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1.  Smoking interacts with HLA-DRB1 shared epitope in the development of anti-citrullinated protein antibody-positive rheumatoid arthritis: results from the Malaysian Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (MyEIRA) 
Introduction
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a multifactorial autoimmune disease in which genetic and environmental factors interact in the etiology. In this study, we investigated whether smoking and HLA-DRB1 shared-epitope (SE) alleles interact differently in the development of the two major subgroups of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), anti-citrullinated proteins antibody (ACPA)-positive and ACPA-negative disease, in a multiethnic population of Asian descent.
Methods
A case-control study comprising early diagnosed RA cases was carried out in Malaysia between 2005 and 2009. In total, 1,076 cases and 1,612 matched controls participated in the study. High-resolution HLA-DRB1 genotyping was performed for shared-epitope (SE) alleles. All participants answered a questionnaire on a broad range of issues, including smoking habits. The odds ratio (OR) of developing ACPA-positive and ACPA-negative disease was calculated for smoking and the presence of any SE alleles separately. Potential interaction between smoking history (defined as "ever" and "never" smoking) and HLA-DRB1 SE alleles also was calculated.
Results
In our multiethnic study, both the SE alleles and smoking were associated with an increased risk of developing ACPA-positive RA (OR SE alleles, 4.7; 95% confidence interval (CI), 3.6 to 6.2; OR smoking, 4.1; 95% CI, 1.9 to 9.2). SE-positive smokers had an odds ratio of ACPA-positive RA of 25.6 (95% CI, 10.4 to 63.4), compared with SE-negative never-smokers. The interaction between smoking and SE alleles was significant (attributable proportion due to interaction (AP) was 0.7 (95% CI, 0.5 to 1.0)). The HLA-DRB1*04:05 SE allele, which is common in Asian populations, but not among Caucasians, was associated with an increased risk of ACPA-positive RA, and this allele also showed signs of interaction with smoking (AP, 0.4; 95% CI, -0.1 to 0.9). Neither smoking nor SE alleles nor their combination was associated with an increased risk of ACPA-negative RA.
Conclusions
The risk of developing ACPA-positive RA is associated with a strong gene-environment interaction between smoking and HLA-DRB1 SE alleles in a Malaysian multiethnic population of Asian descent. This interaction seems to apply also between smoking and the specific HLA-DRB1*04:05 SE allele, which is common in Asian populations but not in Caucasians.
doi:10.1186/ar3813
PMCID: PMC3446463  PMID: 22537824
2.  Clinical Determinants of Fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography in Differentiated Thyroid Cancer Patients with Elevated Thyroglobulin and Negative 131Iodine Whole Body Scans after 131Iodine Therapy 
Background:
A cross-sectional prospective study has been conducted on differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) patients using negative 131Iodine (131I) whole body scans and elevated thyroglobulin (Tg) levels. The main objective of this research was to determine the prevalence of the conversion of differentiated to dedifferentiated thyroid cancer patients during follow up at the Hospital Kuala Lumpur. It has been demonstrated that fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) uptake is inversely proportional to the iodine concentration and to differentiation of the cells.
Methods:
Thirty-five patients with histologically proven DTC that have undergone total or near total thyroidectomy, and post 131I radioactive iodine ablation therapy, were selected and prospectively analysed. The patients also had to show at least one negative whole body scan and Tg levels of 10 μg/L and above. The results of the FDG-Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography (PET/CT) were then studied to determine the association and the predictors influencing the outcome by using univariable and multivariable analyses.
Results:
Out of the thirty-five patients, 60% of them (twenty-one) showed positive results and 40% (fourteen) showed negative. Age, gender, and type of histopathology (HPE) showed significant associations with the positive results of the FDG-PET/CT. The results also showed no correlations observed between the Tg levels and standardised uptake value (SUV)max in the DTC patients with positive disease findings in the FDG-PET/CT. The predictor for this study was age.
Conclusion:
The prevalence of the conversion of differentiated to dedifferentiated thyroid cancer among patients with negative 131I and elevated Tg was 60%, with age as the predictor. DTC patients aged 45 year-old and older were seven times more likely to have positive results of FDG-PET/CT imaging.
PMCID: PMC4163557  PMID: 25246834
thyroid cancer; iodine; whole body scan; thyroglobulin; fluorodeoxyglucose F18; positron-emission tomography
3.  Quality indicators for discarding blood in the National Blood Center, Kuala Lumpur 
Background and Objective:
The implementation of quality system and continuous evaluation of all activities of the Blood Transfusion Services (BTS) can help to achieve the maximum quantity and quality of safe blood. Optimizing blood collection and processing would reduce the rate of discard and improve the efficiency of the BTS. The objective of this study is to determine the rate of discard of blood and blood component and identify its reasons at the National Blood Centre (NBC), Kuala Lumpur, during the year of 2007 in order to introduce appropriate intervention.
Study Designs and Methods:
Data on the number of discarded whole blood units and its components, reasons for discard, and the number of blood components processed as well as the number of collected blood units were obtained from the Blood Bank Information System - NBC database. These were analyzed.
Results:
The total number of blood units collected in 2007 was 171169 from which 390636 units of components were prepared. The total number of discarded whole blood units and its components was 8968 (2.3%). Platelet concentrate recorded the highest of discard at 6% (3909) followed by whole blood at 3.7% (647), fresh frozen plasma (FFP) at 2.5% (2839), and cryoprecipitate at 2% (620). The rate of discarded packed red blood cells RBCs, plasma aphaeresis, and PLT aphaeresis was less than 1% at 0.6% (902), 0.6% (37), and 0.29% (14), respectively. RBC contamination of PLT and plasma were the major cause of discard at 40% (3558). Other causes include leakage (26% - 2306), lipemia (25% - 2208), and underweight (4% - 353).
Conclusion:
Good donor selection, training and evaluation of the staff, as well as implementation of automation will help to improve processes and output of BTS. This would reduce discard of blood components and wastage caused by non conformance.
doi:10.4103/0973-6247.95045
PMCID: PMC3353623  PMID: 22623837
Discard blood; National Blood Centre Kuala Lumpur; quality indicators
4.  Shared Epitope Alleles Remain A Risk Factor for Anti-Citrullinated Proteins Antibody (ACPA) – Positive Rheumatoid Arthritis in Three Asian Ethnic Groups 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e21069.
Background
To investigate the associations between HLA-DRB1 shared epitope (SE) alleles and rheumatoid arthritis in subsets of rheumatoid arthritis defined by autoantibodies in three Asian populations from Malaysia.
Methods
1,079 rheumatoid arthritis patients and 1,470 healthy controls were included in the study. Levels of antibodies to citrullinated proteins (ACPA) and rheumatoid factors were assessed and the PCR-SSO method was used for HLA-DRB1 genotyping.
Results
The proportion of ACPA positivity among Malay, Chinese and Indian rheumatoid arthritis patients were 62.9%, 65.2% and 68.6%, respectively. An increased frequency of SE alleles was observed in ACPA-positive rheumatoid arthritis among the three Asian ethnic groups. HLA-DRB1*10 was highly associated with rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility in these Asian populations. HLA-DRB1*0405 was significantly associated with susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis in Malays and Chinese, but not in Indians. HLA-DRB1*01 did not show any independent effect as a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis in this study and HLA-DRB1*1202 was protective in Malays and Chinese. There was no association between SE alleles and ACPA- negative rheumatoid arthritis in any of the three Asian ethnic groups.
Conclusion
The HLA-DRB1 SE alleles increase the risk of ACPA-positive rheumatoid arthritis in all three Asian populations from Malaysia.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021069
PMCID: PMC3115981  PMID: 21698259

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