Research Update: Atherosclerosis and Autoimmunity


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!

picture shows a beating heart

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. Continue reading

New Guidelines for the Diagnosis of Celiac Disease


Celiac disease diagnostics revised 

Anti-endomysial antibodies on monkey esophagus

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.

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Why Are Autoimmune Diseases More Common in Women than Men?


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. Continue reading

Found last Week on the Internet


Found last Week on the Internet, part 1: Up-to-date Articles on Autoimmunity and Autoimmune Diseases

 

Duroux-Richard I, Jorgensen C, Apparailly F. miRNAs and rheumatoid arthritis – promising novel biomarkers. Swiss Med Wkly. 2011 Mar 18;141:w13175 – doi: 10.4414/smw.2011.13175 – Free full text available! – Today, the most challenging issue in the field of rheumatoid arthritis is the identification of biomarkers for early disease diagnosis and for prediction drug response. micro(mi)-RNAs certainly represent an realistic option for optimal diagnosis an disease treatment.

 

Roux CH, Breuil V, Valerio L, Amoretti N, Brocq O, Albert C, Grisot C, Allam Y, Chevalier P, Pradier C, Euller-Ziegler L. Etanercept Compared to Intraarticular Corticosteroid Injection in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Double-blind, Randomized Pilot Study.  J Rheumatol. 2011 Mar 16. [Epub ahead of print]. – Patients with rheumatoid arthritis who had persistent Continue reading

Our Point-of-Care-Test rheumachec for Diagnosing Rheumatoid Arthritis


Our Point-of-Care-Test rheumachec for Diagnosing Rheumatoid Arthritis – a Highly Accessed Research Article in Arthritis Research & Therapy!

Several days ago, a colleague pointed out to me a publication in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy that came about largely through collaboration with scientists at ORGENTEC Diagnostika. Needless to say that this article was already familiar to me – already before its initial online publication in the summer of this year, I had read excerpts from it and extensively discussed the work and the results of this evaluation study with co-workers and clients. Continue reading