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American journal of nephrology  2015;41(0):392-399.
Brodifacoum (BDF) is a superwarfarin that is used primarily as a rodenticide. There have been increasing number of reports of human cases of accidental or intentional BDF ingestion with high mortality rate. Its broad availability and high lethality suggest that BDF should be considered a potential chemical threat. Currently, there is no biomarker for early detection of BDF ingestion in humans; patients typically present with severe coagulopathy. Since we demonstrated earlier that warfarin can induce acute kidney injury with hematuria, we tested whether BDF would also lead to change in urinary biomarkers.
Material and methods
BDF was administered to Sprague Dawley rats via oral gavage. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) was given per os in drinking water 24 hours prior to BDF. Urinalysis was performed at different times after BDF administration. Anticoagulation and serum creatinine levels were analyzed in the blood.
We observed that within a few hours the animals developed BDF-dose-dependent transient hemoglobinuria, which ceased within 24 hours. This was accompanied by a transient decrease in hematocrit, gross hemolysis and an increase in free hemoglobin in the serum. At later times, animals developed true hematuria with red blood cells in the urine, which was associated with BDF anticoagulation. NAC prevented early hemoglobinuria, but not late hematuria associated with BDF.
We propose that transient early hemoglobinuria (associated with oxidative stress) with consecutive late hematuria (associated with anticoagulation) are novel biomarkers of BDF poisoning and they can be used in clinical setting or in mass-casualty with BDF to identify poisoned patients.
PMCID: PMC4514561  PMID: 26111556
Brodifacoum; superwarfarin; acute kidney injury; urinalysis; hematuria; hemoglobinuria; N-acetylcysteine
2.  Early Components of the Complement Classical Activation Pathway in Human Systemic Autoimmune Diseases 
The complement system consists of effector proteins, regulators, and receptors that participate in host defense against pathogens. Activation of the complement system, via the classical pathway (CP), has long been recognized in immune complex-mediated tissue injury, most notably systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Paradoxically, a complete deficiency of an early component of the CP, as evidenced by homozygous genetic deficiencies reported in human, are strongly associated with the risk of developing SLE or a lupus-like disease. Similarly, isotype deficiency attributable to a gene copy-number (GCN) variation and/or the presence of autoantibodies directed against a CP component or a regulatory protein that result in an acquired deficiency are relatively common in SLE patients. Applying accurate assay methodologies with rigorous data validations, low GCNs of total C4, and heterozygous and homozygous deficiencies of C4A have been shown as medium to large effect size risk factors, while high copy numbers of total C4 or C4A as prevalent protective factors, of European and East-Asian SLE. Here, we summarize the current knowledge related to genetic deficiency and insufficiency, and acquired protein deficiencies for C1q, C1r, C1s, C4A/C4B, and C2 in disease pathogenesis and prognosis of SLE, and, briefly, for other systemic autoimmune diseases. As the complement system is increasingly found to be associated with autoimmune diseases and immune-mediated diseases, it has become an attractive therapeutic target. We highlight the recent developments and offer a balanced perspective concerning future investigations and therapeutic applications with a focus on early components of the CP in human systemic autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC4753731  PMID: 26913032
systemic lupus erythematosus; complement C1q; complement C4; autoimmune diseases; complement C2; complement C1s; complement C1r; classical pathway
3.  Relationship Between Body Mass Index and Proteinuria in Hypertensive Nephrosclerosis: Results From the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK) Cohort 
Few studies have examined the association between obesity and markers of kidney injury in a chronic kidney disease population. We hypothesized that obesity is independently associated with proteinuria, a marker of chronic kidney disease progression.
Study Design
Observational cross-sectional analysis.
Setting & Participants
Post hoc analysis of baseline data for 652 participants in the African American Study of Kidney Disease (AASK).
Obesity, determined using body mass index (BMI).
Measurements & Outcomes
Urine total protein–creatinine ratio and albumin-creatinine ratio measured in 24-hour urine collections.
AASK participants had a mean age of 60.2 ± 10.2 years and serum creatinine level of 2.3 ± 1.5 mg/dL; 61.3% were men. Mean BMI was 31.4 ± 7.0 kg/m2. Approximately 70% of participants had a daily urine total protein excretion rate <300 mg/d. In linear regression analyses adjusted for sex, each 2-kg/m2 increase in BMI was associated with a 6.7% (95% CI, 3.2-10.4) and 9.4% (95% CI, 4.9-14.1) increase in urine total protein–creatinine and urine albumin-creatinine ratios, respectively. In multivari-able models adjusting for age, sex, systolic blood pressure, serum glucose level, uric acid level, and creatinine level, each 2-kg/m2 increase in BMI was associated with a 3.5% (95% CI, 0.4-6.7) and 5.6% (95% CI, 1.5-9.9) increase in proteinuria and albuminuria, respectively. The interaction between older age and BMI was statistically significant, indicating that this relationship was driven by younger AASK participants.
May not generalize to other populations; cross-sectional analysis precludes statements regarding causality.
BMI is associated independently with urine total protein and albumin excretion in African Americans with hypertensive nephrosclerosis, particularly in younger patients.
PMCID: PMC4517588  PMID: 20801567
Obesity; body mass index; chronic kidney disease; proteinuria; hypertension
4.  Differential diagnosis of glomerular disease: a systematic and inclusive approach 
American journal of nephrology  2013;38(3):10.1159/000354390.
Glomerular disease is a complex and evolving topic. In evaluating a specific case it is not unusual for the clinician to ask: Am I missing something? Should I biopsy? When? Should I treat first, then biopsy? This work, which is both evidence based and experience based, is intended to address each of these concerns, and many other issues relevant to the differential diagnosis of glomerular disease.
The central approach is the use of diagnostic algorithms that are based on quantitative measures routinely obtained early in the course of the diagnostic evaluation. The algorithms are designed to be easy to navigate, systematic, and inclusive. Also provided is a detailed and prioritized list of recommended diagnostic testing, and the rationale for each test.
Key message
This work is intended to facilitate accurate diagnosis in the individual patient presenting with evidence of glomerular disease.
PMCID: PMC3842189  PMID: 24052039
glomerular disease; proteinuria; glomerulonephritis
5.  Novel estrogen target gene ZAS3 is overexpressed in systemic lupus erythematosus 
Molecular immunology  2012;54(1):23-31.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a prototypic, inflammatory autoimmune disease characterized by significant gender bias. Previous studies have established a role for hormones in SLE pathogenesis, including the sex hormone estrogen. Estrogen regulates gene expression by translocating estrogen receptors (ER) α and β into the nucleus where they induce transcription by binding to estrogen response elements (EREs) of target genes. The ZAS3 locus encodes a signaling and transcriptional molecule involved in regulating inflammatory responses. We show that ZAS3 is significantly up-regulated in SLE patients at both the protein and mRNA levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Furthermore, estrogen stimulates the expression of ZAS3 in vitro in several leukocyte and breast cancer cell lines of both human and murine origin. In vivo estrogen treatment mediates induction of tissue specific ZAS3 expression in several lymphoid organs in mice. Estrogen stimulation also significantly up-regulates ZAS3 expression in primary PBMCs, while treatment with testosterone has no effect. Mechanistically, estrogen induces differential ERα binding to putative EREs within the ZAS3 gene and ERα knockdown with siRNA prevents estrogen induced ZAS3 up-regulation. In contrast, siRNA targeting IFNα has no effect. These data demonstrate that ZAS3 expression is directly regulated by estrogen and that ZAS3 is overexpressed in lupus. Since ZAS3 has been shown to regulate inflammatory pathways, its up-regulation by estrogen could play a critical role in female-biased autoimmune disorders.
PMCID: PMC3913539  PMID: 23178823
Systemic lupus erythematosus; estrogen; ZAS3; autoimmunity
6.  End-Stage Renal Disease in African Americans With Lupus Nephritis Is Associated With APOL1 
Lupus nephritis (LN) is a severe manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) that exhibits familial aggregation and may progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). LN is more prevalent among African Americans than among European Americans. This study was undertaken to investigate the hypothesis that the apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) nephropathy risk alleles G1/G2, common in African Americans and rare in European Americans, contribute to the ethnic disparity in risk.
APOL1 G1 and G2 nephropathy alleles were genotyped in 855 African American SLE patients with LN-ESRD (cases) and 534 African American SLE patients without nephropathy (controls) and tested for association under a recessive genetic model, by logistic regression.
Ninety percent of the SLE patients were female. The mean ± SD age at SLE diagnosis was significantly lower in LN-ESRD cases than in SLE non-nephropathy controls (27.3 ± 10.9 years versus 39.5 ± 12.2 years). The mean ± SD time from SLE diagnosis to development of LN-ESRD in cases was 7.3 ± 7.2 years. The G1/G2 risk alleles were strongly associated with SLE-ESRD, with 25% of cases and 12% of controls having 2 nephropathy alleles (odds ratio [OR] 2.57, recessive model P = 1.49 × 10−9), and after adjustment for age, sex, and ancestry admixture (OR 2.72, P = 6.23 × 10−6). The age-, sex-, and admixture-adjusted population attributable risk for ESRD among patients with G1/G2 polymorphisms was 0.26, compared to 0.003 among European American patients. The mean time from SLE diagnosis to ESRD development was ~2 years earlier among individuals with APOL1 risk genotypes (P = 0.01).
APOL1 G1/G2 alleles strongly impact the risk of LN-ESRD in African Americans, as well as the time to progression to ESRD. The high frequency of these alleles in African Americans with near absence in European Americans explains an important proportion of the increased risk of LN-ESRD in African Americans.
PMCID: PMC4002759  PMID: 24504811
7.  High sensitivity C-reactive protein, disease activity and cardiovascular risk factors in systemic lupus erythematosus 
Arthritis care & research  2013;65(3):441-447.
To study the level of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and its relationship with disease activity, damage and cardiovascular risk factors in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Consecutive patients who fulfilled ≥4 ACR criteria for SLE but did not have concurrent infection were recruited. Blood was assayed for hsCRP and disease activity, organ damage of SLE and cardiovascular risk factors were assessed. Linear regression was performed for the relationship among hsCRP, SLE activity, damage and cardiovascular risk factors.
289 patients were studied (94% women; age 39.0±13.1 years; SLE duration 7.8±6.7 years). The mean SLEDAI score was 4.9±5.6 and clinically active SLE was present in 122(42%) patients. The mean hsCRP level was 4.87±12.7mg/L, and 28(23%) patients with active SLE had undetectable hsCRP (<0.3mg/L). Linear regression revealed a significant correlation between hsCRP and musculoskeletal (Beta=0.21), hematological (Beta=0.19), serosal (Beta=0.46) and clinical SLEDAI score (Beta=0.24), adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, creatinine and the use of various medications (p<0.005 in all). Levels of hsCRP correlated significantly with anti-dsDNA titer (Beta=0.33;p<0.001) but not with complement C3 (Beta=0.07;p=0.26). Significantly more patients with hsCRP >3.0mg/L were men and chronic smokers, and had diabetes mellitus, higher atherogenic index and history of arterial thrombosis. hsCRP levels correlated significantly with pulmonary and endocrine damage score.
hsCRP is detectable in 77% of SLE patients with clinically active disease and correlates with SLEDAI scores, particularly serositis and in the musculoskeletal and hematological systems. Elevated hsCRP in SLE is associated with certain cardiovascular risk factors and history of arterial thromboembolism.
PMCID: PMC3528823  PMID: 22949303
C-reactive protein; acute phase; disease activity; cardiovascular; damage; outcome
8.  Warfarin-related nephropathy occurs in patients with and without chronic kidney disease and is associated with an increased mortality rate 
Kidney international  2011;80(2):181-189.
An acute increase in the international normalized ratio (INR; a comparison of prothrombin time to monitor the effects of warfarin) over 3 in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is often associated with an unexplained acute increase in serum creatinine (SC) and an accelerated progression of CKD. Kidney biopsy in a subset of these patients showed obstruction of the renal tubule by red blood cell casts, and this appears to be the dominant mechanism of the acute kidney injury. We termed this warfarin-related nephropathy (WRN), and previously reported cases of WRN only in patients with CKD. We now assess whether this occurs in patients without CKD, its risk factors, and consequences. In 15,258 patients who initiated warfarin therapy during a 5-year period, 4006 had an INR over 3 and SC measured at the same time; however, the large data set precluded individual patient clinical assessment. A presumptive diagnosis of WRN was made if the SC increased by over 0.3 mg/dl within 1 week after the INR exceeded 3 with no record of hemorrhage. WRN occurred in 20.5% of the entire cohort, 33.0% of the CKD cohort, and 16.5% of the no-CKD cohort. Other risk factors included age, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. The 1-year mortality was 31.1% with compared with 18.9% without WRN, an increased risk of 65%. Thus, WRN may be a common complication of warfarin therapy in high-risk patients and CKD doubles this risk. The mechanisms of these risks are unclear.
PMCID: PMC3675881  PMID: 21389969
acute kidney injury; mortality; warfarin
9.  Intensive Blood-Pressure Control in Hypertensive Chronic Kidney Disease 
The New England journal of medicine  2010;363(10):918-929.
In observational studies, the relationship between blood pressure and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is direct and progressive. The burden of hypertension-related chronic kidney disease and ESRD is especially high among black patients. Yet few trials have tested whether intensive blood-pressure control retards the progression of chronic kidney disease among black patients.
We randomly assigned 1094 black patients with hypertensive chronic kidney disease to receive either intensive or standard blood-pressure control. After completing the trial phase, patients were invited to enroll in a cohort phase in which the blood-pressure target was less than 130/80 mm Hg. The primary clinical outcome in the cohort phase was the progression of chronic kidney disease, which was defined as a doubling of the serum creatinine level, a diagnosis of ESRD, or death. Follow-up ranged from 8.8 to 12.2 years.
During the trial phase, the mean blood pressure was 130/78 mm Hg in the intensive-control group and 141/86 mm Hg in the standard-control group. During the cohort phase, corresponding mean blood pressures were 131/78 mm Hg and 134/78 mm Hg. In both phases, there was no significant between-group difference in the risk of the primary outcome (hazard ratio in the intensive-control group, 0.91; P = 0.27). However, the effects differed according to the baseline level of proteinuria (P = 0.02 for interaction), with a potential benefit in patients with a protein-to-creatinine ratio of more than 0.22 (hazard ratio, 0.73; P = 0.01).
In overall analyses, intensive blood-pressure control had no effect on kidney disease progression. However, there may be differential effects of intensive blood-pressure control in patients with and those without baseline proteinuria. (Funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and others.)
PMCID: PMC3662974  PMID: 20818902
10.  Bath Salts: A Newly Recognized Cause of Acute Kidney Injury 
Case reports in nephrology  2012;2012:560854.
Bath salts are substance of abuse that are becoming more common and are difficult to recognize due to negative toxicology screening. Acute kidney injury due to bath salt use has not previously been described. We present the case of a previously healthy male who developed acute kidney injury and dialysis dependence after bath salt ingestion and insufflation. This was self-reported with negative toxicology screening. Clinical course was marked by severe hyperthermia, hyperkalemia, rhabdomyolysis, disseminated intravascular coagulation, oliguria, and sepsis. We discuss signs and symptoms, differential diagnoses, potential mechanisms of injury, management, and review of the literature related to bath salt toxicity.
PMCID: PMC3914251  PMID: 24555135
11.  Relapse or Worsening of Nephrotic Syndrome in Idiopathic Membranous Nephropathy Can Occur even though the Glomerular Immune Deposits Have Been Eradicated 
Nephron. Clinical Practice  2011;119(2):c145-c153.
Background: Relapse or worsening of nephrotic syndrome (NS) in idiopathic membranous nephropathy (IMN) is generally assumed to be due to recurrent disease. Here we document that often that may not be the case. Subjects and Methods: This is a prospective study of 7 consecutive IMN patients whose renal status improved, then worsened after completing a course of immunosuppressive therapy. Each underwent detailed testing and repeat kidney biopsy. Results: In 4 patients (group A), the biopsy showed recurrent IMN (fresh subepithelial deposits). Immunosuppressive therapy was begun. In the other 3 patients (group B), the biopsy showed that the deposits had been eradicated. However, the glomerular basement membrane (GBM) was thickened and vacuolated. Immunosuppressive therapy was withheld. Groups A and B were comparable except that group B had very high intakes of salt and protein, based on 24-hour urine testing. Reducing their high salt intake sharply lowered proteinuria to the subnephrotic range and serum creatinine stabilized. Conclusion: This work is the first to demonstrate that relapse/worsening of NS can occur in IMN even though the GBM deposits have been eradicated. High salt and protein intake in combination with thickened and vacuolated GBM appears to be the mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3214955  PMID: 21757952
Relapse of membranous nephropathy; Salt intake; Eradication of GBM deposits
Arthritis and rheumatism  2011;63(7):2031-2037.
The published criteria for the proteinuria increase that constitutes a proteinuric flare in lupus glomerulonephritis (SLE GN) vary widely, likely because they are largely based on expert opinion. Ideally, the threshold for proteinuric flare should be set sufficiently high so that spontaneous variation in proteinuria does not likely explain the increase, but not so high that the patient is needlessly exposed to prolonged heavy proteinuria before a flare is declared and therapy is increased. Here we describe an evidence-based approach to setting the threshold for proteinuric flare based on quantifying the spontaneous variation in urine protein/creatinine (P/C) ratio of SLE GN patients who are not experiencing SLE flare.
SLE GN patients (N = 71) followed in the Ohio SLE Study (OSS) were tested at pre-specified bimonthly intervals within windows of ± 1 week, median follow-up > 44 mo, visit compliance > 90%. To assess spontaneous P/C ratio variation under no-flare conditions, we excluded P/C ratios measured within ± 4 month of renal flare.
For those with mean no-flare P/C ratios ≤ 0.5, the published flare thresholds are set well above the 99% confidence interval (CI) of the no-flare P/C ratios. The opposite is seen in those with patients whose mean no-flare P/C ratios ≥ 1.0.
Current thresholds for proteinuric flare appear to be set either too high or too low. A randomized trial would be needed to test whether re-setting the thresholds would result in faster remission, less therapy, and less chronic kidney disease.
PMCID: PMC3117977  PMID: 21400484
14.  Oral Cyclophosphamide Is on the Verge of Extinction as Therapy for Severe Autoimmune Diseases (Especially Lupus): Should Nephrologists Care? 
Nephron. Clinical Practice  2010;117(1):c8-c14.
Some day we will have powerful targeted therapies for autoimmune diseases. Remission will be induced efficiently. Side effects will be mere ripples. Unfortunately, that day is not imminent. Current therapies are powerful but with unintended targets and side effects that can be equivalent to a sea change. For SLE, the current competition to select the ‘gold standard’ immunosuppressant has come down to two regimens: intravenous cyclophosphamide (IVCY, standard NIH protocol or its variations) versus oral mycophenolate (MMF). Until recently, IVCY reigned as the gold standard, a title it achieved through a curious journey that did not involve rigorous head-to-head competition. Oral cyclophosphamide (POCY) has not been invited to the current competition to select the gold standard immunosuppressant despite the substantial evidence that POCY can perform at least as well as IVCY or mycophenolate, and compared to IVCY, is far less expensive, easier for the patient, and maybe more effective in African-Americans. Here, we state the case for POCY as therapy for severe autoimmune diseases. We suggest that if POCY is allowed to compete, it will not disappoint.
PMCID: PMC3214930  PMID: 20689319
SLE nephritis; Oral cyclophosphamide; Intravenous cyclophosphamide
15.  Warfarin Therapy That Results in an International Normalization Ratio above the Therapeutic Range Is Associated with Accelerated Progression of Chronic Kidney Disease 
Nephron. Clinical Practice  2010;115(2):c142-c146.
We had previously reported that acute kidney injury (AKI) in warfarin-treated chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients may occur shortly after an acute increase in the International Normalization Ratio (INR) >3.0 with formation of occlusive red blood casts. Recovery from this warfarin-associated AKI is poor. Here we investigated whether excessive warfarin therapy could accelerate the progression of CKD.
We analyzed serum creatinine (SC) and INR in 103 consecutive CKD patients on warfarin therapy in our Nephrology program from 2005 to the present.
Forty-nine patients experienced at least 1 episode of INR >3.0. Of these, 18 patients (37%, Group 1) developed an unexplained increase in SC ≥0.3 mg/dl coincident with INR >3.0 (mean SC increase 0.61 ± 0.44 mg/dl); 31 patients (63%, Group 2) showed stable SC (mean SC change 0.04 ± 0.19 mg/dl). Subsequent CKD progression was accelerated in Group 1, but not in Group 2. The 2 groups were not different with respect to demographics, comorbidities, blood pressure, or therapies. However, African Americans were overrepresented in Group 1 (p = 0.035).
Overanticoagulation is associated with faster progression of CKD in a high percentage of patients. Our results indicate the need for prospective trials. Nevertheless, we suggest that our findings are sufficiently compelling at this point to justi- fy extra caution in warfarin-treated CKD patients to avoid overanticoagulation.
PMCID: PMC3696377  PMID: 20413993
Warfarin; Serum creatinine; Acute kidney injury; Chronic kidney disease
16.  Random Spot Urine Protein/Creatinine Ratio Is Unreliable for Estimating 24-Hour Proteinuria in Individual Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Nephritis Patients 
Nephron. Clinical Practice  2009;113(3):c177-c182.
Recently the American Rheumatologic Association (ARA) recommended random spot urine protein/creatinine ratio (P/C) to monitor systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) glomerulonephritis (GN). Shortly afterward, 2 works were published, designated Study 1 and Study 2, which are the only studies to test spot P/C in SLE GN. Here we evaluate Study 1 and Study 2, which came to different conclusions.
Study 1 compared spot P/C to the P/C of intended 24-hour collections >50% complete, which reliably estimates 24-hour proteinuria. Study 2 compared spot P/C to the protein content of intended 24-hour collections >80% complete. To compare studies, Study 2 data were converted to P/C ratios.
Study 1 and Study 2 were found to be in agreement. Both showed that spot P/C and 24-hour P/C were highly correlated, but only when compared over the entire P/C range (0–8.0) (r = 0.842). Over the P/C range 0.5–3.0 (the most common P/C range encountered in SLE GN), correlation was present, but concordance was poor, rendering random P/C ratio unreliable.
Random spot P/C ratio is unreliable for detecting moderate proteinuria change. For example, random spot P/C would not reliably diagnose British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) Category A or B proteinuric flares.
PMCID: PMC2821433  PMID: 19672116
SLE glomerulonephritis; Proteinuria; SLE flare
17.  Biomarker Discovery for Lupus Nephritis Through Longitudinal Urine Proteomics 
Kidney international  2008;74(6):799-807.
Lupus nephritis is a frequent and serious complication of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Treatment often requires the use of immunosuppression, and may be associated with severe side effects. The ability to predict relapse, relapse severity, and recovery could be used to more effectively implement therapy and reduce toxicity. We postulated that a proteomic analysis of the low-molecular weight urine proteome using serial urine samples obtained before, during, and after SLE nephritis flares would demonstrate potential biomarkers of SLE renal flare. This study was undertaken to test our hypothesis.
Urine from 25 flare cycles of 19 WHO Class III, IV, and V SLE nephritis patients was used. Urine samples included a baseline, and pre-flare, flare, and post-flare specimens. The urines were fractionated to remove proteins larger than 30 kDa, and spotted onto weak cation exchanger (CM10) protein chips for analysis by surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF MS).
SELDI-TOF MS screening showed 176 protein ions between 2-20 kDa of which 27 were found to be differentially-expressed between specific flare intervals. On-chip peptide sequencing by integrated tandem mass spectrometry was used to positively identify selected differentially-expressed protein ions. The identified proteins included the 20 and 25 amino acid isoforms of hepcidin, a fragment of α1-antitrypsin, and an albumin fragment. Hepcidin 20 increased 4 months pre-flare and returned to baseline at renal flare, whereas hepcidin 25 decreased at renal flare and returned to baseline 4 months post-flare.
Using SELDI-TOF urine protein profiling in lupus nephritis, several candidate biomarkers of renal flare were found. To verify these candidates as true biomarkers, further identification and validation are needed in an independent SLE cohort.
PMCID: PMC2614389  PMID: 18596723
lupus nephritis; biomarker; SELDI
18.  A polymorphism in the type one complement receptor (CR1) involves an additional cysteine within the C3b/C4b binding domain that inhibits ligand binding 
Molecular immunology  2007;44(14):3510-3516.
The type one complement receptor (CR1) contains a variable number of binding domains for C3b and C4b, formed through a nearly identical set of repeating units known as short consensus repeats (SCRs). Each SCR contains 4 cysteines that, by forming two disulfide bonds, impart a conformation critical for function. In this study, we identified a CR1 single nucleotide polymorphism (1597C>T) that results in an additional cysteine (483R>C) in SCR 8 of the N-terminal C3b/C4b binding domain, and occurring sporadically in corresponding SCRs of other repeated C3b/C4b binding domains. The normal carrier frequency for 483-C was 6.3% in 175 African Americans, and 2.4% in 153 Caucasians. In expression constructs containing one C3b/C4b binding domain, the 483-C residue reduced binding to C3b, C3bi, and C4b by over 80% (each p < 0.0001), versus the wildtype construct. Full-length CR1 from 483-C carriers also exhibited reduced binding to C3b and C4b, although the effect was influenced by the total number of binding domains present. Race-matched comparisons between SLE patients (86 African Americans, 228 Caucasians) and the normal cohort showed that 483-C carrier status alone is not a risk factor for SLE or lupus nephritis. The physiological role of this polymorphism remains to be determined.
PMCID: PMC1978224  PMID: 17467802
CR1; polymorphism; complement; SLE
19.  A Dinucleotide Deletion in CD24 Confers Protection against Autoimmune Diseases 
PLoS Genetics  2007;3(4):e49.
It is generally believed that susceptibility to both organ-specific and systemic autoimmune diseases is under polygenic control. Although multiple genes have been implicated in each type of autoimmune disease, few are known to have a significant impact on both. Here, we investigated the significance of polymorphisms in the human gene CD24 and the susceptibility to multiple sclerosis (MS) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We used cases/control studies to determine the association between CD24 polymorphism and the risk of MS and SLE. In addition, we also considered transmission disequilibrium tests using family data from two cohorts consisting of a total of 150 pedigrees of MS families and 187 pedigrees of SLE families. Our analyses revealed that a dinucleotide deletion at position 1527∼1528 (P1527del) from the CD24 mRNA translation start site is associated with a significantly reduced risk (odds ratio = 0.54 with 95% confidence interval = 0.34–0.82) and delayed progression (p = 0.0188) of MS. Among the SLE cohort, we found a similar reduction of risk with the same polymorphism (odds ratio = 0.38, confidence interval = 0.22–0.62). More importantly, using 150 pedigrees of MS families from two independent cohorts and the TRANSMIT software, we found that the P1527del allele was preferentially transmitted to unaffected individuals (p = 0.002). Likewise, an analysis of 187 SLE families revealed the dinucleotide-deleted allele was preferentially transmitted to unaffected individuals (p = 0.002). The mRNA levels for the dinucleotide-deletion allele were 2.5-fold less than that of the wild-type allele. The dinucleotide deletion significantly reduced the stability of CD24 mRNA. Our results demonstrate that a destabilizing dinucleotide deletion in the 3′ UTR of CD24 mRNA conveys significant protection against both MS and SLE.
Author Summary
When an individual's immune system attacks self tissues or organs, he/she develops autoimmune diseases. Although it is well established that multiple genes control susceptibility to autoimmune diseases, most of the genes remain unidentified. In addition, although different autoimmune diseases have a common immunological basis, a very small number of genes have been identified that affect multiple autoimmune diseases. Here we show that a variation in CD24 is a likely genetic factor for the risk and progression of two types of autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS), an organ-specific autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system, and systemic lupus erythematosus, a systemic autoimmune disease. Our data indicated that if an individual's CD24 gene has a specific two-nucleotide deletion in the noncoding region of CD24 mRNA, his/her risk of developing MS or SLE is reduced by 2- to 3-fold. As a group, MS patients with the two-nucleotide deletion will likely have a slower disease progression. Biochemical analysis indicated that the deletion leads to rapid decay of CD24 mRNA, which should result in reduced synthesis of the CD24 protein. Our data may be useful for the treatment and diagnosis of autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC1847692  PMID: 17411341

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