The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and the effect of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) intra-articular injections obtained from blood donors (homologous PRP) on elderly patients with early or moderate knee osteoarthritis (OA) who are not candidates for autologous PRP treatment.
A total of 60 symptomatic patients, aged 65–86 years, affected by hematologic disorders and early or moderate knee OA, were treated with 5 ml of homologous PRP intra-articular injections every 14 days for a total of three injections. Clinical evaluations before the treatment, and after 2 and 6 months were performed by International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC), Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) and Equal Visual Analogue Scale (EQ VAS) scores. Adverse events and patient satisfaction were recorded.
No severe complications were noted during the treatment and the follow-up period. A statistically significant improvement from basal evaluation to the 2-month follow-up visit was observed, whereas a statistically significant worsening from the 2-month to the 6-month follow-up visit was showed. The overall worst results were observed in patients aged 80 years or over and in those affected by minor bone attrition. It was found that 90% of patients were satisfied at the 6-month evaluation.
Homologous PRP has an excellent safety profile but offers only a short-term clinical improvement in selected elderly patients with knee OA who are not candidates for autologous PRP treatment. Increasing age and developing degeneration result in a decreased potential for homologous PRP injection therapy. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings.
aged patients; hematologic diseases; homologous platelet; knee osteoarthritis
Cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (CAN) is a significant risk predictor for sudden cardiac death in autoimmune rheumatic diseases. As yet, there is no therapeutic treatment of CAN in psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Even now, the impact of the most commonly employed disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) therapy on CAN in PsA is not known. Hence, we investigated the impact of DMARDs on CAN in PsA.
In this prospective, cross-sectional study, 20 patients of PsA and 20 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were recruited. CAN was diagnosed by applying the five cardiovascular reflex tests according to Ewing. Parasympathetic dysfunction was established by performing three tests: heart-rate response to deep breathing, standing, and Valsalva tests. Sympathetic dysfunction was examined by applying two tests: blood pressure response to standing, and handgrip tests. Disease severity was assessed by the 28-joint-count disease activity score (DAS-28) and the disease activity score in psoriatic arthritis (DAPSA).
Cardiovascular reflex tests were impaired significantly among the PsA patients compared with well-matched healthy subjects (p < 0.05). Parasympathetic dysfunction was more prominent than sympathetic dysfunction. After 12 weeks treatment, parasympathetic dysfunction (heart rate response to deep breath and standing) significantly (p < 0.05) improved in patients with PsA, while there was no significant improvement in sympathetic function.
These study results suggests parasympathetic autonomic dysfunction is more prominent than sympathetic dysfunction in PsA. Synthetic DMARDs improved parasympathetic dysfunction in PsA.
cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy; disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs; inflammation; psoriatic arthritis
The lifespan of men is increasing and this is associated with an increased prevalence of osteoporosis in men. Osteoporosis increases the risk of bone fracture. Fractures are associated with increased disability and mortality, and public health problems. We review here the study of osteoporosis in men as obtained from a longitudinal cohort of community-based older men, the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study (MrOS).
fractures; men; osteoporosis
This article reviews recent evidence on urate deposition and the opportunity for a therapeutic approach. We reviewed Pubmed 2013–2015 literature using the search terms ‘deposition’ with ‘hyperuricaemia’, ‘gout’, ‘ultrasonography’, ‘DECT’ (dual-energy computed tomography), ‘radiography’, ‘CT’(computed tomography), ‘MRI’ (magnetic resonance imaging), or ‘cardiovascular’, in addition to a digital bibliographic library compiled by the authors with 2072 papers on hyperuricaemia and gout. Relevant papers on the topic were selected. Recent evidence, mostly based on imaging studies, showed a continuum from hyperuricaemia to deposition and clinical manifestations. Chronic inflammation and structural damage may be present even in asymptomatic patients with crystal-proved deposition. The impact of early intervention in patients with asymptomatic deposition either on vascular outcomes or further structural joint damage has not been demonstrated yet. In conclusion, a worldwide definition of gout is still lacking, stages from hyperuricaemia to clinical gout not being definitively defined. Although there is increasing interest on the impact of early deposits on joint damage and cardiovascular outcomes, robust evidence is still lacking to fully support interventions.
deposition; dual-energy computed tomography; gout; gout suppressant; hyperuricaemia; ultrasonography
Systemic lupus erythematous (SLE) is a chronic multisystem disease with significant associated morbidity and mortality. A deeper understanding of the pathogenesis of SLE has led to the development of biologic agents, primarily targeting B cells and others inhibiting costimulatory molecules, type I interferons and cytokines such as interleukin-6. Several of these agents have been studied in clinical trials; some have shown promise while others have yielded disappointing results. Economic and regulatory issues continue to hamper the availability of such therapies for SLE patients. With increasing recognition that recurrent flares of disease activity lead to long-term damage accrual, one of the most important recent developments in patient management has been the concept of treat-to-target in SLE while minimizing patient exposure to excessive corticosteroid and other immunosuppressive therapy. This article reviews these key issues in SLE management, outlining recent developments and clinical implications for patients.
biologic therapies; long-term damage accrual; treat-to target
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease affecting 0.5–1% of the worldwide population. Whilst predominantly causing chronic pain and inflammation in synovial joints, it is also associated with significant extra-articular manifestations in a large proportion of patients. Among the various pulmonary manifestations, interstitial lung disease (ILD), a progressive fibrotic disease of the lung parenchyma, is the commonest and most important, contributing significantly to increased morbidity and mortality. The most frequent patterns of RA-associated ILD (RA-ILD) are usual interstitial pneumonia and nonspecific interstitial pneumonia. New insights during the past several years have highlighted the epidemiological impact of RA-ILD and have begun to identify factors contributing to its pathogenesis. Risk factors include smoking, male sex, human leukocyte antigen haplotype, rheumatoid factor and anticyclic citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs). Combined with clinical information, chest examination and pulmonary function testing, high-resolution computed tomography of the chest forms the basis of investigation and allows assessment of subtype and disease extent. The management of RA-ILD is a challenge. Several therapeutic agents have been suggested in the literature but as yet no large randomized controlled trials have been undertaken to guide clinical management. Therapy is further complicated by commonly prescribed drugs of proven articular benefit such as methotrexate, leflunomide (LEF) and anti-tumour necrosis factor α agents having been implicated in both ex novo occurrence and acceleration of existing ILD. Agents that offer promise include immunomodulators such as mycophenolate and rituximab as well as newly studied antifibrotic agents. In this review, we discuss the current literature to evaluate recommendations for the management of RA-ILD and discuss key gaps in our knowledge of this important disease.
lungs; joints; fibrosis; pulmonary; rheumatoid; arthritis; therapy
Sarcoidosis is a systemic disorder of unknown etiology, which may involve various tissues and organs and is characterized by a noncaseating granuloma reaction. While pathogenesis is not yet clear, cellular immune system activation and nonspecific inflammatory response occur secondarily to several genetic and environmental factors. T helper 1-cells and macrophage-derived pro-inflammatory cytokines stimulate the inflammatory cascade and formation of granuloma occurs as a result of tissue permeability, cell influx, and local cell proliferation. The different prevalence, clinical results, and disease course observed in different races and ethnic groups, is an indicator of the heterogeneous nature of the disease. Sarcoidosis may mimic and/or may occur concomitantly with numerous primary rheumatic diseases. This disease most commonly presents with bilateral hilar lymphadenopathy, pulmonary infiltrations, and skin and eye lesions. Locomotor system involvement is observed at a range of 15% and 25%. Two major joint involvements have been described: acute and chronic form. The most common form, the acute form, may be the first sign of sarcoidosis and present with arthralgia, arthritis, or periarthritis. Chronic sarcoid arthritis is usually associated with pulmonary parenchymal disease or other organ involvement and occurs rarely. While asymptomatic muscular involvement is reported between 25% and 75%, symptomatic muscular involvement is very rare. Symptomatic myopathy may present as three different types: chronic myopathy, palpable nodular myositis, or acute myositis. Even if rare, 2–5% of cases may exhibit osseous involvement and it is frequently associated with lupus pernio, chronic uveitis, and multisystemic disease. Sarcoidosis was reported together with different rheumatologic diseases. There are studies showing that sarcoidosis may mimic the clinical and laboratory findings of these disorders. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids are used for treating the symptoms of rheumatologic findings. In patients who are unresponsive to corticosteroids, immunosuppressive and anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha drugs may be used. In this review, the incidence of rheumatologic symptoms, the clinical findings, and the treatment of rheumatologic manifestations of sarcoidosis are discussed.
rheumatologic manifestations; rheumatologist’s perspective; sarcoidosis
It is widely accepted that atherosclerosis is caused by chronic low-grade inflammation that results from an interaction between immune mechanisms and metabolic abnormalities within the vessel wall. Population-based studies have found an increased cardiovascular risk in patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (PsA). This risk is higher in patients with severe disease phenotypes, such as those with severe psoriasis and with musculoskeletal inflammation. Higher levels of inflammatory biomarkers also predict the development of clinical cardiovascular events in these patients. The effect of medications used for PsA on cardiovascular risk is limited to observational studies. Antitumor necrosis factor agents and methotrexate have been associated with reduced cardiovascular risk. These data highlight the importance of screening for cardiovascular risk factors in these patients.
atherosclerosis; cardiovascular disease; inflammation; psoriatic arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic inflammatory condition with articular and extra-articular manifestations: peripheral arthritis, axial disease, enthesitis, dactylitis, and skin and nail disease. It is associated with cardiovascular comorbidities. It is now recognized as a new entity, different from rheumatoid arthritis and other spondyloarthritis in terms of clinical manifestations, pathogenesis, and response to therapies. Anti-tumor necrosis factors (anti-TNFs) have demonstrated clinical efficacies exceeding that of conventional disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). The current treatment paradigms recommend early diagnosis and treatment, and a strategic and target orientated approach, aiming at a low disease activity status. New understanding in the immunopathogenesis of PsA has led to new treatment targets. This review addresses the evidence of current treatment for each of the domains as an aid to the clinician managing these patients in the clinic. Some new therapeutic targets are presented. We highlight the importance of development and validation in outcome measures, including that of composite scores that capture various disease domains that will facilitate future clinical trials to inform the best treatment.
disease modifying antirheumatic drug; psoriatic arthritis; treatment; tumor necrosis factor inhibitors
The term ‘epigenetics’ loosely describes DNA-templated processes leading to heritable changes in gene activity and expression, which are independent of the underlying DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms comprise of post-translational modifications of chromatin, methylation of DNA, nucleosome positioning as well as expression of noncoding RNAs. Major advances in understanding the role of DNA methylation in regulating chromatin functions have been made over the past decade, and point to a role of this epigenetic mechanism in human disease. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder where altered DNA methylation patterns have been identified in a number of different disease-relevant cell types. However, the contribution of DNA methylation changes to RA disease pathogenesis is at present poorly understood and in need of further investigation. Here we review the current knowledge regarding the role of DNA methylation in rheumatoid arthritis and indicate its potential therapeutic implications.
DNA methylation; epigenetics; rheumatoid arthritis
Bisphosphonates (BPs) are widely used as the main treatment for osteoporosis. In vitro and animal studies suggest that use of BPs may have a potential for colorectal cancer (CRC) prevention. Safety and efficacy in terms of osteoporosis prevention have only been evaluated in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of relatively short duration (3–5 years), with smaller extension studies. The evidence for a benefit beyond 5 years is limited and intake of BPs has not shown any relationship with CRC in intervention studies. Observational studies and meta-analysis have shown unchanged or decreased risk of CRC. BPs used for treatment and prevention of osteoporosis should not be applied for prevention of CRC in clinical practice.
bisphosphonates; colorectal cancer; risk
Autoimmune rheumatic disorders have complex etiopathogenetic mechanisms in which B cells play a central role. The importance of factors stimulating B cells, notably the B-cell activating factor (BAFF) and A proliferation inducing ligand (APRIL) axis is now recognized. BAFF and APRIL are cytokines essential for B-cell proliferation and survival from the immature stages to the development of plasma cells. Their levels are increased in some subsets of patients with autoimmune disorders. Several recent biologic drugs have been developed to block this axis, namely belimumab [already licensed for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) treatment], tabalumab, atacicept and blisibimod. Many clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of these drugs in several autoimmune disorders are ongoing, or have been completed recently. This review updates the information on the use of biologic agents blocking BAFF/APRIL for patients with SLE, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome and myositis.
A proliferation inducing ligand protein; B-cell activating factor; biologic treatment; myositis; rheumatoid arthritis; Sjogren’s syndrome; systemic lupus erythematosus
Belimumab (Benlysta®) is a fully humanized monoclonal antibody that inhibits B-lymphocyte stimulator (also known as B cell activating factor of the tumor necrosis factor family) and was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Evaluation Agency for treatment of autoantibody-positive systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in adults. This review discusses the key findings of the phase III trials, post hoc analyses, and real-world postmarketing use of belimumab in the routine care of SLE patients. It also highlights the safety profile of belimumab and gives insight into its potential use to treat childhood-onset SLE. It concludes with a discussion of the current clinical trials investigating belimumab in specific SLE disease states and a look to the future with novel targeted B-cell therapies.
belimumab; lupus treatment; systemic lupus erythematosus
Vitamin D has known importance to bone health including calcium and phosphate homeostasis and appears to have a role in skeletal muscle health as well. Cases of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency have been associated with poor muscle health. While the exact effects and mechanism of action remains controversial, current data lean towards insufficient vitamin D playing a role in musculoskeletal pain, sarcopenia, myopathy, falls and indirectly via cerebellar and cognitive dysfunction. Sophisticated experimental techniques have allowed detection of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) on skeletal muscle and cerebellar tissue, which if validated in further large studies, could confirm the mechanism of vitamin D in these associations. While further study is required, vitamin D repletion can have a substantial impact on muscle as well as bone health.
bone; calcium; muscle; musculoskeletal pain; myopathy; vitamin D receptors; calcitriol; cholecalciferol; ergocalciferol; sarcopenia; vitamin D; vitamin D deficiency; falls
Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is the main cause of pain, physical impairment and chronic disability in older people. Electrotherapeutic modalities such as interferential therapy (IFT) and action potential simulation (APS) are used for the treatment of knee OA. In this study, we aim to evaluate the therapeutic effects of APS and IFT on knee OA.
In this randomized clinical trial, 67 patients (94% female and 6% male with mean age of 52.80 ± 8.16 years) with mild and moderate knee OA were randomly assigned to be treated with APS (n = 34) or IFT (n = 33) for 10 sessions in 4 weeks. Baseline and post-treatment Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis (WOMAC) subscales, visual analogue scale (VAS) and timed up and go (TUG) test were measured in all patients.
VAS and WOMAC subscales were significantly improved after treatment in APS and IFT groups (p < 0.001 for all). TUG was also significantly improved after treatment in APS group (p < 0.001), but TUG changes in IFT was not significant (p = 0.09). There was no significant difference in VAS, TUG and WOMAC subscales values before and after treatment as well as the mean improvement in VAS, TUG and WOMAC subscales during study between groups.
Short-term treatment with both APS and IFT could significantly reduce pain and improve physical function in patients with knee OA.
action potential simulation; function; interferential therapy; knee osteoarthritis; pain
Osteoarthritis (OA) is associated with articular cartilage abnormalities and affects people of older age: preventative or therapeutic treatment measures for OA and related articular cartilage disorders remain challenging. In this perspective review, we have integrated multiple biological, morphological, developmental, stem cell and homeostasis concepts of articular cartilage to develop a paradigm for cartilage regeneration. OA is conceptually defined as an injury of cartilage that initiates chondrocyte activation, expression of proteases and growth factor release from the matrix. This regenerative process results in the local activation of inflammatory response genes in cartilage without migration of inflammatory cells or angiogenesis. The end results are catabolic and anabolic responses, and it is the balance between these two outcomes that controls remodelling of the matrix and regeneration. A tantalizing clinical clue for cartilage regrowth in OA joints has been observed in surgically created joint distraction. We hypothesize that cartilage growth in these distracted joints may have a biological connection with the size of organs and regeneration. Therefore we propose a novel, practical and nonsurgical intervention to validate the role of distraction in cartilage regeneration in OA. The approach permits normal wake-up activity while during sleep; the index knee is subjected to distraction with a pull traction device. Comparison of follow-up magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 3 and 6 months of therapy to those taken before therapy will provide much-needed objective evidence for the use of this mode of therapy for OA. We suggest that the paradigm presented here merits investigation for treatment of OA in knee joints.
articular cartilage; osteoarthritis; cartilage injury; cartilage repair; cartilage regeneration; cartilage organ size; osteoarthritis treatment; joint distraction; nonsurgical intervention
Denosumab is a human monoclonal antibody which specifically blocks receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand and is a very potent antiresorptive drug. Its efficacy in reducing the risk of vertebral, hip and nonskeletal fracture has been proven in a large prospective, randomized multicenter study of 7808 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis [Fracture Reduction Evaluation of Denosumab in Osteoporosis Every 6 Months (FREEDOM) trial]. Denosumab causes somewhat greater increases in bone mineral density (BMD) than the class of bisphosphonate antiresorptives. Denosumab also causes an increase in bone mass and bone strength in the spine, ultradistal and diaphysis of the radius, proximal tibia and the hip. Recently long-term treatment with denosumab has been shown to cause a continued almost linear increase in total hip and femoral neck BMD beyond 3 years up to 8 years. In this respect, denosumab seems to differ from the bisphosphonate group in which the rate of improvement of BMD diminishes and for some drugs becomes negative after 3–4 years when the process of secondary mineralization flattens out. This unique property of an antiresorptive drug points towards mechanisms of action which differ from the bisphosphonate group. Both types of antiresorptives decrease cortical porosity but contrary to bisphosphonates the reduction in cortical porosity continues with denosumab which, in addition, also seems to cause a slight continuous modeling-based formation of new bone despite suppression of bone remodeling. The net effect is an increase in cortical thickening and bone mass, and increased strength of cortical bone. This may contribute substantially to the significant further reduction of the nonvertebral fracture risk which was found in the long-term denosumab arm of the FREEDOM extension trial during years 4–7.
antiresorptive therapy; bisphosphonate; bone density; bone mass; bone strength; cortical porosity; denosumab; Fracture Reduction Evaluation of Denosumab in Osteoporosis Every 6 Months study; receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand
Odanacatib is a cathepsin K inhibitor developed for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. It is a bone resorption inhibitor, but which preserves bone formation to some extent. It can be administered once a week, in tablets also containing vitamin D. In a large clinical development program, it has been shown that odanacatib reduces bone resorption, with a reduction of about 60–70% in biochemical markers of resorption, while bone formation decreases to a lesser magnitude. Odanacatib continuously increases bone mineral density (BMD) at the hip and lumbar spine over 5 years. Once it is stopped, a complete resolution of effect is observed, with declining BMD and increased bone turnover. Bone microarchitecture and bone strength have also been improved in clinical trials using quantitative computed tomography (QCT) at the lumbar spine and hip, and high resolution peripheral QCT at the distal radius and tibia. In a phase III trial involving 16,713 postmenopausal women ⩾65 years of age with low BMD, the risk of fragility fracture was significantly reduced at the spine, hip and other nonvertebral sites compared with the placebo group. Odanacatib has been generally well tolerated, with no observation of osteonecrosis of the jaw so far, but with exceptional observations of subtrochanteric atypical fracture and morphea-like lesions. Odanacatib appears a useful new option in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.
cathepsin K; fracture; odanacatib; osteoporosis
Vasculitis can affect the peripheral nervous system alone (nonsystemic vasculitic neuropathy) or can be a part of primary or secondary systemic vasculitis. In cases of pre-existing systemic vasculitis, the diagnosis can easily be made, whereas suspected vasculitic neuropathy as initial or only manifestation of vasculitis requires careful clinical, neurophysiological, laboratory and histopathological workout. The typical clinical syndrome is mononeuropathia multiplex or asymmetric neuropathy, but distal-symmetric neuropathy can frequently be seen. Standard treatments include steroids, azathioprine, methotrexate and cyclophosphamide. More recently the B-cell antibody rituximab and intravenous immunoglobulins have shown to be effective in some vasculitic neuropathy types.
autoantibodies; polyneuropathy; rheumatic diseases; treatment; vasculitic neuropathy
Prolotherapy is an injection-based complementary treatment, which has shown promising results in the treatment of different musculoskeletal disorders. The aim of this study was to determine the therapeutic efficacy of dextrose prolotherapy on pain, range of motion, and function in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA).
In this single-arm prospective study, participants with symptomatic moderate knee osteoarthritis underwent prolotherapy with intra-articular injection of 20% dextrose water at baseline, and at 4 weeks and 8 weeks later. Patients were followed for 24 weeks. Pain severity at rest and activity, according to the visual analog scale (VAS), articular range of motion (ROM), and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities arthritis index (WOMAC) scores were measured at baseline, 4, 8, and 24 weeks later.
A total of 24 female patients (average age: 58.37 ± 11.8 years old) received 3-monthly injection therapies. Before the treatment, the mean articular range of motion was 105.41 ± 11.22°. Mean VAS scale at rest and activity was 8.83 ± 1.37 and 9.37 ± 1.31, respectively. At the end of week 24, knee ROM increased by 8°. Pain severity in rest and activity decreased to 4.87 ± 1.39, 45.86%, and 44.23%, respectively (p < 0.001). Total WOMAC score and its subcategories showed a continuous improvement trend in all the evaluation sessions, so that at the end of the study, the total score decreased by 30.5 ± 14.27 points (49.58%) (p < 0.001). Improvements of all parameters were considerable until week 8, and were maintained throughout the study period.
Prolotherapy with three intra-articular injections of hypertonic dextrose given 4 weeks apart for selected patients with knee OA, resulted in significant improvement of validated pain, ROM, and WOMAC-based function scores, when baseline levels were compared at 24 weeks. Further studies with randomized controlled trials involving a comparison group are suggested to confirm these findings.
dextrose prolotherapy; intra-articular injection; knee osteoarthritis; prolotherapy