Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism

Published by WB Saunders
Online ISSN: 0049-0172
Publications
Article
The (ever) prevalence of neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus (NPSLE) can vary widely depending on the definition used. We determined the prevalence of NPSLE in 1000 Faces of Lupus, a large multicenter Canadian cohort. Adults enrolled at 10 sites who satisfied the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) classification for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) were included. NPSLE was defined as (i) NPSLE by ACR classification criteria (seizures or psychosis), (ii) ACR, SLEDAI (seizure, psychosis, organic brain syndrome, cranial nerve disorder, headache, and cerebrovascular accident (CVA)), SLAM (CVA, seizure, cortical dysfunction, and headache), and SLICC (cognitive impairment, psychosis, seizures, CVA, cranial or peripheral neuropathy, and transverse myelitis) with and (iii) without minor nonspecific NPSLE manifestations (including mild depression, mild cognitive impairment, and electromyogram-negative neuropathies), and (iv) by ACR and SLEDAI neuropsychiatric (NP) indexes alone. Factors associated with NPSLE were explored using regression models. Cohort size was 1253, with mean disease 12 ± 10 years, mean age 41 ± 16 years, and 86% female. Subgroup size was dependent on the specific definition of NPSLE. Prevalence of NPSLE was 6.4% in group (i), n = 1253 (n = 80); 38.6% in group (ii), n = 681(n = 263); 28.7% in group (iii), n = 586 (n = 168); and 10.2% in group (iv), n = 1125 (n = 115). In univariate analysis, Aboriginals had a nearly 2-fold increase in frequency of NPSLE in all groups. Education level and income were not associated with NPSLE (P = 0.32 and 0.03, respectively). As well, number of ACR criteria, SLAM, age at diagnosis, disease duration, and gender were not associated with NPSLE. Anti-Ro was significantly associated in groups (i) and (iv) and antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) were increased in groups (i), (ii), and (iii); however, this lost significance when thromboembolic events were excluded from SLICC, SLEDAI, and SLAM indexes. In group (iv), absence of anti-Sm was significant. In multivariate analysis, anti-Ro and aPL (i) and anti-Ro+ and lack of anti-Sm (iv) were significant. NPSLE was not increased in those with +anti-DNA, La, or ribonucleoprotein (RNP), lupus anticoagulant (LAC), or anticardiolipin (aCL) antibody. The prevalence and factors associated with NPSLE varied depending on the definition used, was highest in Aboriginals, and may be higher if +anti-Ro or aPL are present. SLAM and SLICC include mild subjective disease manifestations, which contributed to a 10% higher prevalence of NPSLE compared to a more strict definition. NPSLE may be less in this database than other publications as its overall prevalence may be decreasing, or because of selection bias inherent to those who enter an observational cohort. NPSLE was associated with aPL and often anti-Ro and varied by ethnicity.
 
Article
One hundred two patients with active erosive rheumatoid arthritis (RA) without malalignment or deformities (median disease duration, 14 months) entered a double-blind, randomized study to compare the effects of 50 mg gold sodium thiomalate (GST) with 15 mg methotrexate (MTX) administered intramuscularly for 12 months. Roentgenograms of hands, wrists, and forefeet were taken at baseline and after 6 and 12 months, and 32 joints were evaluated according to Larsen. Sixteen of 50 patients in the MTX group were withdrawn; one patient in the MTX group died of cerebral bleeding that was not related to treatment. Thirty-four GST patients and 44 MTX patients were evaluated for efficacy. Thirty-eight joints were counted. The number oftender and swollen joints, the Lansbury articular index, morning stiffness, activities of daily living (ADL) score, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate improved significantly in both groups without statistical intergroup differences. After 12 months, there was a significant deterioration of the mean Larsen index and the number of joints with erosions without intergroup difference. However, the radiological progression was retarded significantly during the second 6-month period in the gold group, whereas this effect was less pronounced in the MTX group. At 12 months, the progression rate was the same in both groups.
 
Article
Dermatomyositis and polymyositis (DM/PM) are associated with neoplasms. The aim of the present study is to compare our experience in Israel with other published data. Thirty-five adult patients with DM/PM, admitted to Sheba Medical Center during the 11-year interval between 1984 and 1994, were studied for the prevalence and features of malignant diseases. Patients with DM/PM alone and with DM/PM and malignancy were identified by using the hospital computer system. The manifestations of DM/PM and features of the malignant diseases were abstracted from the patients' charts. The presence or absence of malignancy and the type of cancer were verified in the National Cancer Registry. There were 15 men and 20 women. The mean age at the onset of the disease was 53 +/- 18 years. A total of 15 had PM and 20 DM. Malignancies occurred in four patients with PM (27%) and in nine with DM (45%) a frequency 12.6 times higher than in the general population. In six patients, the malignancy and the DM/PM were diagnosed simultaneously; in four before and in three after the appearance of the DM/PM. Hematologic, gastrointestinal, breast, ovarian, and lung tumors, malignant melanoma, and metastatic carcinoma of unknown primary were found among our patients. Eight DM/PM patients with malignancy died during the study period of infection, pulmonary embolism, and tumor spread. Our study found that DM/PM is associated with high rates of malignancy and mortality.
 
Associations of Autoimmune Neutropenia in Adults 
Sjö gren's Syndrome-Related Data of 13 Reported Patients With 1°SS and Agranulocytosis 
Agranulocytosis-Related Data of 13 Reported Patients With 1°SS and Agranulocytosis 
Mechanisms Implicated in the Pathogenesis of Agranulocytosis in 1°SS 
Article
To report 2 patients who presented with agranulocytosis that was found to be immune-mediated and associated with occult primary Sjögren's syndrome (primary SS) and to identify and study similar cases reported in the literature. Two patients encountered in 2 large medical centers over a period of 5 years were studied in detail. All reported cases of agranulocytosis in primary SS identified through a MEDLINE search were reviewed. Two patients presented with marked systemic symptoms alone or associated with recurrent infections. Agranulocytosis with either a pattern of maturation arrest or a hypercellular reactive bone marrow was found and was associated with "acute phase" markers, hypergammaglobulinemia, a small paraprotein peak, and high rheumatoid factor titers. A diagnosis of immune-mediated agranulocytosis associated with an occult primary SS was established and was successfully treated with intravenous immunoglobulins or prednisone. Both patients subsequently developed skin vasculitis. This rare association of agranulocytosis and Sjögren's syndrome was identified in 11 other cases and was the presenting manifestation of primary SS in 10 of 13 (77%) patients. Agranulocytosis should be recognized as a rare but well-established association of primary SS. Bone marrow neutrophil production may be affected, or neutrophils may be destroyed in the circulation, by both humoral and cellular immune-mediated mechanisms. Agranulocytosis or neutropenia should be added to the varied hematologic manifestations of primary SS and may be its presenting feature and an important clue to diagnosis.
 
Article
Using GLC, multiple adrenal corticosteroid urinary metabolites, including androgenic-anabolic, glucocorticoid, pregnanediol, and pregnanetriol, were measured in eight ambulatory female RA patients and eight matched normal control subjects on baseline, ACTH-, and metyrapone-stimulation days under carefully monitored clinical research center protocol. Neither group had been treated previously with any steroid hormones. The 11-deoxy-17-KS metabolites, derived from adrenal androgenic-anabolic steroids, and comprising androsterone, etiocholanolone, and DHA, were significantly lower in RA patients on baseline (P less than .001), ACTH (P less than .005)-, and metyrapone (P less than .02)-stimulation days. To the contrary, the 11-oxy-17-KS metabolites, derived mainly from glucocorticoids, showed some lowered excretion at baseline (P less than .05), but none on ACTH- or metyrapone-stimulation. RA patients had lower tetrahydrocortisone (P less than .001) and tetrahydro-11-deoxycortisol (P less than .01) excretion at baseline, but not during ACTH- or metyrapone-stimulation, than control subjects. Pregnanetriol excretion was lower (P less than .005) in RA patients than control subjects only during ACTH-stimulation. No difference was found between groups in tetrahydrocortisol or pregnanediol excretion on any day studied. Under conditions of oral metyrapone administration (750 mg every four hours for seven doses) each control subject increased their DHA excretion, but no RA patient showed an increase over baseline excretion (P less than .02). Except for 11-deoxy-17-KS, no difference was found in the other metabolites studied during metyrapone stimulation, ie, pregnanediol, pregnanetriol, tetrahydro-11-deoxycortisol, and tetrahydrocortisol. The 24-hour oral metyrapone test provided a greater stimulus to total 11-deoxy-17-KS excretion than an eight-hour intravenous ACTH test in control and particularly RA (P less than .01) subjects even though the DHA excretion decreased in the RA groups. Our findings of lower adrenal androgenic-anabolic metabolite excretion in female RA patients than normal matched control subjects under various conditions and other supportive androgenic hormone and metabolite studies reviewed in the English reports suggest an abnormality of adrenal androgen synthesis or metabolism in RA, whether it be a primary predisposing or secondary factor in disease. The recognized female sex preponderance and age-specific patterns of occurrence of RA are consistent with adrenal androgenic function in adrenarche, adrenopause, and later changes in aging. Metabolite excretion patterns at baseline, ACTH-, and metyrapone- stimulation indicate the greatest relative
 
Article
The association between vasculitis and large granular lymphocyte (LGL) leukemia has rarely been reported or investigated. Thus, we assessed the clinical and biological phenotypes of LGL leukemia associated with vasculitis. We studied a series of 11 patients displaying LGL leukemia associated with vasculitis (LAV). The mean age at diagnosis of LGL leukemia was 60.3 years; there were nine women and two men. The mean follow-up period was 45 months. The main LGL lineage was T-LGL (10 patients), and only one NK-LGL was identified. Clinical and biological features of T-LGL leukemia were compared with those from the 2009 French T-LGL registry. We did not find any relevant differences except that patients with LAV were predominantly female (p < 0.05). The most frequently observed vasculitis was cryoglobulinemia (n = 5). Three patients presented with cutaneous leukocytoclastic angiitis, two patients had ANCA-negative microscopic polyangiitis, and one patient had giant cell arteritis. The main clinical features involved the skin, e.g., purpura (91%), arthralgia (37%), peripheral neuritis (27%), and renal glomerulonephritis (18%). The most frequent histologic finding was leucocytoclastic vasculitis (54%). The rate of complete remission was high; i.e., 80%. A minority of patients had a vasculitis relapse (27%). Three patients (27%) died; one death was related to LGL leukemia (acute infection) and the two other deaths were related to vasculitis (both with heart failure). We conclude that vasculitis is overrepresented in the population of LGL patients, LAV predominantly affects women, vasculitis preferentially affects the small vessels, and LAV has high rate of complete response.
 
Article
To analyze the results and complications of ovulation induction therapy (OIT) in women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and/or the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). A retrospective study of 21 women followed in a single tertiary-referral French center who underwent 114 OIT cycles with or without in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVFET). Before OIT, SLE was present in 6 women, APS in 3, SLE-related APS in 3, and discoid lupus in 1. Eight women had no identified disease and underwent 36 cycles of OIT. Diagnosis (SLE, n = 3; primary APS, n = 5) was made after OIT complication: spontaneous abortion (n = 5), SLE flare (n = 2), and thrombophlebitis (n = 1). Five women with known disease intentionally concealed their history from their gynecologists and underwent 34 cycles. Forty-four cycles were planned in 11 women, in 3 of them after complications of prior OIT performed without particular therapy and monitoring. Eighteen pregnancies occurred, which ended in 9 live births, 4 fetal deaths, and 5 embryonic losses. The pregnancy rate was higher with gonadotropin and/or gonadotropin-releasing hormone analog (GnRHa) (25% of cycles) than with clomiphene (4% of cycles, P <.0001). When the gynecologists did not know the underlying disease, three-quarters of pregnancies induced by OIT with IVFET ended in embryonic losses or fetal deaths. In contrast, 6 of 7 pregnancies induced by planned OIT with IVFET ended in live births (P <.0001). Phlebothromboses were observed only with gonadotropin treatment. The SLE flare rate was higher with gonadotropin and/or GnRHa (27% of cycle) than with clomiphene (6%, NS). It also was higher (30%) when the gynecologists did not know the underlying disease than in the planned procedures (10%, NS). The OIT may precipitate SLE or APS. A careful review of the patient's history and appropriate laboratory tests should be undertaken before OIT. Clomiphene complications are rare. When gonadotropins are prescribed, preventive anti-inflammatory therapy should be considered in women with SLE, in addition to heparin and/or anti-aggregant therapy in patients with asymptomatic anti-phospholipid antibodies or prior thrombotic events.
 
Article
To determine the prevalence and nature of cryoglobulins in a large series of patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome (SS) and identify the clinical and immunologic features related to their presence. In a cross-sectional study, we investigated 115 consecutive patients (107 women and eight men) with primary SS. All patients fulfilled four or more of the preliminary diagnostic criteria for SS proposed by the European Community Study Group in 1993. Serum cryoglobulinemia was measured in all patients. Serum samples were obtained at 37 degrees C, and cryoglobulinemia was estimated by centrifugation after incubation at 4 degrees C for 7 days. The type of cryoglobulinemia was identified by agarose gel electrophoresis and immunofixation. Cryoglobulins were detected in the sera of 18 (16%) of our patients with primary SS; most were IgMkappa monoclonal/IgG polyclonal. When compared with patients without cryoglobulins, those with cryoglobulins presented a higher prevalence of leukocytoclastic cutaneous vasculitis (56% v8%, P < .001), hypocomplementemia (75% v 2%; P < 0.001) and antibodies to hepatitis C virus (HCV) (47% v8%, P < .001). Liver involvement (clinical signs, biochemical features, or ultrasound/histological data of liver disease) was present in all patients (100%) with cryoglobulins and HCV infection but in only 11% of patients with cryoglobulins without HCV infection (P < .001). Leukocytoclastic cutaneous vasculitis, hypocomplementemia, and HCV infection are associated with the presence of cryoglobulins in the sera of patients with primary SS. Testing for HCV infection is recommended for patients with SS and cryoglobulinemia because of its high prevalence and its strong association with liver disease.
 
Article
To describe the different types of malignancies associated with antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL). We performed a computer-assisted (MEDLINE, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD) search of the literature from 1966 to 2003 to identify all cases of malignancies having aPL. One hundred twenty patients were found. The mean age was 56+/-17 years (range 5 to 88). Sixty-two (52%) patients were men and 58 (48%) were women. A heterogeneous group of malignancies were found. Regarding hematological malignancies, 10 (8%) patients suffered from B-cell lymphoma, 8 (7%) from spleen lymphoma, 7 (6%) from chronic myeloid leukemia, and 6 (5%) from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). Regarding solid tumors, renal cell carcinoma was diagnosed in 7 (6%) patients, primary tumor with unknown origin in 7 (6%), lung adenocarcinoma in 6 (5%), breast carcinoma in 6 (5%), and melanoma in 6 (5%). The main aPL-related manifestations were thrombocytopenia (25%), cerebrovascular accidents (24%), deep vein thrombosis (19%), pulmonary embolism (15%), and heart valve lesions (9%). In 17 cases, catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome was considered to be triggered by the malignancy. Seventy-one (63%) of 113 patients recovered or are still alive after cancer treatment. Twenty-three (35%) of 65 patients achieved aPL remission after proper treatment of the malignancy. It is important to bear in mind, especially in elderly patients, that thrombotic events associated with aPL can be the first manifestation of malignancy. At the same time, the presence of aPL in patients with malignancies has important implications in their treatment and prognosis.
 
Article
To assess the long-term outcome of the synovitis, acne, pustulosis, hyperostosis, osteitis (SAPHO) syndrome. All patients with the SAPHO syndrome seen at our unit between 1974 and 1997 were identified. Follow-up was prospective from 1992 to 1997. Data before 1992 were analyzed retrospectively. Clinical symptoms, treatments and biological data, including erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein, were recorded at least yearly. When available, radiological data, HLA B27 status, and findings from bone or skin biopsy specimens were recorded. For each drug, an efficacy index (El) was determined as follows: "0" for less than 30% improvement, as judged by the patient, on horizontal visual analog scale, "0.5" for partial efficacy, and "1" for more than 60% improvement. We identified 120 patients with the SAPHO syndrome (50 men, 70 women), of whom 102 patients were followed-up prospectively after 1992; 3 of these 102 patients were lost to follow-up. Six patients also had Crohn's disease, and three had ulcerative colitis. Except for a significant association of palmoplantar pustulosis (PPP) or psoriasis vulgaris (PV) with axial osteitis (P = .007), the dermatologic presentation had no significant influence on rheumatic symptoms (ie, osteitis or arthritis, peripheral or axial). The HLA B27 antigen was not significantly associated with a particular pattern of distribution of arthritis or osteitis. No severe or disabling complications were noted. In the 47 patients followed-up for more than 5 years (mean, 9.5; range, 5 to 23), the mean number of osteitis or arthritis foci increased during follow-up from 1.57 to 1.91 and from 2.68 to 3.11, respectively. Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were prescribed in 113 of 120 (94%) patients, with a mean El of 0.67 (+/-0.39). Corticosteroid (CS) therapy was used in 23 patients, with a mean El of 0.67 (+/-0.42). Colchicine and sulfasalazine had a mean El of 0.36 (+/-0.44) and 0.16 (+/-0.30), in 28 and 18 patients, respectively. Methotrexate was given to 10 patients (6 with peripheral arthritis), with a mean El of 0.64 (+/-0.48). Doxycyclin (100 mg twice daily) was used in 20 patients, usually to treat osteitis, with a mean El of 0.26 (+/-0.42). Intraarticular injections of a CS or osmic acid were used in 27 patients, with a mean El of 0.77 (+/-0.35). SAPHO syndrome is a relevant and stable entity, with a good long-term prognosis. NSAIDs and intraarticular injections (CS or osmic acid) most often alleviate rheumatic symptoms, but prednisone or methotrexate are sometimes necessary and appear globally helpful.
 
Article
Pigmented villonodular synovitis (PVNS) is a rare but disabling disease. The objective was to describe the clinical presentation and outcomes of PVNS according to its localization. Retrospective, systematic study of all cases of biopsy-proven PVNS followed in 1 tertiary-care center specialized in isotopic synoviorthesis. Cases were selected by keyword. Collected data included disease localization, therapeutic modalities, and outcomes. A total of 122 cases (mean age 33.0 ± 13.1 years, 58% female, 89% diffuse form) of histologically confirmed PVNS were analyzed with a mean follow-up of 5.8 ± 4.3 years (707 patient-years total). The main localizations were the knee (75%) and ankle (16%). Clinical presentation included joint pain (80%) and joint effusion (79%) with hemarthrosis (75% of analyzed articular fluid). The mean delay before diagnosis was 2.9 ± 3.7 years. Magnetic resonance imaging was helpful for diagnosis in 83%. Surgical synovectomy was initially performed in 98% of cases and was often associated with isotopic synoviorthesis (knee: 57%; other localizations: 74%). In patients with a diffuse form treated at first line by surgery followed by isotopic synoviorthesis, the relapse rate was 30% (knee) and 9% (other localizations), respectively, with a mean delay before relapse of 2.6 ± 2.4 and 2.4 ± 0.9 years, respectively. PVNS occurs in young adults, mainly in the knee joint; joint pain and effusion with hemarthrosis are the most frequent signs. Relapse is frequent, in particular, for diffuse knee PVNS; the usefulness of isotopic synoviorthesis remains to be confirmed.
 
Article
To determine the prevalence and nature of cryoglobulins in 122 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and identify the clinical and immunologic features related to their presence. In a cross-sectional study, we investigated 122 consecutive patients (106 women and 16 men) with SLE who fulfilled the 1982 revised criteria of the American College of Rheumatology for the classification of SLE. All patients had documented medical histories and underwent a medical interview as well as a routine general physical examination by a qualified internist, and their clinical and serologic characteristics were collected on a protocol form. Serum samples were obtained at 37 degrees C, and cryoglobulinemia was estimated by centrifugation at 4 degrees C after incubation for 7 days in all patients. The type of cryoglobulinemia was identified by agarose gel electrophoresis and immunofixation. Cryoglobulins were detected in the sera of 31 SLE patients (25%): 20 patients (65%) had a cryocrit lower than 1%, 8 (26%) had percentages ranging between 1% and 5%, and only 3 patients (9%) had a cryocrit over 5%. Only cutaneous vasculitis (39% v 16%; P = .01) was more prevalent in patients with than in those without cryoglobulins. Rheumatoid factor (RF) (42% v 15%; P = .002) and low CH50 levels (84% v 49%; P <.001) were more prevalent in SLE patients with cryoglobulins. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection was investigated in 24 of the 31 cryoglobulinemic SLE patients and was detected in 5 (21%). In comparison, 4 (5%) of the 75 noncryoglobulinemic SLE patients studied were positive (P = 0.035; odds ratio, 4.67). Patients with a cryocrit greater than 1% showed a higher frequency of HCV infection than those with a cryocrit less than or equal to 1% (46% v 0%, P = .01). Cutaneous vasculitis, RF, hypocomplementemia, and HCV infection were associated with cryoglobulins in SLE patients. Testing for HCV infection is therefore recommended for patients with SLE and cryoglobulinemia to identify this subset of patients for prognostic and therapeutic reasons.
 
Article
To analyze the clinical characteristics, outcomes, and patterns of association with the different biologic agents used in all reported cases of adult patients developing interstitial lung disease (ILD) after biologic therapy. In 2006, the Study Group on Autoimmune Diseases of the Spanish Society of Internal Medicine created the BIOGEAS project. One objective was to collect data on autoimmune diseases secondary to the use of biologic agents by quarterly Medline search surveillance of reported cases. For this study, the baseline included articles published between January 1990 and March 2010, including the MeSH term "lung diseases, interstitial" as the key research term. In addition, we report an unpublished case of ILD secondary to biologic therapy. There are 122 reported cases of new-onset or exacerbation of ILD secondary to administration of biologic therapies. Biologic agents associated with ILD were overwhelmingly anti-tumor necrosis factor agents (etanercept in 58 cases and infliximab in 56) and were administered for rheumatoid arthritis in 108 (89%) patients. ILD appeared a mean of 26 weeks after initiation of biologic agents. ILD was confirmed by pulmonary biopsy in 26 cases, although a specific histopathologic description was detailed in only 20: 7 patients were classified as usual interstitial pneumonia, 6 as nonspecific interstitial pneumonia, 5 as organizing pneumonia, 1 as diffuse alveolar damage, and 1 as lymphoid interstitial pneumonia. Treatment of ILD included withdrawal of biologic agents in all cases but 1. The outcome of ILD was detailed in 52 cases. Complete resolution was reported in 21 (40%) cases, improvement or partial resolution in 13 (25%), and no resolution in 18 (35%). Fifteen (29%) patients died during the follow-up, the majority (70%) during the first 5 weeks after initiating biologic therapy. In comparison with survivors, patients who died were aged >65 years (67% vs 33%, P = 0.036), with later onset of ILD (46 weeks vs 15 weeks, P = 0.006), received immunosuppressive drugs more frequently (33% vs 8%, P = 0.036), and more often had a previous diagnosis of ILD (67% vs 29%, P = 0.025). We found that 97% of cases of ILD associated with biologic agents were associated with agents blocking tumor necrosis factor-α, a cytokine that has been implicated in the pathophysiology of pulmonary fibrosis. Strikingly, drug-induced ILD had a poor prognosis, with an overall mortality rate of around one third, rising to two thirds in patients with preexisting ILD.
 
Article
The case of a young woman with a rare syndrome of acute encephalopathy followed by deafness and retinopathy developing over 1 year is reported. Unlike previously described similar cases, she had considerable systemic symptoms and signs including polyarthralgia-arthritis, diffuse myalgia, malar rash, livedo reticularis, night sweats, and fatigue suggestive of systemic lupus erythematosus. However, results of most immunological investigations were repeatedly normal, including antinuclear antibodies. Anticardiolipin antibodies were elevated on one occasion. Cyclophosphamide has been the most effective treatment for exacerbations of the disease, which have continued to occur over 6 years. This microangiopathic syndrome more likely relates to an immunologically mediated vasculitis of small blood vessels than to a thromboembolic etiology.
 
Article
Objective: To determine the frequencies and types of ophthalmologic manifestations in patients with systemic necrotizing vasculitides (SNV), including polyarteritis nodosa (PAN) and ANCA-associated vasculitides (granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's, GPA), microscopic polyangiitis (MPA), and eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA); Churg-Strauss syndrome (CSS)) and review the literature on eye involvement in these diseases. Methods: This retrospective analysis was conducted on the ophthalmologic manifestations of SNV patients entered into the French Vasculitis Study Group database between July 1955 and August 2008. Results: Among the 1286 identified patients, 214 (16.6%) had ophthalmologic manifestations at diagnosis, significantly more often in GPA (117/343, 34.1%) than in EGPA (30/270, 11.1%; P = 0.0001), PAN (42/393, 10.7%; P = 0.0001) or MPA (25/280, 8.9%; P = 0.0001). The 3 most common recorded ophthalmologic manifestations were conjunctivitis (89, (7%)), episcleritis (56, (4%)), and/or blurred vision (44, (3%)), mainly caused by retinal vasculitis in 5, oculomotor nerve palsy in 4, uveitis in 4 and/or optic neuropathy in 3. Orbital inflammatory tumor, another common feature was rather specific to GPA (23/349, 6.6% (P = 0.0001)) compared to other SNV. The literature on ophthalmologic manifestations of SNV is limited to case reports except for GPA, in which the eye involvement frequency ranged from 29% to 57%. Conclusions: Eye manifestations were more common in GPA than MPA, PAN and EGPA, but can be sight-threatening in any SNV. Given the heterogeneity of ophthalmologic involvement in SNV, close collaboration between the ophthalmologists and internists is critical.
 
Article
Rheumatoid vasculitis is an uncommon but potentially catastrophic complication of RA. There are few current extensive experiences and no consensus regarding the clinical, laboratory, histologic features, and management or prognosis of rheumatoid vasculitis. We therefore reviewed selected observations in 13 patients followed over the past decade and compared them with patients reported and with results of a survey of North American Rheumatologists. Our patients were seven men and six women (age, 33 to 70 years) who had had active RA for 4 to 36 years. They exhibited sensory neuropathy, mononeuritis multiplex, Felty syndrome, cutaneous lesions, leg ulcers, gangrene, anemia, leukocytosis, eosinophilia, high titers of RF, hypocomplementemia, and CICs or cryoglobulinemia approximately as frequently as other reported patients with rheumatoid vasculitis, but they displayed constitutional symptoms, subcutaneous nodules, ischemic changes, and proteinuria rather less consistently than in other series. These observations were not necessarily as expected by survey respondents. We, as in other series and suggested by survey respondents, tended to select penicillamine or cytotoxic drugs (or plasmapheresis) for patients with mononeuritis, gangrene, or leg ulcers, and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, antimalarials, gold, or penicillamine for sensory neuropathy or digital lesions. Four patients died, two deteriorated, and seven were stable or improved, a finding that was also similar to the experiences of others. Rheumatoid vasculitis is an uncommon, potentially catastrophic syndrome with varying clinico-pathologic features that have different prognostic implications and should be managed individually.
 
Article
To review the literature on the immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties of cotrimoxazole (CTX)-a combination of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim, to summarize the use of this medication in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, to stimulate and renew the interest of both physicians and researchers in this possible therapy for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and to inspire further investigation in this field. A MEDLINE search of the literature from 1966 until 2000 was performed, and information about the pharmacology of CTX and its use in the therapy of rheumatic diseases was critically reviewed. RA treatment is associated with numerous problems such as lack of efficacy, frequent side effects, and high cost. Analysis of the relevant literature revealed that experience with CTX in the treatment of RA is limited. However, the results of several nonrandomized and evidently forgotten clinical trials and laboratory investigations suggested that CTX might serve as an effective and inexpensive therapy for RA. Several lines of evidence suggested that CTX has nonspecific anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. Although nausea and vomiting were common reasons for CTX withdrawal, they were noted in only some studies, and no major organ toxicity was observed. Because of its therapeutic qualities, low cost, and relative nontoxicity, CTX seems to warrant a role in the treatment of RA.
 
Article
Background: Progressive-psuedorheumatoid-arthropathy of childhood (PPAC) is an autosomal recessive single gene skeletal dysplasia involving joints. The gene attributed to its cause is WNT1-inducible-signaling pathway protein3 (WISP3). Objective: To study the clinical and radiographic presentation of PPAC in Indian patients and to compare with described features of PPAC and Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) from published literature. Methods: All cases (n = 14) of PPAC seen in the Rheumatology and Clinical Genetics outpatient clinic between 2008 and 2011 with classical, clinical, and radiological features were studied. The demographic and clinical data were obtained from medical records of the outpatient visits. Results: Slight female preponderance (57%) and history of consanguinity in parents (43%) was observed in this group. The median age at onset was 4.5 years (range from birth to 9 years of age). Early presentation below the age of 3 years was seen in 3/14 patients (21%) in this group. The growth of all the patients fell below the 3rd percentile for the age. Historically, hip joint involvement was the most common presenting feature; however, elbow, wrist, knees, feet, spine, shoulder joints and small joints, namely proximal interphalangeal (PIP), distal interphalangeal (DIP), metacarpophalangeal (MCP), metatarsophalangeal joints (MTP), and interphalangeal joints (IP) of the feet, were also involved, either clinically or radiologically in varying proportions. Platyspondyly was noted in all. Molecular analysis of the WISP3 gene identified mutations in all the 5 individuals in whom it was done. Conclusion: This descriptive case series of PPAC from India reports distinctly differentiating clinical, radiological, and molecular markers in contrast with classically described features of JIA, its mimic. Early presentation (age of onset below 3 years) with involvement of interphalangeal joints seen in three patients (21%) was a unique finding, with missense WISP3 gene mutations in all of them. Timely diagnosis of this entity can spare the patient from unnecessary investigations and toxic medications.
 
Article
Of 500 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus observed at our center, 150 fulfilled criteria for lupus nephritis. Of these 150 patients, 91% were female, and 67% were white. The mean age of onset was 26.2 years, and the mean follow-up duration was 11.7 years. Biopsies (n = 142) performed on 107 patients showed the following World Health Organization (WHO) class distribution: class I, n = 1; class II, n = 13; class III, n = 19; class IV, n = 69; class V, n = 17; class VI, n = 8; and class not determinable, n = 15. Ninety-five patients were nephrotic. Therapeutic intervention courses given to all patients (n = 356) included parenteral (IV) cyclophosphamide (n = 58), high-dose oral steroids (n = 126), pulse steroids (n = 49), apheresis (n = 39), azathioprine (n = 43), oral cyclophosphamide (n = 5), nitrogen mustard (n = 27), and chlorambucil (n = 6). In addition to examining the course of disease for various subsets, various predictors for fatality and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) were analyzed. Descriptive data for the short-term response to five therapies are provided for the complete patient sample, proliferative disease, and nephrotic syndrome. Twenty patients died, primarily from cardiovascular complications and sepsis, with 97% and 92% 5- and 10-year survival rates, respectively. Twenty-nine were dialyzed, and 11 were transplanted. Risk of ESRD by WHO class at 5 years was as follows: class III, 0%; IV, 9%; V, 16% (P = .04 for class V v other patterns).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
 
Article
To examine epidemiological, clinical, and outcome in Italian children affected with Henoch Schönlein purpura (HSP). Retrospective study of children discharged with a diagnosis of HSP from the Meyer Children's Hospital, between 1998 and 2002. Epidemiological, clinical, laboratory data, treatment, and outcome were collected by reviewing medical charts. One year after data collection, the children's parents were interviewed by telephone about the outcome. 150 children entered the study: M:F=1.8:1; mean age 6.1+/-2.7 years. At onset, purpura was present in all cases, arthritis/arthralgias in 74%, abdominal involvement in 51%, scrotal edema in 13%, renal involvement in 54%, severe nephropathy in 7%, acute renal insufficiency in 2%, and intussusception in 0.6%. Purpura was the presenting symptom in 74%, arthritis in 15%, and abdominal pain in 12%. The most frequent laboratory abnormalities were high-erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) (57%), hyper-IgA (37%), and proteinuria (42%). All patients recovered within 2 months. Recurrences, verified in 35%, were correlated with high ESR values and corticosteroid (CS) treatment, independently from other variables. After a mean 2.5-years follow-up, 2 patients had hematuria with normal renal function. Epidemiological and clinical findings in our cohort are similar to those in the literature, even though the mean disease duration was shorter than previously reported. Relapses occurred significantly more frequently in children treated with CS. This finding supports the recommendation to limit the use of steroids to a carefully selected group of HSP children. The prognosis was excellent; although severe nephropathy was found in a small percentage of the children, at follow-up all had normal renal function. Thus, our study confirms the benignity of HSP in Italian children, especially regarding renal outcome.
 
Article
To update clinicians on recent advances in the differentiation of the mechanisms of inflammation and cartilage destruction in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We present analysis of recent published literature and abstracts that elucidates the independent actions of pivotal proinflammatory cytokines. These experimental data provide the framework for understanding the uncoupling of destructive and inflammatory mechanisms in arthritis. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is an important mediator in the inflammation that occurs in RA. Interleukin-1 (IL-1) has a dominant effect on cartilage destruction that occurs later in the disease process. TNF-independent IL-1 production occurs in many RA model situations. Cytokine balance determines the erosive nature of the disease. IL-1 is at least as important as TNF-alpha in promoting the disease process. The pathways by which the inflammatory and destructive changes occur suggest that targeted anticytokine intervention will arrest the cartilage damage that occurs in patients with RA.
 
Article
Accumulating evidence suggests that IL-17 A has broad pathogenic roles in multiple autoimmune and immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, including psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The development of new therapies that inhibit IL-17 pathway signaling is of clinical significance. This review aims to summarize the current preclinical evidence on the role of Th17 cells and IL-17 and related cytokines in immune-mediated disease pathophysiology, with a focus on psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as to summarize recent clinical trials in these indications with newly developed IL-17 pathway inhibitors. A systematic literature search was conducted of PubMed using relevant keywords. Studies were assessed according to recent relevance to IL-17-mediated pathophysiology and clinical IL-17 inhibition. Experimental animal models of autoimmune disease and clinical studies that focused on IL-17 pathway inhibitors were included. Preclinical studies suggest that IL-17A is an attractive therapeutic target. Several IL-17A inhibitors have advanced into clinical trials, including the anti-IL-17A monoclonal antibodies, secukinumab and ixekizumab, and the anti-17RA monoclonal antibody brodalumab. Each has shown variable and sometimes favorable results in proof-of-concept and phase II clinical trials and is currently undergoing further clinical evaluation in a range of immune-mediated diseases. Targeting the IL-17 pathway shows promise as strategy to treat immune-mediated diseases ranging from skin to joints.
 
Article
During the last decade research has focused on the RANK-RANKL-OPG (Receptor Activator of Nuclear factor KappaB-Receptor Activator of Nuclear factor KappaB Ligand-Osteoprotegerin) pathway that is currently considered the final common route to bone and joint remodeling. The potential role of novel additional mediators has been highlighted by several reports. This review focuses on the recent information about the pathophysiology of the Wingless (Wnt) pathway and interleukin-17 (IL-17) in relation of their role in bone and joint remodeling. An extensive internet search was performed (PubMed) from 1998 and onward using the following keywords: Wnt, bone remodeling, bone, rheumatic diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, IL-17, Th17, osteoblastogenesis, and osteoclastogenesis. Several members of the Wnt pathway play an important role in bone remodeling. Recent experimental data indicate a key role for Dickkopf-1, a soluble inhibitor of the Wnt pathway, in bone remodeling. Increased Dickkopf-1 levels are linked to bone resorption and decreased levels to new bone formation. Low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein-5, the main receptor that mediates Wnt signaling, plays a critical role in bone mass regulation. Gain-of-function mutations of lipoprotein receptor-related protein-5 cause high bone mass phenotypes, whereas loss-of-function mutations are linked to severe osteoporosis. IL-17 is a proinflammatory cytokine that is produced by a recently described T-cell subset, known as Th17 cells. Evidence suggests that IL-17 is a critical mediator of joint destruction in animal models of arthritis. IL-17 blockade has beneficial effects on murine arthritis, a fact that points to the direction of this cytokine as a potential therapeutic target in human inflammatory arthritides as well. The available data suggest that mediators in these 2 biologic systems are critical in joint remodeling and may be appropriate targets in the treatment of bone and joint abnormalities that characterize a variety of inflammatory arthritides and bone diseases.
 
Article
We describe a patient with seropositive rheumatoid arthritis who developed pachymeningitis resulting in optic atrophy. Clinical, histopathologic, and radiologic findings in 18 additional cases of inflammatory CNS disease associated with rheumatoid arthritis are reviewed. The three characteristic neuropathologic findings were rheumatoid nodules, pachymeningitis or leptomeningitis, and vasculitis. In most cases, more than one of these histopathologic processes were found. The typical host was middle-aged with long-standing severe nodular disease. However, contrary to previous reports, CNS disease occurred in a significant number of patients without active synovitis and extracranial vasculitis and nodules. Although no correlation between specific neurologic symptoms and neuropathology was noted, patients with CNS nodules tended to be asymptomatic more often than patients with vasculitis or meningitis. CSF analysis and computed axial tomography were helpful diagnostic tools, but diagnosis was ultimately made only by directed biopsy or at autopsy. Treatment with surgical decompression and/or corticosteroids has proved beneficial in several cases. Inflammatory CNS involvement in rheumatoid arthritis should be considered in any patient with neurologic symptoms in whom infectious and malignant processes are ruled out. An aggressive, invasive approach for diagnostic biopsies seems warranted.
 
Article
Objectives: Cytokeratins are a major constituent of the cytoskeleton in eukaryotic cells and are vital for the maintenance of cell structure and function. Identification of increased levels of IgA antibodies to these intracellular structures has prompted increasing interest in the potential role between the gut and the immune system in the pathogenesis of inflammatory arthritis. This review examines the salient features of cytokeratin (CK) antibodies that are relevant to inflammatory arthropathies and discusses the meaning and potential applications of these findings in the context of the different arthropathies. Methods: Review of the literature on antibodies to cytokeratins in inflammatory arthropathies, using MEDLINE and the key words (cyto)keratin and arthritis. The studies were interpreted and critiqued. Results: Increased levels of IgA antibodies to CK-18 and epidermal keratins have been shown by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. Levels were not increased in osteoarthritis or reactive arthritis. Conclusions: CK-18 is present within endothelial cells lining synovial blood vessels in patients with various rheumatic conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, as well as in normal controls. Damage to synovial endothelial cells may lead to increased production of antibodies to CK-18. The CK antibody response is independent of the polyclonal immunoglobulin expansion typical of RA and is not specific for RA because an increased IgA response to CK-18 also has been shown in psoriasis and in psoriatic arthritis. Damage to synovial endothelial cells does not explain the increased autoantibody production in other conditions such as psoriasis. In this condition, damage to epithelial tissues in other regions of the body (e.g, skin, gut, kidney) may lead to production of keratin antibodies that recognize epitopes common to all CK, including CK-18. The reason for an elevated IgA anti-CK response rather than an IgG or IgM response is not clear. It cannot be explained by a general increase in serum IgA levels. Most of the conditions in which raised levels of these antibodies were found have been associated to different degrees with abnormalities of the gut mucosa or mucosal immune system. It appears that the nature of autoantibodies to CK-18 is probably natural rather than pathogenic. Currently there are no data on the source of the IgA antibodies to cytokeratins (i.e., mucosal or central immune system). Indeed, it may depend on the disease.
 
Article
Crimes against humanity by Nazi Germany led to the codification of procedures for trying medical professionals. The principles detailed in the Nuremberg Code formulated by the Allies represented their effort to prevent future excesses and embody today's Institutional Review Boards. Reactive arthritis is often termed Reiter's syndrome, after Hans Reiter, who was incarcerated at Nuremberg. The authors reviewed Dr Hans Reiter's Nuremberg file at the National Archives in Washington, DC, and present chronologic excerpts of his interrogations between 1945 and 1947, with interpretative commentary. Reiter was involved with or knowledgeable of involuntary sterilization and euthanasia undertaken by the Nazi regime. He also played an active role in the design of a study that inoculated concentration camp internees at Buchenwald with an experimental typhus vaccine, which resulted in hundreds of deaths. A brilliant investigator and erudite intellectual, the career of Hans Reiter shows the importance and the relevance of scientific inquiry to adhere to principles enumerated in the Nuremberg Code. Because he was not the first to describe reactive arthritis, and in view of the above, Reiter's syndrome should only be used to cite an older reference that uses the term or in a historical context.
 
Article
The early responses by practicing physicians to the discovery of the effect of cortisone (compound E) and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) on acute rheumatoid arthritis in 1948 and their reactions to the drugs' scarcity have been reviewed. Review of the relevant literature in American, British, and European medical journals and some newspapers. Whereas the effect of the compound E and ACTH was stunning, their scarcity made them unavailable to most physicians. Nevertheless, practicing physicians took a lively interest in the new therapy, as witnessed by the large number of letters with comments and questions to professional journals from all over the world. As expected, most of these were about attempts to find a substitute for cortisone or a way to release it endogenously to a sufficient degree. A few alternative therapies were suggested too, some quite unorthodox. A lively interest was shown by the general public. No alternative therapy recommended to treat acute rheumatoid arthritis in lieu of cortisone proved to be effective. The era of scarcity was ended by the discovery of a more efficient method to manufacture cortisone.
 
Article
To assess systemically with meta-analysis the trend of survival and its determinants, which are hindering further improvement of survival of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) over the past 5 decades. Retrospective, cross-sectional, and prospective observational studies addressing survival and damage in SLE patients published between 1 January 1950 and 31 July 2010 were identified in electronic databases. Using the random-effects model, effect size was calculated based on the logit of the overall 5- and 10-year survival rates. The pooled logit and its robust 95% confidence interval were transformed back into the 5- and 10-year survival rates, after adjusting for potential dependence on the data. Potential factors predicting the pooled survival rates were explored by meta-regression. Seventy-seven studies involving 18,998 SLE patients were analyzed. Between the 1950s and the 2000s, their overall survival significantly increased, from 74.8% to 94.8% and 63.2% to 91.4% for the overall 5-year and 10-year survival, respectively (P < 0.001). The survival improvement, however, appeared to slow down between 1980 and 1990. Meta-regression revealed that neuropsychiatric and renal damage negatively affected the overall 5-year survival, whereas neuropsychiatric damage remained so for the 10-year survival for the past 50 years. Furthermore, the prevalence of neuropsychiatric damage has been significantly increasing over the past 5 decades. For the past 50 years, damage involving the renal and neuropsychiatric systems has been negatively affecting survival of SLE patients. Early detection and aggressive management of renal and neuropsychiatric involvement may potentially improve further the survival of lupus patients.
 
Article
Data from the Second and Third National Studies of Morbidity Statistics from General Practice, conducted from 1970 to 1972 and 1981 to 1982, respectively, by the General Practice Research Unit of the Royal College of General Practitioners, were analyzed to estimate morbidity rates of RA and examine changes in these rates over time. The age-adjusted annual incidence of RA in females fell from 3.3 to 2.6 cases per 1,000 person-years from 1970 to 1972 and 1980 to 1981; there was no change observed in males. Over the same time interval, there was a rise in age-adjusted period prevalence of RA in both sexes from 6.4 to 7.5 per 1,000 and 2.8 to 3.5 per 1,000 in females and males, respectively. These data, which should be interpreted with caution, confirm a decline in incidence of RA in females and demonstrate an increase in prevalence of RA in both sexes over the past decade.
 
Article
Five hundred seventy lupus erythematosus patients observed in a private practice between 1980 and 1989 were surveyed. Fifty-five percent were diagnosed after 1980. Five hundred three fulfilled criteria for systemic lupus erythematosus ( [SLE]; 464 idiopathic, 23 overlap, 16 drug-induced) and 67 had biopsy-documented cutaneous (discoid) lupus. In the idiopathic SLE group, symptoms began at a mean age of 31 years and patients were observed for a mean of 6 years. Findings in idiopathic SLE patients were (1) 27% have a family history of autoimmune disease; (2) nephritis patients without nephrotic syndrome rarely develop renal failure (4%); (3) nephrotic syndrome patients are relatively cyclophosphamide-resistant; (4) organ-threatening disease is present in 54%; and (5) 13% of women who become pregnant are recurrent aborters and 26% never conceive. In an analysis of cohort data, 5- and 10-year survivals were 97% +/- 2% and 93% +/- 3%, respectively. Additionally, men and patients with renal disease or thrombocytopenia had a poorer prognosis. Blacks had similar clinical findings and survival to whites. Approximately 50% of deaths were from active disease and 50% from complications of therapy. Prolonged survival has resulted from new diagnostic procedures and serologic tests, and improved antibiotics and antihypertensive agents, as well as more efficacious treatment modalities.
 
Article
To investigate the incidence and prevalence, as well as the mortality and survival rates, of systemic sclerosis (SSc) in a defined area of northwest Greece with a population of about 500,000 inhabitants. Cases have been recorded from the following sources: (1) inpatients and outpatients referred to the Rheumatology Clinics of the Ioannina University Hospital and the Ioannina General Hospital; (2) patients referred to the private rheumatologists practicing in the study area. All patients recorded between 1/1/1981 and 31/12/2002, resident in the study area, were included in the study. Diagnosis was based on the American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for SSc. Incidence and prevalence rates were calculated as number of cases per 10(5) inhabitants. Population data were based on the National Census of 1981, 1991, and 2001. The age-adjusted prevalence of SSc was 15.40 cases/10(5) inhabitants on 31/12/2002. A total of 109 new cases were diagnosed during the study period, giving a mean annual age-adjusted incidence rate of 1.10 cases/10 5 inhabitants. There were 98 women and 11 men, giving a ratio of 8.9/1. Limited SSc was diagnosed in 75% and diffuse in 25% of the patients. Esophageal involvement was found in 59%, lung involvement in 56%, and renal disease in 5%. Thirty-six deaths were recorded during the study period in this incidence cohort. The 5-year survival rate was 83% and the 10-year survival rate was 70%. The incidence and prevalence of SSc in northwest Greece were found to be lower than those of the USA and Australia, and higher than those of northern European countries and Japan. The survival rates were similar to those reported by other studies.
 
Incidence of RA in different areas of the world (medians and ranges of observed incidence rates in groups of countries). (Color version of figure is available online.) 
Prevalence of RA in different areas of the world (medians and ranges of prevalence estimates in groups of countries). (Color version of figure is available online.) 
Results of Medline Search and Inclusion Criteria for RA
Incidence Rates of RA Worldwide in Studies Based on ACR Criteria
Prevalence Estimates of RA Worldwide in Studies Based on ACR Criteria
Article
To conduct a systematic review of incidence and prevalence studies of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), based on the 1987 revised American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria, to compare their methodologies and summarize their results, and to investigate the possible geographic variations and changes over time in the frequency of the disease. We conducted a Medline search between January 1988 and December 2005. Studies reporting the incidence and prevalence of RA in adult populations (16 to 20 years and over), based on 1987 ACR criteria, were eligible for inclusion. From each study included, we extracted the country, year of publication, type of study (retrospective, prospective, or cross-sectional), and incidence or prevalence rates. The study areas were grouped into (a) North American countries; (b) north European countries; (c) south European countries; and (d) developing countries. We examined the geographical differences of prevalence and incidence rates using the Mann-Whitney and the Kruskall-Wallis tests. A total of 28 studies were identified meeting the inclusion criteria. Nine were incidence studies, 17 were prevalence studies, and 2 estimated both prevalence and incidence rates. Incidence studies were not available from developing countries. There is a significant difference of prevalence estimates between northern European and American countries and developing countries. South European countries have lower median incidence rates than North American and north European countries. As concerning the time trends of RA occurrence, only 3 incidence studies provided secular data from the same study area, based on ACR criteria, using the same methods of case ascertainment. Two of these studies indicate a decreasing incidence of RA in Finland and United States of America. The occurrence of RA varies among countries and areas of the world. A decreasing trend has been observed in countries characterized by high rates of RA incidence and prevalence. However, the relatively small number of studies for most areas of the world and the lack of incidence studies for the developing countries limits the understanding of worldwide RA epidemiology.
 
Article
Patients with giant cell arteritis (GCA) may experience serious vascular and visual complications. It is unknown, however, to what extent the difficulties of the disease may lead to hospitalization. The goal of this study is to discern whether patients with GCA are at greater risk for all-cause hospitalizations when compared to the general population. This retrospective, population-based cohort study utilized patients with large vessel or visual involvement who were diagnosed with GCA (as defined by the 1990 ACR criteria) between 1/1/1950 and 12/31/2009, and a reference cohort of patients without GCA matched on age, sex, and calendar year. Each patients' medical record was examined for hospitalizations from 1987 through 2012. For this analysis, follow-up began with the latter of index date or 1/1/1987 and ended at the earlier of death, emigration from Olmsted County, or 12/31/2012. Discharge diagnoses were grouped together using the Clinical Classifications Software (CCS) for ICD-9-CM from Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). Data were analyzed using person-year methods and rate ratios comparing GCA to non-GCA. The GCA cohort consists of 199 patients with a mean age of 76.2 (79.9% female) and follow-up of 8.2 years. The non-GCA cohort is comprised of 194 patients with a mean age of 75.7 (78.9% female) and follow-up of 8.6 years. The patients with GCA had 816 hospitalizations and the non-GCA patients had 737 hospitalizations. GCA patients proved to be at a marginally greater risk for all causes of hospitalization [rate ratio (RR) = 1.13; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02-1.25]; however, the rate of hospitalization for patients with and without GCA decreased significantly from 1987 to 2012. Two specific discharge categories are of interest. First, transient cerebral ischemia is a greater risk of hospitalization for patients with GCA who had 16 hospitalizations compared to patients without GCA who only had 5 hospitalizations (RR = 3.06; 95% CI: 1.27-9.47). Second, patients with GCA (21 hospitalizations) are at greater risk of hospitalization for syncope than patients without GCA (5 hospitalizations) (RR = 3.98; 95% CI: 1.72-12.14). In this first ever analysis of all-cause hospitalizations in a population-based cohort, patients with GCA appear to be at a marginally greater risk for hospitalization than patients without GCA, although the rate of hospitalization for GCA patients decreased from 1987 to 2012. Patients with GCA are at increased risk of hospitalization for both transient cerebral ischemia and syncope. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
 
Article
Objective: To determine the prevalence of gout associated with progressive degrees of kidney disease in the US population. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional analysis among non-institutionalized adults (age 20 and older) of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys in 1988-1994 and 2007-2010. Gout status was ascertained by self-report of physician-diagnosed gout. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) was defined in stages based on estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and single albuminuria measurements (albumin-to-creatinine ratio). Prevalence ratios comparing successive categories of GFR, albuminuria, and CKD as well as temporal trends over a 22-year interval were determined via Poisson regression. Results: In the US, the crude prevalence of gout was 2-3% among participants without CKD, 4% among participants with CKD stage 1, 6-10% for stage 2, 11-13% for stage 3, and over 30% for stage 4. The adjusted prevalence ratio comparing the CKD stage 4 stratum to participants without CKD was 3.20 (95% CI: 1.96, 5.24) in 2007-2010 and remained significant even after adjustment for serum uric acid. Notably, there was a statistically significant, progressively greater adjusted prevalence ratio of gout associated with successively lower categories of GFR and higher categories of albuminuria. Conclusions: Among US adults, there exists a strong dose-response association between impaired renal function and prevalent gout. Health providers should be aware of the elevated burden of gout among patients with CKD especially when evaluating new onset joint pain and swelling.
 
Article
This study aims to compare fibromyalgia (FM) and chronic widespread pain (CWP) patients who do not fulfill the criteria for tender points (TP). We included 150 patients diagnosed with FM according to ACR 1990 criteria and 42 patients with CWP who did not fulfill TP criteria for FM into the study. The clinical features of the patients were recorded, and the TP count was determined. By means of a visual analog scale (VAS), all patients were questioned about the severity of pain and FM-related symptoms. In addition, the patients were administered the Duke Anxiety Depression (Duke-AD) scale and somatization symptom questionnaire. Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs (LANSS) pain scale was used to determine the neuropathic pain score. According to VAS, the severity of pain, sleep disturbance, the number of somatization symptoms, LANSS, and Duke-AD scores were significantly higher in FM patients than in patients with CWP (all P values <0.05). The number of TP correlated with severity of pain (r = 0.32, P < 0.001), the number of somatization symptoms (r = 0.26, P = 0.01), sleep disturbance (r = 0.18, P = 0.01), and LANSS score (r = 0.4, P < 0.001). Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that independent factors that affected the presence of > or =11 TP were the severity of pain on VAS (OR: 1.03, 95% CI: 1.01-1.06, P = 0.045) and LANSS score (OR: 1.36, 95% CI: 1.12-1.62, P = 0.001). CWP patients have symptoms similar to FM patients, though less severe. The most important factor that affects the criteria for fulfilling the number TP in CWP patients is the neuropathic pain score, which suggests that FM is primarily a neuropathic pain syndrome.
 
Article
In May 1991, researchers and clinicians from throughout the world met at a workshop sponsored by the Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organization in collaboration with the Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria, Spain, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Mental Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to share information about two very similar diseases--toxic oil syndrome and eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. In this paper the interpretation of conference proceedings is presented, current knowledge of the two disorders is summarized, and some possible areas for future research are mentioned. Toxic oil syndrome and eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome have many similarities. Both are related to consumer products that were presumed to be safe but have been found to have numerous trace contaminants, many of which remain to be identified, including the etiologic agents of both disorders. Both illnesses affect patients clinically by causing intense, incapacitating myalgias and a marked peripheral eosinophilia. Other rheumatologic manifestations are common in both, including arthralgias, sicca syndrome, scleroderma-like skin changes, carpal tunnel syndrome, and joint contractures. No clinical or laboratory feature has been found to be pathognomonic of either disease, and accurate diagnosis rests on the clinical judgment of the attending physician. Deaths have occurred in both diseases, and the cumulative mortality for each is approximately 2.5% for the first 2 years. Long-term complications include pulmonary hypertension, peripheral neuropathies, and joint contractures. Although treatment with corticosteroids has resulted in significant symptomatic relief in persons with either disorder, it does not alter the clinical course or long-term outcome. Research into the etiologic agents, preferred treatments, and ways to avoid similar problems in the future is needed.
 
Top-cited authors
Miguel Ángel Gonzalez-Gay
  • Universidad de Cantabria
Yehuda Shoenfeld
  • Tel Aviv University
Jean-Pierre Pelletier
  • Université de Montréal
Lily Neumann
  • Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Jean-Yves Reginster
  • University of Liège