In rheumatoid arthritis, standard heart disease risk tools underrate danger!
Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, or RA for short, are at higher risk for heart disease. Among experts that’s a matter of common knowledge (fortunately and increasingly that is basic knowledge among patients, too!).
Watch out, doctors! – In elderly rheumatoid arthritis patients commonly used heart disease risk assessment tools regularly fail, according to a current study. – © Robbie Ribeiro
On a less positive note, commonly used heart disease risk assessment tools seem to be inadequate for estimating the risk of cardiovascular disease danger faced by RA patients. That is what a brand-new study found.
In this blog article I summarise the main results of the research done at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota (USA). The study is entitled Usefulness of Risk Scores to Estimate the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis, and it has been published online on 20th April 2012 in The American Journal of Cardiology.
Heart disease risk in RA: More accurate assessment tools needed
The study estimated the accuracy of the Framingham and Reynolds risk scores, two tools commonly used by physicians for assessing patients’ heart disease danger. The scientists found that these two assessment tools substantially underrated cardiovascular disease danger both in women and men suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. In particular, that happens in older patients. Interestingly enough, it also happens in people who test positive for rheumatoid factors. (more…)
The long Arm of the Dendritic Cells: The Link between Atherosclerosis and Autoimmune Diseases
Inflammation has been closely linked to autoimmunogenic processes in atherosclerosis. In fact, patients who are suffering from an autoimmune disease have an increased incidence of “hardening of the arteries”, concretely atherosclerosis (the spelling “arteriosclerosis” is also common). In the case of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) the patients have a 30 to 60% higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke!
It is an accepted fact: Rheumatoid arthritis patients have a higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. But where is the connection between the two types of disease?
pDCs: the link between atherosclerosis and autoimmunity
Now clinical researchers at Munich Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) have uncovered a mechanism which establishes a causal link between the two types of disease. The immunological process may help to explain the link between autoimmunity and atherosclerosis.
The mechanism described is provided by a specific class of immune cells called plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs). The pDCs respond to DNA released from damaged and dying cells by secreting interferon proteins. The research, which is done in collaboration with scientists from Rudolf Virchow Center at Wuerzburg University, shows that stimulation of pDCs by a specific DNA-protein complex contributes to the progression of atherosclerosis. These findings may have implications for new strategies for the treatment of a whole spectrum of conditions that are associated with chronic inflammatory reactions. (more…)
Celiac disease diagnostics revised
Anti-endomysial antibodies on monkey esophagus
The diagnostic criteria for celiac disease (CD) have remained unchanged for more than 20 years, after the 1990 revision of the guidelines originally formulated in 1969. During this period the disease has been intensively studied and scientific findings have unveiled the genetic background of celiac disease, linked to the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 haplotypes. The key autoantigen tissue transglutaminase (tTG) has been identified and reliable laboratory tests for disease specific autoantibodies now contribute to diagnostics and complement the methodological repertoire of clinical observations and histologic findings in duodenal biopsy samples. Finally, the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) has now published New Guidelines for the Diagnosis of Celiac Disease.
Mobile Health Applications and Their Significance for Medical Education and Healthcare
As we here at ORGENTEC Diagnostika set about developing a smartphone application for our company in mid-September of this year, we had no idea what an exciting field we were entering.
We were also amazed when we began to intensively explore the iTunes App store and Android Market to see “what the others were up to”. We tried out many things, looked at a large variety of very different apps, and loaded our iPhones up with a broad range of apps.
The ORGENTEC Autoimmunity Guide: Three screenshots of our company’s mobile medical app on autoimmunity, autoimmune disorders, and autoimmune diseases diagnostics. – © ORGENTEC Diagnostika, Mainz
We also researched a lot of technical details, reading this blog and that. We learned a great deal about the market shares of the individual mobile operating systems (“Who is winning the race for domination on the mobile operating system market in which corner of the world? Apple’s iOS or the Android OS? Blackberry’s RIM or Windows Phone 7?”). We thus also had to involve ourselves to some extent in some “religious wars” (“iPhone or Android device?” – … there’s no question, is there?). (more…)
Anti-CCP hs (high sensitive)®: a new biomarker for the serological diagnosis of early rheumatoid arthritis
Timely diagnosis is of critical importance to the progression of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) because the rapid implementation of intensive treatment can inhibit damage to the joints and maintain function. In conjunction with medical history, clinical examination, and imaging procedures, serological tests form the foundation for an early diagnosis.
In addition to rheumatoid factors, autoantibodies against citrullinated antigens (ACPA) have proven to be valuable tools for the serological diagnosis of early RA. They have become a critical component of the new 2010 ACR criteria for the classification of RA, and account for three of the six points required to verify a diagnosis of RA. (more…)
No matter if it’s rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or multiple sclerosis (MS): most autoimmune diseases affect women significantly more often than men. It is possible that this could be at least partially explained by the occurrence of age-associated B cells (ABCs), as described in an article recently published in Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology. (more…)
According to a recent study, a new biomarker may make it possible to make a prognosis regarding the progression of the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
The results of the study, which was carried out at the University of Munich Clinics, were recently published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, The EULAR Journal. At the centre of this study lies an analysis of the cell hormone interleukin-22, IL-22, and its significance as a prognostic marker for RA. The researchers examined the relationship between the serum levels of interleukin-22 and the risk of bone erosion and joint damage in RA patients. (more…)
Antibodies to Modified Citrullinated Vimentin Are Associated with Subclinical Atherosclerosis in Early Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular disease (CVD), especially accelerated atherosclerosis (1-3). There is evidence that this already occurs early in the disease process. Well known common CVD risk factors interact with the systemic auto-inflammatory response during the disease process and speed up the development of atherosclerosis in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Antibodies against citrullinated protein and peptide antigens (ACPA) are highly sensitive and specific markers for early rheumatoid arthritis. Antibodies to Modified Citrullinated Vimentin (anti-MCV) predict poor outcome and appear to play a major role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis.
A recently published study by Amal El-Barbary and his co-workers may now shed light on the relationship between anti-MCV antibodies and cardiovascular co-morbidities in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (4). They investigated the correlation of anti-MCV antibodies in early RA with disease activity and cardiovascular risk factors compared to antibodies against cyclic citrullinated peptides (anti-CCP3). (more…)
Research Update: Prognosis of Outcomes for Rheumatoid Arthritis – What are the Risk Factors?
In the past, it has only been possible to explain some of the joint damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis (RA) based on known risk factors. In order to improve treatment for RA, future approaches to treatment will increasingly need to be tailored to individual patients and individually configured.
Personalized medicine in RA treatment
The goal is to develop individual treatments tailored to the needs of the individual patient, “personalized medicine” for rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis and treament (for more on the subject of personalized medicine, refer to the background article Early Detection and Personalised Medicine – What Biomarkers Tell Us on our rheumachec homepage). (more…)
Immunofluorescence patterns help eliminate “false positives” in diagnosing autoimmune rheumatic diseases
The detection of anti-nuclear antibodies, the ANA test, is a clear (laboratory-) diagnostic indicator of rheumatic autoimmune disease. One of the standard laboratory tests for the detection of these antinuclear antibodies is IIF, the indirect immunofluorescence assay, on human HEp-2 cells (ANA-HEp-2 test).
ANA-HEp-2 indirect immunofluorescence test (IIF): antibodies against RNP (ribonucleoproteins) – interphase nucleoli: coarse granular positive, nucleoli neglected; mitotic cells: negative (400x) – © ORGENTEC Diagnostika, Mainz
However, for up to 13% of healthy individuals, indirect immunofluorescence may detect anti-nuclear antibodies. Most of these healthy people will not develop an autoimmune disease – despite the positive ANA test. It is thus a challenge for the physician to differentiate these healthy, false-positive patients from those ANA-positive patients who already have an inflammatory rheumatic disease or who truly have an increased risk of developing such an autoimmune disease.
Several very specific IIF patterns
In a large study, Brazilian IIF experts have now worked out the fundamental differences between the ANA-HEp-2 test results on serum samples from healthy individuals and the immunofluorescence patterns from serum samples of patients with rheumatic disease; they have described various IIF patterns that can be used to differentiate between the two patient groups (Mariz et al. 2011). This study was published a few weeks ago in the January issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, the journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). In their article, the scientists from the Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brazil, explain in detail that there are several very specific immunofluorescence patterns in the ANA-HEp-2 assay with which the autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARD) are truly associated. (more…)