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2.  Increased Blood Levels of Growth Factors, Proinflammatory Cytokines, and Th17 Cytokines in Patients with Newly Diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(12):e0142976.
The production of several cytokines could be dysregulated in type 1 diabetes (T1D). In particular, the activation of T helper (Th) type 1 (Th1) cells has been proposed to underlie the autoimmune pathogenesis of the disease, although roles for inflammatory processes and the Th17 pathway have also been shown. Nevertheless, despite evidence for the role of cytokines before and at the onset of T1D, the corresponding findings are inconsistent across studies. Moreover, conflicting data exist regarding the blood cytokine levels in T1D patients. The current study was performed to investigate genetic and autoantibody markers in association with the peripheral blood cytokine profiles by xMap multiplex technology in newly diagnosed young T1D patients and age-matched healthy controls. The onset of young-age T1D was characterized by the upregulation of growth factors, including granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and interleukin (IL)-7, the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β (but not IL-6 or tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-α), Th17 cytokines, and the regulatory cytokines IL-10 and IL-27. Ketoacidosis and autoantibodies (anti-IA-2 and -ZnT8), but not human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genotype, influenced the blood cytokine levels. These findings broaden the current understanding of the dysregulation of systemic levels of several key cytokines at the young-age onset of T1D and provide a further basis for the development of novel immunoregulatory treatments in this disease.
PMCID: PMC4670260  PMID: 26636339
3.  Changes in Blood B Cell-Activating Factor (BAFF) Levels in Multiple Sclerosis: A Sign of Treatment Outcome 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(11):e0143393.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is mediated primarily by autoreactive T cells. However, evidence suggesting the involvement of humoral immunity in brain diseases has increased interest in the role of B cells and their products during MS pathogenesis. The major survival factor for B cells, BAFF has been shown to play a role in several autoimmune conditions. Elevated BAFF levels have been reported in MS animal model and during MS relapse in patients. Moreover, disease-modifying treatments (DMT) reportedly influence blood BAFF levels in MS patients, but the significance of these changes remains unclear. The present study addresses how blood BAFF levels are associated with the clinical course of relapsing-remitting MS and the effectiveness of DMT and short-term steroid treatment. During a prospective longitudinal follow-up of 2.3 years, BAFF was measured in the blood of 170 MS patients in the stable phase and within 186 relapses. BAFF levels were significantly higher in MS patients compared to healthy controls. However, stable MS patients without relapses exhibited significantly higher BAFF levels than relapsing patients. Treatment with interferon-β and immunosuppressants raised BAFF blood levels. Interestingly, a similar effect was not seen in patients treated with glatiramer acetate. Short-term treatment with high doses of intravenous methylprednisolone did not significantly alter plasma BAFF levels in 65% of relapsing-remitting MS patients. BAFF were correlated weakly but significantly with monocyte and basophil counts, but not with other blood cell types (neutrophils, lymphocytes, or eosinophils) or inflammatory biomarkers. To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating that higher blood BAFF levels may reflect a more stable and effective MS treatment outcome. These results challenge hypotheses suggesting that elevated blood BAFF levels are associated with more severe disease presentation and could explain the recent failure of pharmaceutical trials targeting BAFF with soluble receptor for MS treatment.
PMCID: PMC4658115  PMID: 26600308
4.  Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies confirms a susceptibility locus for knee osteoarthritis on chromosome 7q22 
Evangelou, Evangelos | Valdes, Ana M. | Kerkhof, Hanneke J.M | Styrkarsdottir, Unnur | Zhu, YanYan | Meulenbelt, Ingrid | Lories, Rik J. | Karassa, Fotini B. | Tylzanowski, Przemko | Bos, Steffan D. | Akune, Toru | Arden, Nigel K. | Carr, Andrew | Chapman, Kay | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Dai, Jin | Deloukas, Panos | Doherty, Michael | Doherty, Sally | Engstrom, Gunnar | Gonzalez, Antonio | Halldorsson, Bjarni V. | Hammond, Christina L. | Hart, Deborah J. | Helgadottir, Hafdis | Hofman, Albert | Ikegawa, Shiro | Ingvarsson, Thorvaldur | Jiang, Qing | Jonsson, Helgi | Kaprio, Jaakko | Kawaguchi, Hiroshi | Kisand, Kalle | Kloppenburg, Margreet | Kujala, Urho M. | Lohmander, L. Stefan | Loughlin, John | Luyten, Frank P. | Mabuchi, Akihiko | McCaskie, Andrew | Nakajima, Masahiro | Nilsson, Peter M. | Nishida, Nao | Ollier, William E.R. | Panoutsopoulou, Kalliope | van de Putte, Tom | Ralston, Stuart H. | Rivadeneira, Fernado | Saarela, Janna | Schulte-Merker, Stefan | Slagboom, P. Eline | Sudo, Akihiro | Tamm, Agu | Tamm, Ann | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Tsezou, Aspasia | Wallis, Gillian A. | Wilkinson, J. Mark | Yoshimura, Noriko | Zeggini, Eleftheria | Zhai, Guangju | Zhang, Feng | Jonsdottir, Ingileif | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | Felson, David T | van Meurs, Joyce B. | Stefansson, Kari | Ioannidis, John P.A. | Spector, Timothy D.
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2010;70(2):349-355.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent form of arthritis and accounts for substantial morbidity and disability, particularly in the elderly. It is characterized by changes in joint structure including degeneration of the articular cartilage and its etiology is multifactorial with a strong postulated genetic component. We performed a meta-analysis of four genome-wide association (GWA) studies of 2,371 knee OA cases and 35,909 controls in Caucasian populations. Replication of the top hits was attempted with data from additional ten replication datasets. With a cumulative sample size of 6,709 cases and 44,439 controls, we identified one genome-wide significant locus on chromosome 7q22 for knee OA (rs4730250, p-value=9.2×10−9), thereby confirming its role as a susceptibility locus for OA. The associated signal is located within a large (500kb) linkage disequilibrium (LD) block that contains six genes; PRKAR2B (protein kinase, cAMP-dependent, regulatory, type II, beta), HPB1 (HMG-box transcription factor 1), COG5 (component of oligomeric golgi complex 5), GPR22 (G protein-coupled receptor 22), DUS4L (dihydrouridine synthase 4-like), and BCAP29 (the B-cell receptor-associated protein 29). Gene expression analyses of the (six) genes in primary cells derived from different joint tissues confirmed expression of all the genes in the joint environment.
PMCID: PMC3615180  PMID: 21068099
5.  Two Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms in ADAM12 Gene Are Associated with Early and Late Radiographic Knee Osteoarthritis in Estonian Population 
Arthritis  2013;2013:878126.
Objectives. To investigate associations of selected single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ADAM12 gene with radiographic knee osteoarthritis (rKOA) in Estonian population. Methods. The rs3740199, rs1871054, rs1278279, and rs1044122 SNPs in ADAM12 gene were genotyped in 438 subjects (303 women) from population-based cohort, aged 32 to 57 (mean 45.4). The rKOA features were evaluated in the tibiofemoral joint (TFJ) and patellofemoral joint. Results. The early rKOA was found in 51.4% of investigated subjects (72% women) and 12.3% of participants (63% women) had advanced stage of diseases. The A allele of synonymous SNP rs1044122 was associated with early rKOA in TFJ, predominantly with the presence of osteophytes in females (OR 1.57; 95% CI 1.08–2.29, P = 0.018). The C allele of intron polymorphism rs1871054 carried risk for advanced rKOA, mostly to osteophyte formation in TFJ in males (OR 3.03; 95% CI 1.11–7.53, P = 0.018). Also the CCAA haplotype of ADAM12 was associated with osteophytosis, again mostly in TFJ in males (P = 0.014). For rs3740199 and rs1278279, no statistically significant associations were observed. Conclusion.  ADAM12 gene variants are related to rKOA risk during the early and late stages of diseases. The genetic risk seems to be predominantly associated with the appearance of osteophytes—a marker of bone remodelling and neochondrogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3625563  PMID: 23606964
7.  Large Scale Replication Study of the Association between HLA Class II/BTNL2 Variants and Osteoarthritis of the Knee in European-Descent Populations 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23371.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and a major cause of disability. This study evaluates the association in Caucasian populations of two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) mapping to the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) region and deriving from a genome wide association scan (GWAS) of knee OA in Japanese populations. The frequencies for rs10947262 were compared in 36,408 controls and 5,749 knee OA cases from European-descent populations. rs7775228 was tested in 32,823 controls and 1,837 knee OA cases of European descent. The risk (major) allele at rs10947262 in Caucasian samples was not significantly associated with an odds ratio (OR)  = 1.07 (95%CI 0.94 -1.21; p = 0.28). For rs7775228 the meta-analysis resulted in OR = 0.94 (95%CI 0.81-1.09; p = 0.42) for the allele associated with risk in the Japanese GWAS. In Japanese individuals these two SNPs are in strong linkage disequilibrium (LD) (r2 = 0.86) with the HLA class II haplotype DRB1*1502 DQA1*0103 DQB1*0601 (frequency 8%). In Caucasian and Chinese samples, using imputed data, these SNPs appear not to be in LD with that haplotype (r2<0.07). The rs10947262 and rs7775228 variants are not associated with risk of knee OA in European descent populations and they do not appear tag the same HLA class II haplotype as they do in Japanese individuals.
PMCID: PMC3154440  PMID: 21853121
8.  Chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis in APECED or thymoma patients correlates with autoimmunity to Th17-associated cytokines 
Chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis (CMC) is frequently associated with T cell immunodeficiencies. Specifically, the proinflammatory IL-17A–producing Th17 subset is implicated in protection against fungi at epithelial surfaces. In autoimmune polyendocrinopathy candidiasis ectodermal dystrophy (APECED, or autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome 1), CMC is often the first sign, but the underlying immunodeficiency is a long-standing puzzle. In contrast, the subsequent endocrine features are clearly autoimmune, resulting from defects in thymic self-tolerance induction caused by mutations in the autoimmune regulator (AIRE). We report severely reduced IL-17F and IL-22 responses to both Candida albicans antigens and polyclonal stimulation in APECED patients with CMC. Surprisingly, these reductions are strongly associated with neutralizing autoantibodies to IL-17F and IL-22, whereas responses were normal and autoantibodies infrequent in APECED patients without CMC. Our multicenter survey revealed neutralizing autoantibodies against IL-17A (41%), IL-17F (75%), and/ or IL-22 (91%) in >150 APECED patients, especially those with CMC. We independently found autoantibodies against these Th17-produced cytokines in rare thymoma patients with CMC. The autoantibodies preceded the CMC in all informative cases. We conclude that IL-22 and IL-17F are key natural defenders against CMC and that the immunodeficiency underlying CMC in both patient groups has an autoimmune basis.
PMCID: PMC2822605  PMID: 20123959
9.  Allelic variants in the PHTF1-PTPN22, C12orf30 and CD226 regions as candidate susceptibility factors for the type 1 diabetes in the Estonian population 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:11.
Type 1 diabetes is a multifactorial disease with a strong genetic component. The aim of the study was to assess the impact of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in several genes as susceptible markers in the risk of type 1 diabetes in the Estonian population. Methods: The rs6679677 (1p13), rs17696736 (12q24) and rs763361 (18q22) were genotyped in a total of 230 controls and 154 type 1 diabetes patients of Estonian origin.
The rs6679677 A (OR = 2.13, 95%CI = 1.48-3.08, p = 0.00001), rs17696736 G (OR = 1.53, 95%CI = 1.14-2.04, p = 0.0046) and rs763361 T (OR = 1.48, 95%CI = 1.11-1.98, p = 0.0084) alleles were associated with risk of type 1 diabetes.
The current study supports the rs6679677 (PHTF1-PTPN22), rs17696736 (C12orf30) and rs763361 (CD226) SNPs as susceptibility factors for type 1 diabetes outside the major histocompatibility region (MHC) region. The full study had 80% or above to detect an odds ratio of 1.8 under the assumption of an additive model at type 1 error rate, α = 0.05.
PMCID: PMC2830196  PMID: 20089178

Results 1-9 (9)