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1.  Circulating miRNA-125b Is a Potential Biomarker Predicting Response to Rituximab in Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Mediators of Inflammation  2014;2014:342524.
Although biologic therapies have changed the course of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), today's major challenge remains to identify biomarkers to target treatments to selected patient groups. Circulating micro(mi)RNAs represent a novel class of molecular biomarkers whose expression is altered in RA. Our study aimed at quantifying miR-125b in blood and serum samples from RA patients, comparing healthy controls and patients with other forms of rheumatic diseases and arthritis, and evaluating its predictive value as biomarker for response to rituximab. Detectable levels of miR-125b were measured in total blood and serum samples and were significantly elevated in RA patients compared to osteoarthritic and healthy donors. The increase was however also found in patients with other forms of chronic inflammatory arthritis. Importantly, high serum levels of miR-125b at disease flare were associated with good clinical response to treatment with rituximab three months later (P = 0.002). This predictive value was not limited to RA as it was also found in patients with B lymphomas. Our results identify circulating miR-125b as a novel miRNA over expressed in RA and suggest that serum level of miR-125b is potential predictive biomarker of response to rituximab treatment.
doi:10.1155/2014/342524
PMCID: PMC3980876  PMID: 24778468
2.  Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies in rheumatoid arthritis: two case reports and review of literature 
Background
Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies are typically detected in anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody associated vasculitis, but are also present in a number of chronic inflammatory non-vasculitic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Rare cases of granulomatosis with polyangiitis (formerly known as Wegener’s granulomatosis, a vasculitic disorder frequently associated with the presence of anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis have been described in literature.
Case presentation
We report two middle-aged female patients with rheumatoid arthritis who developed anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies and symptoms reminiscent of granulomatosis with polyangiitis. Despite the lack of antibodies specific for proteinase 3 and the absence of a classical histology, we report a probable case of granulomatosis with polyangiitis in the first patient, and consider rheumatoid vasculitis in the second patient.
Conclusion
Taken together with previous reports, these cases highlight that anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies have to be evaluated very carefully in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. In this context, anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies detected by indirect immunofluorescence appear to have a low diagnostic value for granulomatosis with polyangiitis. Instead they may have prognostic value for assessing the course of rheumatoid arthritis.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-8-19
PMCID: PMC3552688  PMID: 23253567
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis; Rheumatoid arthritis; ANCA associated vasculitis; Rheumatoid vasculitis
7.  p16INK4a and its regulator miR-24 link senescence and chondrocyte terminal differentiation-associated matrix remodeling in osteoarthritis 
Introduction
Recent evidence suggests that tissue accumulation of senescent p16INK4a-positive cells during the life span would be deleterious for tissue functions and could be the consequence of inherent age-associated disorders. Osteoarthritis (OA) is characterized by the accumulation of chondrocytes expressing p16INK4a and markers of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), including the matrix remodeling metalloproteases MMP1/MMP13 and pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-8 (IL-8) and IL-6. Here, we evaluated the role of p16INK4a in the OA-induced SASP and its regulation by microRNAs (miRs).
Methods
We used IL-1-beta-treated primary OA chondrocytes cultured in three-dimensional setting or mesenchymal stem cells differentiated into chondrocyte to follow p16INK4a expression. By transient transfection experiments and the use of knockout mice, we validate p16INK4a function in chondrocytes and its regulation by one miR identified by means of a genome-wide miR-array analysis.
Results
p16INK4a is induced upon IL-1-beta treatment and also during in vitro chondrogenesis. In the mouse model, Ink4a locus favors in vivo the proportion of terminally differentiated chondrocytes. When overexpressed in chondrocytes, p16INK4a is sufficient to induce the production of the two matrix remodeling enzymes, MMP1 and MMP13, thus linking senescence with OA pathogenesis and bone development. We identified miR-24 as a negative regulator of p16INK4a. Accordingly, p16INK4a expression increased while miR-24 level was repressed upon IL-1-beta addition, in OA cartilage and during in vitro terminal chondrogenesis.
Conclusions
We disclosed herein a new role of the senescence marker p16INK4a and its regulation by miR-24 during OA and terminal chondrogenesis.
doi:10.1186/ar4494
PMCID: PMC4060445  PMID: 24572376

Results 1-7 (7)