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1.  Progress in defining clinically meaningful changes for clinical trials in nonrenal manifestations of SLE disease activity 
Since the 2002 Dusseldorf meeting, one new agent, Benlysta, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for systemic lupus erythematosus. Experiences from the field in conducting trials of all the agents tested during this period have provided valuable practical insights. There has been incremental progress in defining the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) of key disease manifestations and the view is largely that of the health care providers and not that of the person suffering the disease. This basic methodological work on the MCID should improve the efficiency and the clinical relevance of future trials and their design.
PMCID: PMC4718037  PMID: 26732314
2.  Factors Contributing to Discordance between the 2011 ACR/EULAR Criteria and Physician Clinical Judgment for the Identification of Remission in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2016;31(12):1907-1913.
Remission is a primary end point of in clinical practice and trials of treatments for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The 2011 American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism (ACR/EULAR) remission criteria were developed to provide a consensus definition of remission. This study aimed to assess the concordance between the new remission criteria and the physician’s clinical judgment of remission and also to identify factors that affect the discordance between these two approaches. A total of 3,209 patients with RA were included from the KORean Observational Study Network for Arthritis (KORONA) database. The frequency of remission was evaluated based on each approach. The agreement between the results was estimated by Cohen’s kappa (κ). Patients with remission according to the 2011 ACR/EULAR criteria (i.e. the Boolean criteria) and/or physician judgment (n = 855) were divided into three groups: concordant remission, the Boolean criteria only, and physician judgment only. Multinomial logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors responsible for the assignment of patients with remission to one of the discordant groups rather than the concordant group. The remission rates using the Boolean criteria and physician judgment were 10.5% and 19.9%, respectively. The agreement between two approaches for remission was low (κ = 0.226) and the concordant remission rate was only 5.5% (n = 177). Pain affected classification in both discordant groups, whereas fatigue was associated with remission only by physician clinical judgment. The Boolean criteria were more stringent than clinical judgment. Patient subjective symptoms such as pain and fatigue were associated with discordance between the two approaches.
Graphical Abstract
PMCID: PMC5102853  PMID: 27822928
Arthritis, Rheumatoid; Remission; Discordance
3.  Evaluation of TRAF6 in a Large Multi-Ancestral Lupus Cohort 
Arthritis and Rheumatism  2012;64(6):1960-1969.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a heterogeneous autoimmune disease with significant immune system aberrations resulting from complex heritable genetics as well as environmental factors. TRAF6 is a candidate gene for SLE, which has a major role in several signaling pathways that are important for immunity and organ development.
Fifteen single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), across TRAF6 were evaluated in 7,490 SLE and 6,780 control subjects from different ancestries. Population-based case-control association analyses and meta-analyses were performed. P values, false discovery rate q values, and odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were calculated.
Evidence of associations in multiple SNPs was detected. The best overall p values were obtained for SNPs rs5030437 and rs4755453 (p=7.85×10−5 and p=4.73×10−5, respectively) without significant heterogeneity among populations (p=0.67 and p=0.50 in Q-statistic). In addition, rs540386 previously reported to be associated with RA was found to be in LD with these two SNPs (r2= 0.95) and demonstrated evidence of association with SLE in the same direction (meta-analysis p=9.15×10−4, OR=0.89, 95%CI=0.83–0.95). Thrombocytopenia improved the overall results in different populations (meta-analysis p=1.99×10−6, OR=0.57, 95%CI=0.45–0.72, for rs5030470). Finally evidence of family based association in 34 African-American pedigrees with the presence of thrombocytopenia were detected in one available SNP rs5030437 with Z score magnitude of 2.28 (p=0.02) under a dominant model.
Our data indicate the presence of association of TRAF6 with SLE in agreement with the previous report of association with RA. These data provide further support for the involvement of TRAF6 in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity.
PMCID: PMC3380425  PMID: 22231568
TRAF6; polymorphism; systemic lupus erythematosus
4.  Prevalence and possible causes of hypouricemia at a tertiary care hospital 
We aimed to investigate the prevalence and possible causes of hypouricemia in the Korean population and to compare our findings with published results of other populations.
We examined the serum uric acid levels of 30,757 subjects who had their uric acid values measured at least once during a 1-year period. All individuals with hypouricemia (serum uric acid < 2.0 mg/dL, n = 424) were reviewed with respect to medical drug history and concomitant diseases previously identified as being associated with hypouricemia.
The prevalence of hypouricemia was 4.14% (299/7,223) among inpatients and 0.53% (125/23,534) among outpatients, for an overall prevalence of 1.39% (424/30,757). Possible causes associated with hypouricemia were found to be solid or hematologic malignancies (n = 86), diabetes mellitus (n = 56), and therapeutic drugs (n = 29). The medications were allopurinol (n = 11), angiotensin II receptor blockers (n = 10), salicylates (n = 6), febuxostat (n = 1), and warfarin (n = 1). In the remaining 226 individuals, the cause of hypouricemia was not identified.
Hypouricemia is relatively common in the Korean population compared to those of other countries. The possible causes associated with hypouricemia are related to underlying diseases and medications.
PMCID: PMC5016282  PMID: 26956409
Hypouricemia; Uric acid
5.  Drug retention and safety of TNF inhibitors in elderly patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
The concerns about the development of adverse events (AEs) in elderly RA patients as a result of age-related changes in drug metabolism and the presence of comorbid illnesses are emphasizing due to increasing prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in old age. However, they tend to be inadequately represented in RA clinical trials because of the exclusion criteria that are commonly applied. The tolerability and safety of TNF inhibitors in elderly patients have not been also evaluated in clinical practice. This study aimed to evaluate the retention rate and safety of TNF inhibitors (TNFI) in elderly RA patients.
Total 429 RA patients (838 person-years [PYs]) treated with TNFI from a retrospective biologic DMARDs registry. Patients were divided into an elderly (age ≥60 years) and a younger group (<60 years). The drug retention rates of both groups were compared using Kaplan-Meier curves. Potential predictors of TNFI discontinuation in the elderly were examined using Cox regression analysis. The incidence rate (IR) of serious adverse events (SAEs) in the elderly group was compared to that of the young group.
Of the patients, 24.9 % (n = 107, 212 PYs) were in the elderly group. Regarding the retention rates of TNFI in 3 years, there was no significant difference between the elderly and younger group (p = 0.33). The major cause of discontinuation in elderly patients was AE (34.3 %), whereas that was drug ineffectiveness (41.7 %) in younger patients. Age (HR 1.09, CI 1.02-1.16) was a predictor of discontinuation, while the presence of comorbidity (HR 0.37, CI 0.15-0.91) had a protective effect against drug discontinuation in the elderly. The IR of SAEs in the elderly (6.13/100 PYs) was higher than in the younger group (5.11/100 PYs).
The retention rate of TNFI in the elderly was comparable with that in younger patients. The major cause of discontinuation in the elderly patients was AEs, while it was drug ineffectiveness in younger patients. The IR of SAEs in the elderly was higher than in the younger patients.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12891-016-1185-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4977640  PMID: 27507033
Rheumatoid arthritis; TNF inhibitor; Elderly; Safety; Drug retention rate
6.  Association-heterogeneity mapping identifies an Asian-specific association of the GTF2I locus with rheumatoid arthritis 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:27563.
Considerable sharing of disease alleles among populations is well-characterized in autoimmune disorders (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis), but there are some exceptional loci showing heterogenic association among populations. Here we investigated genetic variants with distinct effects on the development of rheumatoid arthritis in Asian and European populations. Ancestry-related association heterogeneity was examined using Cochran’s homogeneity tests for the disease association data from large Asian (n = 14,465; 9,299 discovery subjects and 5,166 validation subjects; 4 collections) and European (n = 45,790; 11 collections) rheumatoid arthritis case-control cohorts with Immunochip and genome-wide SNP array data. We identified significant heterogeneity between the two ancestries for the common variants in the GTF2I locus (PHeterogeneity = 9.6 × 10−9 at rs73366469) and showed that this heterogeneity was due to an Asian-specific association effect (ORMeta = 1.37 and PMeta = 4.2 × 10−13 in Asians; ORMeta = 1.00 and PMeta = 1.00 in Europeans). Trans-ancestral comparison and bioinfomatics analysis revealed a plausibly causal or disease-variant-tagging SNP (rs117026326; in linkage disequilibrium with rs73366469), whose minor allele is common in Asians but rare in Europeans. In conclusion, we identified largest-ever effect on Asian rheumatoid arthritis across human non-HLA regions at GTF2I by heterogeneity mapping followed by replication studies, and pinpointed a possible causal variant.
PMCID: PMC4897688  PMID: 27272985
7.  Imputing Variants in HLA-DR Beta Genes Reveals That HLA-DRB1 Is Solely Associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(2):e0150283.
The genetic association of HLA-DRB1 with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is well documented, but association with other HLA-DR beta genes (HLA-DRB3, HLA-DRB4 and HLA-DRB5) has not been thoroughly studied, despite their similar functions and chromosomal positions. We examined variants in all functional HLA-DR beta genes in RA and SLE patients and controls, down to the amino-acid level, to better understand disease association with the HLA-DR locus. To this end, we improved an existing HLA reference panel to impute variants in all protein-coding HLA-DR beta genes. Using the reference panel, HLA variants were inferred from high-density SNP data of 9,271 RA-control subjects and 5,342 SLE-control subjects. Disease association tests were performed by logistic regression and log-likelihood ratio tests. After imputation using the newly constructed HLA reference panel and statistical analysis, we observed that HLA-DRB1 variants better accounted for the association between MHC and susceptibility to RA and SLE than did the other three HLA-DRB variants. Moreover, there were no secondary effects in HLA-DRB3, HLA-DRB4, or HLA-DRB5 in RA or SLE. Of all the HLA-DR beta chain paralogs, those encoded by HLA-DRB1 solely or dominantly influence susceptibility to RA and SLE.
PMCID: PMC4769216  PMID: 26919467
8.  The frequency of and risk factors for osteoporosis in Korean patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of osteoporosis in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and to analyze the risk factors in these patients using the KORean Observational study Network for Arthritis (KORONA) database.
Among the RA patients in the KORONA who were recruited between July 2009 and December 2011, postmenopausal women with bone mineral density (BMD) results within one year from the time of KORONA enrollment were included in this study. The baseline characteristics of patients in three groups, defined by BMD results, were compared. The BMD measurement rates and prevalence of osteoporosis in the study patients were calculated in accordance with age and gender subgroups. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to explore the association between osteoporosis and demographics and disease-related risk factors.
Of 1322 postmenopausal woman patients with RA in whom BMD was measured within one year of study enrollment, 619 patients (46.8 %) were in the osteoporosis group (T-score ≤ −2.5 SD). RA patients with osteoporosis had a higher frequency of previous fractures than those in other groups, especially fractures of the femur (p = 0.004) and wrist (p = 0.042). Advanced age (≥70 years; OR = 2.28, 95 % CI: 1.40–3.58), lower body mass index (<25; OR = 2.14, 95 % CI:1.52–3.02), longer disease duration (≥10 years; OR = 1.46, 95 % CI: 1.07–2.00), higher cumulative glucocorticoid dose (OR = 1.03, 95 % CI: 1.01–1.05), and higher Health Assessment Questionnaire score (OR = 1.37, 95 % CI:1.11–1.69) were independent risk factors for osteoporosis.
A large percentage (90.8 %) of RA patients enrolled in the KORONA cohort had osteoporosis and osteopenia. Nevertheless, BMD measurement rates in this population remained low, despite high risk groups of fractures.
PMCID: PMC4765070  PMID: 26912147
Osteoporosis; Rheumatoid arthritis; Frequency; Risk factors
9.  DC-Based Immunotherapy Combined with Low-Dose Methotrexate Effective in the Treatment of Advanced CIA in Mice 
Journal of Immunology Research  2015;2015:834085.
We have previously demonstrated that semimature dendritic cell- (smDC-) based immunotherapy is effective for the treatment of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) prior to disease onset. In the present study, we examined the efficacy of combination therapy with smDCs and methotrexate (MTX) in advanced CIA with a score of 2-3. Combination therapy with low-dose MTX and type II collagen- (CII-) pulsed smDCs (CII-smDCs) was more effective in inhibiting disease progression than high or low-dose MTX alone or a combination of high dose MTX and CII-smDCs. The effect of CII-smDCs alone was also comparable to the combination therapy. CD4+Foxp3+ Treg populations and IL-10 secretion markedly increased, and CII-specific autoreactive T cells decreased in mice treated with CII-smDCs alone or in combination with MTX. Combination therapy reduced the secretion of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and IL-17 with little influence on the IL-4 secretion in the mixed leukocyte reaction. These results imply that the combination therapy with low-dose MTX and smDCs is effective in controlling advanced CIA by enhancing Treg population and suppresses antigen-specific Th1/Th17 immunity, rather than initiating Th1 to Th2 immune deviation. Our findings provide a better understanding of the DC therapy in combination with MTX for the treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
PMCID: PMC4499408  PMID: 26221616
10.  High-Density Genotyping of Immune Loci in Koreans and Europeans Identifies Eight New Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk Loci 
A highly polygenic etiology and high degree of allele-sharing between ancestries have been well-elucidated in genetic studies of rheumatoid arthritis. Recently, the high-density genotyping array Immunochip for immune disease loci identified 14 new rheumatoid arthritis risk loci among individuals of European ancestry. Here, we aimed to identify new rheumatoid arthritis risk loci using Korean-specific Immunochip data.
We analyzed Korean rheumatoid arthritis case-control samples using the Immunochip and GWAS array to search for new risk alleles of rheumatoid arthritis with anti-citrullinated peptide antibodies. To increase power, we performed a meta-analysis of Korean data with previously published European Immunochip and GWAS data, for a total sample size of 9,299 Korean and 45,790 European case-control samples.
We identified 8 new rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility loci (TNFSF4, LBH, EOMES, ETS1–FLI1, COG6, RAD51B, UBASH3A and SYNGR1) that passed a genome-wide significance threshold (p<5×10−8), with evidence for three independent risk alleles at 1q25/TNFSF4. The risk alleles from the 7 new loci except for the TNFSF4 locus (monomorphic in Koreans), together with risk alleles from previously established RA risk loci, exhibited a high correlation of effect sizes between ancestries. Further, we refined the number of SNPs that represent potentially causal variants through a trans-ethnic comparison of densely genotyped SNPs.
This study demonstrates the advantage of dense-mapping and trans-ancestral analysis for identification of potentially causal SNPs. In addition, our findings support the importance of T cells in the pathogenesis and the fact of frequent overlap of risk loci among diverse autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC4467986  PMID: 24532676
Rheumatoid arthritis; Gene polymorphism; Anti-CCP
11.  SKI306X inhibition of glycosaminoglycan degradation in human cartilage involves down-regulation of cytokine-induced catabolic genes 
SKI306X, a mixed extract of three herbs, Clematis mandshurica (CM), Prunella vulgaris (PV), and Trichosanthes kirilowii (TK), is chondroprotective in animal models of osteoarthritis (OA). The objectives of this study were to investigate its effect on interleukin (IL)-1β-induced degradation of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) and the basis of its action in human OA cartilage, as well as to screen for the presence of inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-13 and a disintegrin and metalloprotease with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS)-4 in SKI306X and its component herbs, as well as in fractions from SKI306X.
Human OA chondrocytes and cartilage explants were obtained during total knee replacements and incubated with IL-1β ± oncostatin M with or without SKI306X or its component herb extracts. GAG degradation was assayed in cartilage explants using a commercial kit. Expression of genes involved in cartilage destruction was measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction using chondrocyte RNA. SKI306X was fractionated by preparative liquid chromatography to test for the presence of inhibitors of MMP-13 and ADAMTS-4.
SKI306X and PV inhibited IL-1β-induced GAG release from cartilage explants, and SKI306X, CM, PV, and TK inhibited IL-1β-induced MMP gene expression. Unexpectedly, SKI306X greatly stimulated IL-1β + oncostatin M-induced ADAMTS-4 gene expression, probably due to its TK component. Some fractions of SKI306X also inhibited ADAMTS-4 activity.
SKI306X and its herbal components inhibit GAG degradation and catabolic gene expression in human OA chondrocytes and cartilage explants. SKI306X likely also contains one or more ADAMTS-4 inhibitor.
PMCID: PMC4164729  PMID: 25228841
Aggrecanase; Cartilage; Matrix metalloproteinase; Osteoarthritis; SKI306X
12.  The Reliability and Validity of a Korean Translation of the ASAS Health Index and Environmental Factors in Korean Patients with Axial Spondyloarthritis 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2014;29(3):334-337.
The objective of this study was to develop a Korean version of the Assessment of Spondyloarthritis International Society-Health Index/Environmental Factor (ASAS HI/EF) and to evaluate its reliability and validity in Korean patients with axial spondyloarthritis (SpA). A total of 43 patients participated. Translation and cross-cultural adaptation of the ASAS HI/EF was performed according to international standardized guidelines. We also evaluated validity by calculating correlation coefficients between the ASAS-HI/EF score and the clinical parameters. Test-retest reliability was excellent. The correlations among the mean ASAS-HI score and all tools of assessment for SpA were significant. When it came to construct validity, the ASAS HI score was correlated with nocturnal back pain, spinal pain, patients's global assessment score, the Bath ankylosing spondylitis disease activity index (BASDAI), Bath ankylosing spondylitis functional index (BASFI), Bath ankylosing spondylitis metrology index (BASMI) and EuroQoL visual analogue scale (EQ VAS) (r = 0.353, 0.585, 0.598, 0.637, 0.690, 0.430, and -0.534). The ASAS EF score was also correlated with the patient's global assessment's score, BASDAI, BASFI, BASMI, and EQ VAS score (r = 0.375, 0.490, 0.684, 0.485, and -0.554). The Korean version of the ASAS HI/EF can be used in the clinical field to assess and evaluate the state of health of Korean axial SpA patients.
Graphical Abstract
PMCID: PMC3945126  PMID: 24616580
Spondylitis, Ankylosing; Spondylarthropathies; Validation Studies
13.  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.
PMCID: PMC3763101  PMID: 24015032
Caspase-1; Synovial Fluid; Gout; Spondyloarthropathies
14.  Variation in the ICAM1–ICAM4–ICAM5 locus is associated with systemic lupus erythematosus susceptibility in multiple ancestries 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2012;71(11):1809-1814.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE; OMIM 152700) is a chronic autoimmune disease for which the aetiology includes genetic and environmental factors. ITGAM, integrin αΜ (complement component 3 receptor 3 subunit) encoding a ligand for intracellular adhesion molecule (ICAM) proteins, is an established SLE susceptibility locus. This study aimed to evaluate the independent and joint effects of genetic variations in the genes that encode ITGAM and ICAM.
The authors examined several markers in the ICAM1–ICAM4–ICAM5 locus on chromosome 19p13 and the single ITGAM polymorphism (rs1143679) using a large-scale case–control study of 17 481 unrelated participants from four ancestry populations. The single marker association and gene–gene interaction were analysed for each ancestry, and a meta-analysis across the four ancestries was performed.
The A-allele of ICAM1–ICAM4–ICAM5 rs3093030, associated with elevated plasma levels of soluble ICAM1, and the A-allele of ITGAM rs1143679 showed the strongest association with increased SLE susceptibility in each of the ancestry populations and the trans-ancestry meta-analysis (ORmeta=1.16, 95% CI 1.11 to 1.22; p=4.88×10−10 and ORmeta=1.67, 95% CI 1.55 to 1.79; p=3.32×10−46, respectively). The effect of the ICAM single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was independent of the effect of the ITGAM SNP rs1143679, and carriers of both ICAM rs3093030-AA and ITGAM rs1143679-AA had an OR of 4.08 compared with those with no risk allele in either SNP (95% CI 2.09 to 7.98; p=3.91×10−5).
These findings are the first to suggest that an ICAM–integrin-mediated pathway contributes to susceptibility to SLE.
PMCID: PMC3466387  PMID: 22523428
15.  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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2911908  PMID: 20537173
16.  Evaluation of imputation-based association in and around the integrin-α-M (ITGAM) gene and replication of robust association between a non-synonymous functional variant within ITGAM and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) 
Human Molecular Genetics  2009;18(6):1171-1180.
We recently identified a novel non-synonymous variant, rs1143679, at exon 3 of the ITGAM gene associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) susceptibility in European-Americans (EAs) and African-Americans. Using genome-wide association approach, three other studies also independently reported an association between SLE susceptibility and ITGAM or ITGAM-ITGAX region. The primary objectives of this study are to assess whether single or multiple causal variants from the same gene or any nearby gene(s) are involved in SLE susceptibility and to confirm a robust ITGAM association across nine independent data sets (n = 8211). First, we confirmed our previously reported association of rs1143679 (risk allele ‘A’) with SLE in EAs (P = 1.0 × 10−8) and Hispanic-Americans (P = 2.9 × 10−5). Secondly, using a comprehensive imputation-based association test, we found that ITGAM is one of the major non-human leukocyte antigen susceptibility genes for SLE, and the strongest association for EA is the same coding variant rs1143679 (log10Bayes factor=20, P = 6.17 × 10−24). Thirdly, we determined the robustness of rs1143679 association with SLE across three additional case–control samples, including UK (P = 6.2 × 10−8), Colombian (P = 3.6 × 10−7), Mexican (P = 0.002), as well as two independent sets of trios from UK (PTDT = 1.4 × 10−5) and Mexico (PTDT = 0.015). A meta-analysis combing all independent data sets greatly reinforces the association (Pmeta = 7.1 × 10−50, odds ratio = 1.83, 95% confidence interval = 1.69–1.98, n = 10 046). However, this ITGAM association was not observed in the Korean or Japanese samples, in which rs1143679 is monomorphic for the non-risk allele (G). Taken together along with our earlier findings, these results demonstrate that the coding variant, rs1143679, best explains the ITGAM-SLE association, especially in European- and African-derived populations, but not in Asian populations.
PMCID: PMC2649018  PMID: 19129174
17.  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.
PMCID: PMC2750001  PMID: 19369946
systemic lupus erythematosus; association; LYN; SNP
18.  Safety and Clinical Responses in Ankylosing Spondylitis after Three Months of Etanercept Therapy 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2008;23(5):852-856.
We aimed to evaluate the safety and clinical responses in Korean ankylosing spondylitis (AS) patients after three months of etanercept therapy. AS patients satisfying the Modified New York Criteria were enrolled. They were assessed for safety and clinical responses at enrollment and after three months of etanercept therapy. A total of 124 patients completed the study. After three months, the rate of ASsessment in AS International Working Group 20% improvement (ASAS 20) response was 79.8%. The rates of ASAS 40 and ASAS 5/6 responses were 58.5 and 62.8%, respectively. Significant improvement of Korean version of Bath AS Disease Activity Index (KBASDAI) (p<0.0001), Bath AS Functional Activity Index (BASFI) (p<0.0001), and Bath AS Metrology Index (BASMI) (p=0.0009) were achieved after three months. Quality of life was also significantly improved after three months, as demonstrated by scores for SF-36 (p<0.0001) and EQ-5D (p<0.0001). Erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein were significantly decreased (p<0.0001, p<0.0001, respectively). None of the patients developed tuberculosis and there were no serious adverse event. AS patients with inadequate response to conventional therapy showed significant clinical improvement without serious adverse events after three months of etanercept therapy.
PMCID: PMC2580004  PMID: 18955793
Spondylitis, Ankylosing; TNFR-Fc Fusion Protein; Clinical Effectiveness; Safety
19.  Common Variants within MECP2 Confer Risk of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(3):e1727.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a predominantly female autoimmune disease that affects multiple organ systems. Herein, we report on an X-chromosome gene association with SLE. Methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) is located on chromosome Xq28 and encodes for a protein that plays a critical role in epigenetic transcriptional regulation of methylation-sensitive genes. Utilizing a candidate gene association approach, we genotyped 21 SNPs within and around MECP2 in SLE patients and controls. We identify and replicate association between SLE and the genomic element containing MECP2 in two independent SLE cohorts from two ethnically divergent populations. These findings are potentially related to the overexpression of methylation-sensitive genes in SLE.
PMCID: PMC2253825  PMID: 18320046
20.  Replication of the genetic effects of IFN regulatory factor 5 (IRF5) on systemic lupus erythematosus in a Korean population 
Recently, two studies provided convincing evidence that IFN regulatory factor 5 (IRF5) gene polymorphisms are significantly associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in several white populations. To replicate the association with SLE in an Asian population, we examined the genetic effects in our SLE cohort from a Korean population. A total of 1,565 subjects, composed of 593 cases and 972 controls, were genotyped using the TaqMan® (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA, USA) method. The genetic effects of polymorphisms on the risk of SLE were evaluated using χ2 tests and a Mantel–Haenszel meta-analysis. Statistical analysis revealed results in the Korean population were similar to the previous reports from white populations. The rs2004640 T allele had a higher frequency in SLE cases (0.385) than controls (0.321; odds ratio (OR) = 1.32, P = 0.0003). In combined analysis, including all seven independent cohorts from the three studies so far, robust and consistent associations of the rs2004640 T allele with SLE were observed. The estimate of risk was OR = 1.44 (range, 1.34–1.55), with an overall P = 1.85 × 10-23 for the rs2004640 T allele. The haplotype (rs2004640T–rs2280714T) involved in both the alternative splice donor site and the elevated expression of IRF5 also had a highly significant association with SLE (pooled, P = 2.11 × 10-16). Our results indicate that the genetic effect on the risk of SLE mediated by IRF5 variants can be generally accepted in both white and Asian populations.
PMCID: PMC1906810  PMID: 17389033
21.  Postsplenectomy Recurrence of Thrombocytopenia with an Accessory Spleen 
Autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura (AITP) is an autoimmune disorder that results from antiplatelet autoantibodies; these autoantibodies cause platelet destruction in the reticluoendothelial system. Oral corticosteroid therapy is the first line treatment. Splenectomy is the major treatment modality after the failure of more conservative medical therapy. Approximately 15% of the patients will relapse either soon after splenectomy or, as is less common, many years later. The presence of an accessory spleen should be sought. We experienced a patient with a known diagnosis of autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura who had a worsening thrombocytopenia 11 years after splenectomy. This patient was diagnosed with an accessory spleen. Accessory splenectomy was performed with only a transient elevation of the platelets. We report here on this case with a review of the literature.
PMCID: PMC4531559  PMID: 15481614
Autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura (AITP); Accessory spleen

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