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1.  Role of environmental factors in autoantibody production - importance of a detailed analysis in a small cohort 
In the previous issue of Arthritis Research & Therapy, Muro and colleagues reported a detailed epidemiologic analysis in central Japan on one of the new myositis-specific autoantibodies to MDA-5 (melanoma differentiation-associated gene 5), which is associated with clinically amyopathic dermatomyositis accompanying interstitial lung disease. The increasing prevalence of anti-MDA-5, higher prevalence in small rural towns, and geographical clustering in two areas along the Kiso River suggest a role of environmental factors associated with rural communities or the river/water system or both. A detailed analysis of a small cohort may offer clues, which is ignored in multi-center studies, to the pathogenesis of systemic rheumatic diseases and autoantibody production.
doi:10.1186/ar3739
PMCID: PMC3392830  PMID: 22380573
2.  Reduced levels of CCL2 and CXCL10 in systemic lupus erythematosus patients under treatment with prednisone, mycophenolate mofetil, or hydroxychloroquine, except in a high STAT1 subset 
Introduction
Our recent data showed that signal transducers and activators of transcription 1 (STAT1), adenosine deaminase acting on RNA (ADAR), C-C motif chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2), and C-X-C motif chemokine 10 (CXCL10) were significantly elevated in a systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) cohort compared to healthy donors. High and low STAT1 subsets were identified in SLE patient visits. The present study analyzed the correlation of common treatments used in SLE with the levels of these biomarkers.
Methods
Peripheral blood leukocytes were collected from 65 healthy donors and 103 SLE patients, of whom 60 had samples from two or more visits. Total RNA was isolated and analyzed for the expression of mRNA and microRNA using Taqman real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. Relative expression of interferon signature genes, CCL2, and CXCL10 were determined by the ΔΔCT method. Results were correlated with therapy using prednisone, mycophenolate mofetil, and hydroxychloroquine and analyzed by Wilcoxon/Kruskal-Wallis test and Fisher’s exact test.
Results
CCL2 and CXCL10 were significantly higher in untreated patients compared to treated patients, however, in high STAT1 patient visits there is no significant difference between treated and untreated patients’ visits. When comparing linear regression fits of interferon (IFN) score with CCL2 and CXCL10, untreated patients and high STAT1 patients displayed significantly higher slopes compared to treated patients. There was no significant difference between the slopes of high STAT1 and untreated patients indicating that CCL2 and CXCL10 were correlated with type-I IFN in high STAT1 patients similar to that in untreated patients. CCL2 and CXCL10 levels in the high STAT1 subset remained high in treated patient visits compared to those of the low STAT1 subset.
Conclusions
Among the biomarkers analyzed, only CCL2 and CXCL10 showed significantly reduced levels in treated compared to untreated SLE patients. STAT1, CCL2, and CXCL10 are potentially useful indicators of therapeutic action in SLE patients. Further work is needed to determine whether high STAT1 levels convey resistance to therapies commonly used to treat SLE and whether STAT1 inhibitors may have therapeutic implication for these patients.
doi:10.1186/ar4451
PMCID: PMC3978465  PMID: 24460726
3.  Elevated signal transducers and activators of transcription 1 correlates with increased C-C motif chemokine ligand 2 and C-X-C motif chemokine 10 levels in peripheral blood of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus 
Introduction
The present study examines the levels of recently reported biomarkers, adenosine deaminase acting on RNA (ADAR), C-C motif chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2), C-X-C motif chemokine 10 (CXCL10), signal transducers and activators of transcription 1 (STAT1), and miR-146a in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients over multiple visits.
Methods
Peripheral blood leukocytes were collected from 65 healthy donors and 103 SLE patients, 60 of whom had samples from 2 or more visits. Total RNA was isolated and analyzed for the expression of mRNA and microRNA using Taqman real time PCR assays. Relative expression of I-IFN signature genes, chemokines, and miR-146a were determined by the ΔΔCT method. Results were correlated with clinical data and analyzed by Wilcoxon/Kruskal-Wallis test and Fisher’s exact test.
Results
Levels of ADAR, CCL2, CXCL10, and STAT1 in SLE were significantly elevated compared with the healthy controls (P <0.0001). ADAR, CCL2, and CXCL10 showed significant correlation with IFN score in both healthy donors (P <0.0033) and SLE patients (P <0.0001). In SLE patients, miR-146a level was not significantly different from healthy controls nor correlated to the IFN score. Two STAT1 populations were identified: a low STAT1 and a high STAT1 group. High STAT1 patient visits displayed higher (P ≤0.0020) levels of CCL2 and CXCL10 than the low STAT1 patient visits. STAT1 levels correlated with IFN score in low STAT1 group but not in high STAT1 group. More importantly, high STAT1 levels appeared as an enhancer of CCL2 and CXCL10 as indicated by the significantly stronger correlation of CCL2 and CXCL10 with IFN score in high STAT1 patient visits relative to low STAT1 patient visits.
Conclusion
Our data indicate a novel role for STAT1 in the pathogenesis of SLE as an expression enhancer of CCL2 and CXCL10 in SLE patients with high levels of STAT1. Future study is needed to examine the exact role of STAT1 in the etiology of SLE.
doi:10.1186/ar4448
PMCID: PMC3978614  PMID: 24451065
4.  Rpp25 is a major target of autoantibodies to the Th/To complex as measured by a novel chemiluminescent assay 
Introduction
Autoantibodies to the Th/To antigen have been described in systemic sclerosis (SSc) and several proteins of the macromolecular Th/To complex have been reported to react with anti-Th/To antibodies. However, anti-Th/To has not been clinically utilized due to unavailability of commercial tests. The objective of the present study is to evaluate the newly developed ELISA and chemiluminescent immunoassay (CLIA) to measure autoantibodies to Rpp25 (a component of the Th/To complex) using immunoprecipitation (IP) as the reference method.
Methods
The first cohort consisted of 123 SSc patients including 7 anti-Th/To positive samples confirmed by IP. Additional seven anti-Th/To positive samples from non-SSc patients were also tested. For evaluation of the QUANTA Flash Rpp25 CLIA (research use only), 8 anti-Th/To IP positives, a cohort of 70 unselected SSc patients and sera from various disease controls (n = 357) and random healthy individuals (n = 10) were studied.
Results
Anti-Rpp25 antibodies determined by ELISA were found in 11/14 anti-Th/To IP positive but only in 1/156 (0.6%) negative samples resulting in a positive percent agreement of 78.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] 49.2, 95.3%) and a negative percent agreement of 99.4% (95% CI 96.4, 100.0%). To verify the results using a second method, 53 samples were tested by ELISA and CLIA for anti-Rpp25 reactivity and the results were highly correlated (rho = 0.71, 95% CI 0.56, 0.81; P < 0.0001). To define the cutoff of the CLIA, anti-Th/To IP positive and negative sera were tested using the anti-Rpp25 CLIA. At the cutoff selected by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis 8/8 (100.0%) of the anti-Th/To positive sera but only 2/367 (0.5%) of the controls were positive for anti-Rpp25 antibodies. The positive and negative percent agreements were 100.0% (95% CI 63.1, 100.0%) and 99.5% (95% CI 98.0, 99.9%), respectively. In the disease cohorts 2/70 (2.9%) of the SSc patients were positive for anti-Rpp25 antibodies compared to 2/367 (0.5%) of the controls (P = 0.032). ROC analysis showed discrimination between SSc patients and controls with an area under the curve value of 0.732 (95% CI 0.655, 0.809).
Conclusion
Rpp25 is a major target of autoantibodies to the Th/To autoantigen complex. Further studies are needed to evaluate the clinical utility of the new assays.
doi:10.1186/ar4210
PMCID: PMC3672760  PMID: 23587095
5.  Implications in the difference of anti-Mi-2 and -p155/140 autoantibody prevalence in two dermatomyositis cohorts from Mexico City and Guadalajara 
Introduction
Autoantibodies and clinical manifestations in polymyositis/dermatomyositis (PM/DM) are affected by both genetic and environmental factors. The high prevalence of DM and anti-Mi-2 in Central America is thought to be associated with the high UV index of the area. The prevalences of autoantibodies and the clinical manifestations of PM/DM were evaluated comparing two cohorts in Mexico.
Methods
Ninety-five Mexican patients with PM/DM (66 DM, 29 PM; 67 Mexico City, 28 Guadalajara) were studied. Autoantibodies were characterized by immunoprecipitation using 35S-methionine labeled K562 cell extract. Clinical information was obtained from medical records.
Results
DM represented 69% of PM/DM and anti-Mi-2 was the most common autoantibody (35%), followed by anti-p155/140 (11%); however, anti-Jo-1 was only 4%. The autoantibody profile in adult-onset DM in Mexico City versus Guadalajara showed striking differences: anti-Mi-2 was 59% versus 12% (P = 0.0012) whereas anti-p155/140 was 9% versus 35% (P = 0.02), respectively. A strong association of anti-Mi-2 with DM was confirmed and when clinical features of anti-Mi-2 (+) DM (n = 30) versus anti-Mi-2 (-) DM (n = 36) were compared, the shawl sign (86% versus 64%, P < 0.05) was more common in the anti-Mi-2 (+) group (P = 0.0001). Levels of creatine phosphokinase (CPK) were higher in those who were anti-Mi-2 (+) but they responded well to therapy.
Conclusions
Anti-Mi-2 has a high prevalence in Mexican DM and is associated with the shawl sign and high CPK. The prevalence of anti-Mi-2 and anti-p155/140 was significantly different in Mexico City versus Guadalajara, which have a similar UV index. This suggests roles of factors other than UV in anti-Mi-2 antibody production.
doi:10.1186/ar4207
PMCID: PMC4060281  PMID: 23557279
6.  A new immunoprecipitation-real time quantitative PCR assay for anti-Th/To and anti-U3RNP antibody detection in systemic sclerosis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2012;14(3):R128.
Introduction
Classic anti-nucleolar antibodies anti-Th/To and U3 ribonucleoprotein (-U3RNP) can help in the diagnosis, prediction of organ involvement and prognosis in systemic sclerosis (SSc); however, no validated commercial assay is available. We aimed at establishing a novel quantitative real time PCR (qPCR) method to detect these antibodies.
Methods
Standard immunoprecipitation (IP) was performed using K562 cell extract and RNA components were extracted. cDNA was reverse transcribed from RNA components and Th RNA and U3 RNA were detected by qPCR using custom primers. Cycle threshold (Ct) values were compared in a titration experiment to determine the assay efficacy. The new assay was evaluated by testing 22 anti-Th/To and 12 anti-U3RNP positive samples in addition to 88 controls, and the results were compared with IP as a gold standard.
Results
By testing serial 1:8 dilutions of cell lysate as the substrate in the IP step, RNA extracted after IP, and its derived cDNA, linear dose response curves were noted for both anti-Th/To and -U3RNP. With every dilution, Ct values changed approximately three as expected, reflecting the eight-fold difference of cDNA. The Ct difference between positive and negative samples was 8 to 13, which was similar throughout the dilutions. In the specificity analysis, the Ct values of positive samples were clearly different from the negative groups and the results by qPCR had a near perfect correlation with IP.
Conclusions
Our new method readily detects these two clinically important antibodies in SSc. Making tests for anti-Th/To and -U3RNP antibodies widely available to clinicians should be helpful in the diagnosis and follow-up of SSc patients.
doi:10.1186/ar3858
PMCID: PMC3446509  PMID: 22643159
7.  Anti-MJ/NXP-2 autoantibody specificity in a cohort of adult Italian patients with polymyositis/dermatomyositis 
Introduction
Autoantibodies in patients with polymyositis/dermatomyositis (PM/DM) are associated with unique subsets, clinical course and outcome. Anti-MJ antibodies, which recognize the nuclear protein NXP-2/MORC3, are reported in ~25% of juvenile DM. Prevalence and clinical significance of anti-MJ antibodies in adult Italian PM/DM patients were studied.
Methods
Sera from 58 consecutive adult Italian PM/DM patients were analyzed by immunoprecipitation of 35S-labeled K562 cells extract, ELISA (anti-MJ, Jo-1), Western blot and indirect immunofluorescence. Clinical associations were analyzed using information from medical charts.
Results
Anti-MJ antibodies were the most prevalent specificity (17%) found mainly in DM (30%, 8 cases) vs 8% of PM (2 cases, P = 0.02). Comparing 10 anti-MJ (+) vs 48 anti-MJ (-) cases, DM was more common (P = 0.03), and age at onset was younger in anti-MJ (+) (P = 0.0006). In anti-MJ (+), heliotrope rash (P = 0.01) and calcinosis (P = 0.09) were more frequent. None of them had heart or lung involvement, or malignancy. Myopathy in anti-MJ (+) patients responded well to therapy and none of them had elevated CPK at last visit (0% vs 25% in anti-MJ (-)). Only 60% of anti-MJ (+) showed immunofluorescent nuclear dots staining, despite PML localization of NXP-2/MORC3.
Conclusions
Anti-MJ antibodies are the most frequent specificity in our cohort of adult Italian PM/DM. Anti-MJ (+) were associated with young onset DM, calcinosis, no internal organ involvement and good response of myopathy to therapy. Anti-MJ reported in juvenile DM is also found in adult PM/DM, and could be a new useful biomarker.
doi:10.1186/ar3822
PMCID: PMC3446471  PMID: 22546500
8.  Autoantibodies to transcription intermediary factor (TIF)1β associated with dermatomyositis 
Introduction
Myositis specific autoantibodies are associated with unique clinical subsets and are useful biomarkers in polymyositis/dermatomyositis (PM/DM). A 120 kD protein recognized by certain patients with DM was identified and clinical features of patients with this specificity were characterized.
Methods
The 120 kD protein recognized by a prototype serum was purified and identified by mass spectrometry and immunological methods. Autoantibody to this 120 kD protein was screened in sera from 2,356 patients with various diagnoses from four countries, including 254 PM/DM, by immunoprecipitation of 35S-methionine labeled K562 cell extracts. Clinical information of patients with this specificity was collected.
Results
The 120 kD protein, which exactly comigrated with PL-12, was identified as transcription intermediary factor TIF1β (TRIM28) by mass spectrometry and validated by immunoassays. By immunofluorescence, anti-TIF1β positivity showed a fine-speckled nuclear staining pattern. Four cases of anti-TIF1β were identified; all are women, one each in a Japanese, African American, Caucasian, and Mexican individual. Three had a diagnosis of DM and one case was classified as having an undifferentiated connective tissue disease with an elevated CPK but without significant muscle symptoms. This individual also had a history of colon cancer, cervical squamous metaplasia and fibroid tumors of the uterus. Myopathy was mild in all cases and resolved without treatment in one case. The anti-TIF1β specificity was not found in other conditions.
Conclusions
Anti-TIF1β is a new DM autoantibody associated with a mild form of myopathy. Whether it has an association with malignancy, as in the case of anti-TIF1γ, or other unique features will need to be evaluated in future studies.
doi:10.1186/ar3802
PMCID: PMC3446453  PMID: 22513056
9.  Monocyte surface expression of Fcγ receptor RI (CD64), a biomarker reflecting type-I interferon levels in systemic lupus erythematosus 
Introduction
More than half of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients show evidence of excess type I interferon (IFN-I) production, a phenotype associated with renal disease and certain autoantibodies. However, detection of IFN-I proteins in serum is unreliable, and the measurement of interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression is expensive and time consuming. The aim of this study was to identify a surrogate marker for IFN-I activity in clinical samples for monitoring disease activity and response to therapy.
Methods
Monocyte surface expression of Fcγ receptors (FcγRs), chemokine receptors, and activation markers were analyzed with flow cytometry in whole blood from patients with SLE and healthy controls. FcγR expression also was measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from healthy controls cultured with Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists, cytokines, or serum from SLE patients. Expression of ISGs was analyzed with real-time PCR.
Results
Circulating CD14+ monocytes from SLE patients showed increased surface expression of FcγRI (CD64). The mean fluorescent intensity of CD64 staining correlated highly with the ISG expression (MX1, IFI44, and Ly6E). In vitro, IFN-I as well as TLR7 and TLR9 agonists, induced CD64 expression on monocytes from healthy controls. Exposure of monocytes from healthy controls to SLE sera also upregulated the expression of CD64 in an IFN-I-dependent manner. Decreased CD64 expression was observed concomitant with the reduction of ISG expression after high-dose corticosteroid therapy.
Conclusions
Expression of CD64 on circulating monocytes is IFN-I inducible and highly correlated with ISG expression. Flow-cytometry analysis of CD64 expression on circulating monocytes is a convenient and rapid approach for estimating IFN-I levels in SLE patients.
doi:10.1186/ar3017
PMCID: PMC2911874  PMID: 20478071
10.  High prevalence of autoantibodies to RNA helicase A in Mexican patients with systemic lupus erythematosus 
Introduction
Autoantibodies to RNA helicase A (RHA) were reported as a new serological marker of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) associated with early stage of the disease. Anti-RHA and other autoantibodies in Mexican SLE patients and their correlation with clinical and immunological features were examined.
Methods
Autoantibodies in sera from 62 Mexican SLE patients were tested by immunoprecipitation of 35S-labeled K562 cell extract and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (anti-U1RNP/Sm, ribosomal P, β2GPI, and dsDNA). Anti-RHA was screened based on the immunoprecipitation of the 140-kDa protein, the identity of which was verified by Western blot using rabbit anti-RHA serum. Clinical and immunological characteristics of anti-RHA-positive patients were analyzed.
Results
Anti-RHA was detected in 23% (14/62) of patients, a prevalence higher than that of anti-Sm (13%, 8/62). Prevalence and levels of various autoantibodies were not clearly different between anti-RHA (+) vs. (-) cases, although there was a trend of higher levels of anti-RHA antibodies in patients without anti-U1RNP/Sm (P = 0.07). Both anti-RHA and -Sm were common in cases within one year of diagnosis; however, the prevalence and levels of anti-RHA in patients years after diagnosis did not reduce dramatically, unlike a previous report in American patients. This suggests that the high prevalence of anti-RHA in Mexican patients may be due to relatively stable production of anti-RHA.
Conclusions
Anti-RHA was detected at high prevalence in Mexican SLE patients. Detection of anti-RHA in races in which anti-Sm is not common should be clinically useful. Racial difference in the clinical significance of anti-RHA should be clarified in future studies.
doi:10.1186/ar2905
PMCID: PMC2875632  PMID: 20064217
11.  Reduced IgG anti-small nuclear ribonucleoprotein autoantibody production in systemic lupus erythematosus patients with positive IgM anti-cytomegalovirus antibodies 
Introduction
Systemic lupus erythematosus is characterized by production of autoantibodies to RNA or DNA–protein complexes such as small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs). A role of Epstein–Barr virus in the pathogenesis has been suggested. Similar to Epstein–Barr virus, cytomegalovirus (CMV) infects the majority of individuals at a young age and establishes latency with a potential for reactivation. Homology of CMV glycoprotein B (UL55) with the U1snRNP-70 kDa protein (U1–70 k) has been described; however, the role of CMV infection in production of anti-snRNPs is controversial. We investigated the association of CMV serology and autoantibodies in systemic lupus erythematosus.
Methods
Sixty-one Mexican patients with systemic lupus erythematosus were tested for CMV and Epstein–Barr virus serology (viral capsid antigen, IgG, IgM) and autoantibodies by immunoprecipitation and ELISA (IgG and IgM class, U1RNP/Sm, U1–70 k, P peptide, rheumatoid factor, dsDNA, β2-glycoprotein I).
Results
IgG anti-CMV and IgM anti-CMV were positive in 95% (58/61) and 33% (20/61), respectively, and two cases were negative for both. Clinical manifestation and autoantibodies in the IgM anti-CMV(+) group (n = 20) versus the IgM anti-CMV(-)IgG (+) (n = 39) group were compared. Most (19/20) of the IgM anti-CMV(+) cases were IgG anti-CMV(+), consistent with reactivation or reinfection. IgM anti-CMV was unrelated to rheumatoid factor or IgM class autoantibodies and none was positive for IgM anti-Epstein–Barr virus–viral capsid antigen, indicating that this is not simply due to false positive results caused by rheumatoid factor or nonspecific binding by certain IgM. The IgM anti-CMV(+) group has significantly lower levels of IgG anti-U1RNP/Sm and IgG anti-U1–70 k (P = 0.0004 and P = 0.0046, respectively). This finding was also confirmed by immunoprecipitation. Among the IgM anti-CMV(-) subset, anti-Su was associated with anti-U1RNP and anti-Ro (P < 0.05). High levels of IgG anti-CMV were associated with production of lupus-related autoantibodies to RNA or DNA–protein complex (P = 0.0077).
Conclusions
Our findings suggest a potential role of CMV in regulation of autoantibodies to snRNPs and may provide a unique insight to understand the pathogenesis.
doi:10.1186/ar2621
PMCID: PMC2688261  PMID: 19232124
12.  Increased expression of FcγRI/CD64 on circulating monocytes parallels ongoing inflammation and nephritis in lupus 
Introduction
The high-affinity receptor for IgG Fcγ/CD64 is critical for the development of lupus nephritis (LN). Cross-linking Fc receptor on recruited monocytes by IgG-containing immune complexes is a key step in immune-complex-mediated nephritis in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The goal of this study was to determine whether expression of Fc receptor (FcγR) I on circulating monocytes is associated with systemic inflammation and renal disease in SLE patients.
Methods
We studied 205 SLE patients (132 with LN and 73 without LN) along with 74 healthy control individuals. Surface expression of CD14 (monocytes), FcγRI/CD64, FcγRII/CD32, and FcγRIII/CD16 was evaluated by flow cytometry. Monocyte function was assessed by determining the migratory capacity and the ability to produce CCL2 (monocyte chemotractic protein 1). High-sensitivity C-reactive protein, C3 and C4 were measured by nephelometry.
Results
There was little difference in the expression of FcγRIII/CD16 or FcγRIII/CD32 on circulating monocytes between patients with SLE and control individuals. In contrast, FcγRI/CD64 expression was significantly higher in SLE patients and even higher in patients with LN. FcγRI/CD64 expression was positively associated with serum creatinine and indicators of systemic inflammation. Monocytes from patients with high FcγRI/CD64 expression also exhibited increased chemotaxis and capacity to produce monocyte chemotractic protein 1.
Conclusions
Increased FcγRI/CD64 expression on circulating monocytes parallels systemic inflammation and renal disease in SLE patients. We propose that circulating monocytes activated by immune complexes and/or proinflammatory mediators upregulate surface expression of FcγRI/CD64 in SLE. The enhanced chemotactic and inflammatory potential of the activated monocytes may participate in a vicious cycle of immune cell recruitment and renal injury in SLE.
doi:10.1186/ar2590
PMCID: PMC2688236  PMID: 19144150
13.  Upregulated miR-146a expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from rheumatoid arthritis patients 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2008;10(4):R101.
Introduction
MicroRNAs are small noncoding RNA molecules that negatively regulate gene expression via degradation or translational repression of their targeted mRNAs. It is known that aberrant microRNA expression can play important roles in cancer, but the role of microRNAs in autoimmune diseases is only beginning to emerge. In this study, the expression of selected microRNAs is examined in rheumatoid arthritis.
Methods
Total RNA was isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained from patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and healthy and disease control individuals, and the expression of miR-146a, miR-155, miR-132, miR-16, and microRNA let-7a was analyzed using quantitative real-time PCR.
Results
Rheumatoid arthritis peripheral blood mononuclear cells exhibited between 1.8-fold and 2.6-fold increases in miR-146a, miR-155, miR-132, and miR-16 expression, whereas let-7a expression was not significantly different compared with healthy control individuals. In addition, two targets of miR-146a, namely tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) and IL-1 receptor-associated kinase 1 (IRAK-1), were similarly expressed between rheumatoid arthritis patients and control individuals, despite increased expression of miR-146a in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Repression of TRAF6 and/or IRAK-1 in THP-1 cells resulted in up to an 86% reduction in tumor necrosis factor-α production, implicating that normal miR-146a function is critical for the regulation of tumor necrosis factor-α production.
Conclusions
Recent studies have shown that synovial tissue and synovial fibroblasts from patients with rheumatoid arthritis exhibit increased expression of certain microRNAs. Our data thus demonstrate that microRNA expression in rheumatoid arthritis peripheral blood mononuclear cells mimics that of synovial tissue/fibroblasts. The increased microRNA expression in rheumatoid arthritis patients is potentially useful as a marker for disease diagnosis, progression, or treatment efficacy, but this will require confirmation using a large and well defined cohort. Our data also suggest a possible mechanism contributing to rheumatoid arthritis pathogenesis, whereby miR-146a expression is increased but unable to properly function, leading to prolonged tumor necrosis factor-α production in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
doi:10.1186/ar2493
PMCID: PMC2575615  PMID: 18759964
14.  Autoantibodies against the replication protein A complex in systemic lupus erythematosus and other autoimmune diseases 
Replication protein A (RPA), a heterotrimer with subunits of molecular masses 70, 32, and 14 kDa, is a single-stranded-DNA-binding factor involved in DNA replication, repair, and recombination. There have been only three reported cases of anti-RPA in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and Sjögren syndrome (SjS). This study sought to clarify the clinical significance of autoantibodies against RPA. Sera from 1,119 patients enrolled during the period 2000 to 2005 were screened by immunoprecipitation (IP) of 35S-labeled K562 cell extract. Antigen-capture ELISA with anti-RPA32 mAb, immunofluorescent antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and western blot analysis with purified RPA were also performed. Our results show that nine sera immunoprecipitated the RPA70–RPA32–RPA14 complex and all were strongly positive by ELISA (titers 1:62,500 to 1:312,500). No additional sera were positive by ELISA and subsequently confirmed by IP or western blotting. All sera showed fine speckled/homogeneous nuclear staining. Anti-RPA was found in 1.4% (4/276) of SLE and 2.5% (1/40) of SjS sera, but not in rheumatoid arthritis (0/35), systemic sclerosis (0/47), or polymyositis/dermatomyositis (0/43). Eight of nine patients were female and there was no racial predilection. Other positive patients had interstitial lung disease, autoimmune thyroiditis/hepatitis C virus/pernicious anemia, or an unknown diagnosis. Autoantibody specificities found in up to 40% of SLE and other diseases, such as anti-nRNP, anti-Sm, anti-Ro, and anti-La, were unusual in anti-RPA-positive sera. Only one of nine had anti-Ro, and zero of nine had anti-nRNP, anti-Sm, anti-La, or anti-ribosomal P antibodies. In summary, high titers of anti-RPA antibodies were found in nine patients (1.4% of SLE and other diseases). Other autoantibodies found in SLE were rare in this subset, suggesting that patients with anti-RPA may form a unique clinical and immunological subset.
doi:10.1186/ar2000
PMCID: PMC1779422  PMID: 16846524
15.  Autoimmune targeting of key components of RNA interference 
RNA interference (RNAi) is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism that is involved in the post-transcriptional silencing of genes. This process elicits the degradation or translational inhibition of mRNAs based on the complementarity with short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) or microRNAs (miRNAs). Recently, differential expression of specific miRNAs and disruption of the miRNA synthetic pathway have been implicated in cancer; however, their role in autoimmune disease remains largely unknown. Here, we report that anti-Su autoantibodies from human patients with rheumatic diseases and in a mouse model of autoimmunity recognize the human Argonaute (Ago) protein, hAgo2, the catalytic core enzyme in the RNAi pathway. More specifically, 91% (20/22) of the human anti-Su sera were shown to immunoprecipitate the full-length recombinant hAgo2 protein. Indirect immunofluorescence studies in HEp-2 cells demonstrated that anti-Su autoantibodies target cytoplasmic foci identified as GW bodies (GWBs) or mammalian P bodies, structures recently linked to RNAi function. Furthermore, anti-Su sera were also capable of immunoprecipitating additional key components of the RNAi pathway, including hAgo1, -3, -4, and Dicer. Together, these results demonstrate an autoimmune response to components of the RNAi pathway which could potentially implicate the involvement of an innate anti-viral response in the pathogenesis of autoantibody production.
doi:10.1186/ar1959
PMCID: PMC1779426  PMID: 16684366

Results 1-15 (15)