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1.  Rheumatic Diseases and Obesity: Adipocytokines as Potential Comorbidity Biomarkers for Cardiovascular Diseases 
Mediators of Inflammation  2013;2013:808125.
Inflammation has been recognized as a common trait in the pathogenesis of multifactorial diseases including obesity, where a low-grade inflammation has been established and may be responsible for the cardiovascular risk related to the disease. Obesity has also been associated with the increased incidence and a worse outcome of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). RA is characterized by systemic inflammation, which is thought to play a key role in accelerated atherosclerosis and in the increased incidence of cardiovascular disease, an important comorbidity in patients with RA. The inflammatory process underlying the cardiovascular risk both in obesity and RA may be mediated by adipocytokines, a heterogeneous group of soluble proteins mainly secreted by the adipocytes. Many adipocytokines are mainly produced by white adipose tissue. Adipocytokines may also be involved in the pathogenesis of OA since a positive association with obesity has been found for weight-bearing and nonweight-bearing joints, suggesting that, in addition to local overload, systemic factors may contribute to joint damage. In this review we summarize the current knowledge on experimental models and clinical studies in which adipocytokines were examined in obesity, RA, and OA and discuss the potential of adipocytokines as comorbidity biomarkers for cardiovascular risk.
PMCID: PMC3860141  PMID: 24376307
2.  Synovial fibroblasts spread rheumatoid arthritis to unaffected joints 
Nature medicine  2009;15(12):1414-1420.
Active rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by originating from few but affecting subsequently the majority of joints. Thus far, the pathways of the progression of the disease are largely unknown. As rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASFs) are key players in joint destruction and migrate in vitro, the current study evaluated the potential of RASFs to spread the disease in vivo. To simulate the primary joint of origin, healthy human cartilage was co-implanted subcutaneously into SCID mice together with RASFs. At the contralateral flank, healthy cartilage was implanted without cells. RASFs showed an active movement to the naïve cartilage via the vasculature independent of the site of application of RASFs into the SCID mouse, leading to a strong destruction of the target cartilage. These findings support the hypothesis that the characteristic clinical phenomenon of destructive arthritis spreading between joints is mediated, at least in part, by the transmigration of activated RASFs.
PMCID: PMC3678354  PMID: 19898488
3.  An Allosteric Coagonist Model for Propofol Effects on α1β2γ2L γ-Aminobutyric Acid Type A Receptors 
Anesthesiology  2012;116(1):47-55.
Propofol produces its major actions via γ-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptors. At low concentrations, propofol enhances agonist-stimulated GABAA receptor activity, and high propofol concentrations directly activate receptors. Etomidate produces similar effects, and there is convincing evidence that a single class of etomidate sites mediate both agonist modulation and direct GABAA receptor activation. It is unknown if the propofol binding site(s) on GABAA receptors that modulate agonist-induced activity also mediate direct activation.
GABAA α1β2γ2L receptors were heterologously expressed in Xenopus oocytes and activity was quantified using voltage clamp electrophysiology. We tested whether propofol and etomidate display the same linkage between agonist modulation and direct activation of GABAA receptors by identifying equi-efficacious drug solutions for direct activation. We then determined whether these drug solutions produce equal modulation of GABA-induced receptor activity. We also measured propofol-dependent direct activation and modulation of low GABA responses. Allosteric coagonist models similar to that established for etomidate, but with variable numbers of propofol sites, were fitted to combined data.
Solutions of 19 μM propofol and 10 μM etomidate were found to equally activate GABAA receptors. These two drug solutions also produced indistinguishable modulation of GABA-induced receptor activity. Combined electrophysiological data behaved in a manner consistent with allosteric co-agonist models with more than one propofol site. The best fit was observed when the model assumed three equivalent propofol sites.
Our results support the hypothesis that propofol, like etomidate, acts at GABAA receptor sites mediating both GABA modulation and direct activation.
PMCID: PMC3261780  PMID: 22104494
4.  Induction of osteoclastogenesis and bone loss by human autoantibodies against citrullinated vimentin 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(5):1791-1802.
Autoimmunity is complicated by bone loss. In human rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the most severe inflammatory joint disease, autoantibodies against citrullinated proteins are among the strongest risk factors for bone destruction. We therefore hypothesized that these autoantibodies directly influence bone metabolism. Here, we found a strong and specific association between autoantibodies against citrullinated proteins and serum markers for osteoclast-mediated bone resorption in RA patients. Moreover, human osteoclasts expressed enzymes eliciting protein citrullination, and specific N-terminal citrullination of vimentin was induced during osteoclast differentiation. Affinity-purified human autoantibodies against mutated citrullinated vimentin (MCV) not only bound to osteoclast surfaces, but also led to robust induction of osteoclastogenesis and bone-resorptive activity. Adoptive transfer of purified human MCV autoantibodies into mice induced osteopenia and increased osteoclastogenesis. This effect was based on the inducible release of TNF-α from osteoclast precursors and the subsequent increase of osteoclast precursor cell numbers with enhanced expression of activation and growth factor receptors. Our data thus suggest that autoantibody formation in response to citrullinated vimentin directly induces bone loss, providing a link between the adaptive immune system and bone.
PMCID: PMC3336988  PMID: 22505457
7.  Cell culture and passaging alters gene expression pattern and proliferation rate in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts 
Rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF) are key players in synovial pathophysiology and are therefore examined extensively in various experimental approaches. We evaluated, whether passaging during culture and freezing has effects on gene expression and cell proliferation.
RASF were passaged for up to 8 passages. RNA was isolated after each passage and cDNA arrays were performed to evaluate the RNA expression pattern during passaging. In addition, doubling time of the cells was also measured.
From passages 2-4, mRNA expression did not change significantly. Gene expression in RASF started to change in passages 5-6 with 7-10% differentially expressed genes. After passages 7-8, more than 10% of the genes were differentially expressed. The doubling rate was constant for up to 5 passages and decreased after passages 6-8. After freezing, gene expression of the second passage is comparable to gene expression prior to freezing.
The results of this study show, that experiments, which examine gene expression of RASF and shall reflect or imitate an in vivo situation, should be limited to early culture passages to avoid cell culture effects. It is not necessary to stop culturing SF after a few passages, but to keep the problems of cell culture in mind to avoid false positive results. Especially, when large-scale screening methods on mRNA level are used. Of note, freezing does not affect gene expression substantially.
PMCID: PMC2911867  PMID: 20462438
8.  Clinically relevant advances in rheumatoid arthritis therapy 
Owing to the success of biologics in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), several novel drugs have been introduced in the therapeutic armamentarium, although not all of them have been approved in all countries worldwide. Among the drugs are tumour necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors such as certolizumab pegol and golimumab (the latter of which was the first TNF blocker shown to be effective in patients who had been unsuccessfully treated with other TNF blockers and which can be applied only once a month), and the interleukin-6 receptor antagonist tocilizumab, which not only opens up a completely new field of anti-inflammatory modulation of RA pathophysiology, but also highlights the challenge of novel potential side effects. Moreover, aside from clinical studies showing efficacy in the inhibition of osteoclast activation by the anti-RANKL (receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B ligand) antibody denosumab, an improved form of steroid application known as slow-release ‘tempus tablet’ for treatment of RA and several developments in the small-molecule area have been addressed by clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC2948302  PMID: 20948712
9.  Identification of differentially expressed genes in ileal Peyer's Patch of scrapie-infected sheep using RNA arbitrarily primed PCR 
In scrapie and prion diseases, the knowledge concerning genes involved in host response during the early infection period in the lymphoid tissues, still remains limited. In the present study, we have examined differential gene expression in ileal Peyer's patches and in laser microdissected follicles of sheep infected with scrapie.
Ileal Peyer's patches and laser microdissected follicles were of scrapie and control lambs with susceptible genotypes for classical scrapie. Potential regulated genes were found using RNA arbitrarily primed polymerase chain reaction (RAP-PCR) and fingerprinting. The differentially expressed genes were confirmed using real-time RT-PCR.
The expression of three genes (MAPRE3, LOC729073 and DNAJC3), were found to be significantly altered in scrapie infected lambs (P < 0.05).
The three genes have not previously been associated with prion diseases and are interesting as they may reflect biological processes involved in the molecular pathogenesis of prion diseases.
PMCID: PMC2322967  PMID: 18373840
10.  Developments in the synovial biology field 2006 
Synovial pathophysiology is a complex and synergistic interplay of different cell populations with tissue components, mediated by a variety of signaling mechanisms. All of these mechanisms drive the affected joint into inflammation and drive the subsequent destruction of cartilage and bone. Each cell type contributes significantly to the initiation and perpetuation of this deleterious concert, especially in rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts and macrophages, both cell types with pivotal roles in inflammation and destruction, but also T cells and B cells are crucial for complex network in the inflamed synovium. An even more complex cellular crosstalk between these key players maintains a process of chronic inflammation. As outlined in the present review, in the past year substantial progress has been made to elucidate further details of the rich pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis, which may also facilitate the identification of novel targets for future therapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC1906804  PMID: 17442097

Results 1-10 (10)