Rene Toes

Leiden University, Leyden, South Holland, Netherlands

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Publications (51)349.33 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a destructive autoimmune disease that mainly affects synovial joints. RA patients can be subdivided in two distinct disease subsets based on the presence of anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA). These two disease phenotypes are associated with different environmental and genetic risk factors and clinical parameters. The HLA class II locus is the most important risk factor for ACPA-positive RA (ACPA+ RA). ACPA can be found up to 10 years before diagnosis and can be used as a predictive biomarker. During progression from breaking tolerance to a citrullinated protein to ACPA+ RA, the ACPA response matures. Recent work implicates the HLA class II locus as a risk factor in the progression from ACPA positivity to ACPA+ RA. We now propose that this locus directly influences the maturation of the ACPA response, most likely via antigen-specific T-cells providing help to ACPA-producing B-cells allowing for maturation of the citrullinated protein-specific autoantibody response. We present and discuss several models and underlying data, including antibody cross-reactivity, molecular mimicry, and neo-antigen formation, that could explain the HLA-RA connection.
    Annals of medicine 05/2014; · 3.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients can be classified based on presence or absence of anticitrullinated peptide antibodies (ACPA) in their serum. This heterogeneity among patients may reflect important biological differences underlying the disease process. To date, the majority of genetic studies have focused on the ACPA-positive group. Therefore, our goal was to analyse the genetic risk factors that contribute to ACPA-negative RA. We performed a large-scale genome-wide association study (GWAS) in three Caucasian European cohorts comprising 1148 ACPA-negative RA patients and 6008 controls. All patients were screened using the Illumina Human Cyto-12 chip, and controls were genotyped using different genome-wide platforms. Population-independent analyses were carried out by means of logistic regression. Meta-analysis with previously published data was performed as follow-up for selected signals (reaching a total of 1922 ACPA-negative RA patients and 7087 controls). Imputation of classical HLA alleles, amino acid residues and single nucleotide polymorphisms was undertaken. The combined analysis of the studied cohorts resulted in identification of a peak of association in the HLA-region and several suggestive non-HLA associations. Meta-analysis with previous reports confirmed the association of the HLA region with this subset and an observed association in the CLYBL locus remained suggestive. The imputation and deep interrogation of the HLA region led to identification of a two amino acid model (HLA-B at position 9 and HLA-DRB1 at position 11) that accounted for the observed genome-wide associations in this region. Our study shed light on the influence of the HLA region in ACPA-negative RA and identified a suggestive risk locus for this condition.
    Annals of the rheumatic diseases 02/2014; · 8.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A major challenge in human genetics is to devise a systematic strategy to integrate disease-associated variants with diverse genomic and biological data sets to provide insight into disease pathogenesis and guide drug discovery for complex traits such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Here we performed a genome-wide association study meta-analysis in a total of >100,000 subjects of European and Asian ancestries (29,880 RA cases and 73,758 controls), by evaluating ∼10 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms. We discovered 42 novel RA risk loci at a genome-wide level of significance, bringing the total to 101 (refs 2, 3, 4). We devised an in silico pipeline using established bioinformatics methods based on functional annotation, cis-acting expression quantitative trait loci and pathway analyses-as well as novel methods based on genetic overlap with human primary immunodeficiency, haematological cancer somatic mutations and knockout mouse phenotypes-to identify 98 biological candidate genes at these 101 risk loci. We demonstrate that these genes are the targets of approved therapies for RA, and further suggest that drugs approved for other indications may be repurposed for the treatment of RA. Together, this comprehensive genetic study sheds light on fundamental genes, pathways and cell types that contribute to RA pathogenesis, and provides empirical evidence that the genetics of RA can provide important information for drug discovery.
    Nature 12/2013; · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Certain HLA-DRB1 alleles and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Our objective was to examine the combined effect of these associated variants, calculated as a cumulative genetic risk score (GRS) on RA predisposition, as well as the number of autoantibodies (none, one or two present). We calculated four GRSs in 4956 patients and 4983 controls from four European countries. All four scores contained data on 22 non-HLA-risk SNPs, and three scores also contained HLA-DRB1 genotypes but had different HLA typing resolution. Most patients had data on both rheumatoid factor (RF) and anti-citrullinated proteins antibodies (ACPA). The GRSs were standardised (std.GRS) to account for population heterogeneity. Discrimination between patients and controls was examined by receiveroperating characteristics curves, and the four std.GRSs were compared across subgroups according to autoantibody status. The std.GRS improved its discriminatory ability between patients and controls when HLA-DRB1 data of higher resolution were added to the combined score. Patients had higher mean std.GRS than controls (p=7.9×10(-156)), and this score was significantly higher in patients with autoantibodies (shown for both RF and ACPA). Mean std.GRS was also higher in those with two versus one autoantibody (p=3.7×10(-23)) but was similar in patients without autoantibodies and controls (p=0.12). The GRS was associated with the number of autoantibodies and to both RF and ACPA positivity. ACPA play a more important role than RF with regards to the genetic risk profile, but stratification of patients according to both RF and ACPA may optimise future genetic studies.
    Annals of the rheumatic diseases 12/2013; · 8.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective The progression of joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is determined by genetic factors. Changes in IL4 and IL4R genes have been associated with RA severity, but this finding has not been replicated. This study was undertaken to investigate the association between IL4- and IL4R-tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and the progression rate of joint damage in RA in a multicohort candidate gene study. MethodsIL4- and IL4R-tagging SNPs (n = 8 and 39, respectively) were genotyped in 600 RA patients for whom 2,846 sets of radiographs of the hands and feet were obtained during 7 years of followup. Subsequently, SNPs significantly associated with the progression of joint damage were genotyped and studied in relation to 3,415 radiographs of 1,953 RA patients; these included data sets from Groningen (The Netherlands), Lund (Sweden), Sheffield (UK), the North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium (US), Wichita (US), and the National Data Bank (US). The relative increase in progression rate per year in the presence of a genotype was determined in each cohort. An inverse variance weighting meta-analysis was performed on the 6 data sets that together formed the replication phase. ResultsIn the discovery phase, none of the IL4 SNPs and 7 of the IL4R SNPs were significantly associated with the joint damage progression rate. In the replication phase, 2 SNPs in the IL4R gene were significantly associated with the joint damage progression rate (rs1805011 [P = 0.02] and rs1119132 [P = 0.001]). Conclusion Genetic variants in IL4R were identified, and their association with the progression rate of joint damage in RA was independently replicated.
    Arthritis & Rheumatology 12/2013; 65(12). · 7.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is strongly associated with the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DRB1 locus that possesses the shared susceptibility epitope (SE) and the citrullination of self-antigens. We show how citrullinated aggrecan and vimentin epitopes bind to HLA-DRB1*04:01/04. Citrulline was accommodated within the electropositive P4 pocket of HLA-DRB1*04:01/04, whereas the electronegative P4 pocket of the RA-resistant HLA-DRB1*04:02 allomorph interacted with arginine or citrulline-containing epitopes. Peptide elution studies revealed P4 arginine-containing peptides from HLA-DRB1*04:02, but not from HLA-DRB1*04:01/04. Citrullination altered protease susceptibility of vimentin, thereby generating self-epitopes that are presented to T cells in HLA-DRB1*04:01(+) individuals. Using HLA-II tetramers, we observed citrullinated vimentin- and aggrecan-specific CD4(+) T cells in the peripheral blood of HLA-DRB1*04:01(+) RA-affected and healthy individuals. In RA patients, autoreactive T cell numbers correlated with disease activity and were deficient in regulatory T cells relative to healthy individuals. These findings reshape our understanding of the association between citrullination, the HLA-DRB1 locus, and T cell autoreactivity in RA.
    Journal of Experimental Medicine 11/2013; · 13.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Here we present the application of a cross-platform approach, combining rapid direct infusion high-resolution/accurate mass ESI-FTICRMS with in-depth data-dependent LC-MS2 and LC-MS3 analysis for lipid profiling. The analytical approach as well as the subsequent data handling is described. The method was applied to human synovial fluid samples from osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis patients. Multivariate statistical analysis revealed esterified oxylipids as molecular features in a subset of the patient samples. Employing LC-MS2 and LC-MS3 analysis of these species, we were able to clarify the hypothesized lipid structures initially based on the accurate mass measurements performed on the ESI-FTICRMS platform. LC-MS3 analysis of intact esterified oxy-lipids and LC-MS2 analysis of the hydrolysis products allowed for the detection of positional isomers. The approach led to the structural elucidation of hydroxylated docosapentaenoic acid-containing diacyl-phosphatidylcholine type phospholipids in human synovial fluid.
    Analytical Chemistry 05/2013; · 5.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To study the characteristics and phenotype of anticitrullinated protein antibody (ACPA)-specific B cells in peripheral blood of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHODS: Peripheral blood B cells from ACPA-positive patients with RA were cultured with or without stimulating factors. Following culture, supernatants were assessed for the presence of ACPA-IgG and non-specific total IgG by ELISA. RESULTS: Following stimulation, ACPA were detectable in up to 100% of culture wells. Of interest, ACPA were also produced spontaneously by unstimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells. In both cases, the average ACPA titre per culture well correlated with ACPA serum titres. No ACPA production was detectable in B cell cultures from ACPA-negative patients with RA or healthy controls. Importantly, FACS-sorting experiments located spontaneous ACPA production to the CD20 negative B cell population corresponding to circulating plasmablasts/cells. CONCLUSIONS: ACPA-specific peripheral blood B cells are not confined to the CD20 positive memory pool, as circulating plasmablasts/cells spontaneously producing ACPA are also readily detectable. The latter points to an ongoing B cell immune response against citrullinated proteins and contrasts conventional immune responses against, for example, vaccines, where antigen-specific plasmablasts appear in peripheral blood only shortly after vaccination. These circulating, ACPA-specific plasmablasts/cells might represent targets for novel therapeutic interventions.
    Annals of the rheumatic diseases 04/2013; · 8.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dysferlin is mutated in a group of muscular dystrophies commonly referred to as dysferlinopathies. It is highly expressed in skeletal muscle, where it is important for sarcolemmal maintenance. Recent studies show that dysferlin is also expressed in monocytes. Moreover, muscle of dysferlinopathy patients is characterized by massive immune cell infiltrates, and dysferlin negative monocytes were shown to be more aggressive and phagocytose more particles. This suggests that dysferlin deregulation in monocytes might contribute to disease progression, but the molecular mechanism is unclear. Here we show that dysferlin expression is increased with differentiation in human monocytes and the THP1 monocyte cell model. Freshly isolated monocytes of dysferlinopathy patients show deregulated expression of fibronectin and fibronectin binding integrins, which is recapitulated by transient knockdown of dysferlin in THP1 cells. Dysferlin forms a protein complex with these integrins at the cell membrane, and its depletion impairs cell adhesion. Moreover, patient macrophages show altered adhesion and motility. These findings suggest that dysferlin is involved in regulating cellular interactions and provide new insight into dysferlin function in inflammatory cells.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2013; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Rodent models for arthritis implicate a role for complement in disease development and progression. In humans, complement deposition has been observed in inflamed synovia of RA patients. Here we analyzed whether genetic variants of complement component C1q predispose to Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). METHODS: We genotyped single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in and around the C1q genes, C1qA, C1qB and C1qC, in a Dutch set of 845 RA cases and 1046 controls. Replication was sought in a sample set from North-America (868 cases / 1193 controls) and a meta-analysis was performed in a combined samples set of 8000 cases and 23262 controls of European decent. We determined C1q serum levels in relation to C1q genotypes. RESULTS: In the discovery-phase, five of the 13 SNPs tested in the C1q genes showed a significant association with RA. Additional analysis of the genomic area around the C1q genes revealed that the strongest associating SNPs were confined to the C1q locus. Within the C1q locus we observed no additional signal independent of the strongest associating SNP, rs292001 (OR= 0.72 (0.58-0.88) p=0.0006). The variants of this SNP were associated with different C1q serum levels in healthy controls (p=0.006). Interestingly this SNP was also significantly associated in a GWAS from the NARAC study confirming the association with RA (OR= 0.83 (0.69-1.00) p=0.043). Combined analysis, including integrated data from 6 GWAS studies, provides support for the genetic association. CONCLUSIONS: Genetic variants in C1q are correlated with C1q levels and may be a risk for the development of RA.
    Clinical & Experimental Immunology 03/2013; · 3.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Obesity is strongly related to type-2 diabetes (T2DM), but there is a subset of obese individuals that remains relatively insulin sensitive and metabolically healthy. This study determined to what extent differences in metabolic health in obese women are associated with differences in adipose tissue and/or systemic inflammation. Methods The subject group consisted of age comparable lean (n = 12) and obese women either with T2DM (n = 28) or normal glucose tolerance (NGT; n = 26). Number of crown like structures (CLS) and adipocyte size were measured in subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue of the obese women. Circulating cytokine and free fatty acid (FFA) levels, as well as number and activation status of peripheral leukocytes were determined. Results Obese T2DM subjects showed higher circulating levels of IL-6, FFA and glycerol as compared to obese NGT subjects. Obese T2DM subjects had higher absolute numbers of peripheral leukocytes which was mainly due to an increase of T helper cells. Activation status of circulating cytotoxic T (CD8 + CD25 +) and B (CD19 + CD38 +) cells was significantly increased in obese NGT subjects as compared to lean but was not different between the two obese groups. Subcutaneous adipose tissue of obese T2DM subjects contained more CLS than adipose tissue of obese NGT subjects. Conclusion Obese T2DM subjects show higher FFA levels and adipose tissue macrophage infiltration in addition to higher levels of circulating IL-6 and numbers of CD4 + T cells than obese NGT subjects. Hence, obese T2DM subjects show a higher extent of inflammation both at the systemic and adipose tissue level.
    Metabolism: clinical and experimental 01/2013; · 3.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autoantibodies against citrullinated peptides/proteins (ACPA) are found in approximately 75% of the sera of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The RA-specific ACPA are frequently present prior to disease onset and their presence associates with a more erosive disease course. ACPA can therefore be used to aid the diagnosis and prognosis of RA. Recently, it became clear that ACPA are very heterogeneous, both in an individual patient and among different patients. The aim of this study was to investigate whether clinically meaningful ACPA profiles exist in early RA patients. Twenty citrullinated peptides and the corresponding non-citrullinated control peptides were immobilized on microarray sensor chips. Sera from 374 early arthritis patients were analyzed by surface plasmon resonance imaging (iSPR) of biomolecular interactions on the sensor chip. Cluster analysis of the reactivities with the citrullinated peptides, after subtraction of the reactivities with the corresponding control peptides confirmed the heterogeneity of the ACPA response in RA and revealed 12 distinct ACPA profiles. The association of the 5 most frequent profiles with clinical features at diagnosis and during the disease course was examined, showing no statistically significant associations. Compared to the detection of ACPA in RA sera by CCP-based assays, ACPA profiling in early arthritis patients did not reveal associations with disease activity and progression scores.
    Arthritis research & therapy 01/2013; 15(5):R140. · 4.27 Impact Factor
  • Immunobiology 11/2012; 217(11):1132. · 2.81 Impact Factor
  • Article: Letter.
    Arthritis & Rheumatology 10/2012; · 7.48 Impact Factor
  • Annals of the rheumatic diseases 07/2012; · 8.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human synovial fluid (SF) provides nutrition and lubrication to the articular cartilage. Particularly in arthritic diseases, SF is extensively accumulating in the synovial junction. During the last decade lipids have attracted considerable attention as their role in the development and resolution of diseases became increasingly recognized. Here, we describe a capillary LC-MS/MS screening platform that was used for the untargeted screening of lipids present in human SF of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Using this platform we give a detailed overview of the lipids and lipid-derived mediators present in the SF of RA patients. Almost 70 different lipid components from distinct lipid classes were identified and quantification was achieved for the lysophosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylcholine species. In addition, we describe a targeted LC-MS/MS lipid mediator metabolomics strategy for the detection, identification and quantification of maresin 1, lipoxin A(4) and resolvin D5 in SF from RA patients. Additionally, we present the identification of 5S,12S-diHETE as a major marker of lipoxygenase pathway interactions in the investigated SF samples. These results are the first to provide a comprehensive approach to the identification and profiling of lipids and lipid mediators present in SF and to describe the presence of key anti-inflammatory and pro-resolving lipid mediators identified in SF from RA patients.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 07/2012; 1821(11):1415-24. · 4.66 Impact Factor
  • Annals of the rheumatic diseases 05/2012; 71(10):1753-5. · 8.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autoimmunity is complicated by bone loss. In human rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the most severe inflammatory joint disease, autoantibodies against citrullinated proteins are among the strongest risk factors for bone destruction. We therefore hypothesized that these autoantibodies directly influence bone metabolism. Here, we found a strong and specific association between autoantibodies against citrullinated proteins and serum markers for osteoclast-mediated bone resorption in RA patients. Moreover, human osteoclasts expressed enzymes eliciting protein citrullination, and specific N-terminal citrullination of vimentin was induced during osteoclast differentiation. Affinity-purified human autoantibodies against mutated citrullinated vimentin (MCV) not only bound to osteoclast surfaces, but also led to robust induction of osteoclastogenesis and bone-resorptive activity. Adoptive transfer of purified human MCV autoantibodies into mice induced osteopenia and increased osteoclastogenesis. This effect was based on the inducible release of TNF-α from osteoclast precursors and the subsequent increase of osteoclast precursor cell numbers with enhanced expression of activation and growth factor receptors. Our data thus suggest that autoantibody formation in response to citrullinated vimentin directly induces bone loss, providing a link between the adaptive immune system and bone.
    The Journal of clinical investigation 04/2012; 122(5):1791-802. · 15.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Based upon findings in juvenile idiopathic arthritis, the genetic contribution of the VTCN1 region to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) susceptibility and anticitrullinated protein antibody (ACPA) status was investigated. VTCN1 is known to play a pivotal role in regulation of the immune system and, in soluble form, has previously been associated with higher disease activity. Ten VTCN1 polymorphisms were genotyped in 1237 Dutch patients with RA and 1055 healthy controls. Significant findings were replicated in two independent RA populations of northern European descent consisting of 2826 patients and 2122 healthy controls. Allele distribution was analysed using a χ(2) test and combined analysis of all studies was performed using the Mantel-Haenszel fixed effects method. A significant association with two polymorphisms was observed in the Dutch RA population. Replication of these findings showed an overall significant association with rs4376721 and rs10923217 (OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.24, p=0.013 and OR 0.78, 95% CI 0.67 to 0.91, p=0.0011, respectively). Stratification for ACPA status revealed an association in the ACPA-negative subset for rs4376721 (OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.35, p=0.0071), while no overall significance could be observed in the ACPA-positive population. rs10923217 was associated with both subsets of the disease. These results indicate a novel genetic association with the VTCN1 region in RA susceptibility.
    Annals of the rheumatic diseases 04/2012; 71(4):567-71. · 8.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Interleukin (IL)-15 levels are increased in serum, synovium and bone marrow of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). IL-15 influences both the innate and the adaptive immune response; its major role is activation and proliferation of T cells. There are also emerging data that IL-15 affects osteoclastogenesis. The authors investigated the association of genetic variants in IL15 with the rate of joint destruction in RA. 1418 patients with 4885 x-ray sets of both hands and feet of four independent data sets were studied. First, explorative analyses were performed on 600 patients with early RA enrolled in the Leiden Early Arthritis Clinic. Twenty-five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) tagging IL-15 were tested. Second, SNPs with significant associations in the explorative phase were genotyped in data sets from Groningen, Sheffield and Lund. In each data set, the relative increase of the progression rate per year in the presence of a genotype was assessed. Subsequently, data were summarised in an inverse weighting meta-analysis. Five SNPs were significantly associated with rate of joint destruction in phase 1 and typed in the other data sets. Patients homozygous for rs7667746, rs7665842, rs2322182, rs6821171 and rs4371699 had respectively 0.94-, 1.04-, 1.09-, 1.09- and 1.09-fold rate of joint destruction compared to other patients (p=4.0×10(-6), p=3.8×10(-4), p=5.0×10(-3), p=5.0×10(-3) and p=9.4×10(-3)). Independent replication was not obtained, possibly due to insufficient power. Meta-analyses of all data sets combined resulted in significant results for four SNPs (rs7667746, p<0.001; rs7665842, p<0.001; rs4371699, p=0.01; rs6821171, p=0.01). These SNPs were also significant after correction for multiple testing. Genetic variants in IL-15 are associated with progression of joint destruction in RA.
    Annals of the rheumatic diseases 03/2012; 71(10):1651-7. · 8.11 Impact Factor