correlations between FOF and quality of life (QOL) on subacute stroke patients in Korea.
Fifty hemiplegic subacute stroke patients in our clinic were recruited. We directly asked patients with their fear of falling and interviewed them with the Korean version of falls efficacy scale-international (KFES-I). We divided the participants into two groups; with FOF and without FOF. We compared these groups with the strength of hemiplegic hip abductor, knee extensor, ankle plantar flexor, functional ambulation category (FAC) scale, stroke specific quality of life (SSQOL), and hospital anxiety depression scale (HADS).
Thirty-four participants were enrolled, and more than half of the patients with subacute stroke had FOF. We compared the patients with and without FOF. According to the results, FOF was associated with the strength of hemiplegic hip abductor, knee extensor and ankle plantar flexor, FAC, total SSQOL, and domains (energy, mobility, self care, upper extremity function) of SSQOL (p<0.05). FOF was also associated with the anxiety score of HADS (p<0.05). KFES-I had a significant negative correlation with the strength of hemiplegic hip abductor, knee extensor and ankle plantar flexor, FAC, total SSQOL, and domains (energy, mobility, self care, upper extremity function) of SSQOL (p<0.01).
The FOF was associated with not only QOL but also with the physical and psychological factors, and in particular, anxiety. Therefore, further concerns about FOF in subacute stroke patients might be required.
PMCID: PMC3546182  PMID: 23342312
Stroke; Fear; Falling; Anxiety; Quality of life
12.  Working Memory Impairment in Fibromyalgia Patients Associated with Altered Frontoparietal Memory Network 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e37808.
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain and frequently associated with other symptoms. Patients with FM commonly report cognitive complaints, including memory problem. The objective of this study was to investigate the differences in neural correlates of working memory between FM patients and healthy subjects, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Methodology/Principal Findings
Nineteen FM patients and 22 healthy subjects performed an n-back memory task during MRI scan. Functional MRI data were analyzed using within- and between-group analysis. Both activated and deactivated brain regions during n-back task were evaluated. In addition, to investigate the possible effect of depression and anxiety, group analysis was also performed with depression and anxiety level in terms of Beck depression inventory (BDI) and Beck anxiety inventory (BAI) as a covariate. Between-group analyses, after controlling for depression and anxiety level, revealed that within the working memory network, inferior parietal cortex was strongly associated with the mild (r = 0.309, P = 0.049) and moderate (r = 0.331, P = 0.034) pain ratings. In addition, between-group comparison revealed that within the working memory network, the left DLPFC, right VLPFC, and right inferior parietal cortex were associated with the rating of depression and anxiety?
Our results suggest that the working memory deficit found in FM patients may be attributable to differences in neural activation of the frontoparietal memory network and may result from both pain itself and depression and anxiety associated with pain.
PMCID: PMC3370998  PMID: 22715371
13.  Intracranial Vasculopathy in a Patient with Systemic Sclerosis: Atherosclerotic or Moyamoya-Like Disease? 
PMCID: PMC3372813  PMID: 22707901
Scleroderma, systemic; Cerebrovascular disorder; Moyamoya disease
14.  Complete Atrioventricular Block in Adult Sjögren's Syndrome with Anti-Ro Autoantibody 
Anti-Ro autoantibody is associated with Sjögren's syndrome (SS), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and neonatal lupus syndrome (i.e., congenital complete heart block in newborns). Generally, the adult atrioventricular (AV) node is believed to be relatively resistant to the scarring effects of anti-Ro/anti-La autoantibodies. However, there have been some reports of adult complete AV block in SS and SLE patients. Here, we report a case of complete heart block in primary SS with anti-Ro autoantibodies, with no other risk factor for the development of heart block, and review their etiological association.
PMCID: PMC3110856  PMID: 21716914
Ro antibodies; Sjögren's syndrome; Atrioventricular block
15.  Lymphocytic Interstitial Pneumonia in Primary Sjögren's Syndrome: A Case Report 
Sjögren's syndrome (SS) is an autoimmune disorder in which lymphocytes infiltrate the exocrine glands, resulting in the development of sicca symptoms. Lymphocytes may also invade various other organs and cause diverse symptoms. Interstitial pneumonia has been observed frequently in SS patients. Typically, the pneumonia responds well to systemic steroids, and fatal cases are rare. We experienced a case of lymphocytic pneumonia accompanied by SS and treated with cyclophosphamide pulse therapy, and we present details of the case herein.
PMCID: PMC3056249  PMID: 21437172
Sjögren's syndrome; Interstitial pneumonia; Lymphocytes
16.  Correlation of Anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Antibody with Hand Joint Erosion Score in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients 
To examine the correlation between radiological joint damage and serological parameters in early rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
This retrospective study reviewed the records of 216 patients diagnosed with RA and classified them according to disease duration: group 1, ≤ 24 months; group 2, > 24 months; and group 3, all patients combined. The extent of joint damage was assessed from plain radiographs using a modified version of the Larsen method and compared among groups.
The mean radiographic joint damage score was significantly higher in patients who had established RA (10.1 points) compared with those who had early RA. In group 1, the inflammatory parameters, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and C-reactive protein were positively correlated with the joint damage score, but rheumatoid factor (RF) and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibody were not. A subgroup analysis revealed that the anti-CCP positive patients in groups 1 and 2 had greater joint damage scores than did the anti-CCP negative patients, but no difference in RF was observed between subgroups. Anti-CCP positivity was not significantly correlated with joint damage sores in group 3.
Anti-CCP positivity was significantly correlated with more severe joint damage at diagnosis. A correlation was observed between the radiological joint damage score and inflammatory parameters in early and established RA, indicating that anti-CCP can serve as a diagnostic tool and predict structural joint damage. These findings suggest anti-CCP positive patients should receive aggressive therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC2880695  PMID: 20526395
Arthritis, rheumatoid; Rheumatoid factor; Cyclic citrullinated peptide; Joint disease
17.  Erosive Arthropathy with Osteolysis As a Typical Feature in Polyfibromatosis Syndrome: A Case Report and a Review of the Literature 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2009;24(2):326-329.
Polyfibromatosis syndrome is a rare disease entity that is characterized by various clinical features such as palmar, plantar, and penile fibromatoses, keloid formations of the skin, and erosive arthropathy. Its precise pathophysiology or etiology remains unclear. In addition to distinctive diverse skin manifestations, patients with polyfibromatosis have been previously reported to show erosive arthropathy with significant limitation of movement at affected joints. However, the presence of erosive polyarthropathy in polyfibromatosis has not emphasized in previous cases. Here, we report a case of polyfibromatosis syndrome combined with painless massive structural destruction of hand and foot joints, and review the characteristics of erosive arthropathy in previous cases.
PMCID: PMC2672137  PMID: 19399279
Polyfibromatosis; Erosive Arthropathy; Magnetic Resonance Imaging
18.  Effects of AIF on Knee Osteoarthritis Patients: Double-blind, Randomized Placebo-controlled Study 
Anti-inflammatory factor (AIF) is a water soluble extract of three herbs, Panax notoginseng (Burk.) F. H. Chen, Rehmannia glutinosa Libosch and Eleutherococcus senticosus. The present study aimed to investigate the safety and efficacy of herb extracts, AIF, on Korean knee osteoarthritis patients for six weeks. Fifty seven patients with knee osteoarthritis, ranging from 43 to 73 years of age, who fulfilled the "American College of Rheumatology" (ACR) classification of idiopathic osteoarthritis of knee and radiographic criteria were randomly selected and enrolled for the study. After initial screening and resting period, two capsules each of AIF (Each capsule contains; 400 mg) and similar identical placebo were administered twice a day to both groups. Pain intensity at second, fourth, and sixth weeks of study as well as one week after discontinuation of drugs was assessed by using 100 mm visual analogue scale (VAS). Changes in the Korean version of the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (K-WOMAC) index score were compared at the initiation and completion of the study. VAS assessed by patients were significantly reduced (at visit 2; 54.64±14.72, at visit 4, 37.32±16.58, p< 0.001) after AIF administration. Results showed an improvement in the physical function of K-WOMAC scale which was significantly higher (p=0.013) in AIF than placebo group, and decreases of total K-WOMAC score were also significantly higher (p=0.030) in AIF groups than placebo group. No serious adverse effect was observed, and there was no difference in incidence of adverse effect between AIF and placebo groups. In this population of Korean patients with knee osteoarthritis, AIF was found to be safe, tolerable and effective for symptomatic improvement of pain and physical function.
PMCID: PMC2766718  PMID: 19885024
Anti-inflammatory factor; Clinical trial; Herbs; Osteoarthritis; K-WOMAC

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