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1.  The potential role of human endogenous retrovirus K10 in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis: a preliminary study 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2005;65(5):612-616.
To examine whether human endogenous retrovirus K10 is associated with autoimmune rheumatic disease.
A novel multiplex reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT‐PCR) system was developed to investigate HERV‐K10 mRNA expression in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
40 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, 17 with osteoarthritis, and 27 healthy individuals were recruited and total RNA was extracted from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and analysed using multiplex RT‐PCR for the level of HERV‐K10 gag mRNA expression. Southern blot and DNA sequencing confirmed the authenticity of the PCR products.
Using the histidyl tRNA synthetase (HtRNAS) gene as a housekeeping gene in the optimised multiplex RT‐PCR, a significantly higher level of HERV‐K10 gag mRNA expression was found in rheumatoid arthritis than in osteoarthritis (p = 0.01) or in the healthy controls (p = 0.02).
There is enhanced mRNA expression of the HERV‐K10 gag region in rheumatoid arthritis compared with osteoarthritis or healthy controls. This could contribute to the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis.
PMCID: PMC1798125  PMID: 16192292
human endogenous retroviruses; rheumatoid arthritis; peripheral blood mononuclear cells; histidyl tRNA synthetase
2.  Demystified . . . Human endogenous retroviruses 
Molecular Pathology  2003;56(1):11-18.
Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are a family of viruses within our genome with similarities to present day exogenous retroviruses. HERVs have been inherited by successive generations and it is possible that some have conferred biological benefits. However, several HERVs have been implicated in certain cancers and autoimmune diseases. This article demystifies these retroviruses by providing an insight into HERVs, their means of classification, and a synopsis of HERVs implicated in cancer and autoimmunity. Furthermore, the biological roles of HERVs are explored.
PMCID: PMC1187282  PMID: 12560456
human endogenous retroviruses; cancer; autoimmunity
3.  Acid phosphatases 
Molecular Pathology  2002;55(2):65-72.
Acid phosphatases (APs) are a family of enzymes that are widespread in nature, and can be found in many animal and plant species. Mystery surrounds the precise functional role of these molecular facilitators, despite much research. Yet, paradoxically, human APs have had considerable impact as tools of clinical investigation and intervention. One particular example is tartrate resistant acid phosphatase, which is detected in the serum in raised amounts accompanying pathological bone resorption. This article seeks to explore the identity and diversity of APs, and to demonstrate the relation between APs, human disease, and clinical diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC1187150  PMID: 11950951
acid phosphatases; osteoclast; bone resorption; tartrate resistant acid phosphatase
4.  Expression of the matrix metalloproteinase 9 in Hodgkin's disease is independent of EBV status 
Molecular Pathology  2000;53(3):145-149.
Background—In vitro the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) encoded latent membrane protein 1 (LMP-1) has been shown to upregulate expression of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9), a member of a family of zinc dependent endopeptidases that is believed to facilitate tumour invasion and metastasis by degradation of the extracellular matrix.
Aim—To test whether the expression of MMP-9 in Hodgkin's disease correlates with EBV status and survival and to investigate whether LMP-1 expression affects MMP-9 concentrations in the Hodgkin's disease cell line, L428.
Methods—MMP-9 expression was measured by means of immunohistochemistry in a series of Hodgkin's disease tumours and this expression was correlated with EBV status and survival. The influence of LMP-1 on MMP-9 expression was also investigated in the Hodgkin's disease cell line, L428.
Results—MMP-9 expression was demonstrated in the malignant Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg cells of all (n = 86) formalin fixed, paraffin wax embedded Hodgkin's disease tumours examined. Although the intensity of MMP-9 immunostaining varied between cases, there was no correlation between MMP-9 expression and EBV status or survival. MMP-9 expression was also detected in a variety of non-malignant cells, including fibroblasts. MMP-9 was detected by zymography in the L428 and KMH2 Hodgkin's disease cell lines, whereas low or undetectable amounts of MMP-9 were found in the L591 Hodgkin's disease cell line. Induction of LMP-1 expression in the Hodgkin's disease cell line L428 did not result in a detectable increase in the values of MMP-9 as measured by zymography.
Conclusions—These results demonstrate that MMP-9 is consistently expressed by the Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg cells of Hodgkin's disease tumours and by the Hodgkin's disease cell lines, L428 and KMH2. However, this expression does not appear to be related either to LMP-1 values or to survival.
PMCID: PMC1186921  PMID: 10897334
matrix metalloproteinase 9; Hodgkin's disease; Epstein-Barr virus; latent membrane protein 1
5.  Demystified … 
Molecular Pathology  2000;53(3):111-117.
Monoclonal antibodies are essential tools for many molecular immunology investigations. In particular, when used in combination with techniques such as epitope mapping and molecular modelling, monoclonal antibodies enable the antigenic profiling and visualisation of macromolecular surfaces. In addition, monoclonal antibodies have become key components in a vast array of clinical laboratory diagnostic tests. Their wide application in detecting and identifying serum analytes, cell markers, and pathogenic agents has largely arisen through the exquisite specificity of these unique reagents. Furthermore, the continuous culture of hybridoma cells that produce these antibodies offers the potential of an unlimited supply of reagent. In essence, when compared with the rather limited supply of polyclonal antibody reagents, the feature of a continuous supply enables the standardisation of both the reagent and the assay technique. Clearly, polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies have their advantages and disadvantages in terms of generation, cost, and overall applications. Ultimately, monoclonal antibodies are only produced when necessary because their production is time consuming and frustrating, although greatly rewarding (at least most of the time!). This is especially apparent when a monoclonal antibody can be applied successfully in a routine pathology laboratory or can aid in the clinical diagnosis and treatment of patients. In this article, the generation and application of monoclonal antibodies are demystified to enable greater understanding and hopefully formulate novel ideas for clinicians and scientists alike.
PMCID: PMC1186915  PMID: 10897328
monoclonal antibodies; hybridomas; “magic bullets”
6.  Demystified… recombinant antibodies 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2004;57(9):912-917.
Recombinant antibodies are important tools for biomedical research and are increasingly being used as clinical diagnostic/therapeutic reagents. In this article, a background to humanised antibodies is given, together with details of the generation of antibody fragments—for example, single chain Fv fragments. Phage antibody fragments are fast becoming popular and can be generated by simple established methods of affinity enrichment from libraries derived from immune cells. Phage display methodology can also be used for the affinity enrichment of existing antibody fragments to provide a reagent with a higher affinity. Here, phage antibodies are demystified to provide a greater understanding of the potential of these reagents and to engage clinicians and biomedical scientists alike to think about potential applications in pathology and clinical settings.
PMCID: PMC1770420  PMID: 15333649
antibodies; humanisation; phage display; single chain heavy and light chain variable regions
7.  Polymerase chain reaction fails to incriminate exogenous retroviruses HTLV-I and HIV-1 in rheumatological diseases although a minority of sera cross react with retroviral antigens. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1994;53(11):749-754.
OBJECTIVES--To investigate the presence of antibodies to HTLV and HIV retroviral antigens in the rheumatological diseases rheumatoid arthritis (RA), polymyositis/dermatomyositis (PM/DM), primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS), and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and to use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to seek these exogenous retroviruses in proviral form in cellular DNA from these patients. METHODS--Thirty patients with active RA, 13 with PM, 14 with pSS and five with SLE were recruited and their sera tested for antibodies to HTLV-I in enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Western blot analysis. Seropositivity to HIV-1 was also sought. DNA was extracted from peripheral blood lymphocytes, synovial tissue and muscle biopsies and tested by polymerase chain reaction using consensus primers for HTLV-I and HIV-1. RESULTS--In HTLV-I ELISA, nine rheumatological sera (4/30 RA, 3/13 PM/DM and 2/5 SLE patients) were considered positive; 14 from pSS patients and 30 from normal subjects were negative. In a control group which included osteoarthritis, Crohn's disease and bacterial endocarditis patients, only two of 80 proved positive in this system. Validation of these sera by Western blotting generally revealed weak reactivity against a variety of HTLV-I antigens. PCR of genomic DNA derived from patients' peripheral blood mononuclear cells did not reveal the presence of HTLV-I and HIV-1 target sequences. CONCLUSIONS--This study shows that PCR precludes HTLV-I and HIV-1 infection as causative agents in these rheumatological diseases although a minority of patients possess antibodies that are weakly cross-reactive with retroviral antigens.
PMCID: PMC1005456  PMID: 7826136
8.  Demystified ... the polymerase chain reaction. 
Molecular Pathology  1999;52(1):1-10.
Since its initial description over twenty years ago the PCR has become one of the most valuable and flexible tools available to biomedical research. Subsequently, refinements and modifications to the basic approach, many of which have been described in this review, have enabled the application of the PCR to many areas of diagnostic medicine and have ensured its rapid acceptance as a routine test in many pathology disciplines. The growing importance of molecular approaches to the diagnosis of disease, particularly in histopathology, will continue to secure an ever expanding role for the PCR in diagnostic pathology.
PMCID: PMC395663  PMID: 10439832
9.  Retroviruses in rheumatic diseases. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1995;54(6):441-442.
PMCID: PMC1009896  PMID: 7632083

Results 1-9 (9)