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1.  Acarbose Decreases the Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk of Diabetic Patients and Attenuates the Incidence and Severity of Collagen-induced Arthritis in Mice 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:18288.
Acarbose has been found to decrease some inflammatory parameters in diabetic patients. This study aimed to examine the influence of acarbose on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) risk in diabetes mellitus (DM) patients and on the incidence and severity of collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in mice. In a nationwide, matched case–control study, we identified 723 incident RA cases and selected 7,230 age-, sex- and RA diagnosis date–matched controls from all newly treated DM patients. We found that use of acarbose at > 16,950 mg per year was associated with a lower RA risk (odds ratio 0.60; 95% CI, 0.41–0.89). In the CIA mouse study, acarbose was orally administered from days -7 to 38 relative to type II collagen (CII) immunization. The results revealed that acarbose at the dose of 500 mg/kg/day attenuated the incidence and severity of arthritis and the expression of proinflammatory cytokines, including TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-17 in the paw tissues. Acarbose further decreased the productions of anti-CII-IgG, IL-17 and IFN-γ by collagen-reactive lymph node cells. This work suggests that the use of acarbose decreased RA risk in DM patients and the incidence of CIA in mice. Acarbose also attenuated the severity of CIA via anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects.
doi:10.1038/srep18288
PMCID: PMC4683371  PMID: 26678745
2.  The Incidence and Prevalence of Common Variable Immunodeficiency Disease in Taiwan, A Population-Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(10):e0140473.
Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) is one of the primary immunodeficiency diseases that occur in both children and adults. We present here a nationwide, population-based epidemiological study of CVID across all ages in Taiwan during 2002–2011. Using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision code 279.06, cases of CVID were identified from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database from January 2002 to December 2011. Age- and sex-specific incidence and prevalence rates were calculated. A total of 47 new cases of CVID during 2002–2011 were identified. Total prevalence rose from 0.13 per 100,000 in 2002 to 0.28 per 100,000 in 2011. The annual incidence rate during 2002–2011 was 0.019 per 100,000. Cases were equally distributed between males and females and males mostly occurred in younger patients. This nationwide population-based study showed that the incidence and prevalence of CVID in Taiwan were lower than that in Western countries.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0140473
PMCID: PMC4604164  PMID: 26461272
3.  Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk Associated with Periodontitis Exposure: A Nationwide, Population-Based Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(10):e0139693.
Background
The risk of periodontitis (PD) is increased in the patient group of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA and PD also shared some pathological mechanism. The aim of this study is to investigate the risk of RA associated with PD exposure.
Methods and Findings
This study identified 3 mutually exclusive cohorts using the 1999–2010 Taiwanese National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) to investigate the association between PD and the risk of incident RA. All patients with PD in 2000 were identified from the database of all enrollees as the PD cohort. From the representative database of 1,000,000 enrollees randomly selected in 2010 (LHID2010), individuals without any periodontal disease (PO) during 1999–2010 were selected as the non-PO cohort. Individuals who were not included in the non-PO cohort and received dental scaling (DS) no more than two times per year during 1999–2010 were selected as the DS cohort from LHID2010. Using cox proportional regression analysis, hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (Cis) were calculated to quantify the association between PD exposure and RA development. In the three-group comparison using the non-PO cohort as reference, we found that the risk of RA was higher in the PD and DS cohorts (HRs, 1.89 and 1.43; 95% CIs, 1.56–2.29 and 1.09–1.87, respectively). For comparisons between two cohorts, the PD cohort had a higher risk of RA than the non-PO and DS cohorts (HRs, 1.91 and 1.35; 95% CIs, 1.57–2.30 and 1.09–1.67, respectively).
Conclusion
PD was associated with an increased risk of RA development.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0139693
PMCID: PMC4591281  PMID: 26426533
4.  Involvement of TLR7 MyD88-dependent signaling pathway in the pathogenesis of adult-onset Still's disease 
Introduction
The objective of this study was to investigate the potential role of the Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) signaling pathway in the pathogenesis of adult-onset Still's disease (AOSD).
Methods
Frequencies of TLR7-expressing precursor of myeloid dendritic cells (pre-mDCs) and mDCs in 28 AOSD patients, 28 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and 12 healthy controls (HC) were determined by flow cytometry analysis. Transcript and protein levels of TLR7 signaling molecules in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were evaluated by quantitative PCR and western blotting respectively. Serum cytokines levels were measured by ELISA.
Results
Significantly higher median frequencies of TLR7-expressing pre-mDCs and mDCs were observed in AOSD patients (65.5% and 14.9%, respectively) and in SLE patients (60.3% and 14.4%, respectively) than in HC (42.8% and 8.8%, respectively; both P <0.001). Transcript and protein levels of TLR7-signaling molecules, including MyD88, TRAF6, IRAK4 and IFN-α, were upregulated in AOSD patients and SLE patients compared with those in HC. Disease activity scores were positively correlated with the frequencies of TLR7-expressing mDCs and expression levels of TLR7 signaling molecules in both AOSD and SLE patients. TLR7 ligand (imiquimod) stimulation of PBMCs resulted in significantly enhanced levels of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-18 and IFN-α in AOSD and SLE patients. Frequencies of TLR7-expressing mDCs and expression levels of TLR7 signaling molecules significantly decreased after effective therapy.
Conclusions
Elevated levels of TLR7 signaling molecules and their positive correlation with disease activity in AOSD patients suggest involvement of the TLR7 signaling pathway in the pathogenesis of this disease. The overexpression of TLR7 MyD88-dependent signaling molecules may be a common pathogenic mechanism for both AOSD and SLE.
doi:10.1186/ar4193
PMCID: PMC3672755  PMID: 23497717
5.  Germinal center kinase-like kinase (GLK/MAP4K3) expression is increased in adult-onset Still's disease and may act as an activity marker 
BMC Medicine  2012;10:84.
Background
Germinal center kinase-like kinase (GLK, also termed MAP4K3), a member of the MAP4K family, may regulate gene transcription, apoptosis and immune inflammation in response to extracellular signals. The enhanced expression of GLK has been shown to correspond with disease severity in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. We investigated the role of GLK in the pathogenesis of adult-onset Still's disease, which shares some similar clinical characteristics with systemic lupus erythematosus.
Methods
The frequencies of circulating GLK-expressing T-cells in 24 patients with active adult-onset Still's disease and 12 healthy controls were determined by flow cytometry analysis. The expression levels of GLK proteins and transcripts were evaluated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells by immunoblotting and quantitative PCR. Serum levels of T helper (Th)17-related cytokines, including IL-1β, IL-6, IL-17 and TNF-α, were measured by ELISA.
Results
Significantly higher median frequencies of circulating GLK-expressing T-cells were observed in patients with adult-onset Still's disease (31.85%) than in healthy volunteers (8.93%, P <0.001). The relative expression levels of GLK proteins and transcripts were also significantly higher in patients with adult-onset Still's disease (median, 1.74 and 2.35, respectively) compared with those in healthy controls (0.66 and 0.92, respectively, both P <0.001). The disease activity scores were positively correlated with the frequencies of circulating GLK-expressing T-cells (r = 0.599, P <0.005) and the levels of GLK proteins (r = 0.435, P <0.05) or GLK transcripts (r = 0.452, P <0.05) in patients with adult-onset Still's disease. Among the examined Th17-related cytokines, elevated levels of serum IL-6 and IL-17 were positively correlated with the frequencies of circulating GLK-expressing T-cells and the levels of GLK proteins as well as transcripts in patients with adult-onset Still's disease. GLK expression levels decreased significantly after effective therapy in these patients.
Conclusions
Elevated expression levels of GLK and their positive correlation with disease activity in patients with adult-onset Still's disease indicate that GLK may be involved in the pathogenesis and act as a novel activity biomarker of this disease.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-84
PMCID: PMC3424974  PMID: 22867055
Adult-onset Still's disease; GCK-like kinase (GLK, MAP4K3); mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs); pathogenesis; Th17-related cytokines

Results 1-5 (5)