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1.  Failure of catecholamines to shift T-cell cytokine responses toward a Th2 profile in patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
To further understand the role of neuro-immunological interactions in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), we studied the influence of sympathetic neurotransmitters on cytokine production of T cells in patients with RA. T cells were isolated from peripheral blood of RA patients or healthy donors (HDs), and stimulated via CD3 and CD28. Co-incubation was carried out with epinephrine or norepinephrine in concentrations ranging from 10-5 M to 10-11 M. Interferon (IFN)-γ, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-4, and IL-10 were determined in the culture supernatant with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. In addition, IFN-γ and IL-10 were evaluated with intracellular cytokine staining. Furthermore, basal and agonist-induced cAMP levels and catecholamine-induced apoptosis of T cells were measured. Catecholamines inhibited the synthesis of IFN-γ, TNF-α, and IL-10 at a concentration of 10-5 M. In addition, IFN-γ release was suppressed by 10-7 M epinephrine. Lower catecholamine concentrations exerted no significant effect. A reduced IL-4 production upon co-incubation with 10-5 M epinephrine was observed in RA patients only. The inhibitory effect of catecholamines on IFN-γ production was lower in RA patients as compared with HDs. In RA patients, a catecholamine-induced shift toward a Th2 (type 2) polarised cytokine profile was abrogated. Evaluation of intracellular cytokines revealed that CD8-positive T cells were accountable for the impaired catecholaminergic control of IFN-γ production. The highly significant negative correlation between age and catecholamine effects in HDs was not found in RA patients. Basal and stimulated cAMP levels in T-cell subsets and catecholamine-induced apoptosis did not differ between RA patients and HDs. RA patients demonstrate an impaired inhibitory effect of catecholamines on IFN-γ production together with a failure to induce a shift of T-cell cytokine responses toward a Th2-like profile. Such an unfavorable situation is a perpetuating factor for inflammation.
doi:10.1186/ar2028
PMCID: PMC1779439  PMID: 16889669
2.  Association of PTPN22 1858 single-nucleotide polymorphism with rheumatoid arthritis in a German cohort: higher frequency of the risk allele in male compared to female patients 
The functional single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of the gene PTPN22 is a susceptibility locus for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The study presented here describes the association of the PTPN22 1858T allele with RA in a German patient cohort; 390 patients with RA and 349 controls were enrolled in the study. For 123 patients, clinical and radiographic documentation over 6 years was available from the onset of disease. Genotyping of the PTPN22 1858 SNP was performed using an restriction fragment length polymorphism PCR-based genotyping assay. The odds ratio to develop RA was 2.57 for carriers of the PTPN22 1858T allele (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.85–3.58, p < 0.001), and 5.58 for homozygotes (95% CI 1.85–16.79). The PTPN22 1858T allele was significantly associated not only with rheumatoid factor (RF) and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) positive RA, but also with RF and anti-CCP negative disease. The frequency of the PTPN22 1858T allele was increased disproportionately in male patients (53.8% compared to 33.0% in female patients, p < 0.001), and the resulting odds ratio for male carriers was increased to 4.47 (95% CI 2.5–8.0, p < 0.001). Moreover, within the male patient population, the rare allele was significantly associated with the HLA-DRB1 shared epitope (p = 0.01). No significant differences in disease activity or Larsen scores were detected. The results provide further evidence that the PTPN22 1858T allele is associated with RA irrespective of autoantibody production. The increased frequency of the risk allele in male patients and its association with the shared epitope indicate that the genetic contribution to disease pathogenesis might be more prominent in men.
doi:10.1186/ar1945
PMCID: PMC1526616  PMID: 16635271
3.  The contact-mediated response of peripheral-blood monocytes to preactivated T cells is suppressed by serum factors in rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2005;7(6):R1189-R1199.
Stimulation of monocytes/macrophages after cell contact with preactivated T cells has been suggested to contribute to the excessive TNF-α production in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In this study, T cell-contact-dependent TNF-α production by peripheral-blood monocytes in vitro was investigated and found to be significantly lower in treated and untreated patients with RA than in healthy controls. This suppression was not due to a general deficiency of monocytes to respond, because responses to lipopolysaccharide were comparable in patients and controls. In agreement with the pivotal role of TNF-α in RA, T cell-dependent induction of TNF-α in synovial macrophages was fivefold to tenfold higher than in peripheral-blood monocytes from either patients or controls. The decreased response of peripheral-blood monocytes from patients with RA was found to be mediated by inhibitory serum factors, because the addition of patient sera to monocytes from healthy controls suppressed TNF-α response in the co-culture assay. Preincubation of monocytes from healthy controls with RA serum was sufficient to suppress the subsequent TNF-α response in T cell co-cultures, indicating that inhibitory factors do indeed bind to monocyte surfaces, which might represent a regulatory counter-action of the immune system to the long-standing and consuming autoimmune process in RA. There are some indications that apolipoprotein A-1 might be part of this regulatory system.
doi:10.1186/ar1804
PMCID: PMC1297564  PMID: 16277671
4.  B lymphocytopenia in rheumatoid arthritis is associated with the DRB1 shared epitope and increased acute phase response 
Arthritis Research  2002;4(4):R1.
The influence of HLA DRB1 alleles on B-cell homeostasis was analyzed in 164 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The percentages of CD19+ B lymphocytes determined in the peripheral circulation of 94 retrospectively recruited RA patients followed a bimodal distribution. Two frequency peaks (B-celllow patients and B-cellhigh patients) were separated by the population median of a B-cell frequency of 8.5% of all lymphocytes. Human leucocyte antigen genotyping revealed that the B-celllow patients were more frequently positive for the RA-associated HLA DRB1 shared epitope (SE) than were B-cellhigh patients. Accordingly, SE-positive patients had lower CD19 percentages in the rank-sum analysis when compared with SE-negative patients, and were markedly B lymphocytopenic when compared with a healthy control group. To confirm the differential frequencies of CD19+ B cells, absolute numbers in peripheral blood were determined prospectively in a cohort of 70 RA patients with recent onset disease. SE-positive patients were found to have lower absolute numbers of circulating CD19+ B cells. B-cell counts below the mean of the study population were associated with higher acute phase response and with increased levels of rheumatoid factor IgA. No correlation between absolute numbers of circulating B cells and radiographic progression of joint destruction was seen. The influence of immunogenetic parameters on B-cell homeostasis in RA reported here has not been described previously. The clinical relevance of B lymphocytopenia in SE-positive RA will be further investigated in longitudinal studies.
doi:10.1186/ar420
PMCID: PMC125293  PMID: 12106500
antibodies; B lymphocytes; major histocompatibility complex; rheumatoid arthritis

Results 1-4 (4)