[show abstract][hide abstract] 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.
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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.
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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.
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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.
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.
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.
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
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: B-cell depletion has become a common treatment strategy in anti-TNF-refractory rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Although the exact mechanism of how B-cell depletion leads to clinical amelioration in RA remains to be elucidated, repetitive treatment with B-cell-depleting agents leading to long-term B-cell depletion has been reported to be beneficial. The latter has led to the hypothesis that the beneficial effects of B-cell depletion might act through their influence on pathogenic autoreactive plasma cells.
In this study, we investigated the effects of a fixed retreatment regimen with anti-CD20 mAbs on the humoral (auto)immune system in a cohort of therapy-refractory RA patients.
Fixed retreatment led to long-term B-cell depletion in peripheral blood, bone marrow and, to a lesser extent, synovium. Also, pathologic autoantibody secretion (that is, anticitrullinated peptide antibodies (ACPAs)) was more profoundly affected by long-term depletion than by physiological protective antibody secretion (that is, against measles, mumps and rubella). This was further illustrated by a significantly shorter estimated life span of ACPA-IgG secretion compared to total IgG secretion as well as protective antibody secretion.
By studying plasma cell function during an extensive 2-year period of B-cell depletion, autoantibody secretion was significantly shorter-lived than physiologically protective antibody secretion. This suggests that the longevity of autoreactive plasma cells is different from protective long-lived plasma cells and might indicate a therapeutic window for therapies that target plasma cells.
Arthritis research & therapy 03/2012; 14(2):R57. · 4.27 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Because activation of the alternative pathway (AP) of the complement system is an important aspect of both age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), we wished to address the question whether genetic risk factors of the AP inhibitor complement factor H (CFH) for AMD would also be risk factors for RA. For this purpose we genotyped single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a Dutch set of RA patients and controls. Similarly, a meta-analysis using a Spanish cohort of RA as well as six large genome-wide association studies (GWAS) studies was performed. For these SNPs we analysed more than 6000 patients and 20,000 controls. The CFH variants, I62V, Y402H, IVS1 and IVS10, known to associate strongly with AMD, did not show a significant association with the risk of developing RA despite a strong statistical power to detect such differences. In conclusion, the major risk alleles of AMD in CFH do not have a similar effect on developing RA.