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1.  Genome-Wide Association Study and Gene Expression Analysis Identifies CD84 as a Predictor of Response to Etanercept Therapy in Rheumatoid Arthritis 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(3):e1003394.
Anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (anti-TNF) biologic therapy is a widely used treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is unknown why some RA patients fail to respond adequately to anti-TNF therapy, which limits the development of clinical biomarkers to predict response or new drugs to target refractory cases. To understand the biological basis of response to anti-TNF therapy, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis of more than 2 million common variants in 2,706 RA patients from 13 different collections. Patients were treated with one of three anti-TNF medications: etanercept (n = 733), infliximab (n = 894), or adalimumab (n = 1,071). We identified a SNP (rs6427528) at the 1q23 locus that was associated with change in disease activity score (ΔDAS) in the etanercept subset of patients (P = 8×10−8), but not in the infliximab or adalimumab subsets (P>0.05). The SNP is predicted to disrupt transcription factor binding site motifs in the 3′ UTR of an immune-related gene, CD84, and the allele associated with better response to etanercept was associated with higher CD84 gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (P = 1×10−11 in 228 non-RA patients and P = 0.004 in 132 RA patients). Consistent with the genetic findings, higher CD84 gene expression correlated with lower cross-sectional DAS (P = 0.02, n = 210) and showed a non-significant trend for better ΔDAS in a subset of RA patients with gene expression data (n = 31, etanercept-treated). A small, multi-ethnic replication showed a non-significant trend towards an association among etanercept-treated RA patients of Portuguese ancestry (n = 139, P = 0.4), but no association among patients of Japanese ancestry (n = 151, P = 0.8). Our study demonstrates that an allele associated with response to etanercept therapy is also associated with CD84 gene expression, and further that CD84 expression correlates with disease activity. These findings support a model in which CD84 genotypes and/or expression may serve as a useful biomarker for response to etanercept treatment in RA patients of European ancestry.
Author Summary
There are no genetic predictors of response to one of the most widely used classes of drugs in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis—biological modifiers of the inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (or anti-TNF therapy). To identify genetic predictors, we performed the largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) to date as part of an international collaboration. In our study, which included 2,706 RA patients treated with one of three anti-TNF drugs, the most significant finding was restricted to RA patients treated with etanercept (P = 8×10−8), a drug that acts as a soluble receptor to bind circulating cytokine and prevents TNF from binding to its cell surface receptor. The associated variant influences expression of a nearby immune-related gene, CD84, whose expression is correlated with disease activity in RA patients. Together, our data support a model in which genomic factors related to CD84 expression serve as a predictor of disease activity and response to etanercept therapy among RA patients of European ancestry, but not anti-TNF therapies that act through different biological mechanisms or potentially in RA patients of other genetic ancestries.
PMCID: PMC3610685  PMID: 23555300
2.  Emerging patterns of genetic overlap across autoimmune disorders 
Genome Medicine  2012;4(1):6.
Most of the recently identified autoimmunity loci are shared among multiple autoimmune diseases. The pattern of genetic association with autoimmune phenotypes varies, suggesting that certain subgroups of autoimmune diseases are likely to share etiological similarities and underlying mechanisms of disease. In this review, we summarize the major findings from recent studies that have sought to refine genotype-phenotype associations in autoimmune disease by identifying both shared and distinct autoimmunity loci. More specifically, we focus on information from recent genome-wide association studies of rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. Additional work in this area is warranted given both the opportunity it provides to elucidate pathogenic mechanisms in autoimmunity and its potential to inform the development of improved diagnostic and therapeutic tools for this group on complex human disorders.
PMCID: PMC3334554  PMID: 22284131
4.  Critical care management and outcome of severe Pneumocystis pneumonia in patients with and without HIV infection 
Critical Care  2008;12(1):R28.
Little is known about the most severe forms of Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP) in HIV-negative as compared with HIV-positive patients. Improved knowledge about the differential characteristics and management modalities could guide treatment based on HIV status.
We retrospectively compared 72 patients (73 cases, 46 HIV-positive) admitted for PCP from 1993 to 2006 in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a university hospital.
The yearly incidence of ICU admissions for PCP in HIV-negative patients increased from 1993 (0%) to 2006 (6.5%). At admission, all but one non-HIV patient were receiving corticosteroids. Twenty-three (85%) HIV-negative patients were receiving an additional immunosuppressive treatment. At admission, HIV-negative patients were significantly older than HIV-positive patients (64 [18 to 82] versus 37 [28 to 56] years old) and had a significantly higher Simplified Acute Physiology Score (SAPS) II (38 [13 to 90] versus 27 [11 to 112]) but had a similar PaO2/FiO2 (arterial partial pressure of oxygen/fraction of inspired oxygen) ratio (160 [61 to 322] versus 183 [38 to 380] mm Hg). Ventilatory support was required in a similar proportion of HIV-negative and HIV-positive cases (78% versus 61%), with a similar proportion of first-line non-invasive ventilation (NIV) (67% versus 54%). NIV failed in 71% of HIV-negative and in 13% of HIV-positive patients (p < 0.01). Mortality was significantly higher in HIV-negative than HIV-positive cases (48% versus 17%). The HIV-negative status (odds ratio 3.73, 95% confidence interval 1.10 to 12.60) and SAPS II (odds ratio 1.07, 95% confidence interval 1.02 to 1.12) were independently associated with mortality at multivariate analysis.
The yearly incidence of ICU admissions for PCP in HIV-negative patients in our unit increased from 1993 to 2006. The course of the disease and the outcome were worse in HIV-negative patients. NIV often failed in HIV-negative cases, suggesting that NIV must be watched closely in this population.
PMCID: PMC2374632  PMID: 18304356

Results 1-4 (4)