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author:("Masuda, risko")
1.  Relationship between radiographic changes and symptoms or physical examination findings in subjects with symptomatic medial knee osteoarthritis: a three-year prospective study 
Background
Although osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee joints is the most common and debilitating joint disease in developed countries, the factors that determine the severity of symptoms are not yet understood well. Subjects with symptomatic medial knee OA were followed up prospectively to explore the relationship between radiographic changes and symptoms or physical examination findings.
Methods
One-hundred six OA knees in 68 subjects (mean age 71.1 years; 85% women) were followed up at 6-month intervals over 36 months. At each visit, knee radiographs were obtained, symptoms were assessed by a validated questionnaire, and the result of physical examination was recorded systematically using a specific chart. Correlations between the change of radiographs and clinical data were investigated in a longitudinal manner.
Results
During the study period, the narrowing of joint space width (JSW) was observed in 34 joints (32%). Although those knees were clinically or radiographically indistinguishable at baseline from those without JSW narrowing, differences became apparent at later visits during the follow-up. The subjects with knees that underwent JSW narrowing had severer symptoms, and the symptoms tended to be worse for those with higher rates of narrowing. A significant correlation was not found between the severity of symptoms and the growth of osteophytes. For the knees that did not undergo radiographic progression, the range of motion improved during the follow-up period, possibly due to the reduction of knee pain. Such improvement was not observed with the knees that underwent JSW narrowing or osteophyte growth.
Conclusion
The result of this study indicates that the symptoms of knee OA patients tend to be worse when JSW narrowing is underway. This finding may explain, at least partly, a known dissociation between the radiographic stage of OA and the severity of symptoms.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-269
PMCID: PMC3001717  PMID: 21092334
2.  Proinflammatory role of amphiregulin, an epidermal growth factor family member whose expression is augmented in rheumatoid arthritis patients 
Background
The epidermal growth factor (EGF) and EGF receptor (EGFR) families play important roles in the hyperplastic growth of several tissues as well as tumor growth. Since synovial hyperplasia in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) resembles a tumor, involvement of the EGF/EGFR families in RA pathology has been implied. Although several reports have suggested that ErbB2 is the most important member of the EGFR family for the synovitis in RA, it remains unclear which members of the EGF family are involved. To clarify the EGF-like growth factors involved in the pathology of RA, we investigated the expression levels of seven major EGF-like growth factors in RA patients compared with those in osteoarthritis (OA) patients and healthy control subjects.
Methods
The expression levels of seven EGF-like growth factors and four EGFR-like receptors were measured in mononuclear cells isolated from bone marrow and venous blood, as well as in synovial tissues, using quantitative RT-PCR. Further evidence of gene expression was obtained by ELISAs. The proinflammatory roles were assessed by the growth-promoting and cytokine-inducing effects of the corresponding recombinant proteins on cultured fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS).
Results
Among the seven EGF-like ligands examined, only amphiregulin (AREG) was expressed at higher levels in all three RA tissues tested compared with the levels in OA tissues. The AREG protein concentration in RA synovial fluid was also higher than that in OA synovial fluid. Furthermore, recombinant human AREG stimulated FLS to proliferate and produce several proinflammatory cytokines, including angiogenic cytokines such as interleukin-8 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), in a dose-dependent manner. The VEGF mRNA levels in RA synovia and VEGF protein concentrations in RA synovial fluid were significantly higher than those in the corresponding OA samples and highly correlated with the levels of AREG.
Conclusion
The present findings suggest that AREG functions to stimulate synovial cells and that elevated levels of AREG may be involved in the pathogenesis of RA.
doi:10.1186/1476-9255-5-5
PMCID: PMC2396620  PMID: 18439312
3.  Molecular profile of synovial fibroblasts in rheumatoid arthritis depends on the stage of proliferation 
Arthritis Research  2002;4(5):R8.
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.
doi:10.1186/ar427
PMCID: PMC125298  PMID: 12223111
differential gene expression; molecular profile; proliferation; rheumatoid arthritis; synovial fibroblasts

Results 1-3 (3)