Arthritis Research and Therapy

August to November 2022

Authors: Sytske Anne Bergstra and Emre Bilgin

Okuba M et al. (doi: 10.1186/s13075-022-02867-x) performed a transcriptome analysis to explore the phenotypes of immune cells of Behçet’s Disease (BD) patients and compared them with healthy controls. The frequency of NFκB pathway-activated Th17 cells in BD patients was significantly increased. The activation of antigen-presenting cells, and the expression of YBX3, a member of a plasmacytoid dendritic cell (pDC) gene module, maybe a key molecules connecting genetic risk factors of BD with disease pathogenesis. Furthermore, IL-17-producing CD8+ T cells, Tc17 cells, may play a critical role in BS, which may have an important therapeutic target.

Gernart M et al. (doi:10.1186/s13075-022-02887-7) explored the performance of calprotectin (S100A8/S100A9) to detect the inflammatory activity of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients using tocilizumab. Active RA patients (defined as the need for change in DMARD in this study) had higher calprotectin values than not active RA patients (4155.5 [IQR 1865.3–6068.3] vs.1040.0 [676.0–1638.0] ng/ml, P < 0.001). This small but important study may have an impact on the follow-up of RA patients using tocilizumab.

Thayakaran R et al. (doi: 10.1186/s13075-022-02885-9) studied granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) patients to cluster GPA patients according to clinical features at disease presentation. Three clusters were identified: patients with limited disease, mainly with involvement of ENT and cough, were classified into cluster 1 (n = 426); cluster 2 had the generalized non-renal disease (n = 176); while patients in cluster 3 had the renal-predominant disease (n = 47). Mortality in clusters 2 and 3 was higher compared with cluster 1. Mortality in cluster 1 was 68% higher than in the general population without a GPA.

Kondo M et al. (doi: 10.1186/s13075-022-02899-3) investigated the effects of dersimelagon phosphoric acid (MT-7117), a novel oral Melanocortin 1 receptor agonist, as a therapeutic agent for systemic sclerosis in bleomycin (BLM)-induced SSc murine model. Prophylactic treatment with MT-7117 (≥ 0.3 mg/kg/day p.o.) significantly inhibited skin fibrosis and lung inflammation and suppressed the development of skin fibrosis in the BLM-induced SSc models via suppression of the activation of inflammatory cells and inflammation-related signals. MT-7117 demonstrates disease-modifying effects in preclinical models of SSc, and a phase 2 trial in patients with early, progressive diffuse cutaneous SSc is currently in progress.

Skougaard et al. (doi: 10.1186/s13075-022-02956-x) explored the immune cell subtypes to evaluate possible differences in immune cellular phenotypes and their association with disease outcomes in psoriatic arthritis. Four components were identified. Component 1, explaining 25.6% of the variance with contribution from T-helper 17 cells (Th17), memory T regulatory cells (mTregs), dendritic cells, and monocytes, was associated with longer disease duration and higher DAPSA. Component 2, driven by Th1, naïve Tregs, mTregs, was associated with shorter disease duration. Component 3 was driven by Th1, Th17 and CD8+ T cells, while component 4 was characterized by a reverse correlation between CD8+ T cells and natural killer cells.

About the AuthorS

Sytske Anne Bergstra

Sytske Anne is a post-doctoral researcher at the department of rheumatology of the Leiden University Medical Center and the project coordinator of the METEOR registry. Her main interests are rheumatoid arthritis, methodology, real world data and international comparisons. Sytske Anne is a member of the Social Media Sub-Committee.

Emre Bilgin

Emre is a rheumatologist at Hacettepe University where he is doing his MSc on epidemiology. His main interests are rheumatoid arthritis, adult Still’s disease and ANCA-associated vasculitis, aside from his enthusiasm for editorial activities. Emre is a member of the Social Media Sub-Committee.

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