Virginia C Roberts

University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States

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Publications (5)22.1 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are at increased risk of herpes zoster (HZ). Although a vaccine for HZ has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, its use in immunocompromised individuals remains controversial because it is a live-attenuated virus vaccine. We performed a pilot study of the immunogenicity of the HZ vaccine (Zostavax) in patients with SLE. Ten patients with SLE and 10 control subjects ≥ age 50 years participated in this open-label vaccination study. All were seropositive for varicella zoster virus (VZV). Patients with SLE were excluded for SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) > 4, or use of mycophenolate mofetil, cyclophosphamide, biologics, or > 10 mg prednisone daily. Followup visits occurred at 2, 6, and 12 weeks. Clinical outcomes included the development of adverse events, particularly HZ or vesicular lesions, and SLE flare. Immunogenicity was assessed with VZV-specific interferon-γ-producing enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assays and with antibody concentrations. All subjects were women. Patients with SLE were slightly older than controls (60.5 vs 55.3 yrs, p < 0.05). Median baseline SLEDAI was 0 (range 0-2) for patients with SLE. No episodes of HZ, vesicular rash, serious adverse events, or SLE flares occurred. Three injection site reactions occurred in each group: mild erythema or tenderness. The proportion of subjects with a > 50% increase in ELISPOT results following vaccination was comparable between both groups, although absolute SLE responses were lower than controls. Antibody titers increased only among controls following vaccination (p < 0.05). The HZ vaccination yielded a measurable immune response in this cohort of patients with mild SLE taking mild-moderate immunosuppressive medications. No herpetiform lesions or SLE flares were seen in this small cohort of patients. ClinicalTrials.gov ID:NCT01474720.
    The Journal of Rheumatology 09/2013; · 3.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rheumatic diseases cause significant morbidity within American Indian populations. Clinical disease presentations, as well as historically associated autoantibodies, are not always useful in making a rapid diagnosis or assessing prognosis. The purpose of our study was to identify autoantibody associations among Oklahoma tribal populations with rheumatic disease. Oklahoma tribal members (110 patients with rheumatic disease and 110 controls) were enrolled at tribal-based clinics. Patients with rheumatic disease (suspected or confirmed diagnosis) were assessed by a rheumatologist for clinical features, disease criteria, and activity measures. Blood samples were collected and tested for common rheumatic disease autoantibodies [antinuclear antibody (ANA), anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies (anti-CCP), rheumatoid factor (RF), anti-Ro, anti-La, anti-Sm, anti-nRNP, anti-ribosomal P, anti-dsDNA, and anticardiolipins]. In patients with suspected systemic rheumatic diseases, 72% satisfied American College of Rheumatology classification criteria: 40 (36%) had rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 16 (15%) systemic lupus erythematosus, 8 (7%) scleroderma, 8 (7%) osteoarthritis, 4 (4%) fibromyalgia, 2 (2%) seronegative spondyloarthropathy, 1 Sjögren's syndrome, and 1 sarcoidosis. Compared to controls, RA patient sera were more likely to contain anti-CCP (55% vs 2%; p < 0.001) or RF IgM antibodies (57% vs 10%; p < 0.001); however, the difference was greater for anti-CCP. Anti-CCP positivity conferred higher disease activity scores (DAS28 5.6 vs 4.45; p = 0.021) while RF positivity did not (DAS28 5.36 vs 4.64; p = 0.15). Anticardiolipin antibodies (25% of rheumatic disease patients vs 10% of controls; p = 0.0022) and ANA (63% vs 21%; p < 0.0001) were more common in rheumatic disease patients. Anti-CCP may serve as a more specific RA biomarker in American Indian patients, while the clinical significance of increased frequency of anticardiolipin antibodies needs further evaluation.
    The Journal of Rheumatology 08/2012; 39(10):1934-41. · 3.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the relationship between circulating B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) levels and humoral responses to influenza vaccination in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients, as well as the effect of vaccination on BLyS levels, and to investigate clinical and serologic features of SLE that are associated with elevated BLyS levels. Clinical history, disease activity measurements, and blood specimens were collected from 60 SLE patients at baseline and after influenza vaccination. Sera were tested for BLyS levels, lupus-associated autoantibodies, serum interferon-α (IFNα) activity, 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D), and humoral responses to influenza vaccination. Thirty percent of the SLE patients had elevated BLyS levels, with African American patients having higher BLyS levels than white patients (P = 0.006). Baseline BLyS levels in patients were not correlated with humoral responses to influenza vaccination (P = 0.863), and BLyS levels increased postvaccination only in the subset of patients with BLyS levels in the lowest quartile (P = 0.0003). Elevated BLyS levels were associated with increased disease activity, as measured by the SLE Disease Activity Index, physician's global assessment, and Systemic Lupus Activity Measure in white patients (P = 0.035, P = 0.016, and P = 0.018, respectively), but not in African Americans. Elevated BLyS levels were also associated with anti-nuclear RNP (P = 0.0003) and decreased 25(OH)D (P = 0.018). Serum IFNα activity was a significant predictor of elevated BLyS in a multivariate analysis (P = 0.002). Our findings indicate that African American patients with SLE have higher BLyS levels regardless of disease activity. Humoral response to influenza vaccination is not correlated with baseline BLyS levels in SLE patients, and only those patients with low baseline BLyS levels demonstrate an increased BLyS response after vaccination.
    Arthritis & Rheumatology 12/2011; 63(12):3931-41. · 7.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vitamin D deficiency is widespread and has been associated with many chronic diseases, including autoimmune disorders. A study was undertaken to explore the impact of low vitamin D levels on autoantibody production in healthy individuals, as well as B cell hyperactivity and interferon α (IFNα) activity in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Serum samples from 32 European American female patients with SLE and 32 matched controls were tested for 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels, lupus-associated autoantibodies and serum IFNα activity. Isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells were tested for intracellular phospho-ERK 1/2 as a measure of B cell activation status. Vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D <20 ng/ml) was significantly more frequent among patients with SLE (n=32, 69%) and antinuclear antibody (ANA)-positive controls (n=14, 71%) compared with ANA-negative controls (n=18, 22%) (OR 7.7, 95% CI 2.0 to 29.4, p=0.003 and OR 8.8, 95% CI 1.8 to 43.6, p=0.011, respectively). Patients with high B cell activation had lower mean (SD) 25(OH)D levels than patients with low B cell activation (17.2 (5.1) vs 24.2 (3.9) ng/ml; p=0.009). Patients with vitamin D deficiency also had higher mean (SD) serum IFNα activity than patients without vitamin D deficiency (3.5 (6.6) vs 0.3 (0.3); p=0.02). The observation that ANA-positive healthy controls are significantly more likely to be deficient in vitamin D than ANA-negative healthy controls, together with the finding that vitamin D deficiency is associated with certain immune abnormalities in SLE, suggests that vitamin D plays an important role in autoantibody production and SLE pathogenesis.
    Annals of the rheumatic diseases 05/2011; 70(9):1569-74. · 8.11 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Immunology - CLIN IMMUNOL. 01/2009; 131.