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1.  Inhibition of rheumatoid arthritis by blocking connective tissue growth factor 
World Journal of Orthopedics  2014;5(5):653-659.
The pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) remains to be completely elucidated so far; however, it is known that proinflammatory cytokines play a pivotal role in the induction of RA. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), in particular, is considered to play a central role in bone destruction by mediating the abnormal activation of osteoclasts or the production of proteolytic enzymes through direct or indirect mechanisms. The use of TNF-α blocking agents has a significant impact on RA therapy. Anti-TNF-α blocking agents such as infliximab are very effective for treatment of RA, especially for the prevention of articular destruction. We have previously shown that several proteins exhibited extensive changes in their expression after amelioration of RA with infliximab treatment. Among the proteins, connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) has a significant role for the development of RA. Herein, we review the function of CTGF in the pathogenesis of RA and discuss the possibility of a novel treatment for RA. We propose that CTGF is a potentially novel effector molecule in the pathogenesis of RA. Blocking the CTGF pathways by biological agents may have great beneficial effect in patients with RA.
PMCID: PMC4133473  PMID: 25405094
Connective tissue growth facto; Rheumatoid arthritis; Osteoclasts; Condrocytes; Tumor necrosis factor-α
2.  Usefulness of minor salivary gland biopsy in the diagnosis of IgG4-related disease: a case report 
Although considered essential for diagnosing IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD), biopsy of target organs is often difficult to perform. Such was the case of a 56-year-old man admitted with general malaise and weight loss. Computed tomography revealed swelling of the submandibular gland, mild dilatation of the main pancreatic duct, renal involvement, periaortitis, and swelling of the lymph nodes in the abdominal cavity. Laboratory testing revealed elevated serum IgG4 level. These findings were suggestive of IgG4-RD; however, the patient refused consent for biopsy of the target organs for a definitive diagnosis for the invasiveness. Therefore, we tried to perform a biopsy from minor salivary gland, which revealed no sign of clinical abnormality because the biopsy is not an invasive diagnostic procedure. As a result, the biopsy revealed significant IgG4-positive plasma cell infiltration, allowing for definitive IgG4-RD diagnosis. Administration of oral prednisolone (30 mg/day) effectively improved all symptoms. These findings indicate that minor salivary gland biopsy is an effective means of IgG4-RD diagnosis in patients for whom biopsy of target organs is difficult even if there were no sign of clinical abnormality in appearance.
PMCID: PMC4069935  PMID: 24966985
IgG4-related disease; Mikulicz’s disease; minor salivary gland; periaortitis; submandibular gland
3.  Serum Proteome Analysis in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis Receiving Therapy with Tocilizumab: An Anti-Interleukin-6 Receptor Antibody 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:607137.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the synovial membrane that results in the destruction of bone and cartilage in affected joints. Tocilizumab is a biological agent and an anti-interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor monoclonal antibody that blocks IL-6-mediated inflammatory processes in RA patients. In order to identify novel disease-related proteins and candidate biomarkers, we analyzed the changes in the serum proteome profiles of patients with RA who were treated with tocilizumab. Serum samples were collected from the RA patients before and after tocilizumab treatment. Following immunodepletion of major proteins, the proteins were digested and labeled with isobaric tag, iTRAQ reagent. The proteins were identified and quantified using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Among a total of 311 proteins identified, seven were decreased and 16 were increased by tocilizumab treatment. Although some of the proteins are known to be related to RA, several are currently unknown with respect to their relationship to RA and may be involved in the development of this disease. This study is the first to perform a comparative serum proteomic analysis of RA patients treated with tocilizumab. Our results may contribute to the identification of novel disease-related proteins and enhance the understanding of the pathogenesis of RA.
PMCID: PMC3766614  PMID: 24058910
4.  A Case of Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia Purpura Associated with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Diagnostic Utility of ADAMTS-13 Activity 
Autoimmune Diseases  2011;2011:483642.
Thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura (TTP) caused by a deficiency in ADAMTS-13 activity is considered to involve a subset of thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA). Although concept of TTP is included under the umbrella of TMA, discrimination of TTP from TMA is occasionally difficult in an autoimmune disorder. Herein, we report a case with TTP associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In this case, it was difficult to discriminate TTP from TMA and the measurement of ADAMTS-13 activity was useful for obtaining an accurate diagnosis. SLE patients having thrombocytopenia in complication with anemia should be considered a monitoring of ADAMTS-13 activity even though the patients lacked symptoms of TTP related to the microvascular coagulation.
PMCID: PMC3138087  PMID: 21776377
5.  Autoantibody to NA14 is an independent marker primarily for Sjögren’s syndrome 
Nuclear Autoantigen of 14 kDa (NA14) was originally identified using the serum of a Sjögren’s syndrome (SS) patient as probe in screening a human testis cDNA expression library. To date there is no report in the systematic analysis of the prevalence of autoantibodies to NA14. In this study, anti-NA14 was determined in several rheumatic diseases from independent cohorts in the US and Japan. The prevalence of anti-NA14 were 18/132 (13.6%) in primary SS, 0/50 (0%) secondary SS, 2/100 (2%) SLE, 1/43 (2.3%) scleroderma, 0/54 (0%) rheumatoid arthritis, 1/29 (3.4%) polymyositis/dermatomyositis, and 0/58 (0%) normal healthy controls. The frequencies of anti-NA14 positive sera in primary SS are statistically greater than normal healthy controls (p=0.006), secondary SS (p=0.044), and other rheumatic diseases. Furthermore, among 11 anti-NA14 positive primary SS sera, 4/11 (36.3%) sera were negative for both anti-SS-A/Ro and SS-B/La antibodies. Thus anti-NA14 autoantibodies may be useful for the discrimination of primary versus secondary SS and serve as a diagnostic marker for primary SS especially in seronegative (anti-SS-A/Ro and anti-SS-B/La antibodies negative) patients with SS.
PMCID: PMC2864436  PMID: 19273306
NA14; Sjögren’s syndrome; Autoantigen; Autoantibody; Coiled-Coil Protein; Review
6.  Co-clustering of Golgi complex and other cytoplasmic organelles to crescentic region of half-moon nuclei during apoptosis 
Cell biology international  2008;33(2):148-157.
Early apoptosis is defined by stereotypic morphological changes, especially evident in the nucleus, where chromatin condenses and compacts, and assumes a globular, half-moon or crescent-shaped morphology. Accumulating evidence suggests that cytoplasmic organelles such as mitochondria and the Golgi complex are major sites of integration of pro-apoptotic signaling. In this study, cytoplasmic organelles including Golgi complex, mitochondria, endosomes, lysosomes, and peroxisomes were shown to condense at the same unique region adjacent to the crescentic nucleus during a relatively early stage of apoptosis induced by staurosporine or other agents. The co-clustering phenomenon may be caused by shrinkage of cytoplasm during apoptosis although cytoskeletal markers actin and tubulin were not condensed and appeared excluded. These data suggest the co-clustering of cytoplasmic organelles plays an interesting role during the progression of the apoptotic process. It is possible that modification of pro-apoptotic proteins may arise as a result of the interplay of these cytoplasmic organelles.
PMCID: PMC2667205  PMID: 19000931
Apoptosis; Golgi complex; Staurosporine
7.  Synchronous malignant B-cell lymphoma and gastric tubular adenocarcinoma associated with paraneoplastic cutaneous vasculitis: hypereosinophilic syndrome with mixed cryoglobulinemia is an important sign of paraneoplastic syndrome 
Rare Tumors  2009;1(2):e42.
Gastric adenocarcinoma developing concomitantly with a lymphoma is rare. Furthermore, B-cell lymphoma, originating from lymph nodes, with eosinophilia is extremely rare. We report here a case with a synchronous diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and an early adenocarcinoma of the stomach. In addition, this case seemed to be associated with paraneoplastic cutaneous vasculitis caused by hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES) with mixed cryoglobulinemia (MC). Many neoplastic diseases that affect internal organs display cutaneous manifestations, which may be the presenting signs and symptoms of the underlying malignancy. In particular, the association between cutaneous vasculitis and malignancy has been widely reviewed, and recently neoplasms have been suggested to produce antigens and the resultant immune complex formations, activating the serum complement, thus cause paraneoplastic vasculitis. In this case, severe eosinophilia and cryoglobulinemia with low complements were observed in a laboratory test. A biopsy specimen from a skin lesion revealed leukocytoclastic vasculitis with severe perivascular infiltration of eosinophils. The cutaneous vasuculitis was considered to be a manifestation of HES with MC, although there were no etiological factors of HES and MC. Therefore, the vasculitis seems to be a symptom of paraneoplastic syndrome in this case. Our finding suggests that the potential presence of malignancies should be kept in mind as a possible underlying disorder especially in the presence of HES with MC; this possibility is interesting also as regards at least part of the pathogenesis for paraneplastic syndrome.
PMCID: PMC2994459  PMID: 21139921
cryoglobulinemia; malignant lymphoma; paraneoplastic vasculitis; tubular adenocarcinoma.
8.  Connective tissue growth factor promotes articular damage by increased osteoclastogenesis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2009;11(6):R174.
A protein analysis using a mass spectrometry indicated that there are serum proteins showing significant quantitative changes after the administration of infliximab. Among them, connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) seems to be related to the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Therefore, this study was conducted to investigate how CTGF is associated with the disease progression of RA.
Serum samples were collected from RA patients in active or inactive disease stages, and before or after treatments with infliximab. CTGF production was evaluated by ELISA, RT-PCR, indirect immunofluorescence microscopy, and immunoblotting. Osteoclastogenesis was evaluated using tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) staining, a bone resorption assay and osteoclasts specific catalytic enzymes productions.
The serum concentrations of CTGF in RA were greater than in normal healthy controls and disease controls. Interestingly, those were significantly higher in active RA patients compared to inactive RA patients. Furthermore, the CTGF levels significantly were decreased by infliximab concomitant with the disease amelioration. In addition, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)α can induce the CTGF production from synovial fibroblasts even though TNFα can oppositely inhibit the production of CTGF from chondrocytes. CTGF promoted the induction of the quantitative and qualitative activities of osteoclasts in combination with M-CSF and receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL). In addition, we newly found integrin αVβ3 on the osteoclasts as a CTGF receptor.
These results indicate that aberrant CTGF production induced by TNFα plays a central role for the abnormal osteoclastic activation in RA patients. Restoration of aberrant CTGF production may contribute to the inhibition of articular destruction in infliximab treatment.
PMCID: PMC3003536  PMID: 19922639
9.  Giantin is the major Golgi autoantigen in human anti-Golgi complex sera 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2003;6(2):R95-R102.
Anti-Golgi complex antibodies (AGAs) are primarily associated with systemic lupus erythematosus and Sjögren's syndrome. Here we report on the immunoreactivity of AGAs against five Golgi autoantigens (giantin, golgin-245, golgin-160, golgin-95/GM130, and golgin-97) and provide data from epitope mapping on the most common Golgi autoantigen, namely giantin. A total of 80 human sera containing AGAs, as defined by indirect immunofluorescence on HEp-2 cells, were analyzed by ELISA using recombinant autoantigens and immunoprecipitation. The proportion of AGA sera that reacted with the five Golgi autoantigens was correlated with the molecular mass of the Golgi antigens. Autoantibodies to giantin, the largest Golgi autoantigen, were the predominant AGAs, being found in 50% of the AGA sera. Epitope mapping of giantin was performed using six recombinant fragments spanning the entire protein. Antigiantin-positive sera with low titer autoantibodies recognized epitopes in the carboxyl-terminal fragments that are proximal to the Golgi membrane, whereas higher titer sera exhibited strong reactivity to amino-terminal and central domains that are likely to extend from the Golgi membrane into the cytoplasm. Our working hypothesis is that aberrantly expressed Golgi complex autoantigens may be released into the immune system when cells undergo lysis. By virtue of a carboxyl-terminal transmembrane domain, giantin is likely to be more stably associated with the cytoplasmic face of the Golgi complex than are other golgins, which are peripheral proteins. The stable association of giantin with the putative released Golgi complex may contribute to its preferential autoantigenicity.
PMCID: PMC400427  PMID: 15059272
anti-Golgi complex antibody; autoantibody; autoimmunity; cell death; epitope mapping
10.  Fragmentation of Golgi complex and Golgi autoantigens during apoptosis and necrosis 
Arthritis Research  2002;4(4):R3.
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.
PMCID: PMC125295  PMID: 12106502
anti-Golgi complex antibody; autoantibody; autoimmunity; cell death

Results 1-10 (10)