Primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS) is an autoimmune disorder characterized by specific pathologic features and the production of typical autoantibodies. In addition, characteristic changes in the distribution of peripheral B cell subsets and differences in use of immunoglobulin variable-region genes are also features of pSS. Comparison of B cells from the blood and parotid gland of patients with pSS with those of normal donors suggests that there is a depletion of memory B cells from the peripheral blood and an accumulation or retention of these antigen-experienced B cells in the parotids. Because disordered selection leads to considerable differences in the B cell repertoire in these patients, the delineation of its nature should provide important further clues to the pathogenesis of this autoimmune inflammatory disorder.
autoimmunity; B cells; IgV gene usage; lymphocytes; Sjögren's syndrome
Sjögren's syndrome is a multisystem inflammatory rheumatic disease that is classified into primary and secondary forms, with cardinal features in the eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca) and mouth (xerostomia). The aetiology behind this autoimmune exocrinopathy is probably multifactorial and influenced by genetic as well as by environmental factors that are as yet unknown. A genetic predisposition to Sjögren's syndrome has been suggested on the basis of familial aggregation, animal models and candidate gene association studies. Recent advances in molecular and genetic methodologies should further our understanding of this complex disease. The present review synthesizes the current state of genetics in Sjögren's syndrome.
apoptosis; autoimmune disease; candidate genes; cytokines; HLA
IFN-β treatment is emerging as a potentially effective form of therapy in various immune-mediated conditions. The present review addresses the possible role of IFN-β in immune-mediated diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Several placebo-controlled trials are discussed, as are the available immunological data that are relevant to this field. Review of these data provides evidence that IFN-β has some beneficial therapeutic effect in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and might also have antirheumatic potential. This notion is supported by recent studies showing a critical role for IFN-β in bone homeostasis.
IFN-β; multiple sclerosis; rheumatoid arthritis
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) experience excess cardiovascular disease (CVD). We investigated the effects of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD) and dietary intervention on CVD risk in inflammatory arthritis. Twenty-two patients (17 women; 15 with RA and seven with spondyloarthropathy) who were insulin resistant (n = 20), as determined by the Homeostasis Model Assessment, and/or were dyslipidemic (n = 11) were identified. During the third month after initiation of DMARD therapy, body weight, C-reactive protein (CRP), insulin resistance, and lipids were re-evaluated. Results are expressed as median (interquartile range). DMARD therapy together with dietary intervention was associated with weight loss of 4 kg (0–6.5 kg), a decrease in CRP of 14% (6–36%; P < 0.006), and a reduction in insulin resistance of 36% (26–61%; P < 0.006). Diet compliers (n = 15) experienced decreases of 10% (0–20%) and 3% (0–9%) in total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, respectively, as compared with increases of 9% (6–20%; P < 0.05) and 3% (0–9%; P < 0.05) in diet noncompliers. Patients on methotrexate (n = 14) experienced a reduction in CRP of 27 mg/l (6–83 mg/l), as compared with a decrease of 10 mg/l (3.4–13 mg/l; P = 0.04) in patients not on methotrexate. Improved cardiovascular risk with DMARD therapy includes a reduction in insulin resistance. Methotrexate use in RA may improve CVD risk through a marked suppression of the acute phase response. Dietary intervention prevented the increase in total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol upon acute phase response suppression.
cardiovascular risk; diet; DMARD; inflammatory arthritis
To examine whether the lack of sufficient neoangiogenesis in systemic sclerosis (SSc) is caused by a decrease in angiogenic factors and/or an increase in angiostatic factors, the potent proangiogenic molecules vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor, and the angiostatic factor endostatin were determined in patients with SSc and in healthy controls. Forty-three patients with established SSc and nine patients with pre-SSc were included in the study. Serum levels of VEGF, basic fibroblast growth factor and endostatin were measured by ELISA. Age-matched and sex-matched healthy volunteers were used as controls. Highly significant differences were found in serum levels of VEGF between SSc patients and healthy controls, whereas no differences could be detected for endostatin and basic fibroblast growth factor. Significantly higher levels of VEGF were detected in patients with Scl-70 autoantibodies and in patients with diffuse SSc. Patients with pre-SSc and short disease duration showed significant higher levels of VEGF than healthy controls, indicating that elevated serum levels of VEGF are a feature of the earliest disease stages. Patients without fingertip ulcers were found to have higher levels of VEGF than patients with fingertip ulcers. Levels of endostatin were associated with the presence of giant capillaries in nailfold capillaroscopy, but not with any other clinical parameter. The results show that the concentration of VEGF is already increased in the serum of SSc patients at the earliest stages of the disease. VEGF appears to be protective against ischemic manifestations when concentrations of VEGF exceed a certain threshold level.
basic fibroblast growth factor; endostatin; fingertip ulcers; systemic sclerosis; vascular endothelial growth factor
Osteoarthritis (OA), one of the most common age-related chronic disorders of articular cartilage, joints, and bone tissue, represents a major public health problem. Genetic studies have identified multiple gene variations associated with an increased risk of OA. These findings suggest that there is a large genetic component to OA and that the disorder belongs in the multigenetic, multifactorial class of genetic diseases. Studies of chondrodysplasias and associated hereditary OA have provided a better understanding of the role of structural genes in the maintenance and repair of articular cartilage, in the regulation of chondrocyte proliferation and gene expression, and in the pathogenesis of OA.
cartilage; chromosomes; genetics; linkage; osteoarthritis
Nurse-like stromal cell lines from the synovial tissue of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA-SNC) produce, on coculture with lymphocytes, large amounts of proinflammatory cytokines. In the present paper, we analyze the molecular events necessary for the induction of cytokine release from RA-SNC cells, and particularly the roles played by cell adhesion and the transmigration (also known as pseudoemperipolesis) of lymphocytes. For this purpose, the effects of various mAbs on the binding and transmigration of a human B-cell line, MC/car, were examined using a cloned RA-SNC line, RA-SNC77. To analyze the role of lymphocyte binding and transmigration on upregulated cytokine production by the RA-SNC77 cells, we used C3 exoenzyme-treated MC/car cells, which could bind to RA-SNC77 cells but could not transmigrate. Treatment with anti-CD29 or anti-CD49d mAb significantly reduced binding and transmigration of the MC/car cells. In contrast, the neutralizing anti-CD106/vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 mAb did not show any inhibitory effect. Likewise, none of the neutralizing mAbs against CD11a, CD18, CD44, CD49e, or CD54 showed significant effects. Binding of C3-treated or untreated MC/car cells to RA-SNC77 cells induced comparable levels of IL-6 and IL-8 production. In addition, the enhanced cytokine production by RA-SNC77 cells required direct lymphocyte contact via a very late antigen-4 (VLA-4)-independent adhesion pathway. These results indicate that, although both the VLA-4-dependent/vascular cell adhesion molecule 1-independent and the VLA4-independent adhesion pathways are involved in MC/car binding and subsequent transmigration, only the VLA4-independent adhesion pathway is necessary and sufficient for the enhanced proinflammatory cytokine production by RA-SNC77 cells. The transmigration process, which is dependent on Rho-GTPase, is not a prerequisite for this phenomenon.
cell adhesion; cytokine production; nurse cells; rheumatoid arthritis; transmigration
Therapeutic options for patients with more severe forms of spondyloarthritis (SpA) have been rather limited in recent decades. There is accumulating evidence that anti-tumor-necrosis-factor (anti-TNF) therapy is highly effective in SpA, especially in ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis. The major anti-TNF-α agents currently available, infliximab (Remicade®) and etanercept (Enbrel®), are approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in many countries. In ankylosing spondylitis there is an unmet medical need, since there are almost no disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) available for severely affected patients, especially those with spinal manifestations. Judging from recent data from more than 300 patients with SpA, anti-TNF therapy seems to be even more effective in SpA than in rheumatoid arthritis. However, it remains to be shown whether patients benefit from long-term treatment, whether radiological progression and ankylosis can be stopped and whether long-term biologic therapy is safe.
ankylosing spondylitis; anti-TNF-α therapy; conventional and innovative treatment; psoriatic arthritis
Studies have established the magnitude of the genetic basis of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). JIA is a complex genetic condition and the genes that influence susceptibility are actively being sought. A candidate gene approach is being used by several groups. MHC-, cytokine- and T-cell-related genes have all been positively associated with JIA. Here we review some of the latest genetic data, and discuss ways in which JIA genetic research might proceed.
candidate genes; cytokines; genetics; juvenile idiopathic arthritis
Osteoporosis (OP) and osteoarthritis (OA), the two most common age-related chronic disorders of articular joints and skeleton, represent a major public health problem in most developed countries. They are influenced by environmental factors and exhibit a strong genetic component. Large population studies clearly show their inverse relationship; therefore, an accurate analysis of the genetic bases of one of these two diseases may provide data of interest for the other disorder. The discovery of risk and protective genes for OP and OA promises to revolutionize strategies for diagnosing and treating these disorders. The primary goal of this symposium was to bring together scientists and clinicians working on OP and OA in order to identify the most promising and collaborative approaches for the coming decade. This meeting put into focus the importance of an adequate genetic approach to several areas of research: the search for the genetic determinants underlying new susceptibilities, the optimization of previously acquired data; the establishment of correlations between genetic polymorphism and functional variants, and gene–gene and gene–environment interactions (particularly those between genes and nutrients). An adequate genetic approach is also essential with regard to determining more selective criteria for phenotypic definition of familial OP, in order to obtain more homogeneous and statistically powerful family-based studies. The symposium concluded with an interesting overview of the future perspectives offered by DNA microarray technologies for identifying novel candidate genes, for developing proteomics and bioinformatics analyses and for designing low-cost clinical trials.
estrogen; genetics; osteoarthritis; osteochondrodysplasia; osteoporosis
Interleukin (IL)-12, being a major cytokine that induces T helper (Th) 1 differentiation and inflammatory response, has been postulated to be an important mediator of synovial inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, the regulation of IL-12 production in RA has not been elucidated. Our knowledge is mainly based on studies of the production of IL-12p40 and not the functional IL-12p70 heterodimer. We have studied the CD154-induced IL-12p40 and IL-12p70 production by synovial fluid (SF) macrophages from patients with RA. CD40 ligation induced the secretion of IL-12p40 but not IL-12p70. The observed increase in IL-10 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α production indicated that SF macrophages responded to CD40 ligation. The expression of p40 mRNA was increased significantly and remained upregulated after CD40 ligation, whereas the increase of p35 transcript expression was observed only transiently and at a lower level. We further observed that dendritic cells (DCs) derived in vitro from SF macrophages produced IL-12p70. Most importantly, IL-4 and IL-13 primed SF macrophages to produce IL-12p70, whereas IFN-γ was not observed to activate IL-12p70 production in these cells, in contrast with normal peripheral blood monocytes. These results provide novel information about the regulation of IL-12p70 production and the function of the cytokine network in RA.
CD40; cytokines; IL-12; rheumatoid arthritis
The chronic arthropathies of childhood share clinical and pathological features with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adults. Both are autoimmune diseases characterized by a destructive arthropathy. Both are likely to be complex genetic traits, with autoantibodies and with a type-1-T-helper-cell cytokine profile in disease tissues. In common with other autoimmune diseases, both have associations and linkage with human keukocyte antigen (HLA) genetic markers. However, there are also important points of distinction outlined in this chapter, which include substantial differences in clinical phenotype. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is characterized by several subtypes, whereas RA is more homogeneous. There are differences in outcome: adults with RA tend to have a poorer outcome; in JRA, the outcome is more variable and can be predicted by phenotypes at presentation. In addition, patients with RA have a stronger family history of RA although both RA and JRA share an increased frequency of family history of other autoimmune diseases. The genetic markers present to variable degrees in the subtypes of JRA differ quite considerably from those of RA. This is particularly so with respect to HLA.
arthritis; classification/diagnosis; juvenile rheumatoid arthritis; rheumatoid
The 3rd Annual EULAR Congress, held in Stockholm on 12–15 June 2002, had a turnout of 8300 delegates, almost identical to last year's record attendance level in Prague. The venue was close to ideal, allowing ample space for poster sessions in the exhibition hall. The manned poster sessions were well attended, even on the last day of the Congress. The numerous invited speakers represented the world's elite, allowing the staging of excellent state-of-the-art podium sessions. The aim of attracting the young scientific community was partly achieved, but individual delegates' dependence on industry sponsorship poses potential problems. The organization was a big improvement compared to that of the two previous congresses. Approximately 1800 abstracts were submitted, an increase of 50%, resulting in a higher quality of accepted abstracts. The satellite symposia held every morning and late afternoon were well attended; thus, industry exposure of new products, both in podium sessions and at the exhibitions, was well accommodated. The Annual EULAR Congress consolidates its position as one of the two most important annual congresses of rheumatology, but EULAR economy and commercial aspects are still too dominant in relation to science.
ACR; EULAR; poster sessions; rheumatology congress; satellite symposia
Relapsing polychondritis is an autoimmune disease in which an inappropriate immune response destroys cartilage. Cartilage of the ears, larynx and nose rather than spine and joint cartilage is affected by a chronic relapsing and erosive inflammation. Several animal models for relapsing polychondritis have been published in which immunization with various cartilage proteins induces a variety of chondritis symptoms that mimic those seen in patients. In this review we describe the collagens, matrilin-1 and cartilage oligomeric matrix protein as potential autoantigens able to trigger the tissue-specific immune response seen both in patients and in animal models for relapsing polychondritis and related autoimmune diseases.
collagen; matrilin; model; relapsing polychondritis; rheumatoid arthritis
The aim of this study was to explore the molecular profile of proliferating rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RA-SF). Total RNA was extracted from two cultures of RA-SF (low-density [LD] proliferating cells and high-density [HD] nonproliferating cells) and suppression subtractive hybridization was performed to compare differential gene expression of these two cultures. Subtracted cDNA was subcloned, and nucleotide sequences were analyzed to identify each clone. Differential expression of distinct clones was confirmed by semiquantitative RT-PCR. The expression of certain genes in synovial tissues was examined by in situ hybridization. In both LD and HD cells, 44 clones were upregulated. Of the 88 total clones, 46 were identical to sequences that have previously been characterized. Twenty-nine clones were identical to cDNAs that have been identified, but with unknown functions so far, and 13 clones did not show any significant homology to sequences in GenBank (NCBI). Differential expression of distinct clones was confirmed by RT-PCR. In situ hybridization showed that certain genes, such as S100A4, NFAT5, unr and Fbx3, were also expressed predominantly in synovial tissues from patients with RA but not from normal individuals. The expression of distinct genes in proliferating RA-SF could also be found in RA synovium, suggesting that these molecules are involved in synovial activation in RA. Most importantly, the data indicate that the expression of certain genes in RA-SF depends on the stage of proliferation; therefore, the stage needs to be considered in any analysis of differential gene expression in SF.
differential gene expression; molecular profile; proliferation; rheumatoid arthritis; synovial fibroblasts
T-cell responses to antigens are classified on the basis of the cytokines they produce as either Th1 (IFN-γ, IL-2) or Th2 (IL-4, IL-10), with these Th types being indicative of either cell-mediated or antibody-mediated responses, respectively. Using this classification, T-cell responses in MHC-class-II-restricted autoimmune diseases appear to be predominantly of the Th1 type, based on the presence of high levels of IFN-γ. This simplistic classification has recently been challenged, however, as disease incidence and severity are frequently elevated in animals that have a deficient IFN-γ response. The recent data discussed here indicate that the cytokine circuits involved in the regulation of cell-mediated and humoral immune responses during the development of autoimmune arthritis are more complex than originally proposed; perhaps our characterization of autoimmune responses as strictly Th1 or Th2 is overly simplistic, especially as it pertains to the role of IFN-γ.
arthritis; autoimmunity; cytokines; IFN-γ
Anti-tumor-necrosis-factor-α (TNF-α) monoclonal antibody was used to treat Tg197 transgenic mice, which constitutively produce human TNF-α (hTNF-α) and develop a progressive polyarthritic disease. Treatment of both young (7- or 8-week-old) and aged (27- or 28-week-old) mice commenced when at least two limbs showed signs of moderate to severe arthritis. The therapeutic efficacy of anti-TNF-α antibody was assessed using various pathological indicators of disease progression. The clinical severity of arthritis in Tg197 mice was significantly reduced after anti-TNF-α treatment in comparison with saline-treated mice and in comparison with baseline assessments in both young and aged mice. The treatment with anti-TNF-α prevented loss of body weight. Inflammatory pathways as reflected by elevated circulating hTNF-α and local expression of various proinflammatory mediators were all diminished by anti-TNF-α treatment, confirming a critical role of hTNF-α in this model of progressive polyarthritis. More importantly, the amelioration of the disease was associated with reversal of existing structural damage, including synovitis and periosteal bone erosions evident on histology. Repair of cartilage was age dependent: reversal of cartilage degradation after anti-TNF-α treatment was observed in young mice but not in aged mice.
antibody; animal models; cytokines; rheumatoid arthritis; tumor necrosis factor alpha
To confirm an association between cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and the presence of antibodies to Smith (Sm), to ribonucleoprotein (RNP), and to a component of the U1 ribonucleoproteins (U1-70 kD), we measured antibodies to these protein antigens using an enzyme immunoassay and an immunoblot. The antibodies were measured in the sera of 80 healthy subjects, one-half of whom were naturally CMV seropositive and one-half were CMV seronegative, and in eight subjects immunized with a live attenuated strain of CMV. None of the vaccinees developed antibodies to Sm, to RNP, or to U1-70 kD at either 4 or 12 months after immunization. Additionally, there was no statistically significant association between levels of antibodies to Sm or to RNP and between sera obtained from vaccinees, natural CMV seropositive individuals, and CMV seronegative individuals. One CMV seropositive serum and one CMV seronegative serum tested positive for antibodies to U1-70 kD. These data indicate that neither wild-type infection nor the live-attenuated Towne vaccine frequently induce autoantibody production.
autoantibodies; cytomegalovirus; RNP antigen; Sm antigen; U1-70kD
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients experience a markedly increased frequency of cardiovascular disease. We evaluated cardiovascular risk profiles in 79 RA patients and in 39 age-matched and sex-matched osteoarthritis (OA) patients. Laboratory tests comprised ultrasensitive C-reactive protein (CRP) and fasting lipids. Insulin sensitivity (IS) was determined by the Quantitative Insulin Sensitivity Check Index (QUICKI) in all OA patients and in 39 of the RA patients. Ten RA patients were on glucocorticoids. RA patients exercised more frequently than OA patients (χ2 = 3.9, P < 0.05). Nine RA patients and one OA patient had diabetes (χ2 = 4.5, P < 0.05). The median CRP, the mean QUICKI and the mean high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol were 9 mg/l (range, 0.5–395 mg/l), 0.344 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.332–0.355) and 1.40 mmol/l (95% CI, 1.30–1.49 mmol/l) in RA patients, respectively, as compared with 2.7 mg/l (range, 0.3–15.9 mg/l), 0.369 (95% CI, 0.356–0.383) and 1.68 mmol/l (95% CI, 1.50–1.85 mmol/l) in OA patients. Each of these differences was significant (P < 0.05). After controlling for the CRP, the QUICKI was similar in RA and OA patients (P = 0.07), while the differences in HDL cholesterol were attenuated but still significant (P = 0.03). The CRP correlated with IS, while IS was associated with high HDL cholesterol and low triglycerides in RA patients and not in OA patients. A high CRP (≥ 8 mg/l) was associated with hypertension (χ2 = 7.4, P < 0.05) in RA patients. RA glucocorticoid and nonglucocorticoid users did not differ in IS and lipids (P > 0.05). Excess cardiovascular risk in RA patients as compared with OA patients includes the presence of decreased IS and HDL cholesterol in RA patients. The latter is only partially attributable to the acute phase response. The CRP, IS, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and hypertension are inter-related in RA patients, whereas none of these relationships were found in OA patients.
cardiovascular risk; osteoarthritis; rheumatoid arthritis
Patients with Sjögren's syndrome (SS) have characteristic lymphocytic infiltrates of the salivary glands. To determine whether the B cells accumulating in the salivary glands of SS patients represent a distinct population and to delineate their potential immunopathologic impact, individual B cells obtained from the parotid gland and from the peripheral blood were analyzed for immunglobulin light chain gene rearrangements by PCR amplification of genomic DNA. The productive immunglobulin light chain repertoire in the parotid gland of the SS patient was found to be restricted, showing a preferential usage of particular variable lambda chain genes (Vλ2E) and variable kappa chain genes (VκA27). Moreover, clonally related VL chain rearrangements were identified; namely, VκA27–Jκ5 and VκA19–Jκ2 in the parotid gland, and Vλ1C–Jλ3 in the parotid gland and the peripheral blood. Vκ and Vλ rearrangements from the parotid gland exhibited a significantly elevated mutational frequency compared with those from the peripheral blood (P < 0.001). Mutational analysis revealed a pattern of somatic hypermutation similar to that found in normal donors, and a comparable impact of selection of mutated rearrangements in both the peripheral blood and the parotid gland. These data indicate that there is biased usage of VL chain genes caused by selection and clonal expansion of B cells expressing particular VL genes. In addition, the data document an accumulation of B cells bearing mutated VL gene rearrangements within the parotid gland of the SS patient. These results suggest a role of antigen-activated and selected B cells in the local autoimmune process in SS.
B cells; parotid gland; Sjögren's syndrome; somatic mutation; V light chain genes
Anti-Golgi complex autoantibodies are found primarily in patients with Sjögren's syndrome and systemic lupus erythematosus, although they are not restricted to these diseases. Several Golgi autoantigens have been identified that represent a small family of proteins. Common features of all Golgi autoantigens appear to be their distinct structural organization of multiple α-helical coiled-coil rods in the central domains flanked by non-coiled-coil N-termini and C-termini, and their localization to the cytoplasmic face of Golgi cisternae. Many autoantigens in systemic autoimmune diseases have distinct cleavage products in apoptosis or necrosis and this has raised the possibility that cell death may play a role in the generation of potentially immunostimulatory forms of autoantigens. In the present study, we examined changes in the Golgi complex and associated autoantigens during apoptosis and necrosis. Immunofluorescence analysis showed that the Golgi complex was altered and developed distinctive characteristics during apoptosis and necrosis. In addition, immunoblotting analysis showed the generation of antigenic fragments of each Golgi autoantigen, suggesting that they may play a role in sustaining autoantibody production. Further studies are needed to determine whether the differences observed in the Golgi complex during apoptosis or necrosis may account for the production of anti-Golgi complex autoantibodies.
anti-Golgi complex antibody; autoantibody; autoimmunity; cell death
Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) is an inflammatory cytokine that has been implicated in a variety of rheumatic and inflammatory diseases. New understanding of the importance of TNF-α in the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease led to the development of a new class of targeted anti-TNF therapies. Anti-TNF-α agents including etanercept (a fusion protein of the p75 TNF receptor and IgG1) and infliximab (a chimeric monoclonal antibody specific for TNF-α) have been approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, infliximab has been approved in the treatment of patients with active or fistulating Crohn's disease. A new appreciation of the importance of TNF-α in other rheumatic and inflammatory diseases has led to a broadening of the application of anti-TNF agents. Both etanercept and infliximab have been used in open-label and randomized studies in patients with psoriatic arthritis. Although larger randomized trials are needed to confirm early results, both these anti-TNF-α agents, etanercept and infliximab, have demonstrated activity in improving the signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis. Infliximab has also been shown to be effective in patients with other rheumatic diseases, including ankylosing spondylitis, and may be effective in adult-onset Still's disease, polymyositis, and Behçet's disease. Further investigations will fully elucidate the role of infliximab in these and other rheumatic diseases.
anti-tumor necrosis factor; cytokine; infliximab; rheumatic disease; tumor necrosis factor
The European Workshop for Rheumatology Research met this year in Leiden, The Netherlands. The Workshop provided a platform to feast on new technologies and how they have taken research programmes forward. While there will be the inevitable delay during which mechanisms are devised for analysing the huge amount of information generated by these technologies, there is a lot already to look forward to. Highlights included genomic, reverse genomic and proteomic approaches to understanding disease pathogenesis and to identifying new therapeutic targets. Opportunities for exploring whether pharmacogenomics has a place in the clinic are now a reality, and phage display technology has been applied to in vivo arthritis models to identify human synovial microvascular 'post codes'.
diagnostics; inflammation; prognostics; research; workshop
The nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse is a well-recognised animal model of spontaneous autoimmune insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. The disease is T-cell mediated, involving both CD4 and CD8 cells. Its progress is controlled by a variety of regulatory T cells. An unprecedented number of immunological treatments have been assessed in this mouse strain. This chapter systematically reviews most of these therapeutic manoeuvres, discussing them in the context of their significance with regard to the underlying mechanisms and the potential clinical applications. The contrast between the surprisingly high rate of success found for a multitude of treatments (more than 160) administered early in the natural history of the disease and the few treatments active at a late stage is discussed in depth. Most of the concepts and strategies derived from this model apply to other autoimmune diseases, for which no such diversified data are available.
autoimmune diseases; immunotherapy; insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
Single nucleotide polymorphisms are the most important and basic form of variation in the genome, and they are responsible for genetic effects that produce susceptibility to most autoimmune diseases. The rapid development of databases containing very large numbers of single nucleotide polymorphisms, and the characterization of haplotypes and patterns of linkage disequilibrium throughout the genome, provide a unique opportunity to advance association strategies in common disease rapidly over the next few years. Only the careful use of these strategies and a clear understanding of their statistical limits will allow novel genetic determinants for many of the common autoimmune diseases to be determined.
disease association; genetics; HLA; linkage disequilibrium; SNP