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1.  Gout. Epidemiology of gout 
Gout is the most prevalent form of inflammatory arthropathy. Several studies suggest that its prevalence and incidence have risen in recent decades. Numerous risk factors for the development of gout have been established, including hyperuricaemia, genetic factors, dietary factors, alcohol consumption, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, obesity, diuretic use and chronic renal disease. Osteoarthritis predisposes to local crystal deposition. Gout appears to be an independent risk factor for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality and morbidity, additional to the risk conferred by its association with traditional cardiovascular risk factors.
doi:10.1186/ar3199
PMCID: PMC3046529  PMID: 21205285
3.  Spondyloarthritides: evolving therapies 
TNF blockade therapy has substantially advanced the treatment of peripheral spondyloarthritides but revolutionised the treatment of severe ankylosing spondylitis. The capacity of biologic treatment to improve dramatically symptoms and quality of life in patients with spinal disease is undoubted, although important questions remain. Notable amongst these are concerns about skeletal disease modification and the true balance between costs and effectiveness. Guidelines for the biologic treatment of ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis have been introduced in North America and Europe with considerable consensus. However, the absence of clear criteria for the diagnosis of early disease leaves the issue of biologic treatment of ankylosing spondylitis at the pre-radiographic stage unresolved. Newer biologic agents are entering the field, although superiority over TNF blockers will be difficult to demonstrate.
doi:10.1186/ar3178
PMCID: PMC3046509  PMID: 21205283
5.  Kitasato symposium 2010: new prospects for cytokines 
The Second Kitasato Symposium: New Prospects for Cytokines brought together researchers and rheumatologists to consider the essential role of cytokines in health and their contributions to autoimmunity. Topics addressed during the Symposium - which was held in Berlin, Germany from 27 to 29 May 2010 - included established and new cytokine targets in arthritis and autoimmunity and innovative aspects of osteoimmunology as well as current perspectives from translational and clinical studies. The keynote lecture, delivered by George Kollias, focused on insights gained from animal models into the mechanisms of TNF function in chronic inflammation and autoimmunity. The presentations at the Symposium resulted in productive discussions regarding potential new targets for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders.
doi:10.1186/ar3196
PMCID: PMC3046527  PMID: 21235827
6.  Spleen tyrosine kinase inhibition in the treatment of autoimmune, allergic and autoinflammatory diseases 
Spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) is involved in the development of the adaptive immune system and has been recognized as being important in the function of additional cell types, including platelets, phagocytes, fibroblasts, and osteoclasts, and in the generation of the inflammasome. Preclinical studies presented compelling evidence that Syk inhibition may have therapeutic value in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, autoimmune cytopenias, and allergic and autoinflammatory diseases. In addition, Syk inhibition may have a place in limiting tissue injury associated with organ transplant and revascularization procedures. Clinical trials have documented exciting success in the treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune cytopenias, and allergic rhinitis. While the extent and severity of side effects appear to be limited so far, larger studies will unravel the risk involved with the clinical benefit.
doi:10.1186/ar3198
PMCID: PMC3046528  PMID: 21211067
8.  A proposal for identifying the low renal uric acid clearance phenotype 
Investigation of the genetic basis of hyperuricaemia is a subject of intense interest. However, clinical studies commonly include hyperuricaemic patients without distinguishing between 'over-producers' or 'under-excretors' of urate. The statistical power of studies of genetic polymorphisms of genes encoding renal urate transporters is diluted if 'over-producers' of uric acid are included. We propose that lower than normal fractional renal clearance of urate is a better inclusion criterion for these studies. We also propose that a single daytime spot urine sample for calculation of fractional renal clearance of urate should be preferred to calculation from 24-hour urine collections.
doi:10.1186/ar3191
PMCID: PMC3046522  PMID: 21162713
9.  A novel preclinical model for rheumatoid arthritis research 
Based on increasing knowledge on the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), more and more potential therapeutics have been developed. To evaluate their therapeutic efficacy, safety and toxicity, appropriate animal models are required. Although rodent models of RA have been extensively used for preclinical evaluation, the differences between rodents and humans limit their usability for some species-specific therapeutics. Therefore, autoimmune arthritis developed in a non-human primate with essential hallmarks of RA will be an alternative model for preclinical studies.
doi:10.1186/ar3181
PMCID: PMC3046512  PMID: 21138598
10.  The autoimmune tautology 
Although autoimmune diseases exhibit contrasting epidemiological features, pathology, and clinical manifestations, three lines of evidence demonstrate that these diseases share similar immunogenetic mechanisms (that is, autoimmune tautology). First, clinical evidence highlights the co-occurrence of distinct autoimmune diseases within an individual (that is, polyautoimmunity) and within members of a nuclear family (that is, familial autoimmunity). Second, physiopathologic evidence indicates that the pathologic mechanisms may be similar among autoimmune diseases. Lastly, genetic evidence shows that autoimmune phenotypes might represent pleiotropic outcomes of the interaction of non-specific disease genes.
doi:10.1186/ar3175
PMCID: PMC3046506  PMID: 21092150
11.  Applying science in practice: the optimization of biological therapy in rheumatoid arthritis 
Most authorities recommend starting biological agents upon failure of at least one disease-modifying agent in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. However, owing to the absence of head-to-head studies, there is little guidance about which biological to select. Still, the practicing clinician has to decide. This review explores the application of published evidence to practice, discussing the goals of treatment, the (in) ability to predict individual responses to therapy, and the potential value of indirect comparisons. We suggest that cycling of biological agents, until remission is achieved or until the most effective agent for that individual patient is determined, deserves consideration in the current stage of knowledge.
doi:10.1186/ar3149
PMCID: PMC3046505  PMID: 21067530
14.  The cytokine language of monocytes and macrophages in systemic sclerosis 
Many important observations suggest monocyte/macrophage involvement in systemic sclerosis (SSc). A high concentration of immune mediators, such as IL-6, IL-10 and IL-13, the infiltration of mononuclear cells in affected organs and the production of autoantibodies suggest that immune system dysfunction drives SSc pathogenesis. The recently reported study by Higashi-Kuwata and colleagues, in light of other observations, provides further insight into activation of macrophages/monocytes in SSc patients, suggesting that these cells undergo distinct activation pathways. These results emphasize the need for more detailed analyses of the several markers now defined in SSc peripheral blood mononuclear cells and tissues to better define the cytokine language speaking to monocytes/macrophages in SSc that promote vascular injury and tissue fibrosis.
doi:10.1186/ar3167
PMCID: PMC2991032  PMID: 21067557
15.  Interleukin-6: a local pain trigger? 
Pain management in conditions of chronic inflammation is a clinical challenge, and increasing our understanding of the mechanisms driving this type of pain is important. In the previous issue of Arthritis Research & Therapy, Boettger and colleagues examine the role of IL-6 in antigen-induced arthritis using the IL-6 neutralizing soluble glycoprotein 130 and link IL-6 to a pathophysiological role in the generation of pain, independent of the proinflammatory properties of IL-6. The findings presented in this study add to a growing body of evidence highlighting the role of IL-6 in the induction and maintenance of pain.
doi:10.1186/ar3138
PMCID: PMC2991005  PMID: 21067533
16.  Type I IFN and TNFα cross-regulation in immune-mediated inflammatory disease: basic concepts and clinical relevance 
A cross-regulation between type I IFN and TNFα has been proposed recently, where both cytokines are hypothesized to counteract each other. According to this model, different autoimmune diseases can be viewed as disequilibrium between both cytokines. As this model may have important clinical implications, the present review summarizes and discusses the currently available clinical evidence arguing for or against the proposed cross-regulation between TNFα and type I IFN. In addition, we review how this cross-regulation works at the cellular and molecular levels. Finally, we discuss the clinical relevance of this proposed cross-regulation for biological therapies such as type I IFN or anti-TNFα treatment.
doi:10.1186/ar3150
PMCID: PMC2991015  PMID: 21062511
17.  Rethinking the red wolf disease: does Protein S suppress systemic lupus erythematosus clinical activity? 
In systemic lupus erythematosus, the forces responsible for disease initiation and self-perpetuation in these clinically heterogeneous populations remain poorly understood. Recent studies of the TAM (Tyro3, Axl and MerTK) family of receptor tyrosine kinases may lead to a better understanding of the fundamental control system responsible for the clearance of apoptotic cells and the regulation of inflammation. In a recent report, serum levels of the TAM ligand, Protein S, was found to correlate with certain disease manifestations and with C3 and C4 levels. Protein S levels could provide a quantitative clinical biomarker but it remains to be determined whether this factor directly affects disease activity.
doi:10.1186/ar3162
PMCID: PMC2991027  PMID: 21067626
18.  The association between rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease 
Chronic, plaque-associated inflammation of the gingiva and the periodontium are among the most common oral diseases. Periodontitis (PD) is characterized by the inflammatory destruction of the periodontal attachment and alveolar bone, and its clinical appearance can be influenced by congenital as well as acquired factors. The existence of a rheumatic or other inflammatory systemic disease may promote PD in both its emergence and progress. However, there is evidence that PD maintains systemic diseases. Nevertheless, many mechanisms in the pathogenesis have not yet been examined sufficiently, so that a final explanatory model is still under discussion, and we hereby present arguments in favor of this. In this review, we also discuss in detail the fact that oral bacterial infections and inflammation seem to be linked directly to the etiopathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). There are findings that support the hypothesis that oral infections play a role in RA pathogenesis. Of special importance are the impact of periodontal pathogens, such as Porphyromonas gingivalis on citrullination, and the association of PD in RA patients with seropositivity toward rheumatoid factor and the anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody.
doi:10.1186/ar3106
PMCID: PMC2990988  PMID: 21062513
19.  The effect of immunomodulators on the immunogenicity of TNF-blocking therapeutic monoclonal antibodies: a review 
Therapeutic monoclonal antibodies have revolutionized the treatment of various inflammatory diseases. Immunogenicity against these antibodies has been shown to be clinically important: it is associated with shorter response duration because of diminishing concentrations in the blood and with infusion reactions. Concomitant immunomodulators in the form of methotrexate or azathioprine reduced the immunogenicity of therapeutic antibodies in rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn disease, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The occurrence of adverse events does not increase when immunomodulators are added to therapeutic antibodies. The mechanism whereby methotrexate and azathioprine influence immunogenicity remains unclear. Evidence-based consensus on prescribing concomitant immunomodulators is needed.
doi:10.1186/ar3147
PMCID: PMC2991013  PMID: 21029481
20.  Bone and cartilage in osteoarthritis: is what's best for one good or bad for the other? 
The interest in the relationship between articular cartilage and the structural and functional properties of peri-articular bone relates to the intimate contact that exists between these tissues in joints that are susceptible to the development of osteoarthritis (OA). The demonstration in several animal models that osteoporosis and decreased bone tissue modulus leads to an increased propensity for the development of post-traumatic OA is paradoxical in light of the extensive epidemiological literature indicating that individuals with high systemic bone mass, assessed by bone mineral density, are at increased risk for OA. These observations underscore the need for further studies to define the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in the interaction between subchondral bone and articular cartilage and for applying this information to the development of therapeutic interventions to improve the outcomes in patients with OA.
doi:10.1186/ar3135
PMCID: PMC2991002  PMID: 21044355
21.  Histone deacetylases in RA: epigenetics and epiphenomena 
Reduced synovial expression of histone deacetylases (HDACs) is proposed to contribute to pathology in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by enhancing histone-dependent access of transcription factors to promoters of inflammatory genes. In the previous issue of Arthritis Research & Therapy, Kawabata and colleagues provided independent evidence that HDAC activity is increased in the synovium and fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) of patients with RA and is paralleled by increased HDAC1 expression and synovial tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) production. Remarkably, stimulation of RA FLSs with TNFα specifically increases HDAC activity and HDAC1 expression, suggesting that changes in synovial HDAC activity and expression may be secondary to local inflammatory status.
doi:10.1186/ar3137
PMCID: PMC2991004  PMID: 20959025
22.  Elevated excitatory neurotransmitter levels in the fibromyalgia brain 
Consistent brain imaging findings demonstrate that neurobiological factors may contribute to the pathology of 'central' pain states such as fibromyalgia (FM). Studies using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy suggest that glutamate (Glu), a key excitatory neurotransmitter, may be present in higher concentrations within the brains of FM patients. This neurotransmitter imbalance is present in multiple brain regions that have been implicated in processing pain information. However, it is unknown if elevated Glu is acting at the synapse. New investigations are needed to investigate the molecular action of Glu in FM and to investigate these findings during treatment that modulates glutamatergic neurotransmission.
doi:10.1186/ar3136
PMCID: PMC2991003  PMID: 20959024
23.  The increased cardiovascular risk in rheumatoid arthritis: when does it start? 
Established rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with a doubled cardiovascular risk. However, data about the cardiovascular risk in early RA are scarce. Preclinical atherosclerosis can be reliably assessed with the carotid intima media thickness (cIMT), and the cIMT is a well-validated predictor of cardiovascular events. The cIMT was therefore used in a recent controlled, prospective study in patients with early RA. Surprisingly, an increased cardiovascular risk at baseline could not be demonstrated whereas cIMT progression appeared to be comparable with the general population. Obviously, this study underscores the need for further large-scale investigations to solve the emerging discrepancy with the existing literature.
doi:10.1186/ar3126
PMCID: PMC2990993  PMID: 20887640
24.  Advances in gout: some answers, more questions 
In a previous issue of the journal, Becker and colleagues present efficacy and safety data from a large study comparing febuxostat to allopurinol. The study showed non-inferiority of febuxostat 40 mg/day in lowering serum urate compared to allopurinol 200 to 300 mg/day. More importantly, the study showed a similar frequency of important cardiovascular adverse events (cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction and nonfatal stroke) for febuxostat 40 mg/day (0%), febuxostat 80 mg/day (0.4%) and allopurinol groups (0.4%). Other cardiac adverse event rates (unstable angina, coronary revascularization, cerebral revascularization, transient ischemic attack, venous and peripheral arterial vascular thrombotic event, congestive heart failure, and arrhythmia) were also similar for febuxostat 40 mg/day (1.3%), febuxostat 80 mg/day (1.2%) and allopurinol groups (0.9%). A meta-analysis of safety data from published studies is presented.
doi:10.1186/ar3110
PMCID: PMC2990989  PMID: 20959031
25.  Hypertrophic differentiation of chondrocytes in osteoarthritis: the developmental aspect of degenerative joint disorders 
Osteoarthritis is characterized by a progressive degradation of articular cartilage leading to loss of joint function. The molecular mechanisms regulating pathogenesis and progression of osteoarthritis are poorly understood. Remarkably, some characteristics of this joint disease resemble chondrocyte differentiation processes during skeletal development by endochondral ossification. In healthy articular cartilage, chondrocytes resist proliferation and terminal differentiation. By contrast, chondrocytes in diseased cartilage progressively proliferate and develop hypertrophy. Moreover, vascularization and focal calcification of joint cartilage are initiated. Signaling molecules that regulate chondrocyte activities in both growth cartilage and permanent articular cartilage during osteoarthritis are thus interesting targets for disease-modifying osteoarthritis therapies.
doi:10.1186/ar3117
PMCID: PMC2990991  PMID: 20959023

Results 1-25 (321)