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1.  Autoimmune Rheumatic Diseases 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:952159.
doi:10.1155/2014/952159
PMCID: PMC4138892  PMID: 25162038
2.  Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 2014 
Autoimmune Diseases  2014;2014:274323.
doi:10.1155/2014/274323
PMCID: PMC3982263  PMID: 24782920
3.  Rheumatoid Arthritis in Minorities 
Arthritis  2013;2013:256493.
doi:10.1155/2013/256493
PMCID: PMC3666299  PMID: 23762553
5.  The Autoimmune Ecology 
Autoimmune diseases (ADs) represent a heterogeneous group of disorders that affect specific target organs or multiple organ systems. These conditions share common immunopathogenic mechanisms (i.e., the autoimmune tautology), which explain the clinical similarities they have among them as well as their familial clustering (i.e., coaggregation). As part of the autoimmune tautology, the influence of environmental exposure on the risk of developing ADs is paramount (i.e., the autoimmune ecology). In fact, environment, more than genetics, shapes immune system. Autoimmune ecology is akin to exposome, that is all the exposures – internal and external – across the lifespan, interacting with hereditary factors (both genetics and epigenetics) to favor or protect against autoimmunity and its outcomes. Herein, we provide an overview of the autoimmune ecology, focusing on the immune response to environmental agents in general, and microbiota, cigarette smoking, alcohol and coffee consumption, socioeconomic status (SES), gender and sex hormones, vitamin D, organic solvents, and vaccines in particular. Inclusion of the autoimmune ecology in disease etiology and health will improve the way personalized medicine is currently conceived and applied.
doi:10.3389/fimmu.2016.00139
PMCID: PMC4844615  PMID: 27199979
environment; ecology; autoimmune disease; polyautoimmunity; personalized medicine
6.  Outcome of patients with autoimmune diseases in the intensive care unit: a mixed cluster analysis 
Lupus Science & Medicine  2015;2(1):e000122.
Objectives
The interest on autoimmune diseases (ADs) and their outcome at the intensive care unit (ICU) has increased due to the clinical challenge for diagnosis and management as well as for prognosis. The current work presents a-year experience on these topics in a tertiary hospital.
Methods
The mixed-cluster methodology based on multivariate descriptive methods such as principal component analysis and multiple correspondence analyses was performed to summarize sets of related variables with strong associations and common clinical context.
Results
Fifty adult patients with ADs with a mean age of 46.7±17.55 years were assessed. The two most common diagnoses were systemic lupus erythematosus and systemic sclerosis, registered in 45% and 20% of patients, respectively. The main causes of admission to ICU were infection and AD flare up, observed in 36% and 24%, respectively. Mortality during ICU stay was 24%. The length of hospital stay before ICU admission, shock, vasopressors, mechanical ventilation, abdominal sepsis, Glasgow score and plasmapheresis were all factors associated with mortality. Two new clinical clusters variables (NCVs) were defined: Time ICU and ICU Support Profile, which were associated with survivor and no survivor variables.
Conclusions
Identification of single factors and groups of factors from NCVs will allow implementation of early and aggressive therapies in patients with ADs at the ICU in order to avoid fatal outcomes
doi:10.1136/lupus-2015-000122
PMCID: PMC4680590  PMID: 26688741
Autoimmune Diseases; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; Systemic Sclerosis; Arthritis; Outcomes research
7.  Familial Aggregation and Segregation Analysis in Families Presenting Autoimmunity, Polyautoimmunity, and Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome 
Journal of Immunology Research  2015;2015:572353.
Studies documenting increased risk of developing autoimmune diseases (ADs) have shown that these conditions share several immunogenetic mechanisms (i.e., the autoimmune tautology). This report explored familial aggregation and segregation of AD, polyautoimmunity, and multiple autoimmune syndrome (MAS) in 210 families. Familial aggregation was examined for first-degree relatives. Segregation analysis was implemented as in S.A.G.E. release 6.3. Data showed differences between late- and early-onset families regarding their age, age of onset, and sex. Familial aggregation of AD in late- and early-onset families was observed. For polyautoimmunity as a trait, only aggregation was observed between sibling pairs in late-onset families. No aggregation was observed for MAS. Segregation analyses for AD suggested major gene(s) with no clear discernible classical known Mendelian transmission in late-onset families, while for polyautoimmunity and MAS no model was implied. Data suggest that polyautoimmunity and MAS are not independent traits and that gender, age, and age of onset are interrelated factors influencing autoimmunity.
doi:10.1155/2015/572353
PMCID: PMC4677210  PMID: 26697508
8.  Genetic Association of CD247 (CD3ζ) with SLE in a Large-Scale Multiethnic Study 
Genes and immunity  2015;16(2):142-150.
A classic T-cell phenotype in Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the downregulation and replacement of the CD3ζ chain that alters TCR signaling. However, genetic associations with SLE in the human CD247 locus that encodes CD3ζ are not well established and require replication in independent cohorts. Our aim was therefore to examine, localize and validate CD247-SLE association in a large multi-ethnic population. We typed 44 contiguous CD247 SNPs in 8 922 SLE patients and 8 077 controls from four ethnically distinct populations. The strongest associations were found in the Asian population (11 SNPs in intron 1, 4.99×10−4
doi:10.1038/gene.2014.73
PMCID: PMC4371129  PMID: 25569266
Journal of Immunology Research  2015;2015:270763.
Objective. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common autoimmune arthropathy worldwide. The increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in RA is not fully explained by classic risk factors. The aim of this study was to determine the influence of rs1058587 SNP within GDF15(MIC1) gene on the risk of CVD in a Colombian RA population. Methods. This was a cross-sectional analytical study in which 310 consecutive Colombian patients with RA and 228 age- and sex-matched controls were included and assessed for variables associated with CVD. The mixed cluster methodology based on multivariate descriptive methods such as principal components analysis and multiple correspondence analyses and regression tree (CART) predictive model were performed. Results. Of the 310 patients, 87.4% were women and CVD was reported in 69.5%. Significant differences concerning GDF15 polymorphism were not observed between patients and controls. Mean arterial pressure, current smoking, and some clusters were significantly associated with CVD. Conclusion. GDF15 (rs1058587) does not influence the development of CVD in the population studied.
doi:10.1155/2015/270763
PMCID: PMC4451155  PMID: 26090487
Clinical immunology (Orlando, Fla.)  2015;161(2):157-162.
Leptin is abnormally elevated in the plasma of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), where it is thought to promote and/or sustain pro-inflammatory responses. Whether this association could reflect an increased genetic susceptibility to develop SLE is not known, and studies of genetic associations with leptin-related polymorphisms in SLE patients have been so far inconclusive. Here we genotyped DNA samples from 15,706 SLE patients and healthy matched controls from four different ancestral groups, to correlate polymorphisms of genes of the leptin pathway to risk for SLE. It was found that although several SNPs showed weak associations, those associations did not remain significant after correction for multiple testing. These data do not support associations between defined leptin-related polymorphisms and increased susceptibility to develop SLE.
doi:10.1016/j.clim.2015.09.007
PMCID: PMC4658308  PMID: 26385092
systemic lupus erythematosus; leptin pathway; gene polymorphisms
Autoimmune Diseases  2012;2012:569728.
The prevalence and genetic susceptibility of autoimmune diseases (ADs) may vary depending on latitudinal gradient and ethnicity. The aims of this study were to identify common human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II alleles that contribute to susceptibility to six ADs in Latin Americans through a meta-analysis and to review additional clinical, immunological, and genetic characteristics of those ADs sharing HLA alleles. DRB1∗03:01 (OR: 4.04; 95%CI: 1.41–11.53) was found to be a risk factor for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Sjögren's syndrome (SS), and type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D). DRB1∗04:05 (OR: 4.64; 95%CI: 2.14–10.05) influences autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and T1D; DRB1∗04:01 (OR: 3.86; 95%CI: 2.32–6.42) is a susceptibility factor for RA and T1D. Opposite associations were found between multiple sclerosis (MS) and T1D. DQB1∗06:02 and DRB1∗15 alleles were risk factors for MS but protective factors for T1D. Likewise, DQB1∗06:03 allele was a risk factor for AIH but a protective one for T1D. Several common autoantibodies and clinical associations as well as additional shared genes have been reported in these ADs, which are reviewed herein. These results indicate that in Latin Americans ADs share major loci and immune characteristics.
doi:10.1155/2012/569728
PMCID: PMC3345213  PMID: 22577522
Autoimmune Diseases  2012;2012:736384.
Polyautoimmunity is one of the major clinical characteristics of autoimmune diseases (ADs). The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of ADs in spondyloarthropathies (SpAs) and vice versa. This was a two-phase cross-sectional study. First, we examined the presence of ADs in a cohort of patients with SpAs (N = 148). Second, we searched for the presence of SpAs in a well-defined group of patients with ADs (N = 1077) including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and Sjögren's syndrome (SS). Among patients with SpAs, ankylosing spondylitis was observed in the majority of them (55.6%). There were two patients presenting with SS in the SpA group (1.4%) and 5 patients with autoimmune thyroiditis (3.5%). The global prevalence of ADs in SpAs was 4.86%. In the ADs group, there were 5 patients with SpAs (0.46%). Our results suggest a lack of association between SpAs and ADs. Accordingly, SpAs might correspond more to autoinflammatory diseases rather than to ADs.
doi:10.1155/2012/736384
PMCID: PMC3286883  PMID: 22400103
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(2):323-329.
Objective
Autoimmune diseases often have susceptibility genes in common, indicating similar molecular mechanisms. Increasing evidence suggests that rs6822844 at the IL2–IL21 region is strongly associated with multiple autoimmune diseases in individuals of European descent. This study was undertaken to attempt to replicate the association between rs6822844 and 6 different immune-mediated diseases in non-European populations, and to perform disease-specific and overall meta-analyses using data from previously published studies.
Methods
We evaluated case–control associations between rs6822844 and celiac disease (CD) in subjects from Argentina; rheumatoid arthritis (RA), type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM), primary Sjögren's syndrome (SS), and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in subjects from Colombia; and Behçet's disease (BD) in subjects from Turkey. Allele and gene distributions were compared between cases and controls. Meta-analyses were performed using data from the present study and previous studies.
Results
We detected significant associations of rs6822844 with SLE (P = 0.008), type 1 DM (P = 0.014), RA (P = 0.019), and primary SS (P = 0.033) but not with BD (P = 0.34) or CD (P = 0.98). We identified little evidence of population differentiation (FST = 0.01) within cases and controls from Argentina and Colombia, suggesting that association was not influenced by population substructure. Disease-specific meta-analysis indicated significant association for RA (Pmeta = 3.61 × 10–6), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD; Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis) (Pmeta = 3.48 × 10–12), type 1 DM (Pmeta = 5.33 × 10–5), and CD (Pmeta = 5.30 × 10–3). Overall meta-analysis across all autoimmune diseases reinforced association with rs6822844 (23 data sets; Pmeta = 2.61 × 10–25, odds ratio 0.73 [95% confidence interval 0.69–0.78]).
Conclusion
Our results indicate that there is an association between rs6822844 and multiple auto-immune diseases in non-European populations. Meta-analysis results strongly reinforce this robust association across multiple autoimmune diseases in both European-derived and non-European populations.
doi:10.1002/art.27222
PMCID: PMC3028384  PMID: 20112382
BMC Medicine  2016;14:49.
An increasing number of severe neurological complications associated with Zika virus (ZIKV), chiefly Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and primary microcephaly, have led the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency. Molecular mimicry between glycolipids and surface molecules of infectious agents explain most of the cases of GBS preceded by infection, while a direct toxicity of ZIKV on neural cells has been raised as the main mechanism by which ZIKV induces microcephaly. Gangliosides are crucial in brain development, and their expression correlates with neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, synaptic transmission, and cell proliferation. Targeting the autoimmune response to gangliosides may represent an underexploited opportunity to examine the increased incidence of neurological complications related to ZIKV infection.
doi:10.1186/s12916-016-0601-y
PMCID: PMC4802632  PMID: 27001187
Autoimmunity; Gangliosides; Guillain-Barré syndrome; Microcephaly; Zika virus
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2014;75(1):242-252.
Objectives
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE; OMIM 152700) is characterised by the production of antibodies to nuclear antigens. We previously identified variants in complement receptor 2 (CR2/CD21) that were associated with decreased risk of SLE. This study aimed to identify the causal variant for this association.
Methods
Genotyped and imputed genetic variants spanning CR2 were assessed for association with SLE in 15 750 case-control subjects from four ancestral groups. Allele-specific functional effects of associated variants were determined using quantitative real-time PCR, quantitative flow cytometry, electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-PCR.
Results
The strongest association signal was detected at rs1876453 in intron 1 of CR2 (pmeta=4.2×10−4, OR 0.85), specifically when subjects were stratified based on the presence of dsDNA autoantibodies (case-control pmeta=7.6×10−7, OR 0.71; case-only pmeta=1.9×10−4, OR 0.75). Although allele-specific effects on B cell CR2 mRNA or protein levels were not identified, levels of complement receptor 1 (CR1/CD35) mRNA and protein were significantly higher on B cells of subjects harbouring the minor allele (p=0.0248 and p=0.0006, respectively). The minor allele altered the formation of several DNA protein complexes by EMSA, including one containing CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF), an effect that was confirmed by ChIP-PCR.
Conclusions
These data suggest that rs1876453 in CR2 has long-range effects on gene regulation that decrease susceptibility to lupus. Since the minor allele at rs1876453 is preferentially associated with reduced risk of the highly specific dsDNA autoantibodies that are present in preclinical, active and severe lupus, understanding its mechanisms will have important therapeutic implications.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2014-205584
PMCID: PMC4717392  PMID: 25180293
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; Autoantibodies; Gene Polymorphism; B cells
Kottyan, Leah C. | Zoller, Erin E. | Bene, Jessica | Lu, Xiaoming | Kelly, Jennifer A. | Rupert, Andrew M. | Lessard, Christopher J. | Vaughn, Samuel E. | Marion, Miranda | Weirauch, Matthew T. | Namjou, Bahram | Adler, Adam | Rasmussen, Astrid | Glenn, Stuart | Montgomery, Courtney G. | Hirschfield, Gideon M. | Xie, Gang | Coltescu, Catalina | Amos, Chris | Li, He | Ice, John A. | Nath, Swapan K. | Mariette, Xavier | Bowman, Simon | Rischmueller, Maureen | Lester, Sue | Brun, Johan G. | Gøransson, Lasse G. | Harboe, Erna | Omdal, Roald | Cunninghame-Graham, Deborah S. | Vyse, Tim | Miceli-Richard, Corinne | Brennan, Michael T. | Lessard, James A. | Wahren-Herlenius, Marie | Kvarnström, Marika | Illei, Gabor G. | Witte, Torsten | Jonsson, Roland | Eriksson, Per | Nordmark, Gunnel | Ng, Wan-Fai | Anaya, Juan-Manuel | Rhodus, Nelson L. | Segal, Barbara M. | Merrill, Joan T. | James, Judith A. | Guthridge, Joel M. | Hal Scofield, R. | Alarcon-Riquelme, Marta | Bae, Sang-Cheol | Boackle, Susan A. | Criswell, Lindsey A. | Gilkeson, Gary | Kamen, Diane L. | Jacob, Chaim O. | Kimberly, Robert | Brown, Elizabeth | Edberg, Jeffrey | Alarcón, Graciela S. | Reveille, John D. | Vilá, Luis M. | Petri, Michelle | Ramsey-Goldman, Rosalind | Freedman, Barry I. | Niewold, Timothy | Stevens, Anne M. | Tsao, Betty P. | Ying, Jun | Mayes, Maureen D. | Gorlova, Olga Y. | Wakeland, Ward | Radstake, Timothy | Martin, Ezequiel | Martin, Javier | Siminovitch, Katherine | Moser Sivils, Kathy L. | Gaffney, Patrick M. | Langefeld, Carl D. | Harley, John B. | Kaufman, Kenneth M.
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;24(2):582-596.
Exploiting genotyping, DNA sequencing, imputation and trans-ancestral mapping, we used Bayesian and frequentist approaches to model the IRF5–TNPO3 locus association, now implicated in two immunotherapies and seven autoimmune diseases. Specifically, in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), we resolved separate associations in the IRF5 promoter (all ancestries) and with an extended European haplotype. We captured 3230 IRF5–TNPO3 high-quality, common variants across 5 ethnicities in 8395 SLE cases and 7367 controls. The genetic effect from the IRF5 promoter can be explained by any one of four variants in 5.7 kb (P-valuemeta = 6 × 10−49; OR = 1.38–1.97). The second genetic effect spanned an 85.5-kb, 24-variant haplotype that included the genes IRF5 and TNPO3 (P-valuesEU = 10−27–10−32, OR = 1.7–1.81). Many variants at the IRF5 locus with previously assigned biological function are not members of either final credible set of potential causal variants identified herein. In addition to the known biologically functional variants, we demonstrated that the risk allele of rs4728142, a variant in the promoter among the lowest frequentist probability and highest Bayesian posterior probability, was correlated with IRF5 expression and differentially binds the transcription factor ZBTB3. Our analytical strategy provides a novel framework for future studies aimed at dissecting etiological genetic effects. Finally, both SLE elements of the statistical model appear to operate in Sjögren's syndrome and systemic sclerosis whereas only the IRF5–TNPO3 gene-spanning haplotype is associated with primary biliary cirrhosis, demonstrating the nuance of similarity and difference in autoimmune disease risk mechanisms at IRF5–TNPO3.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddu455
PMCID: PMC4275071  PMID: 25205108
Current Genomics  2015;16(1):47-59.
Vaccines represent the most successful and sustainable tactic to prevent and counteract infection. A vaccine generally improves immunity to a particular disease upon administration by inducing specific protective and efficient immune responses in all of the receiving population. The main known factors influencing the observed heterogeneity for immune re-sponses induced by vaccines are gender, age, co-morbidity, immune system, and genetic background. This review is mainly focused on the genetic status effect to vaccine immune responses and how this could contribute to the development of novel vaccine candidates that could be better directed and predicted relative to the genetic history of an individual and/or population. The text offers a brief history of vaccinology as a field, a description of the genetic status of the most relevant and studied genes and their functionality and correlation with exposure to specific vaccines; followed by an inside look into autoimmunity as a concern when designing vaccines as well as perspectives and conclusions looking towards an era of personalized and predictive vaccinology instead of a one size fits all approach.
doi:10.2174/1389202916666141223220551
PMCID: PMC4412964  PMID: 25937813
Vaccine; Personalized medicine; Genetics; HLA; Autoimmune ecology; Infection; Autoimmunity and systems biology
Autoimmune Diseases  2015;2015:298506.
Objective. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and Sjögren's syndrome (SS) share clinical and immunogenetic features and may occur together. We undertook this study to determine the risk of primary SS among SLE-unaffected relatives of SLE patients and whether or not primary and secondary SS tended to occur in the same families. Methods. We collected clinical and serological data on 2694 SLE patients, 7390 SLE-unaffected relatives of the SLE patients, and 1470 matched controls. Results. Of the 2694 subjects with SLE, 548 had secondary SS, while 71 of their 7390 SLE-unaffected relatives had primary SS. None of the 1470 controls had SS as defined herein (p = 5 × 10−5 compared to SLE-unaffected relatives). Of the 71 SLE-unaffected relatives with primary SS, 18 (25.3%) had an SLE-affected family member with secondary SS, while only 530 of the 7319 (7.2%) SLE-unaffected relatives without SS did so (p = 1 × 10−8). Conclusion. Among families identified for the presence of SLE, primary and secondary SS tend to occur within the same families. These results highlight the commonalities between these two forms of SS, which in fact correspond to the same disease.
doi:10.1155/2015/298506
PMCID: PMC4515287  PMID: 26246904
Background
Multiple autoimmune syndrome (MAS), an extreme phenotype of autoimmune disorders, is a very well suited trait to tackle genomic variants of these conditions. Whole exome sequencing (WES) is a widely used strategy for detection of protein coding and splicing variants associated with inherited diseases.
Methods
The DNA of eight patients affected by MAS [all of whom presenting with Sjögren’s syndrome (SS)], four patients affected by SS alone and 38 unaffected individuals, were subject to WES. Filters to identify novel and rare functional (pathogenic–deleterious) homozygous and/or compound heterozygous variants in these patients and controls were applied. Bioinformatics tools such as the Human gene connectome as well as pathway and network analysis were applied to test overrepresentation of genes harbouring these variants in critical pathways and networks involved in autoimmunity.
Results
Eleven novel and rare functional variants were identified in cases but not in controls, harboured in: MACF1, KIAA0754, DUSP12, ICA1, CELA1, LRP1/STAT6, GRIN3B, ANKLE1, TMEM161A, and FKRP. These were subsequently subject to network analysis and their functional relatedness to genes already associated with autoimmunity was evaluated. Notably, the LRP1/STAT6 novel mutation was homozygous in one MAS affected patient and heterozygous in another. LRP1/STAT6 disclosed the strongest plausibility for autoimmunity. LRP1/STAT6 are involved in extracellular and intracellular anti-inflammatory pathways that play key roles in maintaining the homeostasis of the immune system. Further; networks, pathways, and interaction analyses showed that LRP1 is functionally related to the HLA-B and IL10 genes and it has a substantial impact within immunological pathways and/or reaction to bacterial and other foreign proteins (phagocytosis, regulation of phospholipase A2 activity, negative regulation of apoptosis and response to lipopolysaccharides). Further, ICA1 and STAT6 were also closely related to AIRE and IRF5, two very well known autoimmunity genes.
Conclusions
Novel and rare exonic mutations that may account for autoimmunity were identified. Among those, the LRP1/STAT6 novel mutation has the strongest case for being categorised as potentially causative of MAS given the presence of intriguing patterns of functional interaction with other major genes shaping autoimmunity.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12967-015-0525-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12967-015-0525-x
PMCID: PMC4450850  PMID: 26031516
Autoimmune diseases; Polyautoimmunity; Multiple autoimmune syndrome; Sjögren’s syndrome; Genetics; Whole exome sequencing; Extreme phenotypes
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0124040.
Background
Celiac disease (CD) is an immune-mediated enteropathy triggered by the ingestion of gluten in susceptible individuals, and its prevalence varies depending on the studied population. Given that information on CD in Latin America is scarce, we aimed to investigate the prevalence of CD in this region of the world through a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Methods and Findings
This was a two-phase study. First, a cross-sectional analysis from 981 individuals of the Colombian population was made. Second, a systematic review and meta-regression analysis were performed following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Meta- Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Our results disclosed a lack of celiac autoimmunity in the studied Colombian population (i.e., anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG) and IgA anti-endomysium (EMA)). In the systematic review, 72 studies were considered. The estimated prevalence of CD in Latin Americans ranged between 0.46% and 0.64%. The prevalence of CD in first-degree relatives of CD probands was 5.5%. The coexistence of CD and type 1 diabetes mellitus varied from 4.6% to 8.7%, depending on the diagnosis methods (i.e., autoantibodies and/or biopsies).
Conclusions
Although CD seems to be a rare condition in Colombians; the general prevalence of the disease in Latin Americans seemingly corresponds to a similar scenario observed in Europeans.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0124040
PMCID: PMC4420463  PMID: 25942408
Frontiers in Genetics  2015;5:450.
Genome wide association studies have identified variants in PXK that confer risk for humoral autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), rheumatoid arthritis and more recently systemic sclerosis. While PXK is involved in trafficking of epidermal growth factor Receptor (EGFR) in COS-7 cells, mechanisms linking PXK to lupus pathophysiology have remained undefined. In an effort to uncover the mechanism at this locus that increases lupus-risk, we undertook a fine-mapping analysis in a large multi-ancestral study of lupus patients and controls. We define a large (257kb) common haplotype marking a single causal variant that confers lupus risk detected only in European ancestral populations and spans the promoter through the 3′ UTR of PXK. The strongest association was found at rs6445972 with P < 4.62 × 10−10, OR 0.81 (0.75–0.86). Using stepwise logistic regression analysis, we demonstrate that one signal drives the genetic association in the region. Bayesian analysis confirms our results, identifying a 95% credible set consisting of 172 variants spanning 202 kb. Functionally, we found that PXK operates on the B-cell antigen receptor (BCR); we confirmed that PXK influenced the rate of BCR internalization. Furthermore, we demonstrate that individuals carrying the risk haplotype exhibited a decreased rate of BCR internalization, a process known to impact B cell survival and cell fate. Taken together, these data define a new candidate mechanism for the genetic association of variants around PXK with lupus risk and highlight the regulation of intracellular trafficking as a genetically regulated pathway mediating human autoimmunity.
doi:10.3389/fgene.2014.00450
PMCID: PMC4288052  PMID: 25620976
lupus; PXK; fine-mapping; B cells; BCR
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110242.
Objectives
To examine the prevalence and associated factors related to the coexistence of antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in a cohort of Colombian patients with SLE, and to discuss the coexistence of APS with other autoimmune diseases (ADs).
Method
A total of 376 patients with SLE were assessed for the presence of the following: 1) confirmed APS; 2) positivity for antiphospholipid (aPL) antibodies without a prior thromboembolic nor obstetric event; and 3) SLE patients without APS nor positivity for aPL antibodies. Comparisons between groups 1 and 3 were evaluated by bivariate and multivariate analysis.
Results
Although the prevalence of aPL antibodies was 54%, APS was present in just 9.3% of SLE patients. In our series, besides cardiovascular disease (AOR 3.38, 95% CI 1.11–10.96, p = 0.035), pulmonary involvement (AOR 5.06, 95% CI 1.56–16.74, p = 0.007) and positivity for rheumatoid factor (AOR 4.68, 95%IC 1.63–14.98, p = 0.006) were factors significantly associated with APS-SLE. APS also may coexist with rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren's syndrome, autoimmune thyroid diseases, systemic sclerosis, systemic vasculitis, dermatopolymyositis, primary biliary cirrhosis and autoimmune hepatitis.
Conclusions
APS is a systemic AD that may coexist with other ADs, the most common being SLE. Awareness of this polyautoimmunity should be addressed promptly to establish strategies for controlling modifiable risk factors in those patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110242
PMCID: PMC4208791  PMID: 25343509
Nature genetics  2013;45(11):10.1038/ng.2792.
Sjögren’s syndrome is a common autoimmune disease (~0.7% of European Americans) typically presenting as keratoconjunctivitis sicca and xerostomia. In addition to strong association within the HLA region at 6p21 (Pmeta=7.65×10−114), we establish associations with IRF5-TNPO3 (Pmeta=2.73×10−19), STAT4 (Pmeta=6.80×10−15), IL12A (Pmeta =1.17×10−10), FAM167A-BLK (Pmeta=4.97×10−10), DDX6-CXCR5 (Pmeta=1.10×10−8), and TNIP1 (Pmeta=3.30×10−8). Suggestive associations with Pmeta<5×10−5 were observed with 29 regions including TNFAIP3, PTTG1, PRDM1, DGKQ, FCGR2A, IRAK1BP1, ITSN2, and PHIP amongst others. These results highlight the importance of genes involved in both innate and adaptive immunity in Sjögren’s syndrome.
doi:10.1038/ng.2792
PMCID: PMC3867192  PMID: 24097067
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2013;73(1):10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-203845.
Objective
To compare the performance of the American-European Consensus Group (AECG) and the newly proposed American College of Rheumatology (ACR) classification criteria for Sjögren's syndrome in a well-characterized sicca cohort, given ongoing efforts to resolve discrepancies and weaknesses in the systems.
Methods
In a multidisciplinary clinic for the evaluation of sicca, we assessed features of salivary and lacrimal gland dysfunction and autoimmunity as defined by tests of both AECG and ACR criteria in 646 participants. Global gene expression profiles were compared in a subset of 180 participants.
Results
Application of the AECG and ACR criteria resulted in classification of 279 and 268 participants with SS, respectively. Both criteria were met by 244 participants (81%). In 26 of the 35 AECG+/ACR- participants, the minor salivary gland biopsy focal score was ≥1 (74%), while 9 had positive anti-Ro/La (26%). There were 24 AECG-/ACR+ who met ACR criteria mainly due to differences in the scoring of corneal staining. All patients with SS, regardless of classification, had similar gene expression profiles, which were distinct from the healthy controls.
Conclusion
The two sets of classification criteria yield concordant results in the majority of cases and gene expression profiling suggests that patients meeting either set of criteria are more similar to other SS participants than to healthy controls. Thus, there is no clear evidence for increased value of the new ACR criteria over the old AECG criteria from the clinical or biological perspective. It is our contention, supported by this report, that improvements in diagnostic acumen will require a more fundamental understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms than is at present available.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-203845
PMCID: PMC3855629  PMID: 23968620
Sjögren's syndrome; Classification; Diagnosis
Autoimmune Diseases  2013;2013:794383.
Objective. This study was performed to determine the prevalence of and associated risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Latin American (LA) patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Methods. First, a cross-sectional analytical study was conducted in 310 Colombian patients with SLE in whom CVD was assessed. Associated factors were examined by multivariate regression analyses. Second, a systematic review of the literature on CVD in SLE in LA was performed. Results. There were 133 (36.5%) Colombian SLE patients with CVD. Dyslipidemia, smoking, coffee consumption, and pleural effusion were positively associated with CVD. An independent effect of coffee consumption and cigarette on CVD was found regardless of gender and duration of disease. In the systematic review, 60 articles fulfilling the eligibility criteria were included. A wide range of CVD prevalence was found (4%–79.5%). Several studies reported ancestry, genetic factors, and polyautoimmunity as novel risk factors for such a condition. Conclusions. A high rate of CVD is observed in LA patients with SLE. Awareness of the observed risk factors should encourage preventive population strategies for CVD in patients with SLE aimed at facilitating the suppression of cigarette smoking and coffee consumption as well as at the tight control of dyslipidemia and other modifiable risk factors.
doi:10.1155/2013/794383
PMCID: PMC3835818  PMID: 24294522

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