Autumn 2023 Press Review – A&R

April 2023 to July 2023

Authors: Anastasia Madenidou and Juan Camilo Sarmiento

Arthritis & Rheumatology

Prediction of the development of psoriatic arthritis in a cohort of patients with psoriasis

Cruz-Correa et al. ( conducted a genome-wide DNA methylation study using blood samples from psoriasis patients who developed (converters) and did not develop arthritis (non-converters). They created a classification model using 36 methylation markers, which identified converters and non-converters with an area under the ROC curve of 0.9644.

Phase II trial of obexelimab in patients with SLE

In a phase 2 trial, Merrill et al. ( evaluated the efficacy and safety of obexelimab, a monoclonal antibody inhibiting B cells, plasmablasts and plasma cells in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Although the primary endpoint was not reached, the time to loss of improvement was increased in obexelimab-treated vs. placebo-treated patients (HR 0.53, p=0.025).

Observational study comparing relative risk of disease-modifying drugs in SLE

Using observational data from a U.S. multi-centre electronic health record database (21,481 patients), Materne et al. ( compared serious infections among non-renal SLE patients who initiated belimumab, and three DMARDs between 2011-2021. Compared to azathioprine, mycophenolate, and methotrexate, belimumab was associated with lower risks of serious infection (HRs 0.82 [95% CI 0.72-0.92], 0.69 [0.61-0.78]), and 0.86 [95% CI 0.76-0.97] respectively).

Shared gut dysbiosis in Crohn’s disease, anterior uveitis and spondyloarthritis

Essex et al. ( performed 16S RNA sequencing on stool samples of 277 patients (72 Crohn’s disease, 103 acute anterior uveitis, and 102 SpA) and identified a common gut dysbiosis in all three diseases. They also suggest that Fusicatenibacter could play a role in gut-joint inflammation, but validation studies are required.

Cancer risk and systemic sclerosis autoantibody profiles

Kim et al. ( examined whether an array of scleroderma autoantibodies is associated with cancer risk (n=676 SSc cancer cases). Centromere, topoisomerase 1, RNA polymerase III, PM/Scl, Th/To, NOR90, U3RNP, Ku, Ro52, U1RNP, and RNPC3 autoantibodies were included. They concluded that distinct combinations of 5 scleroderma immune responses may stratify patients for cancer risk.

Identification of enteric nervous system autoantibodies in systemic sclerosis

McMahan et al. ( used serum from a SSc patient with GI dysfunction but without defined SSc-associated autoantibodies to identify novel enteric nervous system (ENS) autoantibodies. The authors focused on the  ENS, as GI function is regulated by the ENS and commonly impaired in SSc. They discovered gephyrin, a novel ENS autoantigen that is expressed in human myenteric ganglia. Using an SSc cohort, they identified that anti-gephyrin antibody levels were significantly higher among patients with severe constipation [0.04 vs. 0.00;p=0.001] and severe distention and bloating [0.03 vs. 0.004;p=0.010].

Anastasia Madenidou
Anastasia is a Clinical Research Fellow at the Centre of Musculoskeletal Research, University of Manchester, UK. Her research work focuses on omics techniques in lupus-spectrum disorders. Anastasia is the Deputy Chair of the British Rheumatology  Society Trainee Committee and a member of the EMEUNET Newsletter Sub-Committee.

Juan Camilo Sarmiento
Juan C is a Rheumatologist and Clinical Research Fellow at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona. His main research interests include the validation of biomarkers in RA-ILD and the utility of ultrasonography in systemic autoimmune diseases. Juan C is a member of the EMEUNET Newsletter Sub-Committee.

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