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1.  Caspase-1 Level in Synovial Fluid Is High in Patients with Spondyloarthropathy but Not in Patients with Gout 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2013;28(9):1289-1292.
Activation of caspase-1 by NALP3 inflammasomes has been shown to be important in initiating acute gouty arthritis. The objectives of this study were to measure the levels of caspase-1 in synovial fluid in gout and various arthritides, and to elucidate the clinical significance of caspase-1 levels in synovial fluid. Caspase-1, IL-1β, IL-18, and uric acid were measured in synovial fluid from 112 patients with gout and other arthritides, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and spondyloarthropathy. Caspase-1 in synovial fluid from patients with crystal-induced arthritis, inflammatory arthritis, osteoarthritis, and spondyloarthropathy was 35.9 ± 86.7, 49.7 ± 107.7, 2.1 ± 7.0, and 152.6 ± 155.7 pg/mL, respectively. The mean level and the frequency of high levels (≥125 pg/mL) of caspase-1 in spondyloarthropathy were significantly higher than those in the other arthritides including gout. Caspase-1 was detectible in the synovial fluid of patients with the various arthritides. Contrary to our hypothesis, the caspase-1 level in the synovial fluid of patients with gout was not higher than in that of other arthritides. High levels of caspase-1 may be helpful in differentiating spondyloarthropathy from other arthritides.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2013.28.9.1289
PMCID: PMC3763101  PMID: 24015032
Caspase-1; Synovial Fluid; Gout; Spondyloarthropathies
2.  Multicenter Retrospective Analysis of the Effectiveness and Safety of Rituximab in Korean Patients with Refractory Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Autoimmune Diseases  2012;2012:565039.
Objective. Although two recent randomized placebo-controlled trials of rituximab (RTX) failed to demonstrate efficacy in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), clinicians continue to use off-label RTX for cases refractory to current treatments. We evaluated the effectiveness and safety of rituximab for patients with refractory SLE in Korea. Methods. We retrospectively analyzed multicenter patients treated with RTX in Korea. Results. 39 SLE patients treated with RTX were included in the following manner: lupus nephritis 43.6%, hematologic 33.3%, arthritis 7.8%, myositis 7.8%, and others 7.7%. All patients had responded poorly to at least one conventional immunosuppressive agent (mean 2.5 ± 1.1, cyclophosphamide 43.6%, mycophenolate mofetil 48.7%, and other drugs) before RTX. Clinical improvements (complete or partial remission) occurred in patients with renal disease, hematologic disease, arthritis, myositis, and other manifestations at 6 months after RTX. The SLEDAI score was significantly decreased from 10.8 ± 7.1 at baseline to 6.7 ± 4.0 at 6 months, 6.2 ± 4.1 at 12 months, and 5.5 ± 3.6 at 24 months after RTX (P < 0.05). Among 28 clinical responders, 4 patients experienced a relapse of disease at 25 ± 4 months. Infections were noted in 3 patients (7.7%). Conclusion. RTX could be an effective and relatively safe therapeutic option in patients with severe refractory SLE until novel B-cell depletion therapy is available.
doi:10.1155/2012/565039
PMCID: PMC3523406  PMID: 23304457
3.  A Case of Peritoneal Tuberculosis Developed after Infliximab Therapy for Refractory RA 
Recently, interferon gamma releasing assay has been recommended to compensate the tuberculin skin test (TST) for screening for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI). Although it improved the detection of LTBI before treatment with tumor necrosis factor blocker, its application to immune suppressed patients is limited. We report a case of peritoneal tuberculosis (TB) developed in a patient who tested positive for TST and QuantiFERON-TB Gold (QFT-G) before infliximab therapy, to emphasize the importance of monitoring during treatment. A 52-year-old woman presented with abdominal distension. She had been diagnosed with seropositive rheumatoid arthritis six years ago. She had started taking infliximab six months ago. All screening tests for TB were performed and the results of all were negative. At admission, the results of repeated TST and QFT-G tests were positive. Histopathological examination confirmed peritoneal TB. The patient started anti-TB therapy and the symptoms were relieved.
doi:10.4046/trd.2012.73.4.234
PMCID: PMC3492425  PMID: 23166560
Peritonitis, Tuberculous; Infliximab
4.  Destabilization of TNF-α mRNA by Rapamycin 
Biomolecules & Therapeutics  2012;20(1):43-49.
Stimulation of mast cells through the high affinity IgE receptor (FcεRI) induces degranulation, lipid mediator release, and cytokine secretion leading to allergic reactions. Although various signaling pathways have been characterized to be involved in the FcεRI-mediated responses, little is known about the precious mechanism for the expression of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in mast cells. Here, we report that rapamycin, a specific inhibitor of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), reduces the expression of TNF-α in rat basophilic leukemia (RBL-2H3) cells. IgE or specific antigen stimulation of RBL-2H3 cells increases the expression of TNF-α and activates various signaling molecules including S6K1, Akt and p38 MAPK. Rapamycin specifically inhibits antigen-induced TNF-α mRNA level, while other kinase inhibitors have no effect on TNF-α mRNA level. These data indicate that mTOR signaling pathway is the main regulation mechanism for antigen-induced TNF-α expression. TNF-α mRNA stability analysis using reporter construct containing TNF-α adenylate/uridylate-rich elements (AREs) shows that rapamycin destabilizes TNF-α mRNA via regulating the AU-rich element of TNF-α mRNA. The antigen-induced activation of S6K1 is inhibited by specific kinase inhibitors including mTOR, PI3K, PKC and Ca2+chelator inhibitor, while TNF-α mRNA level is reduced only by rapamycin treatment. These data suggest that the effects of rapamycin on the expression of TNF-α mRNA are not mediated by S6K1 but regulated by mTOR. Taken together, our results reveal that mTOR signaling pathway is a novel regulation mechanism for antigen-induced TNF-α expression in RBL-2H3 cells.
doi:10.4062/biomolther.2012.20.1.043
PMCID: PMC3792200  PMID: 24116273
Mast cells; S6K1; Rapamycin; mTOR; mRNA; Stability
5.  Association Between a Functional Variant Downstream of TNFAIP3 and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Nature genetics  2011;43(3):253-258.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE, OMIM 152700) is an autoimmune disease characterized by self-reactive antibodies resulting in systemic inflammation and organ failure. TNFAIP3, encoding the ubiquitin-modifying enzyme A20, is an established susceptibility locus for SLE. By fine mapping and genomic resequencing in ethnically diverse populations we fully characterized the TNFAIP3 risk haplotype and isolated a novel TT>A polymorphic dinucleotide associated with SLE in subjects of European (P = 1.58 × 10−8; odds ratio (OR) = 1.70) and Korean (P = 8.33 × 10−10; OR = 2.54) ancestry. This variant, located in a region of high conservation and regulatory potential, bound a nuclear protein complex comprised of NF-κB subunits with reduced avidity. Furthermore, compared with the non-risk haplotype, the haplotype carrying this variant resulted in reduced TNFAIP3 mRNA and A20 protein expression. These results establish this TT>A variant as the most likely functional polymorphism responsible for the association between TNFAIP3 and SLE.
doi:10.1038/ng.766
PMCID: PMC3103780  PMID: 21336280
6.  Peptidyl arginine deiminase type IV (PADI4) haplotypes interact with shared epitope regardless of anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody or erosive joint status in rheumatoid arthritis: a case control study 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(3):R115.
Introduction
Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide autoantibodies (anti-CCP) are the most specific serologic marker for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Genetic polymorphisms in a citrullinating (or deiminating) enzyme, peptidyl arginine deiminase type IV (PADI4) have been reproducibly associated with RA susceptibility in several populations. We investigated whether PADI4 polymorphisms contribute to anti-CCP-negative as well as -positive RA, whether they influence disease severity (erosive joint status), and whether they interact with two major risk factors for RA, Human Leukocyte Antigen-DRB1 (HLA-DRB1) shared epitope (SE) alleles and smoking, depending on anti-CCP and erosive joint status.
Methods
All 2,317 unrelated Korean subjects including 1,313 patients with RA and 1,004 unaffected controls were genotyped for three nonsynonymous (padi4_89, padi4_90, and padi4_92) and one synonymous (padi4_104) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in PADI4 and for HLA-DRB1 by direct DNA sequence analysis. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated by multivariate logistic regression. Interaction was evaluated by attributable proportions (AP), with 95% confidence intervals (CI).
Results
A functional haplotype of the three fully correlated nonsynonymous SNPs in PADI4 was significantly associated with susceptibility to not only anti-CCP-positive (adjusted OR 1.73, 95% CI 1.34 to 2.23) but also -negative RA (adjusted OR 1.75, 95% CI 1.15 to 2.68). A strong association with both non-erosive (adjusted OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.29 to 2.05) and erosive RA (adjusted OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.14 to 2.31) was observed for PADI4 haplotype. Gene-gene interactions between the homozygous RA-risk PADI4 haplotype and SE alleles were significant in both anti-CCP-positive (AP 0.45, 95% CI 0.20 to 0.71) and -negative RA (AP 0.61, 95% CI 0.29 to 0.92). Theses interactions were also observed for both non-erosive (AP 0.48, 95% CI 0.25 to 0.72) and erosive RA (AP 0.46, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.78). In contrast, no interaction was observed between smoking and PADI4 polymorphisms.
Conclusions
A haplotype of nonsynonymous SNPs in PADI4 contributes to development of RA regardless of anti-CCP or erosive joint status. The homozygous PADI4 haplotype contribution is affected by gene-gene interactions with HLA-DRB1 SE alleles.
doi:10.1186/ar3051
PMCID: PMC2911908  PMID: 20537173
7.  Phenotypic associations of genetic susceptibility loci in systemic lupus erythematosus 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2011;70(10):1752-1757.
Objective
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a clinically heterogeneous autoimmune disease. A number of genetic loci that increase lupus susceptibility have been established. This study examines if these genetic loci also contribute to the clinical heterogeneity in lupus.
Materials and methods
4001 European-derived, 1547 Hispanic, 1590 African-American and 1191 Asian lupus patients were genotyped for 16 confirmed lupus susceptibility loci. Ancestry informative markers were genotyped to calculate and adjust for admixture. The association between the risk allele in each locus was determined and compared in patients with and without the various clinical manifestations included in the ACR criteria.
Results
Renal disorder was significantly correlated with the lupus risk allele in ITGAM (p=5.0×10−6, OR 1.25, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.35) and in TNFSF4 (p=0.0013, OR 1.14, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.25). Other significant findings include the association between risk alleles in FCGR2A and malar rash (p=0.0031, OR 1.11, 95% CI 1.17 to 1.33), ITGAM and discoid rash (p=0.0020, OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.33), STAT4 and protection from oral ulcers (p=0.0027, OR 0.89, 95% CI 0.83 to 0.96) and IL21 and haematological disorder (p=0.0027, OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.22). All these associations are significant with a false discovery rate of <0.05 and pass the significance threshold using Bonferroni correction for multiple testing.
Conclusion
Significant associations were found between lupus clinical manifestations and the FCGR2A, ITGAM, STAT4, TNSF4 and IL21 genes. The findings suggest that genetic profiling might be a useful tool to predict disease manifestations in lupus patients in the future.
doi:10.1136/ard.2011.154104
PMCID: PMC3232181  PMID: 21719445
8.  Role of MYH9 and APOL1 in African and non-African populations with Lupus Nephritis 
Genes and Immunity  2011;13(3):232-238.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibody production and organ damage. Lupus nephritis (LN) is one of the most severe manifestations of SLE. Multiple studies reported associations between renal diseases and variants in the non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 (MYH9) and the neighboring apolipoprotein L 1 (APOL1) genes. We evaluated 167 variants spanning MYH9 for association with LN in a multiethnic sample. The two previously identified risk variants in APOL1 were also tested for association with LN in European-Americans (EAs) (N = 579) and African-Americans (AAs) (N = 407). Multiple peaks of association exceeding a Bonferroni corrected p-value of p < 2.03 × 10−3 were observed between LN and MYH9 in EAs (N=4620), with the most pronounced association at rs2157257 (p = 4.7 × 10−4; odds ratio [OR]=1.205). A modest effect with MYH9 was also detected in Gullah (rs8136069, p = 0.0019, OR = 2.304). No association between LN and MYH9 was found in AAs, Asians, Amerindians or Hispanics. This study provides the first investigation of MYH9 in LN in non-Africans and of APOL1 in LN in any population and presents novel insight into the potential role of MYH9 in LN in EAs.
doi:10.1038/gene.2011.82
PMCID: PMC3330160  PMID: 22189356
MYH9; APOL1; lupus nephritis; systemic lupus erythematosus; multiethnic association study
9.  Association of Genetic Variants in Complement Factor H and Factor H-Related Genes with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Susceptibility 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(5):e1002079.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a complex polygenic autoimmune disease, is associated with increased complement activation. Variants of genes encoding complement regulator factor H (CFH) and five CFH-related proteins (CFHR1-CFHR5) within the chromosome 1q32 locus linked to SLE, have been associated with multiple human diseases and may contribute to dysregulated complement activation predisposing to SLE. We assessed 60 SNPs covering the CFH-CFHRs region for association with SLE in 15,864 case-control subjects derived from four ethnic groups. Significant allelic associations with SLE were detected in European Americans (EA) and African Americans (AA), which could be attributed to an intronic CFH SNP (rs6677604, in intron 11, Pmeta = 6.6×10−8, OR = 1.18) and an intergenic SNP between CFHR1 and CFHR4 (rs16840639, Pmeta = 2.9×10−7, OR = 1.17) rather than to previously identified disease-associated CFH exonic SNPs, including I62V, Y402H, A474A, and D936E. In addition, allelic association of rs6677604 with SLE was subsequently confirmed in Asians (AS). Haplotype analysis revealed that the underlying causal variant, tagged by rs6677604 and rs16840639, was localized to a ∼146 kb block extending from intron 9 of CFH to downstream of CFHR1. Within this block, the deletion of CFHR3 and CFHR1 (CFHR3-1Δ), a likely causal variant measured using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification, was tagged by rs6677604 in EA and AS and rs16840639 in AA, respectively. Deduced from genotypic associations of tag SNPs in EA, AA, and AS, homozygous deletion of CFHR3-1Δ (Pmeta = 3.2×10−7, OR = 1.47) conferred a higher risk of SLE than heterozygous deletion (Pmeta = 3.5×10−4, OR = 1.14). These results suggested that the CFHR3-1Δ deletion within the SLE-associated block, but not the previously described exonic SNPs of CFH, might contribute to the development of SLE in EA, AA, and AS, providing new insights into the role of complement regulators in the pathogenesis of SLE.
Author Summary
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex autoimmune disease, associated with increased complement activation. Previous studies have provided evidence for the presence of SLE susceptibility gene(s) in the chromosome 1q31-32 locus. Within 1q32, genes encoding complement regulator factor H (CFH) and five CFH-related proteins (CFHR1-CFHR5) may contribute to the development of SLE, because genetic variants of these genes impair complement regulation and predispose to various human diseases. In this study, we tested association of genetic variants in the region containing CFH and CFHRs with SLE. We identified genetic variants predisposing to SLE in European American, African American, and Asian populations, which might be attributed to the deletion of CFHR3 and CFHR1 genes but not previously identified disease-associated exonic variants of CFH. This study provides the first evidence for consistent association between CFH/CFHRs and SLE across multi-ancestral SLE datasets, providing new insights into the role of complement regulators in the pathogenesis of SLE.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002079
PMCID: PMC3102741  PMID: 21637784
10.  Genetic Associations of LYN with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Genes and immunity  2009;10(5):397-403.
We targeted LYN, a src-tyosine kinase involved in B cell activation, in case-control association studies using populations of European American, African American and Korean subjects. Our combined European-derived population, consisting of 2463 independent cases and 3131 unrelated controls, demonstrates significant association with rs6983130 in a female-only analysis with 2254 cases and 2228 controls (p=1.1 × 10−4, OR=0.81 (95% CI: 0.73 – 0.90)). This SNP is located in the 5′ UTR within the first intron near the transcription initiation site of LYN. Additional SNPs upstream of the first exon also show weak and sporadic association in subsets of the total European American population. Multivariate logistic regression analysis implicates rs6983130 as a protective factor for SLE susceptibility when anti-dsDNA, anti-chromatin, anti-52 kDa Ro or anti-Sm autoantibody status were used as covariates. Subset analysis of the European American female cases by ACR classification criteria reveals a reduction in the risk of hematologic disorder with rs6983130 compared to cases without hematologic disorders (p=1.5 × 10−3, OR=0.75 (95% C.I.=0.62-0.89)). None of the 90 SNPs tested demonstrate significant association with SLE in the African American or Korean populations. These results support an association of LYN with European-derived individuals with SLE, especially within autoantibody or clinical subsets.
doi:10.1038/gene.2009.19
PMCID: PMC2750001  PMID: 19369946
systemic lupus erythematosus; association; LYN; SNP

Results 1-10 (10)