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1.  Comparison of autoantibody specificities between traditional and bead-based assays in a large, diverse collection of SLE patients and family members 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2012;64(11):3677-3686.
Objective
The replacement of standard immunofluorescence anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) methods with bead-based assays is a new clinical option. A large, multi-racial cohort of SLE patients, blood relatives and unaffected control individuals was evaluated for familial aggregation and subset clustering of autoantibodies by high-throughput serum screening technology and traditional methods.
Methods
Serum samples (1,540 SLE patients, 1,127 unaffected relatives, and 906 healthy, population-based controls) were analyzed for SLE autoantibodies using a bead-based assay, immunofluorescence, and immunodiffusion. Autoantibody prevalence, disease sensitivity, clustering, and association with standard immunodiffusion results were evaluated.
Results
ANA frequency in SLE patient sera were 89%, 73%, and 67% by BioPlex 2200 and 94%, 84%, and 86% by immunofluorescence in African-American, Hispanic, and European-American patients respectively. 60kD Ro, La, Sm, nRNP A, and ribosomal P prevalence were compared across assays, with sensitivities ranging from 0.92 to 0.83 and specificities ranging from 0.90 to 0.79. Cluster autoantibody analysis showed association of three subsets: 1) 60kD Ro, 52kD Ro and La, 2) spliceosomal proteins, and 3) dsDNA, chromatin, and ribosomal P. Familial aggregation of Sm/RNP, ribosomal P, and 60kD Ro in SLE patient sibling pairs was observed (p ≤ 0.004). Simplex pedigree patients had a greater prevalence for dsDNA (p=0.0003) and chromatin (p=0.005) autoantibodies than multiplex patients.
Conclusion
ANA frequencies detected by a bead-based assay are lower in European-American SLE patients compared to immunofluorescence. These assays have strong positive predictive values across racial groups, provide useful information for clinical care, and provide unique insights to familial aggregation and autoantibody clustering.
doi:10.1002/art.34651
PMCID: PMC3490432  PMID: 23112091
systemic lupus erythematosus; autoantibodies; ancestry
2.  DETERMINING A DEFINITE DIAGNOSIS OF PRIMARY IMMUNE THROMBOCYTOPENIA BY MEDICAL RECORD REVIEW 
American journal of hematology  2012;87(9):843-847.
Objective
To establish a method to identify patients with primary immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) utilizing administrative data from diverse data sources that would be appropriate for epidemiologic studies of ITP, regardless of patients’ age and source of health care.
Study Design and Setting
Medical records of the Oklahoma University Medical Center, 1995–2004, were reviewed to document the accuracy of the administrative code ICD-9-CM 287.3 for identifying children and adults with ITP, using novel, explicit levels of evidence to identify patients with a definite diagnosis. The proportion of patients diagnosed by hematologists compared to non-hematologists and the proportion of patients diagnosed as outpatients compared to inpatients were determined.
Results
For children, age <16 years, 323 outpatient medical records were reviewed; 225 adult outpatient medical records were reviewed. The positive predictive value for the administrative code for identifying patients with a definite diagnosis of ITP by a hematologist was 0.72 in children and 0.69 in adults. In 98% of children and 92% of adults seen as outpatients, the definite diagnosis of ITP was established by a hematologist. One hundred eighteen child and 141 adult inpatient medical records were reviewed. In 95% of children and 83% of adults, the definite diagnosis of ITP by a hematologist was established as an outpatient.
Conclusion
This study confirmed the previously reported positive predictive value for the administrative code for identifying patients with ITP. Additionally, it was determined that analysis of hematologists’ outpatient administrative codes identified most children and adults with ITP.
doi:10.1002/ajh.23226
PMCID: PMC3429706  PMID: 22718340
primary immune thrombocytopenia; ITP; administrative data; validity; ICD-9-CM 287.3
3.  PREVALENCE OF PRIMARY IMMUNE THROMBOCYTOPENIA IN OKLAHOMA 
American journal of hematology  2012;87(9):848-852.
Objective
To determine the prevalence of ITP in Oklahoma regardless of age, clinical characteristics, insurance status, and source of health care.
Study Design and Setting
Patients with ITP were identified by the administrative code ICD-9-CM 287.3 in Oklahoma hematologists’ offices for a 2-year period, 2003–2004. Prevalence was estimated separately for children (<16 years old) and adults because of their distinct clinical characteristics. Oklahoma census data for 2000 was used as the denominator.
Results
Eighty-seven (94%) of 93 eligible Oklahoma hematologists participated; 620 patients with ITP were identified. The average annual prevalences were: 8.1 (95% CI 6.7, 9.5) per 100,000 children, 12.1 (95% CI 11.1, 13.0) per 100,000 adults, and 11.2 (95% CI 10.4, 12.0) per 100,000 population. Among children and adults less than age 70 years, the prevalence was greater among women. Among adults aged 70 years and older, the prevalence was greater among men. The highest prevalence of ITP was among men age 80 years and older.
Conclusion
These data document for the first time the prevalence of ITP regardless of age, clinical characteristics, insurance status, and source of health care. The methodology developed for this prevalence analysis may be adaptable for epidemiologic studies of other uncommon disorders which lack specific diagnostic criteria and are treated primarily by medical specialists.
doi:10.1002/ajh.23262
PMCID: PMC3429719  PMID: 22674643
primary immune thrombocytopenia; ITP; prevalence; demographics; administrative data; ICD-9-CM 287.3
4.  B Lymphocyte Stimulator Levels in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Higher Circulating Levels in African American Patients and Increased Production after Influenza Vaccination in Patients with Low Baseline Levels 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2011;63(12):3931-3941.
Objective
Examine the relationship between circulating B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) levels and humoral responses to influenza vaccination in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients, as well as the effect of vaccination on BLyS levels. Clinical and serologic features of SLE that are associated with elevated BLyS levels will also be investigated.
Methods
Clinical history, disease activity measurements and blood specimens were collected from sixty SLE patients at baseline and after influenza vaccination. Sera were tested for BLyS levels, lupus-associated autoantibodies, serum IFN-α activity, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, and humoral responses to influenza vaccination.
Results
Thirty percent of SLE patients had elevated BLyS levels, with African American patients having higher BLyS levels than European American patients (p=0.006). Baseline BLyS levels in patients were not correlated with humoral responses to influenza vaccination (p=0.863), and BLyS levels increased post-vaccination only in the subset of patients in the lowest quartile of BLyS levels (p=0.0003). Elevated BLyS levels were associated with increased disease activity as measured by SLEDAI, PGA, and SLAM in European Americans (p=0.035, p=0.016, p=0.018, respectively), but not in African Americans. Elevated BLyS levels were also associated with anti-nRNP (p=0.0003) and decreased 25(OH)D (p=0.018). Serum IFN-α activity was a significant predictor of elevated BLyS in a multivariate analysis (p=0.002).
Conclusion
African American SLE patients have higher BLyS levels regardless of disease activity. Humoral response to influenza vaccination is not correlated with baseline BLyS levels in SLE patients and only those patients with low baseline BLyS levels demonstrate an increased BLyS response after vaccination.
doi:10.1002/art.30598
PMCID: PMC3234134  PMID: 22127709
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); Cytokines
5.  Multiple Autoantibodies Display Association with Lymphopenia, Proteinuria, and Cellular Casts in a Large, Ethnically Diverse SLE Patient Cohort 
Autoimmune Diseases  2012;2012:819634.
Purpose. This study evaluates high-throughput autoantibody screening and determines associated systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) clinical features in a large lupus cohort. Methods. Clinical and demographic information, along with serum samples, were obtained from each SLE study participant after appropriate informed consent. Serum samples were screened for 10 distinct SLE autoantibody specificities and examined for association with SLE ACR criteria and subcriteria using conditional logistic regression analysis. Results. In European-American SLE patients, autoantibodies against 52 kD Ro and RNP 68 are independently enriched in patients with lymphopenia, anti-La, and anti-ribosomal P are increased in patients with malar rash, and anti-dsDNA and anti-Sm are enriched in patients with proteinuria. In African-American SLE patients, cellular casts associate with autoantibodies against dsDNA, Sm, and Sm/nRNP. Conclusion. Using a high-throughput, bead-based method of autoantibody detection, anti-dsDNA is significantly enriched in patienets with SLE ACR renal criteria as has been previously described. However, lymphopenia is associated with several distinct autoantibody specificities. These findings offer meaningful information to allow clinicians and clinical investigators to understand which autoantibodies correlate with select SLE clinical manifestations across common racial groups using this novel methodology which is expanding in clinical use.
doi:10.1155/2012/819634
PMCID: PMC3439936  PMID: 22988489
6.  Ribosomal P Autoantibodies are Present Before SLE Onset and are Directed Against non-C Terminal Peptides 
Autoantibodies to ribosomal P are found in 15–30% of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients and are highly specific for SLE. The goal of this study is to assess the temporal association of anti-ribosomal P (anti-P) responses with SLE disease onset, as well as to characterize the humoral ribosomal P (ribo P) epitopes targeted in early, pre-diagnostic SLE samples. Patients with stored serial serum samples available prior to SLE diagnosis were identified from a military cohort. Each sample was tested for antibodies against ribo P utilizing standard C-terminus ribo P ELISAs and a solid phase, bead-based assay with affinity-purified ribo P proteins. In this study, antibodies to ribo P were more common in African American SLE patients (p= 0.026), and anti-P positive patients comprised a group with more measured autoantibody specificities than did other SLE patients (3.5 vs. 2.2, p<0.05). Antibodies against ribo P were present on average 1.7 years before SLE diagnosis and were detected an average of 1.08 years earlier in pre-diagnostic SLE samples using affinity-purified whole protein rather than C- terminal peptide alone (p=0.0019). Furthermore, 61% of anti-P positive patients initially had antibodies to aa 99–113, a known ribosomal P0 antigenic target, at a time point when no antibodies to the clinically used C-terminus were detected. Our findings provide evidence that antibodies against ribosomal P frequently develop before clinical SLE diagnosis and are more broadly reactive than previously thought by targeting regions outside of the C-terminus.
doi:10.1007/s00109-010-0618-1
PMCID: PMC2877769  PMID: 20396862
lupus; antibodies; autoimmunity; ribosomal P; epitope

Results 1-6 (6)