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1.  Murine CD7 Shares Antigenic Cross-Reactivity with HSP-60 
Hybridoma (2005)  2008;27(2):81-89.
Human (h) CD7 is a 40 kDa single chain Ig superfamily molecule that is expressed on thymocytes, a major subunit of peripheral T cells, and most natural killer cells. Ligands for hCD7 include the epithelial cell-produced molecule, K-12, and galectin. Mice deficient in CD7 have been shown to be resistant to LPS-induced endotoxic shock syndromes. However, monoclonal antibodies (MAb) to mouse (m) CD7 have yet to be produced, nor is the distribution of mCD7 protein in mice known. We have raised a panel of three rat MAbs to mCD7 by immunizing rats with recombinant mCD7 protein. However, using Western blot and immunoprecipitation of tissue extracts from mouse thymus, spleen, liver, brain, lymph node and skin, these anti-mouse CD7 MAbs bound only to murine heat shock protein 60 (HSP-60) present both in wild-type (CD7+/+) and CD7-deficient (CD7−/−) mice. Epitope mapping of the sites on HSP-60 and recombinant mCD7 recognized by mCD7 MAbs demonstrated non-homologous amino acid sequence epitopes recognized by anti-CD7 MAbs on both proteins. These data demonstrated molecular mimicry of mCD7 with HSP-60, and leave open the question of surface expression of mCD7.
PMCID: PMC3652665  PMID: 18642672
2.  Association of Autoimmunity to Peptidyl Arginine Deiminase Type 4 With Genotype and Disease Severity in Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2008;58(7):1958-1967.
Objective
Protein citrullination is an important posttranslational modification recognized by rheumatoid arthritis (RA)–specific autoantibodies. One of the citrullinating enzymes, peptidyl arginine deiminase type 4 (PAD-4), is genetically associated with development of RA in some populations, although the mechanism(s) mediating this effect are not yet clear. There have been descriptions of anti–PAD-4 autoantibodies in different rheumatic diseases. This study was undertaken to investigate whether anti–PAD-4 antibodies are specific to RA, are associated with disease phenotype or severity, and whether PAD-4 polymorphisms influence the anti–PAD-4 autoantibody response.
Methods
Sera from patients with established RA, patients with other rheumatic diseases, and healthy adults were assayed for anti–PAD-4 autoantibodies by immunoprecipitation of in vitro–translated PAD-4. The epitope(s) recognized by PAD-4 autoantibodies were mapped using various PAD-4 truncations. PAD-4 genotyping was performed on RA patients with the TaqMan assay. Joint erosions were scored from hand and foot radiographs using the Sharp/van der Heijde method.
Results
PAD-4 autoantibodies were found in 36–42% of RA patients, and were very infrequent in controls. Recognition by anti–PAD-4 autoantibodies required the 119 N-terminal amino acids, which encompass the 3 nonsynonymous polymorphisms associated with disease susceptibility. Strikingly, the anti–PAD-4 immune response was associated with the RA susceptibility haplotype of PADI4. Anti–PAD-4 antibodies were associated with more severe joint destruction in RA.
Conclusion
Our findings indicate that anti–PAD-4 antibodies are specific markers of RA, independently associated with more severe disease, suggesting that an anti–PAD-4 immune response may be involved in pathways of joint damage in this disease. Polymorphisms in the PADI4 gene influence the immune response to the PAD-4 protein, potentially contributing to disease propagation.
doi:10.1002/art.23596
PMCID: PMC2692635  PMID: 18576335
3.  Coronary arterial calcification in rheumatoid arthritis: comparison with the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Introduction
Although cardiovascular morbidity and mortality are increased in rheumatoid arthritis, little is known about the burden of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis in these patients.
Methods
Using computed tomography, coronary artery calcification was measured in 195 men and women with rheumatoid arthritis aged 45 to 84 years without clinical cardiovascular disease and compared with 1,073 controls without rheumatoid arthritis enrolled in the Baltimore cohort of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.
Results
The prevalence of coronary calcification (Agatston score > 0) was significantly higher in men, but not women, with rheumatoid arthritis after adjusting for sociodemographic and cardiovascular risk factors (prevalence ratio = 1.19; P = 0.012). Among participants with prevalent calcification, those with rheumatoid arthritis had adjusted mean Agatston scores 53 units higher than controls (P = 0.002); a difference greater for men than women (P for interaction = 0.017). In all analyses, serum IL-6 attenuated the association between rheumatoid arthritis and coronary calcification, suggesting its role as a potential mediator of enhanced atherosclerosis. Notably, increasing severity of rheumatoid arthritis was associated with a higher prevalence and extent of coronary calcification among both men and women with rheumatoid arthritis, and for all age categories. The largest percentage difference in coronary arterial calcification between rheumatoid arthritis patients and their nonrheumatoid arthritis counterparts was observed in the youngest age category.
Conclusions
Increasing rheumatoid arthritis disease severity was associated with a higher prevalence and greater extent of coronary artery calcification, potentially mediated through an atherogenic effect of chronic systemic inflammation. Gender and age differences in association with coronary calcification suggest that preventive measures should be emphasized in men with rheumatoid arthritis, and considered even in younger rheumatoid arthritis patients with low levels of traditional cardiovascular risk factors.
doi:10.1186/ar2641
PMCID: PMC2688181  PMID: 19284547

Results 1-3 (3)