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OBJECTIVE - Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have increased cardiovascular (CV) risk. In the general population, exercise improves several CV risk factors. In a cross-sectional study, we examined the hypothesis that more exercise is associated with protective traditional and non-traditional CV risk factor profile in patients with RA.
METHODS - Patient-reported exercise outside of daily activities was quantified by time and metabolic equivalents per week (METmin/week) and CV risk factors including blood pressure, standard lipid profiles, lipoprotein particle concentrations (NMR spectroscopy), and vascular indices were measured in 165 patients with RA. The relationship between exercise and CV risk factors was assessed according to whether patients exercised or not, and after adjustment for age, race and sex.
RESULTS - Over half (54%) of RA patients did not exercise. Among those who did exercise, median value for exercise duration was 113 min/week [IQR: 60, 210], and exercise metabolic equivalent expenditure was 484 METmin/week [IQR: 258, 990]. Disease activity (measured by DAS28 score), C-reactive protein, waist-hip ratio, and prevalence of hypertension were lower in patients who exercised compared to those who did not (all p-values < 0.05) but standard lipid profile and body mass index were not significantly different. Patients who exercised had significantly higher concentrations of HDL particles (p = 0.004) and lower vascular stiffness as measured by pulse wave velocity (p = 0.005).
CONCLUSIONS - More self-reported exercise in patients with RA was associated with a protective CV risk factor profile including lower waist-hip ratio, higher HDL particle concentration, lower vascular stiffness, and a lower prevalence of hypertension.
It has been proposed that CD6, an important regulator of T cells, functions by interacting with its currently identified ligand, CD166, but studies performed during the treatment of autoimmune conditions suggest that the CD6-CD166 interaction might not account for important functions of CD6 in autoimmune diseases. The antigen recognized by mAb 3A11 has been proposed as a new CD6 ligand distinct from CD166, yet the identity of it is hitherto unknown. We have identified this CD6 ligand as CD318, a cell surface protein previously found to be present on various epithelial cells and many tumor cells. We found that, like CD6 knockout (KO) mice, CD318 KO mice are also protected in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. In humans, we found that CD318 is highly expressed in synovial tissues and participates in CD6-dependent adhesion of T cells to synovial fibroblasts. In addition, soluble CD318 is chemoattractive to T cells and levels of soluble CD318 are selectively and significantly elevated in the synovial fluid from patients with rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile inflammatory arthritis. These results establish CD318 as a ligand of CD6 and a potential target for the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and inflammatory arthritis.
OBJECTIVE - The differences between seronegative and seropositive rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have not been widely reported. We performed electronic health record (EHR)-based phenome-wide association studies (PheWAS) to identify disease associations in seropositive and seronegative RA.
METHODS - A validated algorithm identified RA subjects from the de-identified version of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center EHR. Serotypes were determined by rheumatoid factor (RF) and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody (ACPA) values. We tested EHR-derived phenotypes using PheWAS comparing seropositive RA and seronegative RA, yielding disease associations. PheWAS was also performed in RF-positive versus RF-negative subjects and ACPA-positive versus ACPA-negative subjects. Following PheWAS, select phenotypes were then manually reviewed, and fibromyalgia was specifically evaluated using a validated algorithm.
RESULTS - A total of 2,199 RA individuals with either RF or ACPA testing were identified. Of these, 1,382 patients (63%) were classified as seropositive. Seronegative RA was associated with myalgia and myositis (odds ratio [OR] 2.1, P = 3.7 × 10 ) and back pain. A manual review of the health record showed that among subjects coded for Myalgia and Myositis, ∼80% had fibromyalgia. Follow-up with a specific EHR algorithm for fibromyalgia confirmed that seronegative RA was associated with fibromyalgia (OR 1.8, P = 4.0 × 10 ). Seropositive RA was associated with chronic airway obstruction (OR 2.2, P = 1.4 × 10 ) and tobacco use (OR 2.2, P = 7.0 × 10 ).
CONCLUSION - This PheWAS of RA patients identifies a strong association between seronegativity and fibromyalgia. It also affirms relationships between seropositivity and chronic airway obstruction and between seropositivity and tobacco use. These findings demonstrate the utility of the PheWAS approach to discover novel phenotype associations within different subgroups of a disease.
© 2016, American College of Rheumatology.
OBJECTIVE - Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Some RA therapies may modify this risk, but the underlying mechanisms are unclear. The cholesterol efflux capacity of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is associated with a reduced CHD risk in non-RA populations; however, inflammation may impair the function of HDL. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether reduced inflammation resulting from treatment with methotrexate (MTX), adalimumab (ADA), or tocilizumab (TCZ) would increase the net cholesterol efflux capacity of HDL in patients with RA.
METHODS - A longitudinal multicenter study repository (Treatment Efficacy and Toxicity in Rheumatoid Arthritis Database and Repository) provided clinical information for and serum samples from 70 patients with RA before and 6 months after starting treatment with a new drug (MTX [n = 23], ADA [n = 22], or TCZ [n = 25]). Disease activity was measured using the Disease Activity Score in 28 joints using the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (DAS28-ESR). The net cholesterol efflux capacity was measured in paired serum samples using THP-1 macrophages, and total cellular cholesterol was measured by fluorometric assay.
RESULTS - The DAS28-ESR decreased with all treatments (P < 0.001). Net cholesterol efflux capacity was not significantly changed after 6 months of new RA therapy (mean ± SD 36.9 ± 17.3% units at baseline versus 38.0% ± 16.9% units at 6 months [P = 0.58]). However, change in net cholesterol efflux capacity was associated with change in the DAS28-ESR (ρ = -0.25, P = 0.04). In a post hoc analysis of patients with impaired net cholesterol efflux capacity at baseline, treatment with TCZ resulted in significant improvement in net cholesterol efflux capacity (21.9 ± 14.7% units at baseline versus 31.3% ± 12.8% units at 6 months [P < 0.02]), but this was not observed with MTX or ADA.
CONCLUSION - Net cholesterol efflux capacity of HDL cholesterol did not change significantly after 6 months of new RA therapy, except in patients with impaired baseline cholesterol efflux capacity who were receiving TCZ. Change in disease activity was associated with change in the net cholesterol efflux capacity.
© 2016, American College of Rheumatology.
OBJECTIVE - Animal studies and in vitro human studies suggest that certain opioid analgesics impair crucial immune functions. This study was undertaken to determine whether opioid use is associated with increased risk of serious infection in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
METHODS - We conducted a self-controlled case series analysis on a retrospective cohort of 13,796 patients with RA enrolled in Tennessee Medicaid in 1995-2009. Within-person comparisons of the risk of hospitalization for serious infection during periods of opioid use versus non-use were performed using conditional Poisson regression. Fixed confounders were accounted for by design; time-varying confounders included age and use of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, glucocorticoids, and proton-pump inhibitors. In additional analyses, risks associated with new opioid use, use of opioids known to have immunosuppressive properties, use of long-acting opioids, and different opioid dosages were assessed. Sensitivity analyses were performed to account for potential protopathic bias and confounding by indication.
RESULTS - Among 1,790 patients with RA who had at least 1 hospitalization for serious infection, the adjusted incidence rate of serious infection was higher during periods of current opioid use compared to non-use, with an incidence rate ratio (IRR) of 1.39 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.19-1.62). The incidence rate was also higher during periods of long-acting opioid use, immunosuppressive opioid use, and new opioid use compared to non-use (IRR 2.01 [95% CI 1.52-2.66], IRR 1.72 [95% CI 1.33-2.23], and IRR 2.38 [95% CI 1.65-3.42], respectively). Results of sensitivity analyses were consistent with the main findings.
CONCLUSION - In within-person comparisons of patients with RA, opioid use was associated with an increased risk of hospitalization for serious infection.
© 2016, American College of Rheumatology.
BACKGROUND - A long-standing epidemiological puzzle is the reduced rate of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in those with schizophrenia (SZ) and vice versa. Traditional epidemiological approaches to determine if this negative association is underpinned by genetic factors would test for reduced rates of one disorder in relatives of the other, but sufficiently powered data sets are difficult to achieve. The genomics era presents an alternative paradigm for investigating the genetic relationship between two uncommon disorders.
METHODS - We use genome-wide common single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data from independently collected SZ and RA case-control cohorts to estimate the SNP correlation between the disorders. We test a genotype X environment (GxE) hypothesis for SZ with environment defined as winter- vs summer-born.
RESULTS - We estimate a small but significant negative SNP-genetic correlation between SZ and RA (-0.046, s.e. 0.026, P = 0.036). The negative correlation was stronger for the SNP set attributed to coding or regulatory regions (-0.174, s.e. 0.071, P = 0.0075). Our analyses led us to hypothesize a gene-environment interaction for SZ in the form of immune challenge. We used month of birth as a proxy for environmental immune challenge and estimated the genetic correlation between winter-born and non-winter born SZ to be significantly less than 1 for coding/regulatory region SNPs (0.56, s.e. 0.14, P = 0.00090).
CONCLUSIONS - Our results are consistent with epidemiological observations of a negative relationship between SZ and RA reflecting, at least in part, genetic factors. Results of the month of birth analysis are consistent with pleiotropic effects of genetic variants dependent on environmental context.
Despite the success of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in detecting a large number of loci for complex phenotypes such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) susceptibility, the lack of information on the causal genes leaves important challenges to interpret GWAS results in the context of the disease biology. Here, we genetically fine-map the RA risk locus at 19p13 to define causal variants, and explore the pleiotropic effects of these same variants in other complex traits. First, we combined Immunochip dense genotyping (n = 23,092 case/control samples), Exomechip genotyping (n = 18,409 case/control samples) and targeted exon-sequencing (n = 2,236 case/controls samples) to demonstrate that three protein-coding variants in TYK2 (tyrosine kinase 2) independently protect against RA: P1104A (rs34536443, OR = 0.66, P = 2.3 x 10(-21)), A928V (rs35018800, OR = 0.53, P = 1.2 x 10(-9)), and I684S (rs12720356, OR = 0.86, P = 4.6 x 10(-7)). Second, we show that the same three TYK2 variants protect against systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, Pomnibus = 6 x 10(-18)), and provide suggestive evidence that two of the TYK2 variants (P1104A and A928V) may also protect against inflammatory bowel disease (IBD; P(omnibus) = 0.005). Finally, in a phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) assessing >500 phenotypes using electronic medical records (EMR) in >29,000 subjects, we found no convincing evidence for association of P1104A and A928V with complex phenotypes other than autoimmune diseases such as RA, SLE and IBD. Together, our results demonstrate the role of TYK2 in the pathogenesis of RA, SLE and IBD, and provide supporting evidence for TYK2 as a promising drug target for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
OBJECTIVE - Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have accelerated atherosclerosis, but there is limited information about the genetic contribution to atherosclerosis in this population. Therefore, we examined the association between selected genetic polymorphisms and coronary atherosclerosis in patients with RA.
METHODS - Genotypes for single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 152 candidate genes linked with autoimmune or cardiovascular risk were measured in 140 patients with RA. The association between the presence of coronary artery calcium (CAC) and SNP allele frequency was assessed by logistic regression with adjustment for age, sex, and race. To adjust for multiple comparisons, a false discovery rate (FDR) threshold was set at 20%.
RESULTS - Patients with RA were 54±11 years old and predominantly Caucasian (89%) and female (69%). CAC was present in 70 patients (50%). A variant in rs2073618 that encodes an Asn3Lys missense substitution in the osteoprotegerin gene (OPG, TNFRSF11B) was significantly associated with the presence of CAC (OR=4.09, p<0.00026) and withstands FDR correction.
CONCLUSION - Our results suggest that a polymorphism of the TNFRSF11B gene, which encodes osteoprotegerin, is associated with the presence of coronary atherosclerosis in patients with RA. Replication of this finding in independent validation cohorts will be of interest.