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1.  Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation for vasculitis including Behçet's disease and polychondritis: a retrospective analysis of patients recorded in the European Bone Marrow Transplantation and European League Against Rheumatism databases and a review of the literature 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2006;66(2):202-207.
To evaluate the feasibility of haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in vasculitis.
This is a retrospective analysis of patients who had received HSCT for vasculitic diseases and have been reported to the European League Against Rheumatism autoimmune disease or European Bone Marrow Transplantation ProMISe databases. Information about the disease and outcome was obtained by a questionnaire sent to the referring centres. Response of the disease to HSCT was defined as partial or complete responses according to the ability to reduce immunosuppression after HSCT. In addition, the Medline database was searched for reports on HSCT in patients with vasculitis.
Detailed information was obtained for 15 patients, whose median age at HSCT was 37 years. The diagnoses were cryoglobulinaemia in four patients, Behçet's disease in three patients, Wegener's granulomatosis in three patients, and undifferentiated vasculitis, Churg–Strauss angiitis, polychondritis, Takayasu arteritis and polyarteritis nodosa in one patient each. 14 patients received autologous HSCT and 1 an allogeneic HSCT as the first transplant. In three patients, further transplantation was given because of relapse. The overall response, including all consecutive transplantations (HSCT/patient, n = 1–3, median 1.3) to HSCT, was 93%, with 46% complete responses and 46% partial responses; median (range) duration of response at the time of reporting was 45 (16–84) months. Three patients died, one from advanced disease, one from cancer and one from graft‐versus‐host disease. The Medline search showed five other patients who were effectively treated with HSCT for vasculitic diseases.
This retrospective study suggests that autologous HSCT is feasible for vasculitis. Its value remains to be tested in prospective controlled studies.
PMCID: PMC1798517  PMID: 16950809
2.  Epigenetic modifications in rheumatoid arthritis 
Over the last decades, genetic factors for rheumatoid diseases like the HLA haplotypes have been studied extensively. However, during the past years of research, it has become more and more evident that the influence of epigenetic processes on the development of rheumatic diseases is probably as strong as the genetic background of a patient. Epigenetic processes are heritable changes in gene expression without alteration of the nucleotide sequence. Such modifications include chromatin methylation and post-translational modification of histones or other chromatin-associated proteins. The latter comprise the addition of methyl, acetyl, and phosphoryl groups or even larger moieties such as binding of ubiquitin or small ubiquitin-like modifier. The combinatory nature of these processes forms a complex network of epigenetic modifications that regulate gene expression through activation or silencing of genes. This review provides insight into the role of epigenetic alterations in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis and points out how a better understanding of such mechanisms may lead to novel therapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC2592785  PMID: 18947370

Results 1-2 (2)