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1.  Genetic determinants of basal C-reactive protein expression in Filipino Systemic Lupus Erythematosus families 
Genes and immunity  2008;9(2):153-160.
Basal C-reactive protein (CRP) is a heritable trait associated with long-term cardiovascular disease risk. Existing studies leave ambiguity over the key functional polymorphisms and fail to adjust for trans-acting effects. In a novel cohort of 285 Filipino systemic lupus erythematosus probands and their first degree relatives, we quantified serum CRP and typed a dense map of CRP single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), along with SNPs in the interleukin-1β, interleukin-6 and apolipoprotein E genes. Ten CRP SNPs demonstrated association with basal CRP in a regression model (p=0.011-0.002). These delineated two haplotypes associated with high and low basal CRP expression (p=0.002). Differences in allele frequency were seen compared with Caucasian populations, enabling us to argue for an independent genetic effect from a phylogenetically distinct haplotype tagged by SNP rs1800947. We demonstrated an association between Apo ε2 and higher basal CRP. Interleukin-6 genotype was associated with basal CRP, highlighting a role for acute-phase cytokines even in basal expression. Identifying these trans-acting variants may improve the use of basal CRP as a predictor cardiovascular risk, and increase our power to detect associations between CRP and disease.
PMCID: PMC2527514  PMID: 18216863
C-reactive protein; genetics; cardiovascular disease; systemic lupus erythematosus
2.  Transancestral mapping of the MHC region in systemic lupus erythematosus identifies new independent and interacting loci at MSH5, HLA-DPB1 and HLA-G 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2012;71(5):777-784.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic multisystem genetically complex autoimmune disease characterised by the production of autoantibodies to nuclear and cellular antigens, tissue inflammation and organ damage. Genome-wide association studies have shown that variants within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region on chromosome 6 confer the greatest genetic risk for SLE in European and Chinese populations. However, the causal variants remain elusive due to tight linkage disequilibrium across disease-associated MHC haplotypes, the highly polymorphic nature of many MHC genes and the heterogeneity of the SLE phenotype.
A high-density case-control single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) study of the MHC region was undertaken in SLE cohorts of Spanish and Filipino ancestry using a custom Illumina chip in order to fine-map association signals in these haplotypically diverse populations. In addition, comparative analyses were performed between these two datasets and a northern European UK SLE cohort. A total of 1433 cases and 1458 matched controls were examined.
Using this transancestral SNP mapping approach, novel independent loci were identified within the MHC region in UK, Spanish and Filipino patients with SLE with some evidence of interaction. These loci include HLA-DPB1, HLA-G and MSH5 which are independent of each other and HLA-DRB1 alleles. Furthermore, the established SLE-associated HLA-DRB1*15 signal was refined to an interval encompassing HLA-DRB1 and HLA-DQA1. Increased frequencies of MHC region risk alleles and haplotypes were found in the Filipino population compared with Europeans, suggesting that the greater disease burden in non-European SLE may be due in part to this phenomenon.
These data highlight the usefulness of mapping disease susceptibility loci using a transancestral approach, particularly in a region as complex as the MHC, and offer a springboard for further fine-mapping, resequencing and transcriptomic analysis.
PMCID: PMC3329227  PMID: 22233601
3.  Effects of belimumab, a B lymphocyte stimulator-specific inhibitor, on disease activity across multiple organ domains in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: combined results from two phase III trials 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2012;71(11):1833-1838.
To evaluate the effects of belimumab versus placebo, plus standard systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) therapy, on organ domain-specific SLE disease activity.
Data obtained after 52 weeks of treatment from two phase III trials (BLISS-52 and BLISS-76) comparing belimumab 1 and 10 mg/kg versus placebo, plus standard therapy, in 1684 autoantibody-positive patients were analysed post hoc for changes in British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) and Safety of Estrogens in Lupus National Assessment–Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SELENA–SLEDAI) organ domain scores.
At baseline, the domains involved in the majority of patients were musculoskeletal and mucocutaneous by both BILAG and SELENA–SLEDAI, and immunological by SELENA–SLEDAI. At 52 weeks, significantly more patients treated with belimumab versus placebo had improvement in BILAG musculoskeletal and mucocutaneous domains (1 and 10 mg/kg), and in SELENA–SLEDAI mucocutaneous (10 mg/kg), musculoskeletal (1 mg/kg) and immunological (1 and 10 mg/kg) domains. Improvement was also observed in other organ systems with a low prevalence (≤16%) at baseline, including the SELENA–SLEDAI vasculitis and central nervous system domains. Significantly fewer patients treated with belimumab versus placebo had worsening in the BILAG haematological domain (1 mg/kg) and in the SELENA–SLEDAI immunological (10 mg/kg), haematological (10 mg/kg) and renal (1 mg/kg) domains.
Belimumab treatment improved overall SLE disease activity in the most common musculoskeletal and mucocutaneous organ domains. Less worsening occurred in the haematological, immunological and renal domains.
PMCID: PMC3465857  PMID: 22550315
4.  Risk of tuberculosis with anti-tumor necrosis factor-α therapy: substantially higher number of patients at risk in Asia 
To assess the potential risk of tuberculosis (TB) in patients treated with anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) agents in Asia.
Absolute risk increase (ARI) of TB was estimated for three widely used anti-TNF-α therapies using published standardized incidence ratios (SIR) from the French Research Axed on Tolerance of bIOtherapies registry and incidence (absolute risk [AR]) of TB in Asia. Assuming an association of increased TB risk with anti-TNF-α therapy and country TB AR (incidence), the ARI of TB by country was calculated by multiplying the SIR of the anti-TNF-α therapy by the country's TB AR. The numbers needed to harm (NNH) for each anti-TNF-α agent and numbers needed to treat (NNT) to reduce one TB event using etanercept therapy instead of adalimumab or infliximab were also calculated for each country.
The ARI of TB with anti-TNF-α therapies in Asian countries is substantially higher than Western Europe and North America and the difference between etanercept versus the monoclonal antibodies becomes more evident. The NNH for Asian countries ranged from 8 to 163 for adalimumab, 126 to 2646 for etanercept and 12 to 256 for infliximab. The NNT to reduce one TB event using etanercept instead of adalimumab therapy ranged from 8 to 173, and using etanercept instead of infliximab therapy the NNT ranged from 13 to 283.
Higher numbers of patients are at risk of developing TB with anti-TNF-α therapy in Asia compared with Western Europe and North America. The relative lower risk of TB with etanercept may be particularly relevant for Asia, an endemic area for TB.
PMCID: PMC4034594  PMID: 24131578
ankylosing spondylitis; health services and health care economics; psoriatic arthritis; rheumatoid arthritis

Results 1-4 (4)