[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Early suppression of disease activity in (rheumatoid) arthritis (RA) patients may result in drug-free remission and prevent damage. We assessed 2-year clinical and radiological outcomes of two disease activity score (DAS)-remission-steered treatment strategies in early arthritis patients.
Patients (n = 610) with early RA or undifferentiated arthritis (UA) were treated with methotrexate (MTX) and tapered high dose of prednisone. Patients in early remission (44/53 joints DAS <1.6) after 4 months tapered and stopped medication. Patients who did not achieve early DAS-remission were randomized to either MTX plus hydroxychloroquine plus sulphasalazine plus low dose prednisone (arm 1) or to MTX + adalimumab (arm 2). At four-monthly intervals, medication was tapered and stopped if DAS was <1.6 but restarted, increased or switched if DAS was ≥1.6. Proportions of (drug-free) DAS-remission (DFR) after 2 years and Sharp-van der Heijde scores (SHS) were analyzed separately for the treatment strategies and patients with RA and UA.
After 2 years, 301/610 (49 %) patients were in DAS-remission and 131/610 (21 %) in DFR. In the early remission group 241/387 patients (62 %) were in DAS-remission and 111/387 (29 %) DFR. In arm 1 22/83 (27 %) and in arm 2 24/78 (31 %) were in DAS-remission, and 6/83 (7 %) and 7/78 (9 %), respectively, were in DFR. RA and UA patients achieved DAS-remission in comparable percentages (RA: 234/479 (49 %), UA: 64/122 (52 %), p = 0.25). More UA patients achieved DFR (41/122 (34 %)) compared to RA patients (89/479 (19 %), p<0.001). Mean (SD) DAS over time was 1.74 (0.58) across all patients, and median (IQR) SHS progression was 0 (0–0).
After 2 years remission-steered treatment in early RA and UA patients, DAS-remission and DFR percentages were relatively low. Patients who achieved early remission more often achieved (drug-free) remission after 2 years than patients who needed additional treatment steps in the randomization arms, and more UA than RA patients achieved DFR. Overall, disease activity and radiologic damage progression in all patients were well suppressed.
http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN11916566 Registered 07/11/2006 and EudraCT number 2006-06186-16 Registered 16/07/2007.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2016 · Arthritis research & therapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mast cells are innate immune cells usually residing in peripheral tissues, where they are likely to activate T-cell responses. Similar to other myeloid immune cells, mast cells can function as antigen presenting cells. However, little is known about the capacity of human mast cells to co-stimulate CD4(+) T cells. Here, we studied the T cell-stimulatory potential of human mast cells. Peripheral blood-derived mast cells were generated and co-cultured with isolated CD4(+) T cells. In the presence of T-cell receptor triggering using anti-CD3, mast cells promoted strong proliferation of T cells, which was 2-5 fold stronger than the "T-cell promoting capacity" of monocytes. The interplay between mast cells and T cells was dependent on cell-cell contact, suggesting that co-stimulatory molecules on the mast cell surface are responsible for the effect. However, in contrast to monocytes, the T-cell co-stimulation by mast cells was independent of the classical co-stimulatory molecule CD28, or that of OX40L, ICOSL, or LIGHT. Our data show that mast cells can co-stimulate human CD4(+) T cells to induce strong T cell proliferation, but that therapies aiming at disrupting the interaction of CD28 and B7 molecules do not inhibit mast cell-mediated T-cell activation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · European Journal of Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA)-related autoantibodies have an increased mortality rate. Different autoantibodies are frequently co-occurring and it is unclear which autoantibodies associate with increased mortality. In addition, association with different causes of death is thus far unexplored. Both questions were addressed in three early RA populations.
2331 patients with early RA included in Better Anti-Rheumatic Farmaco-Therapy cohort (BARFOT) (n=805), Norfolk Arthritis Register (NOAR) (n=678) and Leiden Early Arthritis Clinic cohort (EAC) (n=848) were studied. The presence of anticitrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA), rheumatoid factor (RF) and anticarbamylated protein (anti-CarP) antibodies was studied in relation to all-cause and cause-specific mortality, obtained from national death registers. Cox proportional hazards regression models (adjusted for age, sex, smoking and inclusion year) were constructed per cohort; data were combined in inverse-weighted meta-analyses.
During 26 300 person-years of observation, 29% of BARFOT patients, 30% of NOAR and 18% of EAC patients died, corresponding to mortality rates of 24.9, 21.0 and 20.8 per 1000 person-years. The HR for all-cause mortality (95% CI) was 1.48 (1.22 to 1.79) for ACPA, 1.47 (1.22 to 1.78) for RF and 1.33 (1.11 to 1.60) for anti-CarP. When including all three antibodies in one model, RF was associated with all-cause mortality independent of other autoantibodies, HR 1.30 (1.04 to 1.63). When subsequently stratifying for death cause, ACPA positivity associated with increased cardiovascular death, HR 1.52 (1.04 to 2.21), and RF with increased neoplasm-related death, HR 1.64 (1.02 to 2.62), and respiratory disease-related death, HR 1.71 (1.01 to 2.88).
The presence of RF in patients with RA associates with an increased overall mortality rate. Cause-specific mortality rates differed between autoantibodies: ACPA associates with increased cardiovascular death and RF with death related to neoplasm and respiratory disease.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Annals of the rheumatic diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anti-carbamylated protein (anti-CarP) antibodies have been described in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and arthralgia patients at risk of developing RA. To what extent these autoantibodies are specific for RA is unknown. Therefore, we investigated the diagnostic performance of the presence of anti-CarP antibodies for RA in a setting of early arthritis.
Anti-CarP antibodies were detected using carbamylated fetal calf serum as substrate. Anti-CCP2 antibodies were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunoglobulin M (IgM) rheumatoid factor (RF) as part of routine care. Sera were derived from patients in the Leiden Early Arthritis Clinic cohort obtained at inclusion. Test characteristics were determined using the fulfillment of the 2010 RA criteria after 1 year as outcome.
In total 2086 early arthritis patients were studied regarding the presence of anti-CarP antibodies. We observed that the sensitivity and specificity of the presence of anti-CarP antibodies for RA were 44 % and 89 %, respectively. As a reference, sensitivity and specificity of the presence of anti-CCP2 antibodies were 54 % and 96 %, respectively, and of IgM-RF 59 % and 91 %. Patients harboring anti-CarP antibodies not classified as RA were mainly diagnosed with undifferentiated arthritis and less frequently reactive arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
Anti-CarP antibodies are predominantly present in RA but can also be detected in other forms of arthritis.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Arthritis Research & Therapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction:
Patients with clinically suspect arthralgia (CSA) have, according to their rheumatologists, an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but their actual outcome is unexplored. This longitudinal study investigated (1) progression from CSA to clinically detectable arthritis and (2) associations of clinical factors, serological factors (among which are anticitrullinated peptide antibodies (ACPAs)) and MRI-detected subclinical inflammation with arthritis development.
150 patients with CSA were followed for ≥6 months. At baseline, clinical and serological data were collected and unilateral 1.5 T-MRI of metacarpophalangeal (MCP), wrist and metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints was made. MRI scoring was done according to the RA MRI scoring system. Subclinical MRI inflammation was defined based on MRI results of 193 symptom-free persons.
During follow-up (median=75 weeks, IQR=41-106 weeks), 30 patients developed clinical arthritis; 87% did so <20 weeks after inclusion. In multivariable analyses, age, localisation of initial symptoms in small and large joints (compared with small joints only), C-reactive protein level, ACPA-positivity and subclinical MRI inflammation significantly associated with arthritis development; ACPA and MRI inflammation were most strongly associated (HR (95% CI) respectively, 6.43 (2.57 to 16.05) and 5.07 (1.77 to 14.50)). After 1-year follow-up, 31% of the patients with MRI inflammation and 71% of the ACPA-positive patients with MRI inflammation had progressed to arthritis. Forty-three per cent of the patients that developed arthritis within 1 year were ACPA-negative; 78% of them had subclinical MRI inflammation at baseline. When MRI inflammation was absent arthritis development was infrequent (6% in all patients with CSA and 3% in ACPA-negative patients with CSA).
Subclinical MRI inflammation precedes clinical arthritis with a few months. Subclinical MRI inflammation is, independent of other factors such as ACPA, associated with arthritis development.
No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and aims:
Peripheral joint complaints (pJTC) and chronic back pain (CBP) are the most common extra-intestinal manifestations in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This prospective study evaluates variables associated with joint/back pain, including IBD disease activity.
IBD patients with back pain ≥ 3 months and/or peripheral joint pain/swelling (n=155), and IBD patients without joint complaints (n=100; controls), were followed for a period of one year. Patients were classified as having spondyloarthritis (SpA) according to several sets of criteria. Statistical analysis included logistic regression models and linear mixed model analysis.
Of the 155 patients with joint/back pain, 13 had chronic back pain, 80 peripheral joint complaints and 62 axial and peripheral joint complaints. Smoking, female gender and IBD disease activity were independently associated with IBD joint/back pain. The ASAS criteria for axial and peripheral SpA were fulfilled in 12.3% of patients, with 9.7% (n=15) receiving a rheumatologic diagnosis of arthritis. During the 12-month follow-up, the majority of the amount of patients reporting joint/back pain remained stable.
In our cohort, the majority of IBD patients reported joint/back pain and SpA was relatively common. To facilitate effective care, gastroenterologists should be aware of the various features of SpA to classify the joint complaints and by making use of an efficient referral algorithm to refer CBP patients to the rheumatologist.
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Crohn s and Colitis
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives:
Right ventricular (RV) dysfunction is of great prognostic value in patients with SSc. The aim of the present study was to assess in these patients the relationship between pulmonary fibrosis and elevated pulmonary pressure (PHT) with RV function.
A total of 102 SSc patients who underwent thoracic CT and transthoracic echocardiography were included. Speckle tracking-derived RV free wall strain was used to assess RV function.
A total of 51 (50%) SSc patients did not have pulmonary fibrosis or PHT, 32 (31%) patients had pulmonary fibrosis but no PHT and the remaining 19 (19%) patients had both pulmonary fibrosis and PHT. Patients with both pulmonary fibrosis and PHT had the most impaired RV free wall strain [-16.8% (s.d. 3.1)] compared with patients with pulmonary fibrosis and no PHT [-21.5% (s.d. 3.6)] and patients with no pulmonary fibrosis and no PHT [-24.0% (s.d. 4.4)]. All three SSc groups showed impaired RV free wall strain compared with controls [-28.0% (s.d. 4.2)]. Importantly, multivariate regression analysis demonstrated that pulmonary fibrosis and left ventricular ejection fraction were independently associated with impaired RV free wall strain in SSc patients.
SSc patients show impaired RV function compared with controls. Both pulmonary fibrosis and PHT are independently associated with RV dysfunction.
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Rheumatology (Oxford, England)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently, arrays have become available that allow the simultaneous analysis of several anti-citrullinated protein antibody (ACPA) reactivities using distinct citrullinated peptides. Such assays are designed for exploratory studies. The interpretation of positive antibody reactivities can best be made if the diagnostic and prognostic value of a multiplex array in an early arthritis setting is known and if the multiplex-positive patients who are negative according to three commonly used commercial ACPA assays are characterized.
Using Thermo Scientific’s ImmunoCap ISAC (Immuno Solid-phase Allergen Chip) system, a multiplexed array that determines reactivities to 11 citrullinated peptides, we analysed serum/plasma of 195 healthy controls and 1282 early arthritis patients from two independent cohorts: the Leiden Early Arthritis Clinic (n = 1013) and the IMPROVED (n = 269) cohort. Findings were compared with results primarily of the anti-citrullinated cyclic peptide 2 (anti-CCP-2) assay but also with anti- CCP-3 and anti-mutated citrullinated vimentin (anti-MCV) assays. The associations between ACPA reactivities and patient characteristics, risk factors (shared epitope, smoking) and disease outcomes (progression of undifferentiated arthritis to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and severity of joint destruction) were assessed.
Thirty-one percent of anti-CCP-2-negative RA patients displayed reactivity toward citrullinated peptides in the multiplex assay. These patients had a positive signal toward a more restricted peptide repertoire than anti-CCP-2-positive RA patients (median of 1 versus 5). Within anti-CCP-2-negative patients, ACPA reactivity as detected by multiplex array was not significantly associated with known risk factors or clinical or prognostic parameters. The frequency of sera from anti-CCP-2-negative RA patients who were positive for the multiplexed peptides was comparable to the frequency in non-RA arthritic patients (27 %).
Additive citrulline peptide reactivities detected by the current multiplex system did not reach significant power to be RA-specific. The presence of residual citrulline reactivities detected by this multiplex system in arthritis patients who are negative in commercial ACPA assays needs to be interpreted with caution.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Arthritis Research & Therapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives:
To evaluate the multi-biomarker disease activity (MBDA) score as a predictor of radiographic progression and compare it with other risk factors among patients with established RA receiving non-biologic DMARDs.
For 163 patients with RA, we assessed 271 visits for MBDA score (scale of 1-100), clinical data and subsequent 1-year radiographic progression (change in Sharp-van der Heijde score [SHS]). Scatter plot and non-parametric quantile regression curves evaluated the relationship between the MBDA score and change in SHS. Changes in joint space narrowing and erosions were compared among MBDA categories with Wilcoxon rank-sum tests. The ability of The MBDA score to independently predict progression was determined by multivariate models and cross-classification of MBDA score with other risk factors. Generalized estimating equation methodology was used in model estimations to adjust for same-patient visits, always ≥1 year apart.
Patient characteristics included 67% female, 66%/67% RF(+)/anti-CCP(+); mean age 55 years, MBDA score 43 (moderate = 30-44); median disease duration 4.6 years, SHS 23. Radiographic progression was infrequent for low MBDA scores. Relative risk for progression increased continuously as the MBDA score increased, reaching 17.4 for change in SHS >5 with MBDA scores ≥60. Joint space narrowing and erosion progression were associated with MBDA score. MBDA score was associated with radiographic progression after adjustments for other risk factors. MBDA score significantly differentiated risk for progression when swollen joint count, CRP or DAS28-CRP was low, and among seropositive patients.
MBDA score enhanced the ability of conventional risk factors to predict radiographic progression in patients with established RA receiving non-biologic DMARDs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Flares in patients with rheumatoid arthritis are suggested to sometimes spontaneously resolve. Targeted therapy could then entail possible overtreatment. We aimed to determine the flare prevalence in patients who are treated-to-target and to evaluate associations between flares and patient-reported outcomes and radiographic progression.
In the BeSt study, 508 patients were treated-to-target for 10 years. After initial treatment adjustments to achieve disease activity score ≤2.4, a flare was defined from the second year of follow-up onwards, according to three definitions. The first definition is a disease activity score >2.4 with an increase of ≥0.6 regardless of the previous disease activity score. The other definitions will be described in the manuscript.
The flare prevalence was 4–11 % per visit; 67 % of the patients experienced ≥1 flare during 9 years of treatment (median 0 per patient per year). During a flare, functional ability decreased with a mean difference of 0.25 in health assessment questionnaire (p < 0.001), and the odds ratios (95 % confidence intervals) for an increase in patients’ assessment of disease activity, pain and morning stiffness of ≥20 mm on a visual analogue scale were 8.5 (7.3–9.8), 8.4 (7.2–9.7) and 5.6 (4.8–6.6), respectively, compared to the absence of a flare. The odds ratio for radiographic progression was 1.7 (1.1–2.8) in a year with a flare compared to a year without a flare. The more flares a patient experienced, the higher the health assessment questionnaire at year 10 (p < 0.001) and the more radiographic progression from baseline to year 10 (p = 0.005).
Flares were associated with concurrent increase in patient’s assessment of disease activity, pain and morning stiffness, functional deterioration and development of radiographic progression with a dose–response-effect, both during the flare and long term. This suggests that intensifying treatment during a flare outweighs the risk of possible overtreatment.
Dutch trial registry NTR262 (7 September 2005) and NTR265 (8 September 2005).
Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Arthritis research & therapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the role of platelets in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is relatively unexplored, recent studies point towards a contribution of platelets in arthritis. We now set out to determine platelet phenotype in RA and studied whether this could be influenced by the presence of Anti-Citrullinated Protein Antibodies (ACPA).
Platelets from healthy controls were incubated in the presence of either plasma of RA patients or age/gender matched healthy controls; plasma from ACPA(neg) or ACPA(pos) patients or in the presence of plate-bound ACPA. Characteristics of platelets isolated from RA patients were correlated to disease activity.
Platelets isolated from healthy controls display markers of platelet activation in the presence of plasma derived from RA patients, as determined by P-selectin expression, formation of aggregates and secretion of sCD40L. Furthermore, levels of P-selectin expression and sCD40L release correlated with high ACPA titers. In accordance, an enhanced platelet activation was observed after incubation with ACPA(pos) plasma versus ACPA(neg) plasma. Pre-incubation of platelets with blocking antibodies directed against FcyRIIa, completely inhibited the ACPA-mediated activation. In addition, both expression of P-selectin as number of platelets correlated with DAS44, CRP levels and ACPA-status and ACPA levels.
We now show for the first time that ACPA can mediate an FcyRIIa dependent activation of platelets. As ACPA can be detected several years before disease onset and activated platelets contribute to vascular permeability, these data implicate a possible role for ACPA-mediated activation of platelets in arthritis (onset).
Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Arthritis research & therapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes confer substantial risk for autoimmune diseases on a log-additive scale. Here we speculated that differences in autoantigen-binding repertoires between a heterozygote's two expressed HLA variants might result in additional non-additive risk effects. We tested the non-additive disease contributions of classical HLA alleles in patients and matched controls for five common autoimmune diseases: rheumatoid arthritis (ncases = 5,337), type 1 diabetes (T1D; ncases = 5,567), psoriasis vulgaris (ncases = 3,089), idiopathic achalasia (ncases = 727) and celiac disease (ncases = 11,115). In four of the five diseases, we observed highly significant, non-additive dominance effects (rheumatoid arthritis, P = 2.5 × 10(-12); T1D, P = 2.4 × 10(-10); psoriasis, P = 5.9 × 10(-6); celiac disease, P = 1.2 × 10(-87)). In three of these diseases, the non-additive dominance effects were explained by interactions between specific classical HLA alleles (rheumatoid arthritis, P = 1.8 × 10(-3); T1D, P = 8.6 × 10(-27); celiac disease, P = 6.0 × 10(-100)). These interactions generally increased disease risk and explained moderate but significant fractions of phenotypic variance (rheumatoid arthritis, 1.4%; T1D, 4.0%; celiac disease, 4.1%) beyond a simple additive model.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Susac syndrome, occlusions of pre-capillary arterioles of the brain, retina, and cochlea lead to the classical clinical triad of subacute encephalopathy, visual disturbances due to branch retinal artery occlusions and sensorineural hearing impairment. Its pathogenesis is still obscure, but it is presumed to be mediated by an autoimmune response to an as yet unknown antigen. The syndrome is considered a rare but important differential diagnosis in various neurological, psychiatric, ophthalmological, and ear-nose-throat disorders. Brain magnetic resonance imaging, retinal fluorescein angiography, and audiometry findings enable diagnosis. Early therapy may reduce relapses and improve recovery. The features of four cases of this syndrome are presented, illustrating that cooperation among different medical specialists is essential, and that treatment may be best guided by an immunologist or rheumatologist as a case manager.
No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · The Netherlands Journal of Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that is negative for anticitrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA) is a subentity of RA, characterized by less severe disease. At the individual level, however, considerable differences in the severity of joint destruction occur. We performed a study on genetic factors underlying the differences in joint destruction in ACPA-negative patients.
A genome-wide association study was done with 262 ACPA-negative patients with early RA included in the Leiden Early Arthritis Clinic and related to radiographic joint destruction over 7 years. Significant single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) were evaluated for association with progression of radiographic joint destruction in 253 ACPA-negative patients with early RA included in the Better Anti-Rheumatic Farmaco Therapy (BARFOT) study. According to the Bonferroni correction of the number of tested SNP, the threshold for significance was p < 2 × 10(-7) in phase 1 and 0.0045 in phase 2. In both cohorts, joint destruction was measured by Sharp/van der Heijde method with good reproducibility.
Thirty-three SNP associated with severity of joint destruction (p < 2 × 10(-7)) in phase 1. In phase 2, rs2833522 (p = 0.0049) showed borderline significance. A combined analysis of both the Leiden and BARFOT datasets of rs2833522 confirmed this association with joint destruction (p = 3.57 × 10(-9)); the minor allele (A) associated with more severe damage (for instance, after 7 yrs followup, patients carrying AA had 1.22 times more joint damage compared to patients carrying AG and 1.50 times more joint damage than patients carrying GG). In silico analysis using the ENCODE and Ensembl databases showed presence of H3K4me3 histone mark, transcription factors, and long noncoding RNA in the region of rs2833522, an intergenic SNP located between HUNK and SCAF4.
Rs2833522 might be associated with the severity of joint destruction in ACPA-negative RA.
No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · The Journal of Rheumatology