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1.  Clinicopathological Correlations of Podoplanin (gp38) Expression in Rheumatoid Synovium and Its Potential Contribution to Fibroblast Platelet Crosstalk 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99607.
Synovial fibroblasts (SF) undergo phenotypic changes in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that contribute to inflammatory joint destruction. This study was undertaken to evaluate the clinical and functional significance of ectopic podoplanin (gp38) expression by RA SF.
Expression of gp38 and its CLEC2 receptor was analyzed by immunohistochemistry in synovial arthroscopic biopsies from RA patients and normal and osteoarthritic controls. Correlation between gp38 expression and RA clinicopathological variables was analyzed. In patients rebiopsied after anti-TNF-α therapy, changes in gp38 expression were determined. Platelet-SF coculture and gp38 silencing in SF were used to analyze the functional contribution of gp38 to SF migratory and invasive properties, and to SF platelet crosstalk.
gp38 was abundantly but variably expressed in RA, and it was undetectable in normal synovial tissues. Among clinicopathologigal RA variables, significantly increased gp38 expression was only found in patients with lymphoid neogenesis (LN), and RF or ACPA autoantibodies. Cultured synovial but not dermal fibroblasts showed strong constitutive gp38 expression that was further induced by TNF-α. In RA patients, anti-TNF-α therapy significantly reduced synovial gp38 expression. In RA synovium, CLEC2 receptor expression was only observed in platelets. gp38 silencing in cultured SF did not modify their migratory and invasive properties but reduced the expression of IL-6 and IL-8 genes induced by SF-platelet interaction.
In RA, synovial expression of gp38 is strongly associated to LN and it is reduced after anti-TNF-α therapy. Interaction between gp38 and CLEC2 platelet receptor is feasible in RA synovium in vivo and can specifically contribute to gene expression by SF.
PMCID: PMC4059710  PMID: 24932813
2.  Immature Blood Vessels in Rheumatoid Synovium Are Selectively Depleted in Response to Anti-TNF Therapy 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(12):e8131.
Angiogenesis is considered an important factor in the pathogenesis of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) where it has been proposed as a therapeutic target. In other settings, active angiogenesis is characterized by pathologic, immature vessels that lack periendothelial cells. We searched for the presence of immature vessels in RA synovium and analyzed the dynamics of synovial vasculature along the course of the disease, particularly after therapeutic response to TNF antagonists.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Synovial arthroscopic biopsies from RA, osteoarthritis (OA) and normal controls were analyzed by double labeling of endothelium and pericytes/smooth muscle mural cells to identify and quantify mature/immature blood vessels. To analyze clinicopathological correlations, a cross-sectional study on 82 synovial biopsies from RA patients with variable disease duration and severity was performed. A longitudinal analysis was performed in 25 patients with active disease rebiopsied after anti-TNF-α therapy. We found that most RA synovial tissues contained a significant fraction of immature blood vessels lacking periendothelial coverage, whereas they were rare in OA, and inexistent in normal synovial tissues. Immature vessels were observed from the earliest phases of the disease but their presence or density was significantly increased in patients with longer disease duration, higher activity and severity, and stronger inflammatory cell infiltration. In patients that responded to anti-TNF-α therapy, immature vessels were selectively depleted. The mature vasculature was similarly expanded in early or late disease and unchanged by therapy.
RA synovium contains a significant fraction of neoangiogenic, immature blood vessels. Progression of the disease increases the presence and density of immature but not mature vessels and only immature vessels are depleted in response to anti-TNFα therapy. The different dynamics of the mature and immature vascular fractions has important implications for the development of anti-angiogenic interventions in RA.
PMCID: PMC2779850  PMID: 19956574
3.  HLA haplotypes associated with hemochromatosis mutations in the Spanish population 
BMC Medical Genetics  2004;5:25.
The present study is an analysis of the frequencies of HLA-A and -B antigens and HLA haplotypes in two groups of individuals homozygous for the two main HFE mutations (C282Y and H63D) and a group heterozygous for the S65C mutation.
The study population includes: 1123 healthy individuals, 100 homozygous for the C282Y mutation, 138 homozygous for the H63D mutation and 17 heterozygous for the S65C mutation. HFE and HLA alleles were detected using DNA-based and microlymphocytotoxicity techniques respectively.
An expected significant association between C282Y and the HLA-A3/B7 haplotype was found, but other HLA haplotypes carrying the -A3 antigen were found: HLA-A3/B62 and HLA-A3/B44. Also, a significant association between H63D mutation and HLA-A29/B44 haplotype was found, and again other HLA haplotypes carrying the HLA-A29 antigen were also found: HLA-A29/B14 and HLA-A29/B62. In addition, the S65C mutation seems to be associated with a HLA haplotype carrying the HLA-A26 antigen.
These findings clearly suggest that HLA-A3/B7 and HLA-A29/B44 are the ancestral haplotypes from which the C282Y and H63D mutations originated, respectively. The frequencies of these mutations in different populations, their geographical distribution, and the degree of the statistical association to the ancestral haplotypes, suggest that the H63D mutation must have occurred earlier than the C282Y mutation.
PMCID: PMC529258  PMID: 15498100

Results 1-3 (3)