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Concept: Lupus erythematosus


GARDASIL (Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA) is a quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV4) vaccine. An epidemiological study was undertaken to evaluate concerns about the potential for HPV4 vaccination to induce serious autoimmune adverse events (SAAEs). The vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS) database was examined for adverse event reports associated with vaccines administered from January 2006 through December 2012 to recipients between 18 and 39 years old with a listed residence in the USA and a specified female gender. It was observed that cases with the SAAE outcomes of gastroenteritis (odds ratio (OR) = 4.6, 95 % confidence interval (CI) = 1.3-18.5), arthritis (OR = 2.5, 95 % CI = 1.4-4.3), systemic lupus erythematosus (OR = 5.3, 95 % CI = 1.5-20.5), vasculitis (OR = 4, 95 % CI = 1.01-16.4), alopecia (OR = 8.3, 95 % CI = 4.5-15.9), or CNS conditions (OR = 1.8, 95 % CI = 1.04-2.9) were significantly more likely than controls to have received HPV4 vaccine (median onset of SAAE symptoms from 6 to 55 days post-HPV4 vaccination). Cases with the outcomes of Guillain-Barre syndrome (OR = 0.75, 95 % CI = 0.42-1.3) or thrombocytopenia (OR = 1.3, 95 % CI = 0.48-3.5) were no more likely than controls to have received HPV4 vaccine. Cases with the general health outcomes of infection (OR = 0.72, 95 % CI = 0.27-1.7), conjunctivitis (OR = 0.88, 95 % CI = 0.29-2.7), or diarrhea (OR = 1.01, 95 % CI = 0.83-1.22) were no more likely than controls to have received HPV4 vaccine. Previous case series of SAAEs and biological plausibility support the observed results. Additional studies should be conducted to further evaluate the potential biological mechanisms involved in HPV4 vaccine-associated SAAEs in animal model systems, and to examine the potential epidemiological relationship between HPV4 vaccine-associated SAAEs in other databases and populations.

Concepts: Immune system, Epidemiology, HPV vaccine, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Antiphospholipid syndrome


To evaluate the safety and efficacy of hCDR1 (Edratide) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Concepts: Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus


B cells contribute to multiple aspects of autoimmune disorders and may play a role in triggering disease. Thus, targeting B cells may be a promising strategy for treating autoimmune disorders. Better understanding of the B cell subsets that are responsible for the development of autoimmunity will be critical for developing efficient therapies. Here we have reported that B cells expressing the transcription factor T-bet promote the rapid appearance of autoantibodies and germinal centers in spontaneous murine models of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Conditional deletion of T-bet from B cells impaired the formation of germinal centers and mitigated the development of kidney damage and rapid mortality in SLE mice. B cell-specific deletion of T-bet was also associated with lower activation of both B cells and T cells. Taken together, our results suggest that targeting T-bet-expressing B cells may be a potential target for therapy for autoimmune diseases.

Concepts: Cell nucleus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Glomerulonephritis, Autoimmune diseases, Sjögren's syndrome, Myasthenia gravis


Targeted sequencing of sixteen SLE risk loci among 1349 Caucasian cases and controls produced a comprehensive dataset of the variations causing susceptibility to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Two independent disease association signals in the HLA-D region identified two regulatory regions containing 3562 polymorphisms that modified thirty-seven transcription factor binding sites. These extensive functional variations are a new and potent facet of HLA polymorphism. Variations modifying the consensus binding motifs of IRF4 and CTCF in the XL9 regulatory complex modified the transcription of HLA-DRB1, HLA-DQA1 and HLA-DQB1 in a chromosome-specific manner, resulting in a 2.5-fold increase in the surface expression of HLA-DR and DQ molecules on dendritic cells with SLE risk genotypes, which increases to >4-fold after stimulation. Similar analyses of fifteen other SLE risk loci identified 1206 functional variants tightly linked with disease-associated SNPs and demonstrated that common disease alleles contain multiple causal variants modulating multiple immune system genes.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Gene, Cell nucleus, Gene expression, Rheumatoid arthritis, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease because of the premature development of atherosclerotic plaques. It is a complex autoimmune disorder characterized by the production of autoantibodies against self-antigens. These self-antigens include nucleic acids, blood cells, coagulation proteins, and phospholipids that cause disease manifestations in virtually every organ system. Over the last 3 decades, treatment modalities and preventive therapies for SLE patients have substantially improved, producing decreases in mortality from the disease. However, as life expectancy among SLE patients has increased, the incidence of cardiovascular disease has increased as well. Multiple studies suggest that patients with SLE have between a 9-fold and 50-fold increase in risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared with non-SLE patients. It is thought that these increases result from a combination of traditional risk factors, as well as the dysfunctional immune and inflammatory mechanisms in patients with SLE. At this time, there is limited evidence to support specific treatment guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in SLE patients. The treatment of these patients currently remains to identify and treat the traditional and SLE-related risk factors.

Concepts: Immune system, Cell nucleus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Antiphospholipid syndrome, Malar rash


Summary Background  Dermoscopy is useful in evaluating skin tumours, but its applicability also extends into the field of inflammatory skin disorders. Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) represents the most common subtype of cutaneous lupus erythematosus. While dermoscopy and videodermoscopy have been shown to aid the differentiation of scalp DLE from other causes of scarring alopecia, limited data exist concerning dermoscopic criteria of DLE in other locations, such as the face, trunk and extremities. Objective  To describe the dermoscopic criteria observed in a series of patients with DLE located on areas other than the scalp, and to correlate them to the underlying histopathological alterations. Methods  DLE lesions located on the face, trunk and extremities were dermoscopically and histopathologically examined. Selection of the dermoscopic variables included in the evaluation process was based on data in the available literature on DLE of the scalp and on our preliminary observations. Analysis of data was done with SPSS analysis software. Results  Fifty-five lesions from 37 patients with DLE were included in the study. Perifollicular whitish halo, follicular keratotic plugs and telangiectasias were the most common dermoscopic criteria. Statistical analysis revealed excellent correlation between dermoscopic and histopathological findings. Notably, a time-related alteration of dermoscopic features was observed. Conclusions  The present study provides new insights into the dermoscopic variability of DLE located on the face, trunk and extremities.

Concepts: Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Discoid lupus erythematosus


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a prototype autoimmune disease characterized by systemic inflammation and autoantibody production. Anti-MBL autoantibodies have been studied in SLE for their possible effect on MBL levels and functional activity. This study aimed at detection of anti-MBL autoantibodies in Indian SLE patients and evaluates their relationship with related immunological parameters. Two hundred diagnosed SLE patients from Western India were included in the study where 87 patients were lupus nephritis (LN) (43.5 %) and remaining (56.5 %) were non-LN. Disease activity was assessed using the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI). Anti-MBL autoantibodies to IgG and IgM isotypes, anti-C1q autoantibodies, MBL levels and circulating immune complex levels were detected by ELISA. C3, C4 and CRP levels were detected by nephelometer. Anti-MBL autoantibodies were detected in 52 % SLE patients, where 55 % had IgG-anti-MBL, 33.8 % had IgM-anti-MBL and 11.3 % had both subclasses. Low MBL levels were present in 64.4 % anti-MBL positives as compared with 61.5 % in anti-MBL negatives. Among anti-MBL positives, 74 % had anti-C1q antibodies, whereas 41.7 % of anti-MBL negatives had anti-C1q autoantibodies (p = 3.45E06). An inverse correlation was observed between serum MBL and CIC levels. A statistically significant difference was noted between anti-MBL positives and anti-MBL negative patients with hsCRP levels (p = 0.002). Occurrence of infections was higher among anti-MBL positives (65 %) as compared with anti-MBL negatives (35 %). The difference between SLEDAI scores among anti-MBL positive and negative groups was statistically insignificant. Anti-MBL autoantibodies in SLE patients can influence functional activity of MBL and have a significant role in SLE disease pathogenesis.

Concepts: Immune system, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Glomerulonephritis, Lupus nephritis, Cyclophosphamide


Chronic leg ulcers in patients with rheumatological diseases can cause significant morbidity. We performed a retrospective case review to describe the epidemiology, clinical features and outcome of chronic leg ulcers in this group of patients. Twenty-nine patients with underlying rheumatological conditions, namely, rheumatoid arthritis (15 patients), systemic lupus erythematosus (8 patients), overlap syndromes (3 patients), systemic sclerosis (1 patient) and ankylosing spondylitis (1 patient) were included. The ulcers were mostly located around the ankle (55·2%) and calves (37·9%). The predominant aetiology of the ulcers, in decreasing order of frequency, was venous disease, multifactorial, vasculitis or vasculopathy, infective, pyoderma gangrenosum, ischaemic microangiopathy and iatrogenic. Treatment modalities included aggressive wound bed preparation, compression therapy (17 patients), changes in immunosuppressive therapy (15 patients), hyperbaric oxygen therapy (4 patients) and cellular skin grafting (2 patients). Management of chronic leg ulcers in rheumatological patients is challenging and the importance of careful clinicopathological correlation and treatment of the underlying cause cannot be overemphasised.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Autoimmune diseases, Arthritis, Immunosuppressive drug


Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is generally used to treat systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in Western countries. However, chloroquine retinopathy became a problem in Japan, and chloroquine has never been used since then. Even now HCQ remains non-approved. Therefore, the Japanese Hydroxychloroquine Study Group has been organized, and activities have started to have HCQ approved within Japan. In the present study, we investigated the effectiveness of HCQ against the skin manifestations of lupus erythematosus. There were seven patients, all female, and they consisted of four patients with SLE (skin lesion type: discoid lupus erythematosus [DLE] in three, subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus in one and lupus erythematosus profundus in one), two patients with cutaneous lupus erythematosus (both DLE), and one patient with a combination of SLE and dermatomyositis. HCQ was effective in three patients and ineffective in the two patients. We could not judge the efficacy of HCQ in the other two patients. There were no adverse effects in any of the patients. Efficacy was exhibited against telangiectasia and erythema. HCQ is also an effective and safe treatment for Japanese patients, and it is hoped that it will be approved for use in Japan very soon.

Concepts: Rheumatoid arthritis, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Connective tissue diseases


Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is an autoimmune disease characterized by the formation of anti-nuclear autoantibodies, particularly anti-chromatin. Although the aetiology of the disease has not yet been fully elucidated, several mechanisms have been proposed to be involved. Due to an aberrant apoptosis or decreased removal of apoptotic cells, apoptotic blebs containing chromatin are released. During apoptosis, chromatin is modified that increases its immunogenicity. Myeloid dendritic cells (myDC) can take up apoptotic blebs and stimulate autoreactive T helper cells, and subsequently the formation of autoantibodies by autoreactive B cells. Immune complexes formed by anti-chromatin autoantibodies and modified chromatin deposit on basal membranes, and incite a local inflammation, but can also stimulate plasmacytoid dendritic cells to produce IFN-α. In addition to apoptotic blebs, neutrophil extracellular traps released by dying neutrophils, in a process called NETosis, may serve as a source of autoantigens as well. In this review, we describe the role of both apoptosis and NETosis in the pathogenesis of SLE, and show how both processes may interact with each other.

Concepts: Immune system, Cell nucleus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Glomerulonephritis, Autoimmune diseases, Sjögren's syndrome