To identify new genetic associations with juvenile and adult dermatomyositis (DM).
We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of adult and juvenile DM patients of European ancestry (n = 1178) and controls (n = 4724). To assess genetic overlap with other autoimmune disorders, we examined whether 141 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) outside the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) locus, and previously associated with autoimmune diseases, predispose to DM.
Compared to controls, patients with DM had a strong signal in the MHC region consisting of GWAS-level significance (P < 5x10−8) at 80 genotyped SNPs. An analysis of 141 non-MHC SNPs previously associated with autoimmune diseases showed that three SNPs linked with three genes were associated with DM, with a false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.05. These genes were phospholipase C like 1 (PLCL1, rs6738825, FDR=0.00089), B lymphoid tyrosine kinase (BLK, rs2736340, FDR=0.00031), and chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 21 (CCL21, rs951005, FDR=0.0076). None of these genes was previously reported to be associated with DM.
Our findings confirm the MHC as the major genetic region associated with DM and indicate that DM shares non-MHC genetic features with other autoimmune diseases, suggesting the presence of additional novel risk loci. This first identification of autoimmune disease genetic predispositions shared with DM may lead to enhanced understanding of pathogenesis and novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.
dermatomyositis; adult; juvenile; shared autoimmunity genes
Muscle enzyme levels are insensitive markers of disease activity in juvenile and adult dermatomyositis (DM), especially during the active treatment phase. To improve our ability to monitor DM disease activity longitudinally, especially in the presence of immune modulating agents, we prospectively evaluated whether IFN-dependent peripheral blood gene and chemokine signatures could serve as sensitive and responsive biomarkers for change in disease activity in adult and juvenile DM.
Peripheral blood and clinical data were collected from 51 juvenile and adult DM subjects prospectively over 2 study visits. Disease activity measures, whole-blood type I IFN gene and chemokine score were collected. We also measured serum levels of other pro-inflammatory cytokines, including IL-6.
Changes in juvenile and adult DM global disease activity correlated positively and significantly with changes in the type I IFN gene score before (r=0.33, p=0.023) and IFN chemokine score before and after adjustment for medication use (r=0.53, p<0.001 and r=0.50, p=<0.001). Changes in muscle and extramuscular VAS subscales positively correlated with change in IFN gene and chemokine score (p=0.002). Serum levels of IL-6, IL-8 and TNFα were positively correlated with changes in global, muscle and extra-muscular VAS before and after adjustment for medications (p<0.05).
Our findings suggest that changes in type I IFN gene and chemokine scores as well as levels of IL-6, IL-8 and TNFα may serve as sensitive and responsive longitudinal biomarkers of change in disease activity in juvenile and adult DM, even in the presence of immunosuppressant use.
CD8T cells lacking CD28 were originally reported by Wedderburn and colleagues as a characteristic feature of JIA, but the relevance of these unusual cells to JIA remains to be elucidated. Because of recent evidence that CD28 loss is typical of terminally differentiated lymphocytes, we examined for functional subsets of CD8T cells in JIA.
Following informed consent/assent, blood and/or waste synovial fluid were collected from children with definite diagnosis of JIA (n = 98). De-identified blood (n = 33) and cord blood (n = 13) samples from healthy donors were also collected. CD8T and CD4T cells were screened for novel receptors, and where indicated, bioassays were performed to determine functional relevance of the identified receptor.
Patients had a naïve T cell compartment with shortened telomeres, and their entire T cell pool had reduced proliferative capacity. They had an over abundance of CD31+CD28null CD8T cells, which was a significant feature of oligoarticular JIA (n = 62) compared to polyarticular JIA (n = 36). CD31+CD28null CD8T cells had limited mitotic capacity, and expressed high levels of the senescence antigens γH2Ax and/or p16. Ligation of CD31, independent of the TCR, sufficiently induced tyrosine phosphorylation, vesicle exocytosis, and production of IFN-γ and IL-10.
These data provide the first evidence for cell senescence, represented by CD31+CD28null CD8T cells, in the pathophysiology of JIA. Activation of these unusual cells in a TCR-independent manner suggests they are maladaptive, and could be potential targets for immunotherapy.
not included in the title: CD28; CD31; cell senescence
Morphea and systemic sclerosis are fibrosing disorders of the skin that share common inflammatory and immunologic pathways that are responsible for the vascular changes, increased collagen production, and extracellular matrix proliferation seen in both conditions. Recent advances in molecular biology techniques have furthered our knowledge of the potential underlying pathogenic mechanisms and offer new and provocative areas of research for novel diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. This review focuses on the role of vascular injury in the development of morphea, the use of ultrasonography as a diagnostic modality, and well-established and newly proposed treatments.
Participants in the Atherosclerosis Prevention in Paediatric Lupus Erythematosus (APPLE) trial were randomised to placebo or atorvastatin for 36 months. The primary endpoint, reduced carotid intima medial thickness (CIMT) progression, was not met but atorvastatin-treated participants showed a trend of slower CIMT progression. Post-hoc analyses were performed to assess subgroup benefit from atorvastatin therapy.
Subgroups were prespecified and defined by age (> or ≤15.5 years), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) duration (> or ≤24 months), pubertal status (Tanner score ≥4 as post-pubertal or <4 as pre-pubertal), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) (≥ or <110 mg/dl) and high-sensitivity C reactive protein (hsCRP) (≥ or <1.5 mg/l). A combined subgroup (post-pubertal and hsCRP≥1.5 mg/l) was compared to all others. Longitudinal linear mixed-effects models were developed using 12 CIMT and other secondary APPLE outcomes (lipids, hsCRP, disease activity and damage, and quality of life). Three way interaction effects were assessed for models.
Significant interaction effects with trends of less CIMT progression in atorvastatin-treated participants were observed in pubertal (3 CIMT segments), high hsCRP (2 CIMT segments), and the combined high hsCRP and pubertal group (5 CIMT segments). No significant treatment effect trends were observed across subgroups defined by age, SLE duration, LDL for CIMT or other outcome measures.
Pubertal status and higher hsCRP were linked to lower CIMT progression in atorvastatin-treated subjects, with most consistent decreases in CIMT progression in the combined pubertal and high hsCRP group. While secondary analyses must be interpreted cautiously, results suggest further research is needed to determine whether pubertal lupus patients with high CRP benefit from statin therapy.
To investigate aspects of juvenile dermatomyositis (DM), including disease characteristics and treatment, through a national multicenter registry.
Subjects meeting the modified Bohan and Peter criteria for definite juvenile DM were analyzed from the cross-sectional Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA) Registry between 2010 and 2012 from 55 US pediatric rheumatology centers. Demographics, disease characteristics, diagnostic assessments, and medication exposure data were collected at enrollment.
A total of 384 subjects met the criteria for analysis. At enrollment, the median Childhood Myositis Assessment Scale score was 51 (interquartile range [IQR] 46–52), the median Childhood Health Assessment Questionnaire score was 0 (IQR 0–0.5), and the median physician and subject global assessment scores were 1 (IQR 0–2) and 1 (IQR 0–3), respectively, out of a maximum of 10. Of the diagnostic assessments, magnetic resonance imaging was more likely than electromyography or muscle biopsy to show abnormalities. A total of 329 subjects had ≥2 diagnostic studies performed, and >34% of these subjects reported ≥1 negative study. Ninety-five percent had been treated with corticosteroids and 92% with methotrexate, suggesting that these medications were almost universally prescribed for juvenile DM in the US.
In 2 years, the ongoing CARRA Registry has collected clinical data on 384 children with juvenile DM and has the potential to become one of the largest juvenile DM cohorts in the world. More research is needed about prognostic factors in juvenile DM, and differences in therapy based on manifestations of disease need to be explored by practitioners. This registry provides the infrastructure needed to advance clinical and translational research and represents a major step toward improving outcomes of children with juvenile DM.
Children with rheumatoid-factor or anti-citrullinated peptide antibody positive juvenile idiopathic arthritis represent the childhood onset of RA (CORA). To test the hypothesis that adult-onset RA-associated variants are also associated with CORA, we investigated RA-associated variants at five loci in our CORA cohort. We also assessed the cumulative association of these variants in the susceptibility to CORA using a weighted genetic risk score (wGRS).
155 children with CORA and 684 healthy controls were genotyped for five variants in PTPN22, TRAF1/C5, STAT4, and TNFAIP3 loci. High-resolution HLA-DRB1 genotypes were available for 149 cases and 373 controls. We tested each locus for association with CORA via logistic regression. We also computed a wGRS for each subject, with weights based on the natural log of the published odds ratios for the alleles investigated, and used logistic regression to test the wGRS for association with CORA.
CORA was associated with TNFAIP3-rs10499194 [OR 0.60 (95%CI 0.44–0.83)], PTPN22-rs2476601 [OR 1.61 (1.11–2.31)], and STAT4-rs7574865 [OR 1.41 (1.06–1.87)] variants. The wGRS was significantly different between cases and controls (P<2×10−16). Individuals in the third to fifth quintiles of wGRS had a significantly increased disease risk compared to the baseline. Higher wGRS associated with increased risk of CORA, especially among males.
TNFAIP3, STAT4 and PTPN22 variants are associated with CORA in a similar magnitude and direction as in RA, suggesting that adult-onset RA and CORA share common genetic risk factors. Utilizing a wGRS, we have demonstrated the cumulative association of RA-associated variants in the susceptibility to CORA.
juvenile idiopathic arthritis; rheumatoid arthritis; genetics; association
To assess the safety and efficacy of rituximab in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-phase, trial of adult and pediatric myositis.
Adults with refractory polymyositis and adults and children with refractory dermatomyositis were enrolled. Entry criteria included muscle weakness and ≥2 additional abnormal core set measures (CSM) for adults. JDM patients required ≥ 3 abnormal CSM with or without muscle weakness. Patients were randomized to either ‘rituximab early’ or ‘rituximab late’ and glucocorticoid and immunosuppressive therapy were allowed at entry. The primary endpoint compared the time to achieve the preliminary International Myositis Assessment and Clinical Studies Group definition of improvement (DOI) between the 2 groups. The secondary endpoints were time to achieve ≥20% improvement in muscle strength, and the proportion of early and late rituximab patients achieving DOI at week 8.
Among 200 randomized patients (76 PM/76 DM/48 JDM), 195 showed no difference in the time to DOI between the rituximab late (n=102) and rituximab early (n=93) groups (p=0.74, log rank) with a median time to DOI of 20.2 weeks and 20.0 weeks respectively. The secondary endpoints also did not significantly differ between the two treatment groups. However, 161 (83%) of randomized patients met the DOI and individual CSM improved in both groups throughout the 44-week trial.
Although there were no significant differences in the two treatment arms for the primary and secondary endpoints, 83% of refractory adult and juvenile myositis patients met the DOI. The role of B cell depleting therapies in myositis warrants further study with consideration for a different trial design.
To develop a provisional definition for the evaluation of response to therapy in juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) based on the PRINTO JDM core set of variables.
Thirty-seven experienced pediatric rheumatologists from 27 countries, achieved consensus on 128 difficult patient profiles as clinically improved or not improved using a stepwise approach (patients rating, statistical analysis, definition selection). Using the physicians’ consensus ratings as the “gold-standard measure”, chi-square, sensitivity, specificity, false positive and negative rate, area under the ROC, and kappa agreement for candidate definitions of improvement were calculated. Definitions with kappa >0.8 were multiplied with the face validity score to select the top definitions.
The top definition of improvement was: at least 20% improvement from baseline in 3/6 core set variables with no more than 1 of the remaining worsening by more than 30%, which cannot be muscle strength. The second highest scoring definition was at least 20% improvement from baseline in 3/6 core set variables with no more than 2 of the remaining worsening by more than 25%, which cannot be muscle strength which is definition P1 selected by the IMACS group. The third is similar to the second with the maximum amount of worsening set to 30%. This indicates convergent validity of the process.
we proposes a provisional data driven definition of improvement that reflects well the consensus rating of experienced clinicians, which incorporates clinically meaningful change in core set variables in a composite endpoint for the evaluation of global response to therapy in JDM.
juvenile dermatomyositis; core set; response to therapy; disease activity; consensus
To use juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) survey data and expert opinion to develop a small number of consensus treatment protocols which reflect current initial treatment of moderately severe JDM.
A consensus meeting was held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on December 1-2, 2007. Nominal group technique was used to achieve consensus on treatment protocols which represented typical management of moderately severe JDM. Consensus was also reached on which patients these protocols would be applicable to (inclusion and exclusion criteria), initial investigations which should be done prior to initiating one of these protocols, data which should be collected to evaluate these protocols, concomitant interventions that would be required or recommended.
Three protocols were developed which described the first 2 months of treatment. All protocols included corticosteroids and methotrexate. One protocol also included intravenous gammaglobulin. Consensus was achieved for all issues that were addressed by conference participants, although there were some areas of controversy
This study shows that it is possible to achieve consensus on the initial treatment of JDM, despite considerable variation in clinical practice. Once these protocols are extended beyond 2 months, these protocols will be available for clinical use. By using methods which account for differences between patients (confounding by indication), the comparative effectiveness of the protocols will be evaluated. In the future, the goal will be to identify the optimal treatment of moderately severe JDM.
A novel technique for preoperative MRI guided wire localization for targeted surgical excisional biopsy of muscle is described in a pediatric patient with juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM). This technique allows for preoperative localization of abnormalities seen only with MRI. Using this technique, the patient underwent successful targeted muscle biopsy for confirmation of the diagnosis and staging of dermatomyositis.
Juvenile dermatomyositis; Myopathy; MRI; Guide wire localization
To use consensus methods and the considerable expertise contained within the Children’s Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA) organization, to extend the 3 previously developed treatment plans for moderate juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) to span the full course of treatment.
A consensus meeting was held in Chicago on April 23–24, 2010 involving 30 pediatric rheumatologists and 4 lay participants. Nominal group technique was used to achieve consensus on treatment plans which represented typical management of moderate JDM. A pre-conference survey of CARRA, completed by 151/272 (56%) members, was used to provide additional guidance to discussion.
Consensus was reached on timing and rate of steroid tapering, duration of steroid therapy, and actions to be taken if patients were unchanged, worsening, experiencing medication side effects or disease complications. Of particular importance, a single, consensus steroid taper was developed.
We were able to develop consensus treatment plans which describe therapy for moderate JDM throughout the treatment course. These treatment plans can now be used clinically, and data collected prospectively regarding treatment effectiveness and toxicity. This will allow comparison of these treatment plans and facilitate the development of evidence-based treatment recommendations for moderate JDM.
Gene expression profiling and protein studies of the type I interferon pathway have revealed important insights into the disease process in adult and juvenile dermatomyositis. The most prominent and consistent feature has been a characteristic whole blood gene signature indicating upregulation of the type I interferon pathway. Upregulation of the type I interferon protein signature has added additional markers of disease activity and insight into the pathogenesis of the disease.
Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM or myositis), is a group of autoimmune diseases that result in decreased muscle strength and/or endurance. Non-invasive tools to assess muscle may improve our understanding of the clinical and functional consequences of myopathies and their response to treatment. This study examined Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE), a non-invasive technique that assesses the shear modulus (stiffness) of muscle, in IIM subjects.
Nine subjects with active myositis completed the MRE protocol. Participants lay in a positioning device, and scans of the vastus medialis (VM) were taken in the relaxed state and at two contraction levels. Manual inversion was used to estimate the stiffness.
A significant reduction in muscle stiffness was seen in myositis subjects compared with healthy controls during the ‘relaxed’ condition.
The use of non-invasive technologies such as MRE may provide greater understanding of the pathophysiology of IIM and improve assessment of treatment efficacy.
Muscle; Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE); Myositis; Muscle Stiffness; Noninvasive
Recent studies have shown increased expression of interferon (IFN)-regulated genes in the peripheral blood cells of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. A similar interferon signature has been observed in affected muscle tissue from patients with dermatomyositis (DM), but it has not yet been determined if this signature extends to the peripheral blood in DM. We performed global gene expression profiling of peripheral blood cells from adult and juvenile DM patients and healthy controls. Several interesting groups of genes were differentially expressed in DM, including genes with immune function, and others that function in muscle or are involved in mitochondrial/oxidative phosphorylation. Investigation of type I IFN-regulated transcripts revealed a striking interferon signature present in most DM patients studied. Levels of type I IFN-regulated proteins were also elevated in DM serum samples. Furthermore, both the transcript and serum protein IFN signatures were associated with disease activity. These data suggest that the IFN signature may be a useful marker for DM disease activity, and that sampling peripheral blood may be a more practical alternative to muscle biopsy for measuring this signature.
We validated the Myositis Damage Index (MDI) in juvenile and adult myositis, to describe the degree and types of damage and to develop predictors of damage.
Retrospective MDI evaluations and prospective assessment of disease activity and illness features were conducted. Juvenile-onset patients (n = 143) were evaluated a median of 18 months after diagnosis; 135 patients were assessed 7–9 months later, and 121 were last assessed 82 months after diagnosis. Adult-onset patients (n = 96) with dermatomyositis (DM) or polymyositis (PM) had a baseline assessment a median of 30 months after diagnosis; 77 had a 6-month follow-up evaluation, and 55 had a final assessment 60 months after diagnosis.
Damage was present in 79% of juvenile and 97% of adult patients. In juveniles, scar, contractures, persistent weakness, muscle dysfunction and calcinosis (23–30%) were most frequent on last evaluation. In adults, muscle atrophy, muscle dysfunction and weakness were most frequent (74–84%). MDI severity correlated with physician global damage, functional disability, weakness and muscle atrophy on MRI. MDI damage scores and frequency were highest in patients with a chronic illness course and in adult patients who died. Predictors of damage included functional disability, active disease duration, onset severity, global activity, and illness features, including ulcerations in children and pericarditis in adults.
Damage is common in myositis patients after a median of 5 years duration in adult-onset and 6.8 years in juvenile-onset patients. The MDI has good content, construct and predictive validity in juvenile and adult myositis.
Clinical care and therapeutic trials in idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM) require accurate and consistent assessment of cutaneous involvement. The Cutaneous Assessment Tool (CAT) was designed to measure skin activity and damage in IIM. We describe the development and inter-rater reliability of the CAT, and the frequency of lesions endorsed in a large population of juvenile IIM patients.
The CAT includes 10 activity, 4 damage and 7 combined lesions. Thirty-two photographic slides depicting IIM skin lesions were assessed by 11 raters. One hundred and twenty three children were assessed by 11 pediatric rheumatologists at ten centers. Inter-rater reliability was assessed using simple agreements and intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC).
Simple agreements in recognizing lesions as present or absent were generally high (0.5 – 1.0). ICC's for CAT lesions were moderate (0.4 – 0.75) in both slides and real patients. ICC's for the CAT activity and damage scores were 0.71 and 0.81, respectively. CAT activity scores ranged from 0 – 44 (median 7, potential range 0 – 96) and CAT damage scores ranged from 0 – 13 (median 1, potential range 0 – 22). The most common cutaneous lesions endorsed were periungual capillary loop changes (63%), Gottron's papules/sign (53%), heliotrope rash (49%) and malar/facial erythema (49%).
Total CAT activity and damage scores have moderate to good reliability. Assessors generally agree on the presence of a variety of cutaneous lesions. The CAT is a promising, semi-quantitative tool to comprehensively assess skin disease activity and damage in IIM.
Juvenile Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathy; Juvenile Dermatomyositis; Skin Disease; Cutaneous Assessment Tool; CAT; Assessment
To define the relative importance of MHC Class II alleles and peptide binding motifs as risk and protective factors for juvenile dermatomyositis (DM) and to compare these to HLA associations in adult DM.
DRB1 and DQA1 typing was performed in 142 Caucasian patients with juvenile DM, and compared to HLA typing from 193 patients with adult DM and 797 race‐matched controls. Random Forests classification and multiple logistic regression assessed the relative importance of the HLA associations.
The HLA DRB1*0301 allele was a primary risk factor (Odds Ratio [OR] 3.9), while DQA1*0301 (OR 2.8), DQA1*0501 (OR 2.1), and homozygosity of DQA1*0501 (OR 3.2) were additional risk factors for juvenile DM. These risk factors were not present in adult DM without defined autoantibodies. DQA1 *0201 (OR 0.37), *0101 (OR 0.38), and *0102 (OR 0.51) were identified as novel protective factors for juvenile DM, the latter two being shared with adult DM. The peptide binding motif DRB1 9EYSTS13 was a risk factor and DQA1 motifs F25, S26 and 45(V/A) W (R/K)47 were protective. Random Forests classification analysis revealed DRB1*0301 (Relative Importance [RI] 100%) had higher relative importance than DQA1*0301 (RI 57%), DQA1*0501 (RI 42%), or the peptide binding motifs among risk factors for juvenile DM. In a logistic regression model, DRB1*0301 and DQA*0201 were the strongest risk and protective factors, respectively, for juvenile DM.
DRB1*0301 has higher relative importance than DQA1*0501 as a risk factor for juvenile DM. DQA1*0301 has been identified as a new HLA risk factor for juvenile DM. Three DQA1 alleles are newly identified protective factors for juvenile DM.
Dendritic cells (DCs) are professional antigen-presenting cells that are specialized in the uptake of antigens and their transport from peripheral tissues to the lymphoid organs. Over the last decades, the properties of DCs have been intensely studied and much knowledge has been gained about the role of DCs in various diseases and health conditions where the immune system is involved, particularly in cancer and autoimmune disorders. Emerging clues in autoimmune diseases, suggest that dendritic cell dysregulation might be involved in the development of various autoimmune disorders in both adults and children. However, studies investigating a possible contribution of DCs in autoimmune diseases in the pediatric population alone are scanty. The purpose of this review is to give a general overview of the current literature on the relevance of dendritic cells in the most common autoimmune conditions of childhood.