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1.  Immune-mediated pore-forming pathways induce cellular hypercitrullination and generate citrullinated autoantigens in rheumatoid arthritis* 
Science translational medicine  2013;5(209):209ra150.
Autoantibodies to citrullinated protein antigens are specific markers of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Although protein citrullination can be activated by numerous stimuli in cells, it remains unclear which of these produce the prominent citrullinated autoantigens targeted in RA. In these studies, we show that RA synovial fluid cells have an unusual pattern of citrullination with marked citrullination of proteins across the broad range of molecular weights, which we term cellular hypercitrullination. Although histone citrullination is a common event during neutrophil activation and death induced by different pathways including apoptosis, NETosis, and necroptosis/autophagy, hypercitrullination is not induced by these stimuli. However, marked hypercitrullination is induced by two immune-mediated membranolytic pathways, mediated by perforin and the membrane attack complex (MAC), which are active in the RA joint and of importance in RA pathogenesis. We further demonstrate that perforin and MAC activity on neutrophils generate the profile of citrullinated autoantigens characteristic of RA. These data suggest that activation of peptidylarginine deiminases during complement and perforin activity may be at the core of citrullinated autoantigen production in RA. These pathways may be amenable to monitoring and therapeutic modulation.
doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3006869
PMCID: PMC4032227  PMID: 24174326
2.  Dense genotyping of immune-related disease regions identifies 14 new susceptibility loci for juvenile idiopathic arthritis 
Nature genetics  2013;45(6):664-669.
Analysis of the ImmunoChip single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array in 2816 individuals, comprising the most common subtypes (oligoarticular and RF negative polyarticular) of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and 13056 controls strengthens the evidence for association to three known JIA-risk loci (HLA, PTPN22 and PTPN2) and has identified fourteen risk loci reaching genome-wide significance (p < 5 × 10-8) for the first time. Eleven additional novel regions showed suggestive evidence for association with JIA (p < 1 × 10-6). Dense-mapping of loci along with bioinformatic analysis has refined the association to one gene for eight regions, highlighting crucial pathways, including the IL-2 pathway, in JIA disease pathogenesis. The entire ImmunoChip loci, HLA region and the top 27 loci (p < 1 × 10-6) explain an estimated 18%, 13% and 6% risk of JIA, respectively. Analysis of the ImmunoChip dataset, the largest cohort of JIA cases investigated to date, provides new insight in understanding the genetic basis for this childhood autoimmune disease.
doi:10.1038/ng.2614
PMCID: PMC3673707  PMID: 23603761
3.  PhIP-Seq characterization of autoantibodies from patients with multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis 
Journal of autoimmunity  2013;43:1-9.
Autoimmune disease results from a loss of tolerance to self-antigens in genetically susceptible individuals. Completely understanding this process requires that targeted antigens be identified, and so a number of techniques have been developed to determine immune receptor specificities. We previously reported the construction of a phage-displayed synthetic human peptidome and a proof-of-principle analysis of antibodies from three patients with neurological autoimmunity. Here we present data from a large-scale screen of 298 independent antibody repertoires, including those from 73 healthy sera, using phage immunoprecipitation sequencing. The resulting database of peptide-antibody interactions characterizes each individual’s unique autoantibody fingerprint, and includes specificities found to occur frequently in the general population as well as those associated with disease. Screening type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients revealed a prematurely polyautoreactive phenotype compared with their matched controls. A collection of cerebrospinal fluids and sera from 63 multiple sclerosis patients uncovered novel, as well as previously reported antibody-peptide interactions. Finally, a screen of synovial fluids and sera from 64 rheumatoid arthritis patients revealed novel disease-associated antibody specificities that were independent of seropositivity status. This work demonstrates the utility of performing PhIP-Seq screens on large numbers of individuals and is another step toward defining the full complement of autoimmunoreactivities in health and disease.
doi:10.1016/j.jaut.2013.01.013
PMCID: PMC3677742  PMID: 23497938
autoantigen discovery; high throughput screening; PhIP-Seq; proteomics
4.  Multiple juvenile idiopathic arthritis subtypes demonstrate pro-inflammatory IgG glycosylation 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2012;64(9):3025-3033.
OBJECTIVES
Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with an excess of hypogalactosylated (G0) IgG that is considered relatively pro-inflammatory. Assessment of this association in juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is complicated by age-dependent IgG glycan variation. We undertook the first large-scale survey of IgG glycans in normal children and in patients with JIA, with a focus on early childhood, the time of peak JIA incidence.
METHODS
IgG glycans from healthy children and DMARD-naïve JIA patients were characterized using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Pro-inflammatory G0 glycans were quantitated with reference to monogalactosylated (G1) species. Associations were sought between G0/G1 and disease characteristics.
RESULTS
Among healthy children aged 9 months-16 years (n=165), G0/G1 was highly age-dependent, peaking in children <3 years old at 1.19 and declining to a nadir of 0.83 after age 10 years (Spearman ρ=0.60, p<0.0001). In patients with JIA (n=141), G0/G1 was elevated compared with controls (G0/G1 1.32 vs. 1.02, p<0.0001). Corrected for age, G0/G1 was abnormally high in all JIA subtypes (enthesitis-related arthritis not assessed), most strikingly in systemic JIA. Glycosylation aberrancy was comparable in patients with or without ANA and in both early- and late-onset disease, and exhibited at most a weak correlation with inflammatory markers.
CONCLUSIONS
IgG glycosylation is skewed toward pro-inflammatory G0 variants in healthy children, in particular during the first few years of life. This deviation is exaggerated in patients with JIA. The role for IgG glycan variation in immune function in children, including the predilection of JIA for early childhood, remains to be defined.
doi:10.1002/art.34507
PMCID: PMC3429730  PMID: 22549726
5.  Consensus Treatment Plans for New-Onset Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis 
Arthritis care & research  2012;64(7):1001-1010.
Objective
There is wide variation in therapeutic approaches to systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA) among North American rheumatologists. Understanding the comparative effectiveness of the diverse therapeutic options available for treatment of sJIA can result in better health outcomes. The Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA) developed consensus treatment plans and standardized assessment schedules for use in clinical practice to facilitate such studies.
Methods
Case-based surveys were administered to CARRA members to identify prevailing treatments for new-onset sJIA. A 2-day consensus conference in April 2010 employed modified nominal group technique to formulate preliminary treatment plans and determine important data elements for collection. Follow-up surveys were employed to refine the plans and assess clinical acceptability.
Results
The initial case-based survey identified significant variability among current treatment approaches for new onset sJIA, underscoring the utility of standardized plans to evaluate comparative effectiveness. We developed four consensus treatment plans for the first 9 months of therapy, as well as case definitions and clinical and laboratory monitoring schedules. The four treatment regimens included glucocorticoids only, or therapy with methotrexate, anakinra or tocilizumab, with or without glucocorticoids. This approach was approved by >78% of CARRA membership.
Conclusion
Four standardized treatment plans were developed for new-onset sJIA. Coupled with data collection at defined intervals, use of these treatment plans will create the opportunity to evaluate comparative effectiveness in an observational setting to optimize initial management of sJIA.
doi:10.1002/acr.21625
PMCID: PMC3368104  PMID: 22290637
6.  The exposure of autoantigens by microparticles underlies the formation of potent inflammatory components: the microparticle-associated immune complexes 
EMBO Molecular Medicine  2012;5(2):235-249.
Immunoglobulins, antigens and complement can assemble to form immune complexes (IC). ICs can be detrimental as they propagate inflammation in autoimmune diseases. Like ICs, submicron extracellular vesicles termed microparticles (MP) are present in the synovial fluid from patients affected with autoimmune arthritis. We examined MPs in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) using high sensitivity flow cytometry and electron microscopy. We find that the MPs in RA synovial fluid are highly heterogeneous in size. The observed larger MPs were in fact MP-containing ICs (mpICs) and account for the majority of the detectable ICs. These mpICs frequently express the integrin CD41, consistent with platelet origin. Despite expression of the Fc receptor FcγRIIa by platelet-derived MPs, we find that the mpICs form independently of this receptor. Rather, mpICs display autoantigens vimentin and fibrinogen, and recognition of these targets by anti-citrullinated peptide antibodies contributes to the production of mpICs. Functionally, platelet mpICs are highly pro-inflammatory, eliciting leukotriene production by neutrophils. Taken together, our data suggest a unique role for platelet MPs as autoantigen-expressing elements capable of perpetuating formation of inflammatory ICs.
doi:10.1002/emmm.201201846
PMCID: PMC3569640  PMID: 23165896
arthritis; autoantigens; immune complexes; microparticles; platelets
7.  Interleukin-33 Primes Mast Cells for Activation by IgG Immune Complexes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47252.
Mast cells (MCs) are heterogeneous cells whose phenotype is modulated by signals received from the local microenvironment. Recent studies have identified the mesenchymal-derived cytokine IL-33 as a potent direct activator of MCs, as well as regulator of their effector phenotype, and have implicated this activity in the ability of mast cells to contribute to murine experimental arthritis. We explored the hypothesis that IL-33 enables participation of synovial MCs in murine K/BxN arthritis by promoting their activation by IgG immune complexes. Compared to wild-type (WT) control mice, transgenic animals lacking the IL-33 receptor ST2 exhibited impaired MC-dependent immune complex-induced vascular permeability (flare) and attenuated K/BxN arthritis. Whereas participation of MCs in this model is mediated by the activating IgG receptor FcγRIII, we pre-incubated bone marrow-derived MCs with IL-33 and found not only direct induction of cytokine release but also a marked increase in FcγRIII-driven production of critical arthritogenic mediators including IL-1β and CXCL2. This “priming” effect was associated with mRNA accumulation rather than altered expression of Fcγ receptors, could be mimicked by co-culture of WT but not ST2−/− MCs with synovial fibroblasts, and was blocked by antibodies against IL-33. In turn, WT but not ST2−/− MCs augmented fibroblast expression of IL-33, forming a positive feedback circuit. Together, these findings confirm a novel role for IL-33 as an amplifier of IgG immune complex-mediated inflammation and identify a potential MC-fibroblast amplification loop dependent on IL-33 and ST2.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047252
PMCID: PMC3469528  PMID: 23071771
11.  Clinical comparison of early-onset psoriatic and non-psoriatic oligoarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis 
Objective
Among the seven subtypes of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), oligoarticular JIA (oJIA) and psoriatic JIA (psJIA) display a predilection for onset in early childhood. We examined whether meaningful differences in clinical phenotype justify the distinction between these conditions.
Methods
We performed a chart review to identify children with psoriatic and non-psoriatic oligoarticular-onset JIA. Clinical and demographic features of the two groups of children were compared.
Results
303 met criteria for oJIA and 87 met criteria for oligoarticular-onset psJIA. Both groups had a peak age of onset at 2 – 3 years, though psJIA had appreciable incidence into adolescence. Onset before 5 years of age was observed in 215 (71%) and 38 (44%) children respectively (p < 0.001). Within this age category, children with psJIA demonstrated similar gender ratio and anti-nuclear antibody status to those with oJIA but exhibited a distinctive clinical pattern, with a tendency to involve the wrists and small joints of the hands and feet. Conversely, among all children presenting with oligoarthritis in early childhood, those with wrist or small joint involvement were more likely to have nail pits, psoriasis, or a family history of psoriasis than those without (p < 0.05), supporting the association of this joint pattern with the psoriatic diathesis.
Conclusion
Even taking into account age of onset and number of joints, oJIA and psJIA remain clinically distinct, though important demographic overlap remains. These findings support separate diagnostic categories but justify further investigation into the similarities as well as differences among these children.
PMCID: PMC3166238  PMID: 21385553
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis; Psoriatic arthritis; Oligo-articular arthritis
12.  Hypogalactosylation of serum N-glycans fails to predict clinical response to methotrexate and TNF inhibition in rheumatoid arthritis 
Introduction
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with hypogalactosylation of immunoglobulin G (IgG). We examined whether a proxy measure for galactosylation of IgG N-glycans could predict response to therapy or was differentially affected by methotrexate (MTX) or TNF blockade.
Methods
Using a previously defined normal phase high-performance liquid chromatography approach, we ascertained the galactosylation status of whole serum N-glycans in two well-defined RA clinical cohorts: the Autoimmune Biomarkers Collaborative Network (n = 98) and Nested I (n = 64). The ratio of agalactosylated to monogalactosylated N-glycans in serum (sG0/G1) was determined before and during therapy with MTX or TNF inhibition and correlated with anticitrullinated peptide antibody (ACPA) status and clinical response as assessed by 28-joint Disease Activity Score utilizing C-reactive peptide and European League Against Rheumatism response criteria.
Results
RA patients from both cohorts exhibited elevation of sG0/G1 at baseline. Improvement in clinical scores correlated with a reduction in sG0/G1 (Spearman's ρ = 0.31 to 0.37; P < 0.05 for each cohort). However, pretreatment sG0/G1 was not predictive of clinical response. Changes in sG0/G1 were similar in the MTX and TNF inhibitor groups. Corrected for disease activity, ACPA positivity correlated with higher sG0/G1.
Conclusions
Baseline serum N-glycan hypogalactosylation, an index previously correlated with hypogalactosylation of IgG N-glycans, did not distinguish patients with rheumatoid arthritis who were likely to experience a favorable clinical response to MTX or TNF blockade. Clinical improvement was associated with partial glycan normalization. ACPA-positive patients demonstrated enhanced N-glycan aberrancy compared with ACPA-negative patients.
doi:10.1186/ar3756
PMCID: PMC3446410  PMID: 22390545
13.  C5a receptor enables participation of mast cells in immune complex arthritis independent of Fc γ receptor modulation 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(11):3322-3333.
OBJECTIVE
Mast cells are tissue-resident immune sentinels implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory joint disease. We hypothesized that complement fragments could be key activators of synovial mast cells in autoimmune arthritis.
METHODS
In vivo studies employed murine K/BxN arthritis, a distal symmetric polyarthritis mediated by IgG immune complexes. Expression of C5aR on synovial mast cells was determined by immunohistochemical and functional studies. C5aR−/− and control mast cells were engrafted into mast cell-deficient W/Wv mice to examine the requirement for this receptor in arthritis. C5aR-dependent activation of mast cells was investigated in C5aR−/− animals and in murine and human mast cell cultures.
RESULTS
Murine synovial mast cells express functional C5aR. Unlike their wild-type counterparts, C5aR−/− mast cells adoptively transferred into W/Wv mice were incompetent to restore arthritis, despite equivalent synovial engraftment. Activation of C5aR−/− mast cells by K/BxN serum in vivo remained intact, indicating that C5aR is dispensable for normal IgG-mediated triggering. Consistent with this result, cultured mast cells treated with C5a failed to modulate expression of Fc γ receptors (FcγR) or otherwise alter activation threshold. In human mast cells, C5a promoted production of the neutrophil chemotaxin interleukin 8, and recruitment of neutrophils at 24h after serum administration was impaired in C5aR−/− mice, suggesting that enhanced neutrophil chemoattractant production underlies the requirement for C5aR on mast cells in arthritis.
CONCLUSION
Stimulation via C5aR is required to unleash the pro-inflammatory activity of synovial mast cells in immune complex arthritis, albeit via a mechanism distinct from C5a-modulated FcγR expression.
doi:10.1002/art.27659
PMCID: PMC2970731  PMID: 20662064
14.  Neutrophils in autoantibody-mediated arthritis: critical producers of FcRγ , the receptor for C5a, and LFA-1 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(3):753-764.
Objective
Neutrophils represent a prominent component of inflammatory joint effusions and are required for synovial inflammation in mouse models, but mechanisms are poorly understood. We developed a system to test the importance of production of specific factors by neutrophils in a mouse model of arthritis.
Methods
Neutrophil-deficient Gfi-1−/− mice were sub-lethally irradiated, then engrafted with donor bone-marrow cells (BMC), which resulted in production of mature neutrophils within two weeks. By reconstituting with BMC from mice lacking selected pro-inflammatory factors, mice specifically lacking these factors on neutrophils were generated. Arthritis was initiated by transfer of K/BxN serum to identify the role of defined neutrophil factors on arthritis incidence and severity.
Results
Neutrophils lacking the signaling chain of stimulatory Fc receptors (FcRγ −/−) were unable to elicit arthritis, but neutrophils lacking Fcγ RIII still did so. Neutrophils lacking the chemotactic or adhesion receptors C5aR or CD11a/LFA-1 also failed to initiate arthritis but could enter joints in which inflammation had been initiated by wild-type neutrophils. Neutrophils unable to produce interleukin-1 α and β (IL-1αβ −/−) or leukotrienes (5-LO−/−) produced arthritis of intermediate severity. Inability of neutrophils to make tumor necrosis factor (TNF), or to express receptors for TNF or IL-1, had no effect on arthritis.
Conclusion
A novel transfer system was developed to identify neutrophil production of FcRγ , C5aR, and CD11a/LFA-1 as critical components of autoantibody-mediated arthritis. Neutrophil production of IL-1 and leukotriene B4 likely contributes to inflammation but is not essential. Molecular requirements for neutrophil influx into joints become more permissive after inflammation is initiated.
doi:10.1002/art.27238
PMCID: PMC3057458  PMID: 20191628
arthritis; neutrophils; mouse model; inflammation; autoantibodies
15.  Platelets Amplify Inflammation in Arthritis via Collagen-Dependent Microparticle Production 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2010;327(5965):580-583.
In addition to their pivotal role in thrombosis and wound repair, platelets participate in inflammatory responses. We investigated the role of platelets in the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis. We identified platelet microparticles—submicrometer vesicles elaborated by activated platelets—in joint fluid from patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of inflammatory arthritis, but not in joint fluid from patients with osteoarthritis. Platelet microparticles were proinflammatory, eliciting cytokine responses from synovial fibroblasts via interleukin-1. Consistent with these findings, depletion of platelets attenuated murine inflammatory arthritis. Using both pharmacologic and genetic approaches, we identified the collagen receptor glycoprotein VI as a key trigger for platelet microparticle generation in arthritis pathophysiology. Thus, these findings demonstrate a previously unappreciated role for platelets and their activation-induced microparticles in inflammatory joint diseases.
doi:10.1126/science.1181928
PMCID: PMC2927861  PMID: 20110505
16.  Mast cells contribute to autoimmune inflammatory arthritis via their tryptase•heparin complexes1 
Although mast cells (MCs) often are abundant in the synovial tissues of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), MC’s contribution to joint inflammation and cartilage loss remains poorly understood. MC-restricted tryptase•heparin complexes have pro-inflammatory activity, and significant amounts of hTryptase-β are present in RA synovial fluid. Mouse MC protease-6 (mMCP-6) is the ortholog of hTryptase-β, and this serine protease is abundant in the synovium of arthritic mice. We now report that C57BL/6 (B6) mice lacking their tryptase•heparin complexes have attenuated arthritic responses, with mMCP-6 as the dominant tryptase responsible for augmenting neutrophil infiltration in the K/B×N mouse serum-transfer arthritis model. While inflammation in this experimental arthritis model was not dependent on protease activated receptor-2, it was dependent on the chemokine receptor CXCR2. In support of the latter data, exposure of synovial fibroblasts to hTryptase-β•heparin or mMCP-6•heparin complexes resulted in expression of the neutrophil chemotactic factors CXCL1/KC, CXCL5/LIX, and CXCL8/IL-8. Our proteomics, histochemistry, and immunohistochemistry data also revealed substantial loss of cartilage-derived aggrecan proteoglycans in the arthritic joints of wild-type B6 mice but not mMCP-6-null B6 mice. These observations demonstrate the functional contribution of MC-restricted tryptase•heparin complexes in the K/B×N mouse arthritis model and connect our mouse findings with RA pathophysiology.
PMCID: PMC2610352  PMID: 19109198
mast cell; rheumatoid arthritis; inflammation; chemokines; transgenic/knockout mice
17.  Neutrophil-derived leukotriene B4 is required for inflammatory arthritis 
Neutrophils serve as a vanguard of the acute innate immune response to invading pathogens. Neutrophils are also abundant at sites of autoimmune inflammation, such as the rheumatoid joint, although their pathophysiologic role is incompletely defined and relevant effector functions remain obscure. Using genetic and pharmacologic approaches in the K/BxN serum transfer model of arthritis, we find that autoantibody-driven erosive synovitis is critically reliant on the generation of leukotrienes, and more specifically on leukotriene B4 (LTB4), for disease induction as well as perpetuation. Pursuing the cellular source for this mediator, we find via reconstitution experiments that mast cells are a dispensable source of leukotrienes, whereas arthritis susceptibility can be restored to leukotriene-deficient mice by intravenous administration of wild-type neutrophils. These experiments demonstrate a nonredundant role for LTB4 in inflammatory arthritis and define a neutrophil mediator involved in orchestrating the synovial eruption.
doi:10.1084/jem.20052371
PMCID: PMC2118292  PMID: 16567388
18.  Subpopulations Within Juvenile Psoriatic Arthritis: A Review of the Literature 
The presentation of juvenile psoriatic arthritis (JPsA) has long been recognized to be clinically heterogeneous. As the definition of JPsA expanded to accommodate atypical manifestations of psoriasis in young children, studies began to reflect an increasingly clear biphasic distribution of age of onset, with peaks in the first few years of life and again in early adolescence. These two subpopulations differ in gender ratio, pattern of joint involvement, laboratory findings and potentially response to therapy. Intriguingly, a similar distribution of age of onset has been observed in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), and correlates with patterns of HLA association. While a secure classification of subpopulations within JPsA awaits improved pathophysiologic understanding, future research must consider the possibility that different disease mechanisms may be operative in distinct subsets of patients with this disorder.
doi:10.1080/17402520600877802
PMCID: PMC2270751  PMID: 17162381
19.  Mast cells in inflammatory arthritis 
Mast cells are present in limited numbers in normal human synovium, but in rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory joint diseases this population can expand to constitute 5% or more of all synovial cells. Recent investigations in a murine model have demonstrated that mast cells can have a critical role in the generation of inflammation within the joint. This finding highlights the results of more than 20 years of research indicating that mast cells are frequent participants in non-allergic immune responses as well as in allergy. Equipped with a diversity of surface receptors and effector capabilities, mast cells are sentinels of the immune system, detecting and delivering a first response to invading bacteria and other insults. Accumulating within inflamed tissues, mast cells produce cytokines and other mediators that may contribute vitally to ongoing inflammation. Here we review some of the non-allergic functions of mast cells and focus on the potential role of these cells in murine and human inflammatory arthritis.
doi:10.1186/ar1446
PMCID: PMC1064877  PMID: 15642148
inflammation; mast cells; rheumatoid arthritis; synovitis; synovium

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