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International Journal of Rheumatology publishes original research articles, review articles, and clinical studies on paediatric and adult rheumatological and musculoskeletal conditions, including topics such as basic research, therapy, surgery, and imaging.
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Intracytoplasmic Expression of IL-6 and IL-17A in Circulating CD4+ T Cells Are Strongly Associated with and Predict Disease Activity in Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Case-Control Study in Ghana
Background. T cell cytokines play important roles in the development and progression of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Loss of Th1/Th2 and Th17/Treg balance has been reported in several inflammatory autoimmune diseases. However, their role in RA within hitherto rare Ghanaian context has not been explored. Here, we evaluated the intracytoplasmic CD4+ T cell cytokine patterns in rheumatoid arthritis patients in Ghana and determined their relationship with disease activity. Methods. This case-control study included 48 newly diagnosed RA patients and 30 apparent healthy controls from two major hospitals in Ghana. Validated structured questionnaires were administered to obtain demographic data; blood samples were collected and processed for flow cytometric analysis. Results. IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-17A, IL-6/IL-4, and IL-17/IL-10 expressions were significantly higher in RA cases compared to the healthy controls. The expression of IL-6 (0.00 (0.00-0.98) vs. 0.82 (0.34-1.10) vs. 1.56 (1.39-1.68), ), IL-17A (0.00 (0.00-0.02) vs. 0.19 (0.09-0.30) vs. 0.99 (0.64-1.25), ), and IL-17A/IL-10 (0.00 (0.00-0.39) vs. 0.15 (0.09-0.26) vs. 0.88 (0.41-1.47), ) increased significantly from the healthy controls through RA patients with low DAS scores to RA patients with moderate DAS scores. IL-6 (, , ), IL-17A (, , ), and IL-17A/IL-10 (, , ) expressions were significantly directly associated with DAS28 scores. IL-6 (, , , , and ) and IL-17A (, , , , and ) presented with the best discriminatory power in predicting moderate DAS scores from low DAS scores. Conclusion. Th1- and Th17-related cytokines predominate in the pathophysiology of RA, with IL-6 and IL-17 being principally and differentially expressed based on the severity of the disease. IL-6 and IL-17A could serve as useful prognostic and disease-monitoring markers in RA in the African context.
Direct Healthcare Costs Associated with Oligoarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis at a Single Center
Oligoarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a common disease in pediatric rheumatology. The management of oligoarticular JIA can result in a considerable economic burden. This study is a four-year, retrospective cost identification analysis performed to determine the annual direct cost of care for patients with oligoarticular JIA and possible predictive clinical factors. Direct healthcare costs were defined as those associated with office visits, laboratory studies, hospital admissions, joint injections, medications, infusions, radiology tests, and emergency room visits. Disease characteristics and patient information included ANA status, gender, age at diagnosis, duration from diagnosis to initial visit during the study period, and whether uveitis had been diagnosed. We identified 97 patients with oligoarticular JIA eligible for the study. The median age of diagnosis was 4.3 years. Positive ANA were noted in 75% of patients. 34% of patients received at least one intra-articular steroid injection. 32% of patients were prescribed a biologic during the study period, predominantly with other medications, while 23% of patients received only NSAIDs. 20% of patients were prescribed oral steroids. The average total direct medical cost in this study per year for an oligoarticular JIA patient was . Medications accounted for 85% of annual direct medical costs. Clinic visits and laboratory testing accounted for 8% and 5%, respectively. Patient characteristics and demographics were tested for association with direct medical costs by the Wilcoxon rank sum test and Kruskal-Wallis test. Patients who were ANA positive had increased annual costs compared to patients who are ANA negative. ANA-positive patients were found to have statistically significant costs, particularly, in laboratory tests, procedural costs, radiology costs, and medication costs. The results reported here provide information when allocating healthcare resources and a better understanding of the economic impact oligoarticular JIA has on the United States healthcare system.
Clinical Presentations of Lumbar Disc Degeneration and Lumbosacral Nerve Lesions
Lumbar disc degeneration is defined as the wear and tear of lumbar intervertebral disc, and it is mainly occurring at L3-L4 and L4-S1 vertebrae. Lumbar disc degeneration may lead to disc bulging, osteophytes, loss of disc space, and compression and irritation of the adjacent nerve root. Clinical presentations associated with lumbar disc degeneration and lumbosacral nerve lesion are discogenic pain, radical pain, muscular weakness, and cutaneous. Discogenic pain is usually felt in the lumbar region, or sometimes, it may feel in the buttocks, down to the upper thighs, and it is typically presented with sudden forced flexion and/or rotational moment. Radical pain, muscular weakness, and sensory defects associated with lumbosacral nerve lesions are distributed on lower extremities, the buttock, lower abdomen, and groin region. A lumbosacral plexus lesion presents different symptoms in the territories of the lumbar and sacral nerves. Patients with lumbar plexus lesion clinically present with weakness of hip flexion, knee extension, thigh adduction, and sensory loss in the lower abdomen, inguinal region, and over the entire medial, lateral, and anterior surfaces of the thigh and the medial lower leg, while sacral plexus lesion presents clinical symptoms at nerve fibers destined for the sciatic nerve, common peroneal nerve, and pudendal nerve. Weakness of ankle inversion, plantar flexion, and foot drop are the main clinical manifestations of the sacral plexus lesion area. Numbness and decreased sensation are also present along the anterolateral calf and dorsum of the foot. On examination, foot eversion is usually stronger than foot dorsiflexion. The patients may also present with pain and difficulty of bowel movements, sexual dysfunction assessments, and loss of cutaneous sensation in the areas of the anal canal, anus, labia major, labia minor, clitoris, penis, and scrotum.
Evaluation Effects of Laser Therapy and Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy with Clinical Parameters and Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis in Patients with Spondyloarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Objective. Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) and extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is applied in the conservative treatment of inflammatory plantar fasciitis, which is also a characteristic feature of spondyloarthritis (SpA) (Gill, 1997 and Roxas, 2005). We determined and compared the effectiveness of LLLT and ESWT using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Methods. This study is a prospective, randomized, comparative, single-blind clinical study. Voluntarily followed 40 patients with the diagnosis of SpA and having pain at the heels at least for 6 months. Patients were divided randomly into two treatment groups. One group undertook 14 sessions of infrared Ga-Al-As LLLT, and the other group undertook 3 sessions ESWT. Feet functions of the patients were evaluated by American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) and Roles and Maudsley Scoring; VAS was evaluated for foot pain and function. In clinical assessment, disease activity was carried out by applying the BASDAI, the functional assessment was evaluated through the BASFI, and the patient quality of life was evaluated through the ASQoL; enthesitis was scored according to MASES assessment, performed before and at 1 month after treatment. The thickness of the plantar fascia was measured with MRI before and 1 month after treatment. Results. Compared with the pretherapy, progress in the feet function by AOFAS and Roles-Maudsley scoring and decrease in VAS levels were statistically significant in both groups (). Only the VAS exercise score was superior to LLLT (). The thickness of the plantar fascia had decreased significantly on MRI in all two groups. Conclusion. The treatment of plantar fasciitis with LLLT and ESWT was more successful in pain improvement and functional outcomes with the dose, frequency, and duration used in our study.
Vaccinations Do Not Increase Arthritis Flares in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: A Study of the Relationship between Routine Childhood Vaccinations on the Australian Immunisation Schedule and Arthritis Activity in Children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Background. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a collective term for a group of inflammatory conditions of uncertain origin, which causes chronic arthritis in one or more joints. The clinical course of JIA is characterised by episodes of increased activity, termed flares. Vaccinations have previously been proposed as a “trigger” for some flares, although evidence supporting this is scant. Objective. To explore whether routine childhood vaccinations are associated with an increased risk of flares of arthritis activity in children with JIA. Methods. Patients aged below 6 years with a diagnosis of JIA were recruited from the Rheumatology Clinical Database at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, from 1 January 2010 to 30 April 2016. Patient immunisation status was cross-checked with the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR). The self-controlled case series methodology (Rowhani-Rahbar et al., 2012) was applied to determine whether the risk of arthritis flares in the three months following immunisation was greater than the baseline risk for each patient. Results. 138 patients were included in the study. 32 arthritis flares occurred in the 90 days following immunisation. The risk of arthritis flares during the 90 days following immunisation was reduced compared with patients’ baseline risk (RR 0.59 (95% CI 0.39-0.89, )). Conclusion. Routine childhood immunisations were not associated with arthritis flare onset in patients with JIA. The risk of arthritis flares in the 90 days following vaccination was lower than the baseline risk. In the context of COVID19, vaccination will not increase interaction with the healthcare system beyond the immunisation encounter.
Serum Peptidomic Profile as a Novel Biomarker for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Over the last decades, there has been an increasing need to discover new diagnostic RA biomarkers, other than the current serologic biomarkers, which can assist early diagnosis and response to treatment. The purpose of this study was to analyze the serum peptidomic profile in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS). The study included 35 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 35 patients with primary osteoarthritis (OA) as the disease control (DC), and 35 healthy controls (HC). All participants were subjected to serum peptidomic profile analysis using magnetic bead (MB) separation (MALDI-TOF-MS). The trial showed 113 peaks that discriminated RA from OA and 101 peaks that discriminated RA from HC. Moreover, 95 peaks were identified and discriminated OA from HC; 38 were significant () and 57 nonsignificant. The genetic algorithm (GA) model showed the best sensitivity and specificity in the three trials (RA versus HC, OA versus HC, and RA versus OA). The present data suggested that the peptidomic pattern is of value for differentiating individuals with RA from OA and healthy controls. We concluded that MALDI-TOF-MS combined with MB is an effective technique to identify novel serum protein biomarkers related to RA.