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1.  Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC), PBC Autoantibodies, and Hepatic Parameter Abnormalities in a Large Population of Systemic Sclerosis Patients 
The Journal of rheumatology  2009;36(10):2250-2256.
To investigate the diagnostic accuracy of antimitochondrial antibodies (AMA), sp100, and gp210 antibodies for primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) in a large population of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc); to examine concordance of these antibodies with subsets of SSc. Further, to assess the association of SSc-related antibodies with hepatic parameter abnormalities.
We obtained medical records to verify the diagnoses of SSc and PBC. Sera from all participants were examined for the presence of SSc- and PBC-related antibodies, as well as for abnormalities in hepatic parameters.
We examined 817 patients with SSc, of whom 16 (2%) had confirmed PBC. The sensitivity and specificity of AMA by a MIT3 ELISA for PBC were 81.3% and 94.6%, respectively. Sp100 had a sensitivity and specificity of 31.3% and 97.4%, respectively, while gp210 had an even lower sensitivity. We were able to detect all PBC cases using AMA(MIT3) and sp100 as a combined marker, resulting in a significantly improved sensitivity of 100% (p = 0.042) with an incremental decrease in specificity to 92.6%. Independent of AMA or sp100 status, there was an association of anticentromere B (CENP-B) and anti-topoisomerase antibodies (ATA) with higher alkaline phosphatase levels (p = 0.051 and p = 0.003, respectively) while anti-RNA polymerase III (anti-RNAP) was associated with lower alkaline phosphatase levels (p = 0.019) among the patients with SSc.
Utilization of AMA(MIT3) and sp100 antibodies as a combined diagnostic marker leads to an improved detection of PBC in patients with SSc. CENP-B and ATA are associated with alkaline phosphatase elevation.
PMCID: PMC2885441  PMID: 19723904
2.  Systemic Sclerosis and Lupus 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(2):589-598.
To investigate peripheral blood (PB) cell transcript profiles of systemic sclerosis (SSc) and its subtypes in direct comparison with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
We investigated PB cell samples from 74 SSc patients, 21 healthy controls, and 17 SLE patients using Illumina Human Ref-8 BeadChips and quantitative polymerase chain reaction confirmation. None of the study participants were receiving immunosuppressive agents other than low-dose steroids and hydroxychloroquine. In addition to conventional statistical and modular analysis, a composite score for the interferon (IFN)–inducible genes was calculated. Within the group of patients with SSc, the correlation of the IFN score with the serologic and clinical subtypes was investigated, as were single-nucleotide polymorphisms in a selected number of IFN pathway genes.
Many of the most prominently overexpressed genes in SSc and SLE were IFN-inducible genes. Forty-three of 47 overexpressed IFN-inducible genes in SSc (91%) were similarly altered in SLE. The IFN score was highest in the SLE patients, followed by the SSc patients, and then the controls. The difference in IFN score among all 3 groups was statistically significant (P < 0.001 for all 3 comparisons). SSc and SLE PB cell samples showed striking parallels to our previously reported SSc skin transcripts in regard to the IFN-inducible gene expression pattern. In SSc, the presence of antitopoisomerase and anti–U1 RNP antibodies and lymphopenia correlated with the higher IFN scores (P = 0.005, P = 0.001, and P = 0.004, respectively); a missense mutation in IFNAR2 was significantly associated with the IFN score.
SLE and SSc fit within the same spectrum of IFN-mediated diseases. A subset of SSc patients shows a “lupus-like” high IFN-inducible gene expression pattern that correlates with the presence of antitopoisomerase and anti–U1 RNP antibodies.
PMCID: PMC2879587  PMID: 20112391

Results 1-2 (2)