Microparticles (MPs) are small membrane-bound vesicles that arise from activated and dying cells and enter the blood to display pro-inflammatory and pro-thrombotic activities. MPs are 0.1–1.0 μm in size and incorporate nuclear, cytoplasmic and membrane molecules as they detach from cells. This process can occur with cell activation as well as cell death, with particles likely corresponding to blebs that form on the cell surface during apoptosis. To measure particle expression, flow cytometry allows determination of particle numbers based on size as well as surface markers that denote the cell of origin; platelet MPs are usually the most abundant type in blood. As shown in in vitro and in vivo systems, MPs can promote inflammation and thrombosis resulting from their content of cytokines like IL-1 and pro-coagulant molecules like tissue factor. Certain particle types can be anti-inflammatory, however, suggesting a range of immunomodulatory activities depending on the cell of origin. Studies on patients with a wide range of rheumatic disease show increased MP numbers in blood, with platelet and endothelial particles associated with vascular manifestations; increased numbers of particles also occur in the joint fluid where they may drive cytokine production and activate synoviocytes. In autoimmune diseases such as SLE and RA, MPs may also contribute to disease pathogenesis by the formation of immune complexes. MPs thus represent novel subcellular structures that can impact on the pathogenesis of rheumatic disease and serve as biomarkers of underlying cellular disturbances.
microparticles; inflammation; thrombosis; rheumatic disease; apoptosis; autoimmunity; DNA; RNA
Objective. A proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) and B-cell activating factor (BAFF) are B-cell-related mediators and may play a role in the pathogenesis in SS. In this descriptive study we assessed the expression of APRIL and BAFF in the minor salivary gland and serum from SS patients.
Methods. Paraffin-embedded minor salivary gland sections from SS patients, non-SS controls and healthy volunteers were analysed by immunohistochemistry. Digital image quantification was performed to evaluate the expression of BAFF, APRIL and transmembrane activator and CAML interactor. Furthermore, serum was analysed for soluble BAFF and APRIL levels by ELISA. All the data were also analysed for subjects with decreased and normal stimulated salivary flow independent of the classification.
Results. APRIL expression was lower in minor salivary gland biopsies from SS patients compared with healthy volunteers and to a lesser extent non-SS controls, whereas BAFF expression was similar in all groups. Soluble APRIL levels in serum were increased in SS patients and in subjects with decreased salivary flow independent of the classification.
Conclusion. APRIL salivary gland tissue levels are decreased, suggesting that targeting this cytokine locally in the salivary glands would not benefit SS patients. Moreover, the discrepancy between local and systemic levels is striking and future research should assess this in more detail.
Sjögren’s syndrome; minor salivary glands; a proliferation inducing ligand
Objective. Human effector memory (EM) CD8+ T cells include IL-7Rαhigh and IL-7Rαlow cells with distinct cellular characteristics, including the expression of cytotoxic molecules. Both NK cells and the NK cell-associated molecule 2B4 that is expressed on CD8+ T cells promote cytotoxicity. Here we analysed the expression of 2B4 on IL-7Rαhigh and IL-7Rαlow EM CD8+ T cells and its contribution to cytotoxicity. We also analysed the frequency of IL-7Rαhigh and IL-7Rαlow EM CD8+ T cells in patients with SLE or lupus and in healthy individuals given the potential role of cytotoxic CD8+ T cells in the pathogenesis of lupus.
Methods. We used flow cytometry to measure the expression of 2B4 on IL-7Rαhigh and IL-7Rαlow EM CD8+ T cells as well as the frequency of these cell populations in the peripheral blood of healthy individuals and patients with SLE. Also, 2B4-mediated cytotoxicity was quantitated in IL-7Rαhigh and IL-7Rαlow EM CD8+ T cells using target cells with CD48 antigen.
Results. We found that IL-7Rαhigh EM CD8+ T cells had higher levels of 2B4 expression compared with IL-7Rαlow EM CD8+ T cells. Triggering 2B4 enhanced the cytotoxic function of IL-7Rαlow EM CD8+ T cells against target cells. We also noticed that patients with SLE had an increased frequency of IL-7Rαlow EM CD8+ T cells that correlated with disease manifestation.
Conclusion. Our findings show that SLE patients have increased IL-7Rαlow EM CD8+ T cells, possibly contributing to tissue damage through 2B4-mediated cytotoxicity.
human CD8+ T cells; IL-7 receptor alpha (α) chain; NK receptor; 2B4; cytolytic function; systemic lupus erythematosus
Objectives. To identify the instruments that have been used to measure health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in gout and assess their clinimetric properties, determine the distribution of HRQOL in gout and identify factors associated with poor HRQOL.
Methods. Medline, CINAHL, EMBASE and PsycINFO were searched from inception to October 2012. Search terms pertained to gout, health or functional status, clinimetric properties and HRQOL. Study data extraction and quality assessment were performed by two independent reviewers.
Results. From 474 identified studies, 22 met the inclusion criteria. Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index (HAQ-DI) and Short Form 36 (SF-36) were most frequently used and highest rated due to robust construct and concurrent validity, despite high floor and ceiling effects. The Gout Impact Scale had good content validity. Gout had a greater impact on physical HRQOL compared to other domains. Both gout-specific features (attack frequency and intensity, intercritical pain and number of joints involved) and comorbid disease were associated with poor HRQOL. Evidence for objective features such as tophi and serum uric acid was less robust. Limitations of existing studies include cross-sectional design, recruitment from specialist clinic settings and frequent use of generic instruments.
Conclusion. Most studies have used the generic HAQ-DI and SF-36. Gout-specific characteristics and comorbidities contribute to poor HRQOL. There is a need for a cohort study in primary care (where most patients with gout are treated) to determine which factors predict changes in HRQOL over time. This will enable those at risk of deterioration to be identified and better targeted for treatment.
gout; health-related quality of life; clinimetrics
Objective. Little is known about the association between gout and socioeconomic status (SES). Inequalities in rheumatology provision associated with SES may need to be addressed by health care planners. The aim of this study is to investigate the association of gout and SES in the community at both the individual and area levels.
Methods. Questionnaires were sent to all patients older than age 50 years who were registered with eight general practices in North Staffordshire. Data on individual SES were collected by questionnaire while area SES was measured using the Index of Multiple Deprivation derived from respondents’ postcodes. Responders reported their occupation, education and the adequacy of their income; their medical records were searched for consultations for gout.
Results. Of the 348 consultations for gout in this period, at the individual level there was a significant association between gout and income. An association of gout with education was seen only in the unadjusted analyses. No association was found between gout and area level deprivation.
Conclusion. Gout is associated with some aspects of individual level but not area level deprivation. More extensive musculoskeletal services may need to be provided in low income areas, although further research is needed.
gout; primary care; observational study; consultation data; questionnaires socioeconomic status
Objective. To describe the use of and response to biologic therapies commenced in adults with JIA.
Methods. Patients with arthritis onset <16 years were identified from the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register for rheumatoid arthritis (BSRBR-RA) and stratified into ILAR JIA subtypes. Patterns of biologic use and treatment persistence were explored, with disability levels (HAQ) and remission rates [28-Joint Disease Activity Score (DAS28)] evaluated at 6 and 12 months.
Results. Arthritis with an onset of <16 years was confirmed in 225 patients and the ILAR subtype was determined in 154 (68%). Only 58 (26%) patients had a diagnosis of JIA recorded in the BSRBR-RA. The median age at biologic commencement was 31 years [interquartile range (IQR) 23–39] and 76% were female. The biologic therapies were etanercept (49%), infliximab (28%), adalimumab (22%) and anakinra (1%). Fifty per cent of patients received more than one biologic during follow-up (2 agents, n = 64; ≥3 agents, n = 49). Treatment persistence at 1 year was 78% (95% CI 71%, 82%), falling to 42% (95% CI 34%, 49%) at 5 years. Both the HAQ and DAS28 improved significantly at 6 months, with 21% and 28% of patients in remission (DAS28 < 2.6) at 6 and 12 months, respectively.
Conclusion. This study describes patterns and identifies outcomes of biologic use in a national cohort of adults with JIA. With no national guidance currently available in this area, the choice of first biologic was inconsistent, although treatment outcomes were good. These data confirm that biologic therapies are an important treatment option in adults with active JIA in adulthood.
anti-TNF therapy; disease activity; treatment outcome; juvenile idiopathic arthritis
Objective. To analyse seven RA Core Data Set measures and three indices for their capacity to distinguish treatment results in early RA in the GUEPARD treat-to-target clinical trial vs ESPOIR routine care.
Post hoc analyses compared 65 GUEPARD and 130 matched control ESPOIR patients over 6 and 12 months for mean changes in measures, relative efficiencies and standardized response means (SRM). Three indices—28-joint disease activity score (DAS28), clinical disease activity index (CDAI) and routine assessment of patient index data (RAPID3)—were compared for mean changes and numbers of patients with high, moderate or low activity or remission using κ values.
Results. Greater improvement was seen for GUEPARD vs ESPOIR, statistically significant for physician and patient global estimates and pain and health assessment questionnaire physical function (HAQ-FN), but not joint counts and laboratory tests. Relative efficiencies with tender joint count as the referent measure indicated that pain (2.57) and global estimates by patient (3.13) and physician (2.31) were most efficient in distinguishing GUEPARD from ESPOIR. Mean improvements in GUEPARD vs ESPOIR were −3.4 vs −2.6 for DAS28 (0–10) (24%), −29.8 vs −23.1 for CDAI (0–76) (23%) and −13.0 vs −7.8 for RAPID3 (0–30) (40%) (all P < 0.01); agreement was moderate between CDAI vs DAS28 (κ = 0.56) and vs RAPID3 (κ = 0.48), and fair between DAS28 vs RAPID3 (κ = 0.26).
Conclusion. Patient and global measures indicate greater efficacy than joint counts or laboratory measures in detecting difference between GUEPARD treat-to-target and ESPOIR routine care. A RAPID3 of only patient measures may help guide treat-to-target in busy clinical settings.
treat-to-target; patient-reported outcomes; assessment; rheumatoid arthritis; patient questionnaires
Objective. To examine the role of ethnicity and the use of anti-malarials (protective) on lupus renal disease.
Methods. A nested case–control study (1:2 proportion, n = 265 and 530) within GLADEL's (Grupo Latino Americano De Estudio de Lupus) longitudinal inception cohort was carried out. The end-point was ACR renal criterion development after diagnosis. Cases and controls were matched for follow-up time (end-point or a comparable time, respectively). Renal disease predictors were examined by univariable and multivariable analyses. Additional analyses were done to determine if the protective effect of anti-malarials persisted after adjusting for intake-associated confounders.
Results. Of the cases, 233 (87.9%) were women; their mean (s.d.) age at diagnosis was 28.0 (11.9) years and their median (Q3–Q1 interquartile range) follow-up time for cases and controls was 8.3 months (Q3–Q1: 23.5); 56.6% of the cases and 74.3% of the controls were anti-malarial users. Mestizo ethnicity [odds ratio (OR) 1.72, 95% CI 1.19, 2.48] and hypertension (OR 2.26, 95% CI 1.38, 3.70) were independently associated with a higher risk of renal disease, whereas anti-malarial use (OR 0.39, 95% CI 0.26, 0.58), older age at disease onset (OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.96, 0.99) and female gender (OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.32, 0.99) were negatively associated with such occurrence. After adjusting for variables associated with their intake, the protective effect of anti-malarials on renal disease occurrence persisted (OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.25, 0.58).
Conclusion. Mestizo patients are at increased risk of developing renal disease, whereas anti-malarial use protects patients from such an occurrence.
LN; renal disease; SLE; anti-malarials; HCQ; chloroquine; ethnicity; race; mestizo; Latin America
Objectives. HLA-B*27:05 is associated with AS whereas HLA-B*27:09 is not associated. We hypothesized that different interactions with KIR immune receptors could contribute to the difference in disease association between HLA-B*27:05 and HLAB*27:09. Thus, the objective of this study was to compare the formation of β2m-free heavy chain (FHC) including B27 dimers (B272) by HLA-B*27:05 and HLA-B*27:09 and their binding to KIR immunoreceptors.
Methods. We studied the formation of HLA-B*27:05 and HLA-B*27:09 heterotrimers and FHC forms including dimers in vitro and in transfected cells. We investigated HLA-B*27:05 and HLA-B*27:09 binding to KIR3DL1, KIR3DL2 and LILRB2 by FACS staining with class I tetramers and by quantifying interactions with KIR3DL2CD3ε-reporter cells and KIR3DL2-expressing NK cells. We also measured KIR expression on peripheral blood NK and CD4 T cells from 18 HLA-B*27:05 AS patients, 8 HLA-B27 negative and 12 HLA-B*27:05+ and HLA-B*27:09+ healthy controls by FACS staining.
Results. HLA-B*27:09 formed less B272 and FHC than HLA-B*27:05. HLA-B*27:05-expressing cells stimulated KIR3DL2CD3ε-reporter T cells more effectively. Cells expressing HLA-B*27:05 promoted KIR3DL2+ NK cell survival more strongly than HLA-B*27:09. HLA-B*27:05 and HLA-B*27:09 dimer tetramers stained KIR3DL1, KIR3DL2 and LILRB2 equivalently. Increased proportions of NK and CD4 T cells expressed KIR3DL2 in HLA-B*27:05+ AS patients compared with HLA-B*27:05+, HLA-B*27:09+ and HLA-B27− healthy controls.
Conclusion. Differences in the formation of FHC ligands for KIR3DL2 by HLA-B*27:05 and HLA-B*27:09 could contribute to the differential association of these alleles with AS.
spondyloarthritis; HLA-B*27:05; HLA-B*27:09; B27 homodimer; KIR3DL1; KIR3DL2
Objective. The autopsy and clinical information on children dying with anti-SSA/Ro-associated cardiac manifestations of neonatal lupus (cardiac NL) were examined to identify patterns of disease, gain insight into pathogenesis and enhance the search for biomarkers and preventive therapies.
Methods. A retrospective analysis evaluating reports from 18 autopsies of cardiac NL cases and clinical data from the Research Registry for Neonatal Lupus was performed.
Results. Of the 18 cases with autopsies, 15 had advanced heart block, including 3 who died in the second trimester, 9 in the third trimester and 3 post-natally. Three others died of cardiomyopathy without advanced block, including two dying pre-natally and one after birth. Pathological findings included fibrosis/calcification of the atrioventricular (AV) node, sinoatrial (SA) node and bundle of His, endocardial fibroelastosis (EFE), papillary muscle fibrosis, valvular disease, calcification of the atrial septum and mononuclear pancarditis. There was no association of pathology with the timing of death except that in the third-trimester deaths more valvular disease and/or extensive conduction system abnormalities were observed. Clinical rhythm did not always correlate with pathology of the conduction system, and the pre-mortem echocardiograms did not consistently detect the extent of pathology.
Conclusion. Fibrosis of the AV node/distal conduction system is the most characteristic histopathological finding. Fibrosis of the SA node and bundle of His, EFE and valve damage are also part of the anti-Ro spectrum of injury. Discordance between echocardiograms and pathology findings should prompt the search for more sensitive methods to accurately study the phenotype of antibody damage.
neonatal lupus; anti-SSA/Ro antibodies; autoimmune congenital heart block
Objective. Alkaptonuria (AKU) is an ultra-rare autosomal recessive disease that currently lacks an appropriate therapy. Recently we provided experimental evidence that AKU is a secondary serum amyloid A (SAA)-based amyloidosis. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the use of antioxidants to inhibit SAA amyloid and pro-inflammatory cytokine release in AKU.
Methods. We adopted a human chondrocytic cell AKU model to evaluate the anti-amyloid capacity of a set of antioxidants that had previously been shown to counteract ochronosis in a serum AKU model. Amyloid presence was evaluated by Congo red staining. Homogentisic acid-induced SAA production and pro-inflammatory cytokine release (overexpressed in AKU patients) were evaluated by ELISA and multiplex systems, respectively. Lipid peroxidation was evaluated by means of a fluorescence-based assay.
Results. Our AKU model allowed us to prove the efficacy of ascorbic acid combined with N-acetylcysteine, taurine, phytic acid and lipoic acid in significantly inhibiting SAA production, pro-inflammatory cytokine release and membrane lipid peroxidation.
Conclusion. All the tested antioxidant compounds were able to reduce the production of amyloid and may be the basis for establishing new therapies for AKU amyloidosis.
ascorbic acid; N-acetylcysteine; taurine; phytic acid; lipoic acid; homogentisic acid; serum amyloid A; inflammation; chondrocyte; lipid peroxidation
Objective. Treatment-resistant muscle wasting is an increasingly recognized problem in idiopathic inflammatory myopathy (IIM). TNF-α is thought to induce muscle catabolism via activation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB). Several genes share homology with the NF-κB family of proteins. This study investigated the role of NF-κB-related genes in disease susceptibility in UK Caucasian IIM.
Methods. Data from 362 IIM cases [274 adults, 49 (±14.0) years, 72% female; 88 juveniles, 6 (±3.6) years, 73% female) were compared with 307 randomly selected Caucasian controls. DNA was genotyped for 63 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from NF-κB-related genes. Data were stratified by IIM subgroup/serotype.
Results. A significant allele association was observed in the overall IIM group vs controls for the IKBL-62T allele (rs2071592, odds ratio 1.5, 95% CI 1.21, 1.89, corrected P = 0.0086), which strengthened after stratification by anti-Jo-1 or -PM-Scl antibodies. Genotype analysis revealed an increase for the AT genotype in cases under a dominant model. No other SNP was associated in the overall IIM group. Strong pairwise linkage disequilibrium was noted between IKBL-62T, TNF-308A and HLA-B*08 (D′ = 1). Using multivariate regression, the IKBL-62T IIM association was lost after adjustment for TNF-308A or HLA-B*08.
Conclusion. An association was noted between IKBL-62T and IIM, with increased risk noted in anti-Jo-1- and -PM-Scl antibody-positive patients. However, the IKBL-62T association is dependent on TNF-308A and HLA-B*08, due to strong shared linkage disequilibrium between these alleles. After adjustment of the 8.1 HLA haplotype, NF-κB genes therefore do not independently confer susceptibility in IIM.
polymyositis; dermatomyositis; single nucleotide polymorphisms; immunogenetics; autoantibodies; NF-κB; TNF
Objectives. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's) (GPA) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) are uncommon and have unknown aetiology. The aim of the study was to investigate the epidemiology of GPA and MPA in a stable, well-defined population looking for differences in the pattern of occurrence, which might suggest a different aetiology.
Methods. Since 1988, we have maintained a prospective register of all patients with systemic vasculitis attending the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Patients presenting with new-onset GPA and MPA as defined by the European Medicines Agency algorithm and registered with general practitioners in the former Norwich Health Authority area between 1988 and 2010 were identified. The population in 2008 was estimated to be 459 000 (221 000 males).
Results. One hundred and eleven GPA and 58 MPA incident cases were identified during 1988–2010. The overall annual incidence of GPA and MPA was 11.3/million and 5.9/million, respectively. There was evidence of a cyclical pattern of occurrence with a periodicity of 7.6 years for GPA with a peak incidence of 28.3/million in 2005 and the lowest in 2002 (2.2/million). Other lesser peaks occurred in 1990 and 1996. While the peak incidence of MPA was in 2008 (15.2/million), there was no convincing evidence of periodicity. The incidence of cANCA/PR3- or pANCA/MPO-positive vasculitis showed a similar pattern to GPA and MPA, respectively.
Conclusion. This study lends support to the notion that the aetiology of GPA and MPA may be distinct conditions with different aetiologies. The cyclical incidence of GPA is possibly an indication for the influence of infection.
granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's); Wegener's granulomatosis; microscopic polyangiitis; epidemiology; vasculitis
Objective. To evaluate a multi-biomarker disease activity (MBDA) score, a novel index based on 12 serum proteins, as a tool to guide management of RA patients.
Methods. A total of 125 patients with RA from the Behandel Strategieën study were studied. Clinical data and serum samples were available from 179 visits, 91 at baseline and 88 at year 1. In each serum sample, 12 biomarkers were measured by quantitative multiplex immunoassays and the concentrations were used as input to a pre-specified algorithm to calculate MBDA scores.
Results. MBDA scores had significant correlation with DAS28-ESR (Spearman’s ρ = 0.66, P < 0.0001) and also correlated with simplified disease activity index, clinical disease activity index and HAQ Disability Index (all P < 0.0001). Changes in MBDA between baseline and year 1 were also correlated with changes in DAS28-ESR (ρ = 0.55, P < 0.0001). Groups stratified by European League Against Rheumatism disease activity (DAS28-ESR ≤ 3.2, 3.2–5.1 and > 5.1) had significantly different MBDA scores (P < 0.0001) and MBDA score could discriminate ACR/EULAR Boolean remission with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.83 (P < 0.0001).
Conclusion: The MBDA score reflects current clinical disease activity and can track changes in disease activity over time.
rheumatoid arthritis; biomarkers; disability evaluation; outcome measures; bioinformatics; molecular biology; cytokines and inflammatory mediators
Objectives. Innate immune responses in the rheumatoid synovium
contribute to inflammation and joint destruction in RA. Two IκB kinase
(IKK)-related kinases, TNF receptor associated factor (TRAF) family
member-associated nuclear factor κ-light-chain enhancer of activated B
cells (NF-κB) activator (TANK)-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) and
IKKε, potentially regulate synovitis by activating IFN response
genes. These kinases induce the expression of inflammatory mediators such as
C-X-C motif ligand 10 (CXCL10)/IFN-γ-induced protein 10 kDa (IP-10)
in fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS). Since IP-10 is a promising therapeutic
target in RA, we evaluated whether blocking TBK1 might be an effective way to
modulate IP-10 expression.
Methods. Wild-type (WT) and
IKKε−/− FLS were transfected with TBK1 or
control small interfering RNA (siRNA) and stimulated with polyinosinic
acid : polycytidylic acid [poly(I:C)]. Gene expression was assayed
using quantitative PCR. Cytokine production in culture supernatants was measured
by Luminex multiplex analysis. IFN-regulatory factor (IRF3) dimerization was
determined by native PAGE. IFN-β and IP-10 promoter activity was measured
using luciferase reporter constructs.
Results. Initial studies showed that siRNA markedly decreased TBK1
expression in cultured FLS. Poly(I:C)-induced IRF7 gene
expression was inhibited in the absence of TBK1, but not IKKε.
IRF3 gene expression was similar to WT cells in TBK1 or
IKKε-deficient FLS. IRF3 dimerization required both TBK1 and
IKKε. Surprisingly, IRF3-mediated gene and protein expression of
IFN-β and IP-10 was dependent on TBK1, not IKKε. Promoter
constructs showed that TBK1 decreased IP-10 gene transcription and IP-10 mRNA
stability was unaffected by TBK1 deficiency.
Conclusion. Based on the selective regulation of IP-10 in FLS, TBK1
appears to be the optimal IKK-related kinase to target in RA.
rheumatoid arthritis; innate immunity; C-X-C motif ligand 10; TANK-binding kinase 1; IκB-kinase ε; fibroblast-like synoviocytes; Toll-like receptor 3 ligand
The efficacy, safety and tolerability of i.v. abatacept are well established in patients with active RA. A s.c. abatacept formulation is now available in some countries. Here, we review clinical data for s.c. abatacept. Six trials are presented (Phase II dose-finding study, ACQUIRE, ALLOW, ACCOMPANY, ATTUNE and AMPLE) and issues important to both patients and clinicians are addressed. The primary focus assesses whether the i.v. and s.c. abatacept formulations have similar efficacy, including whether the recommended fixed dose of s.c. abatacept is comparable to the weight-tiered i.v. dosing and whether efficacy is sustained with long-term treatment. Safety and immunogenicity are also discussed, including the short- and long-term safety of s.c. abatacept, and whether immunogenicity is increased following a switch from i.v. to s.c. abatacept, after withdrawal or reintroduction of s.c. abatacept or in the absence of MTX. Year 1 data from the AMPLE study, comparing s.c. abatacept with the TNF antagonist adalimumab, are discussed. Although fewer patient-years of exposure are available for s.c. compared with i.v. abatacept, observations suggest that s.c. abatacept has a similar long-term efficacy to the i.v. formulation, improving the signs, symptoms, disease activity and physical function in patients with RA. With continued treatment, these improvements are maintained over time with high retention rates, similar to i.v. abatacept. s.c. abatacept is associated with low immunogenicity and short- and long-term safety that is consistent with i.v. abatacept. In addition, s.c. abatacept demonstrates comparable efficacy, kinetics of response, safety and radiographic inhibition to adalimumab.
rheumatoid arthritis; abatacept; subcutaneous; biologic therapy
Objectives. Cross-sectional studies have found that learned helplessness (LH) is associated with disease outcome in patients with RA. However, little is known about the longitudinal impact of LH. The aim of this study was to investigate whether LH is associated with future disease outcome (disability, pain and fatigue) and to investigate whether LH changes over time in patients with recent-onset inflammatory polyarthritis (IP), the broader group of conditions of which RA is the major constituent.
Methods. Patients included in this investigation had been recruited to the Norfolk Arthritis Register, a primary-care-based inception cohort. LH was measured at baseline as patients’ total score on the Rheumatology Attitudes Index (RAI). A total of 443 patients completed the HAQ and visual analogue scales of pain and fatigue at baseline and after 2 years of follow-up.
Results. Greater feelings of LH at baseline were associated with higher HAQ scores at follow-up [difference in HAQ score per 1-point increase in RAI score (β-coefficient) 0.02; 95% CI 0.01, 0.04]. Greater baseline LH was also associated with more pain (β-coefficient 1.0; 95% CI 0.4, 1.5) and more fatigue (β-coefficient 1.0; 95% CI 0.2, 1.4) at follow-up. LH was highly changeable during follow-up, with 87% of patients showing any change and 50% improving.
Conclusion. Baseline LH independently predicted disability, pain and fatigue at follow-up. Half of patients reported fewer feelings of helplessness after 2 years of follow-up, suggesting that LH may potentially be a modifiable risk factor for disease outcome in IP and a target for intervention.
inflammatory polyarthritis; rheumatoid arthritis; learned helplessness; functional disability; pain; fatigue
Objective. Epidemiological studies have shown an association between OA and increased BMD. To explore the nature of this relationship, we examined whether the risk of OA is increased in individuals with high bone mass (HBM), in whom BMD is assumed to be elevated due to a primary genetic cause.
Methods. A total of 335 115 DXA scans were screened to identify HBM index cases (defined by DXA scan as an L1 Z-score of ≥+3.2 and total hip Z-score ≥+1.2, or total hip Z-score ≥+3.2 and L1 Z-score ≥+1.2). In relatives, the definition of HBM was L1 Z-score plus total hip Z-score ≥+3.2. Controls comprised unaffected relatives and spouses. Clinical indicators of OA were determined by structured assessment. Analyses used logistic regression adjusting for age, gender, BMI and social deprivation.
Results. A total of 353 HBM cases (mean age 61.7 years, 77% female) and 197 controls (mean age 54.1 years, 47% female) were included. Adjusted NSAID use was more prevalent in HBM cases versus controls [odds ratio (OR) 2.17 (95% CI 1.10, 4.28); P = 0.03]. The prevalence of joint replacement was higher in HBM cases (13.0%) than controls (4.1%), with an adjusted OR of 2.42 (95% CI 1.06, 5.56); P = 0.04. Adjusted prevalence of joint pain and knee crepitus did not differ between cases and controls.
Conclusion. HBM is associated with increased prevalence of joint replacement surgery and NSAID use compared with unaffected controls.
osteoarthritis; high bone mass; bone mineral density; DXA; joint replacement
Objective. This study aims to provide robust estimates of EQ-5D as a function of the HAQ and pain in patients with RA.
Method. Repeated observations were made of patients diagnosed with RA in a US observational cohort (n = 100 398 observations) who provided data on HAQ, pain on a visual analogue scale and the EQ-5D questionnaire. We used a bespoke statistical method based on mixture modelling to appropriately reflect the characteristics of the EQ-5D instrument and to compare this with results from standard multiple regression.
Results. EQ-5D can be predicted from summary HAQ and pain scores. We identify four different classes of respondents who differ in terms of disease severity. Unlike the multiple regression, the mixture model exhibits very good fit to the data and does not suffer from problems of bias or predict values outside the feasible range.
Conclusion. It is appropriate to model the relationship between HAQ and EQ-5D but only if suitable statistical methods are applied. Linear models underestimate the quality-adjusted life year benefits, and therefore the cost-effectiveness, of therapies. The bespoke mixture model approach outlined here overcomes this problem. The addition of pain as an explanatory variable greatly improves the estimates. Reimbursement agencies rely on these types of analyses when formulating policy on the use of new drug therapies. Clinicians as well as economists should be concerned with these issues.
rheumatoid arthritis; HAQ; pain; EQ-5D; health outcomes; quality of life; economic evaluation; mapping
Objectives. To determine whether molecular remission defined by a multi-biomarker disease activity (MBDA) score predicts a reduced risk of joint damage progression, and whether the MBDA score can augment existing classifications of remission.
Methods. The study examined 271 visits for 163 RA patients in the Leiden Early Arthritis Cohort. The MBDA score and other variables from each visit were evaluated for prediction of progression [change in Sharp–van der Heijde Score (ΔSHS) >3] over the ensuing 12 months. Positive likelihood ratios (PLRs) for non-progression were calculated for remission based upon DAS based on 28-joint counts and CRP (DAS28-CRP <2.32), EULAR/ACR Boolean criteria and MBDA score (≤25).
Results. Ninety-three per cent of patients in MBDA-defined remission did not experience progression, compared with 70% of patients not in MBDA remission (P = 0.001). There were no significant differences in the fraction of non-progressers between patients in remission and those not in remission using either DAS28-CRP or EULAR/ACR criteria. The PLR for non-progression over 12 months for MBDA remission was 4.73 (95% CI 1.67, 15.0). Among patients in DAS28-CRP remission, those with a high MBDA score were 2.3 times as likely (95% CI 1.1, 3.7) to have joint damage progression during the next year.
Conclusion. MBDA-defined remission was an indicator of limited radiographic progression over the following 12 months. For patients in DAS28-CRP remission, high MBDA scores were a significant indicator of elevated risk of progression. MBDA results may provide a useful adjunct to clinical assessment to identify progression-free remission and assess subclinical disease.
biomarkers; rheumatoid arthritis; remission; EAC; radiographic progression
Objective. To determine the role of Class II HLAs in SSc patients from Italy and Spain and in SSc patients of Caucasian ancestry.
Methods. Nine hundred and forty-four SSc patients (Italy 392 patients; Spain 452 patients) and 1320 ethnically matched healthy controls (Italy 398 patients; Spain 922 patients) were genotyped up to the fourth digit by PCR with sequence-specific oligonucleotides for HLA-DRB1, DQA1 and DQB1 loci. Patients included 390 ACA-positive and 254 anti-topo I-positive subjects. Associations between SSc or SSc-specific antibodies and HLA alleles or HLA haplotypes were sought via the chi-square test after 10 000-fold permutation testing. A meta-analysis including this study cohort and other Caucasoids samples was also conducted.
Results. In both the cohorts, the strongest association was observed between the HLA-DRB1*1104 allele and SSc or anti-topo I antibodies. The HLA-DRB1*1104 -DQA1*0501 -DQB1*0301 haplotype was overrepresented in Italian [odds ratio (OR) = 2.069, 95% asymptotic CIs (CI95) 1.486, 2.881; P < 0.001] and in Spanish patients (OR = 6.707, CI95 3.974, 11.319; P < 0.001) as well as in anti-topo-positive patients: Italy (OR = 2.642, CI95 1.78, 3.924; P < 0.001) and Spain (OR = 20.625, CI95 11.536, 36.876; P < 0.001). In both the populations we also identified an additional risk allele (HLA-DQB1*03) and a protective allele (HLA-DQB1*0501) in anti-topo-positive patients. The meta-analysis showed different statistically significant associations, the most interesting being the differential association between HLA-DRB1*01 alleles and ACAs (OR = 1.724, CI95 1.482, 2.005; P < 0.001) or topo I antibodies (OR = 0.5, CI95 0.384, 0.651; P < 0.001).
Conclusions. We describe multiple robust associations between SSc and HLA Class II antigens in Caucasoids that may help to understand the genetic architecture of SSc.
systemic sclerosis; HLA; genetics; epidemiology