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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.
International Journal of Rheumatology maintains an Editorial Board of practicing researchers from around the world, to ensure manuscripts are handled by editors who are experts in the field of study.
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Clinical and Immunological Profile of Mixed Connective Tissue Disease and a Comparison of Four Diagnostic Criteria
Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) was initially described as a chronic immune-mediated disease with overlapping features of systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, and polymyositis. We conducted a cross-sectional study to describe the clinical and immunological profile of patients with MCTD and to compare the four diagnostic criteria, namely, Sharp, Kasukawa, Alarcón-Segovia, and Khan criteria. A total of 291 patients who were admitted from June 2007 to June 2017 and fulfilled the inclusion criteria were included in the study. A clinical diagnosis of MCTD was made in 111 patients, of whom 103 (92.8%) were women. The mean age at presentation was 39.3 years (). The most common organ systems that were involved were musculoskeletal system (95.5%), skin and mucosa (78.4%), and the gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary systems (56%). The maximum sensitivity was for the Kasukawa criteria with a sensitivity of 77.5% (95% CI 68.4-84.6) and specificity of 92.2% (95% CI 87-95.5). The Kahn criteria and Alarcón-Segovia criteria had the maximum specificity; the Alarcón-Segovia criteria had a sensitivity of 69.4% (95% CI 59.8-77.6) and a specificity of 99.4% (95% CI 96.5-99.9), while the Kahn criteria had a sensitivity of 52.3% (95% CI 42.6-61.7) and a specificity of 99.4% (95% CI 96.5-99.9). The sensitivity and specificity of Sharp criteria were 57.7% (95% CI 47.9-66.87) and 90% (95% CI 84.4-93.8), respectively.
The Micro-Immunotherapy Medicine 2LARTH® Reduces Inflammation and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis In Vivo
Background. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory joint disease, which can cause cartilage and bone damages as well as pain and disability. In order to prevent disease progression, reduce pain, and major symptoms of RA, one good strategy consists in targeting proinflammatory cytokines that have the key role in the vicious circle of synovial inflammation and pain. The micro-immunotherapy medicine (MIM) 2LARTH® targets cytokines involved in inflammation. Aim. The aim of the study is to evaluate the effect of the MIM compared to vehicle in an in vivo model of RA, induced in mice after immunization with articular bovine type II collagen. Methods. Vehicle and MIM were dissolved in pure water (1 capsule in 100 ml) and 100 µl was given by gavage daily for 14 days. To evaluate the severity of arthritis, wrist and ankle thickness was determined, paw edema was measured, and a clinical score from 0 to 4 was established. Furthermore, histological analysis was performed. To evaluate systemic inflammation, circulating levels of IL-1β and TNF-α were measured by ELISA. Results. Ankle thickness was found to be significantly reduced in MIM-treated mice compared to vehicle-treated mice () and compared to untreated me (). Paw edema was reduced, as well as clinical score attributed to MIM-treated mice in comparison with vehicle-treated mice and untreated CIA mice (). In line with these results, histological analysis confirmed that MIM reduced inflammation and joint destruction in comparison to controls. No significant changes were found in plasmatic IL-1β levels between CIA and controls, while the levels of TNF-α significantly increased in the CIA group, and were lowered in MIM-treated mice ( vs. vehicle and vs. CIA). Conclusion. The results indicate that the tested medicine reduces inflammation, histological, and clinical signs of RA in a CIA model.
Demographic and Clinical Patterns of Rheumatoid Arthritis in an Emirati Cohort from United Arab Emirates
This retrospective cohort study aimed to assess the demographic and clinical characteristics of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in Emirati patients attending Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, a large tertiary center in the Middle East. In this study, 414 Emirati patients with RA were evaluated over a 3-year period from April 2015 to April 2018. All patients fulfilled the 2010 RA ACR/EULAR criteria and were assessed for demographic and clinical characteristics. The estimated RA prevalence rate in our population cohort was 2.72%. Females showed predominance (80%) with a higher body mass index (31.4 ± 6.61, ) compared to males (28.8 ± 6.03, ). The most frequent comorbidity observed was dyslipidemia (43.5%) followed by hypertension (37.9%), diabetes mellitus (34.5%), and gastroesophageal reflux disease (33.1%). Xerophthalmia was the most frequent extra-articular manifestation. Rheumatoid factor and anti-citrullinated peptide were detected in 63.3% and 41.5% patients, respectively, while both were present in 33.3% of patients. Methotrexate, adalimumab, and rituximab were the most frequently prescribed disease modifying agents. In this study, we describe disease features that are unique to United Arab Emirates (UAE) patients and demonstrate that RA has a significant disease burden. Our findings highlight the need for a RA national registry to improve the quality of care of these patients in UAE.
The Contribution of Drugs and Helicobacter pylori to Gastric Mucosa Changes in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Antiphospholipid Syndrome
Background. The nature and rate of gastric mucosal (GM) damage in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) remain to be among the unsolved problems. Objective. To define the role of H. pylori and drugs in the development of GM damages in SLE and APS. Methods. A study was conducted on 85 patients with SLE and APS. All the patients underwent esophagogastroduodenoscopy with targeted biopsy of the mucosa of the gastric body and antrum. The presence of H. pylori in the gastric biopsy specimens was determined using polymerase chain reaction. Results. Endoscopic examination revealed that the patients with SLE and APS on admission had the following GM changes: antral gastritis (82.4%), erosions (24.7%), hemorrhages (8.2%), and pangastritis (8.2%). SLE and APS patients showed no direct correlation between the found GM damages and the presence of H. pylori. The use of glucocorticoid, low-dose acetylsalicylic acid, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and anticoagulant in SLE and APS patients is accompanied by GM damage. Conclusion. There was no evidence of the role of H. pylori in GM damage in the SLE and APS patients. More frequent detection of H. pylori was observed in anticoagulants or low-dose acetylsalicylic acid users than in glucocorticoids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ones.
Simultaneous Adalimumab and Antitubercular Treatment for Latent Tubercular Infection: An Experience from Nepal
Introduction. In Nepal, adalimumab is the most common agent being used, but in a disease activity-based dose tapering to address the economic constraints. Another constraint is the high risk of reactivation of tuberculosis in countries with high burden, especially with the use of tumor necrosis factor blocking agents. Though there are recommendations for screening and treatment of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) before using adalimumab, data is not clear regarding the appropriate screening schedule and the timing of initiation of biologic therapy. Methodology. This retrospective review of prospectively followed cohort of spondyloarthropathy patients aimed to evaluate the efficacy of simultaneous initiation of adalimumab with LTBI treatment. Patients fulfilling either the modified New York criteria for ankylosing spondylitis or Assessment in SpondyloArthritis international Society criteria and who were refractory to oral treatment were screened with Mantoux (≥10mm) and interferon gamma release assay (QuantiFERON) to detected LTBI. Those who tested positive were started on rifampicin/isoniazid combination for 3 months and adalimumab treatment on the same day. The patients were followed up at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 12 weeks, and then every 3 months for 2 years. Results. Out of 784 patients diagnosed, 92 were receiving adalimumab. LTBI was detected by positivity of either Mantoux or QuantiFERON in 29.3% patients. None of the patients with LTBI who were started on the 2 drug regime simultaneous with adalimumab developed activation of tuberculosis. However, two patients testing negative for both the tests developed tubercular pleural effusion during treatment. Conclusions. Our findings indicate that screening for LTBI should be more frequent in patients from high tuberculosis burden countries; treatment of LTBI with rifampicin/isoniazid combination for 3 months is effective in preventing reactivation even when adalimumab is started simultaneously.
Vertebral Fractures among Patients Referred for Bone Densitometry Screening in Dubai Primary Health Care Facilities
Vertebral fractures are one of the most common fractures associated with low bone mineral density. However two-thirds to three-fourths of patients with vertebral fractures are not clinically recognized. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of vertebral fractures in patients referred for bone densitometry and the most common site of fracture. The study was carried out in the osteoporosis clinic in Dubai primary health care center. A total of 120 patients were examined using the dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Of all the patients, 48.3% were osteoporotic and 40.9% were osteopenic. The overall prevalence of vertebral fracture was 14.2%. The result showed that the prevalence of vertebral fracture was higher in female compared to male (15.7% and 9.7%, respectively). It was found that patients aged 80 and above had the highest prevalence of vertebral fracture (54.5%). Undiagnosed vertebral fractures were common. Therefore, it is crucial to prevent vertebral fracture through early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of osteoporosis.