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1.  Exposure to Mimivirus Collagen Promotes Arthritis 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(2):838-845.
Collagens, the most abundant proteins in animals, also occur in some recently described nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses such as Mimiviridae, which replicate in amoebae. To clarify the impact of viral collagens on the immune response of animals exposed to Mimiviridae, we have investigated the localization of collagens in Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus particles and the response of mice to immunization with mimivirus particles. Using protein biotinylation, we have first shown that viral collagen encoded by open reading frame L71 is present at the surface of mimivirus particles. Exposure to mimivirus collagens elicited the production of anti-collagen antibodies in DBA/1 mice immunized intradermally with mimivirus protein extracts. This antibody response also targeted mouse collagen type II and was accompanied by T-cell reactivity to collagen and joint inflammation, as observed in collagen-induced arthritis following immunization of mice with bovine collagen type II. The broad distribution of nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses in the environment suggests that humans are constantly exposed to such large virus particles. A survey of blood sera from healthy human subjects and from rheumatoid arthritis patients indeed demonstrated that 30% of healthy-subject and 36% of rheumatoid arthritis sera recognized the major mimivirus capsid protein L425. Moreover, whereas 6% of healthy-subject sera recognized the mimivirus collagen protein L71, 22% of rheumatoid arthritis sera were positive for mimivirus L71. Accordingly, our study shows that environmental exposure to mimivirus represents a risk factor in triggering autoimmunity to collagens.
doi:10.1128/JVI.03141-13
PMCID: PMC3911627  PMID: 24173233
2.  Clinical Criteria Replenish High-Sensitive Troponin and Inflammatory Markers in the Stratification of Patients with Suspected Acute Coronary Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98626.
Objectives
In patients with suspected acute coronary syndrome (ACS), rapid triage is essential. The aim of this study was to establish a tool for risk prediction of 30-day cardiac events (CE) on admission. 30-day cardiac events (CE) were defined as early coronary revascularization, subsequent myocardial infarction, or cardiovascular death within 30 days.
Methods and Results
This single-centre, prospective cohort study included 377 consecutive patients presenting to the emergency department with suspected ACS and for whom troponin T measurements were requested on clinical grounds. Fifteen biomarkers were analyzed in the admission sample, and clinical parameters were assessed by the TIMI risk score for unstable angina/Non-ST myocardial infarction and the GRACE risk score. Sixty-nine (18%) patients presented with and 308 (82%) without ST-elevations, respectively. Coronary angiography was performed in 165 (44%) patients with subsequent percutaneous coronary intervention – accounting for the majority of CE – in 123 (33%) patients, respectively. Eleven out of 15 biomarkers were elevated in patients with CE compared to those without. High-sensitive troponin T (hs-cTnT) was the best univariate biomarker to predict CE in Non-ST-elevation patients (AUC 0.80), but did not yield incremental information above clinical TIMI risk score (AUC 0.80 vs 0.82, p = 0.69). Equivalence testing of AUCs of risk models and non-inferiority testing demonstrated that the clinical TIMI risk score alone was non-inferior to its combination with hs-cTnT in predicting CE.
Conclusions
In patients presenting without ST-elevations, identification of those prone to CE is best based on clinical assessment based on TIMI risk score criteria and hs-cTnT.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098626
PMCID: PMC4043791  PMID: 24892556
3.  Antibody Phage Display Assisted Identification of Junction Plakoglobin as a Potential Biomarker for Atherosclerosis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47985.
To date, no plaque-derived blood biomarker is available to allow diagnosis, prognosis or monitoring of atherosclerotic vascular diseases. In this study, specimens of thrombendarterectomy material from carotid and iliac arteries were incubated in protein-free medium to obtain plaque and control secretomes for subsequent subtractive phage display. The selection of nine plaque secretome-specific antibodies and the analysis of their immunopurified antigens by mass spectrometry led to the identification of 22 proteins. One of them, junction plakoglobin (JUP-81) and its smaller isoforms (referred to as JUP-63, JUP-55 and JUP-30 by molecular weight) were confirmed by immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting with independent antibodies to be present in atherosclerotic plaques and their secretomes, coronary thrombi of patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and macrophages differentiated from peripheral blood monocytes as well as macrophage-like cells differentiated from THP1 cells. Plasma of patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD) (n = 15) and ACS (n = 11) contained JUP-81 at more than 2- and 14-fold higher median concentrations, respectively, than plasma of CAD-free individuals (n = 13). In conclusion, this proof of principle study identified and verified JUP isoforms as potential plasma biomarkers for atherosclerosis. Clinical validation studies are needed to determine its diagnostic efficacy and clinical utility as a biomarker for diagnosis, prognosis or monitoring of atherosclerotic vascular diseases.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047985
PMCID: PMC3480477  PMID: 23110151
4.  Effect of the oral application of a highly selective MMP-13 inhibitor in three different animal models of rheumatoid arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2009;69(5):898-902.
Objective
To evaluate the decrease of cartilage destruction by a novel orally active and specific matrix metalloproteinase 13 (MMP-13) inhibitor in three different animal models of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Materials and methods
The SCID mouse co-implantation model of RA, the collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) model in mice and the antigen-induced arthritis model (AIA) in rabbits were used.
Results
In the SCID mouse co-implantation model, the MMP-13 inhibitor reduced cartilage destruction by 75%. In the CIA model of RA, the MMP-13 inhibitor resulted in a significant and dose-dependent decrease in clinical symptoms as well as of cartilage erosion by 38% (30 mg/kg), 28% (10 mg/kg) and 21% (3 mg/kg). No significant effects were seen in the AIA model. No toxic effects were seen in all three animal models.
Conclusion
Although several MMPs in concert with other proteinases have a role in the process of cartilage destruction, there is a need for highly selective MMP inhibitors to reduce severe side effects that occur with non-specific inhibitors. Significant inhibition of MMP-13 reduced cartilage erosions in two of three tested animal models of RA. These results strongly support the development of this class of drugs to reduce or halt joint destruction in patients with RA.
doi:10.1136/ard.2008.106021
PMCID: PMC2925150  PMID: 19497915
5.  Molecular profile of synovial fibroblasts in rheumatoid arthritis depends on the stage of proliferation 
Arthritis Research  2002;4(5):R8.
The aim of this study was to explore the molecular profile of proliferating rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RA-SF). Total RNA was extracted from two cultures of RA-SF (low-density [LD] proliferating cells and high-density [HD] nonproliferating cells) and suppression subtractive hybridization was performed to compare differential gene expression of these two cultures. Subtracted cDNA was subcloned, and nucleotide sequences were analyzed to identify each clone. Differential expression of distinct clones was confirmed by semiquantitative RT-PCR. The expression of certain genes in synovial tissues was examined by in situ hybridization. In both LD and HD cells, 44 clones were upregulated. Of the 88 total clones, 46 were identical to sequences that have previously been characterized. Twenty-nine clones were identical to cDNAs that have been identified, but with unknown functions so far, and 13 clones did not show any significant homology to sequences in GenBank (NCBI). Differential expression of distinct clones was confirmed by RT-PCR. In situ hybridization showed that certain genes, such as S100A4, NFAT5, unr and Fbx3, were also expressed predominantly in synovial tissues from patients with RA but not from normal individuals. The expression of distinct genes in proliferating RA-SF could also be found in RA synovium, suggesting that these molecules are involved in synovial activation in RA. Most importantly, the data indicate that the expression of certain genes in RA-SF depends on the stage of proliferation; therefore, the stage needs to be considered in any analysis of differential gene expression in SF.
doi:10.1186/ar427
PMCID: PMC125298  PMID: 12223111
differential gene expression; molecular profile; proliferation; rheumatoid arthritis; synovial fibroblasts

Results 1-5 (5)