International Journal of Rheumatology https://www.hindawi.com The latest articles from Hindawi © 2020 , Hindawi Limited . All rights reserved. Direct Healthcare Costs Associated with Oligoarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis at a Single Center Tue, 01 Sep 2020 01:50:12 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2020/5640425/ 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. Amit Thakral, Daniel Pinto, Michael Miller, Megan L. Curran, Marisa Klein-Gitelman, and Dustin D. French Copyright © 2020 Amit Thakral et al. All rights reserved. Clinical Presentations of Lumbar Disc Degeneration and Lumbosacral Nerve Lesions Sat, 29 Aug 2020 14:05:09 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2020/2919625/ 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. Worku Abie Liyew Copyright © 2020 Worku Abie Liyew. All rights reserved. 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 Thu, 27 Aug 2020 13:50:17 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2020/4386361/ 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. Kezban Armagan Alpturker, Ayse Beyhan Lale Cerrahoglu, and Ihsan Sebnem Orguc Copyright © 2020 Kezban Armagan Alpturker et al. All rights reserved. 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 Tue, 04 Aug 2020 11:50:05 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2020/1078914/ 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. Naba M. Alfayadh, Peter J. Gowdie, Jonathan D. Akikusa, Mee Lee Easton, and Jim P. Buttery Copyright © 2020 Naba M. Alfayadh et al. All rights reserved. Serum Peptidomic Profile as a Novel Biomarker for Rheumatoid Arthritis Mon, 03 Aug 2020 00:05:01 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2020/6069484/ 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. Abeer A. Abdelati, Rehab A. Elnemr, Noha S. Kandil, Fatma I. Dwedar, and Rasha A. Ghazala Copyright © 2020 Abeer A. Abdelati et al. All rights reserved. Are Stem Cells Derived from Synovium and Fat Pad Able to Treat Induced Knee Osteoarthritis in Rats? Mon, 13 Jul 2020 03:05:05 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2020/9610261/ Background. Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic disease and a significant cause of joint pain, tenderness, and limitation of motion. At present, no specific treatment is available, and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have shown promising potentials in this regard. Herein, we aimed to evaluate the repairing potentials of stem cells derived from the synovium and fat pad in the treatment of OA. Methods. Twenty-eight male rats (, aged 10-12 weeks), were randomly divided into four groups (): C1: nontreated group, C2: Hyalgan-treated group, E1: adipose tissue-derived stem cell-treated group, and E2: synovial membrane-based stem cell-treated group. Collagenase type II was injected into the left knee; after eight weeks, OA was developed. Then, stem cells were injected, and rats were followed for three months. Afterward, specimens and radiological images were investigated. value ≤ 0.05 was set as statistically significant. Results. Compared to the C1 group, the E1 and E2 groups showed significantly better results in all six pathological criteria as well as joint space width and osteophytes of medial tibial, medial femoral, and medial fabellar condyles (). Similarly, compared to the C2 group, the E1 and E2 groups had better scores regarding surface, matrix, cell distribution, and cell population viability (). E2 showed considerably higher scores compared to C2 regarding subchondral bone and cartilage mineralization (). The joint space width was similar between the C2 and E groups. Conclusion. Treatment of OA with MSCs, particularly synovial membrane-derived stem cells, not only prevented but also healed OA of the knee to some extent in comparison to the Hyalgan and nontreatment groups. Reza Zare, Nader Tanideh, Behrooz Nikahval, Maryam Sadat Mirtalebi, Nasrollah Ahmadi, Shahrokh Zarea, Omid Koohi Hosseinabadi, Rohan Bhimani, and Soheil Ashkani-Esfahani Copyright © 2020 Reza Zare et al. All rights reserved. Correlation between C-reactive Protein with Malondialdehyde in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Patients Wed, 01 Jul 2020 00:35:10 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2020/8078412/ Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disease characterized by an inflammatory process. One of the inflammation markers that can be measured is C-reactive protein (CRP). Another indicator of inflammation is malondialdehyde (MDA), though it is still uncommon to be analyzed in SLE patients. The study looked for the MDA value and found a correlation with CRP. A cross-sectional study design with a correlative analytical was performed. CRP level data was taken from Hasan Sadikin lupus registry data, and MDA levels were analyzed from a bioarchive patient’s serum. We collected the patients’ data who had CRP level from Hasan Sadikin lupus registry and analysed MDA levels from the serum sample. MDA levels were analyzed using an ELISA method. The data obtained were analyzed using the Pearson correlation and Eta correlation test. The study involved 78 data patients as subjects. It was found that the median of CRP and MDA was 0.85 mg/l and 153.10 ng/ml, respectively. These results indicate that the CRP levels in SLE patients are still within normal limits. Statistical analysis showed no correlation between CRP and MDA level (,). Additionally, the correlation between CRP and MDA with organ involvement, such as lupus nephritis (LN), lupus cutaneous (LC), and lupus musculoskeletal (LM), showed no correlation (). There is no correlation between CRP and MDA levels in SLE patients, and specific organ involvement of the disease does not affect the correlation. Nur Atik, S. Putri Pratiwi, and Laniyati Hamijoyo Copyright © 2020 Nur Atik et al. All rights reserved. Oral Complementary Medicine Use among People with Inflammatory Arthritis: An Australian Rheumatology Association Database Analysis Fri, 05 Jun 2020 14:50:01 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2020/6542965/ Objectives. To describe oral complementary medicine (CM) use in people with inflammatory arthritis, associations with use, and changes in use over time. Methods. Demographic, clinical, and patient-reported outcome data from 5,630 participants with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) were extracted from the Australian Rheumatology Association Database (ARAD), a national observational database. CM use at entry into ARAD was ascertained for participants recruited between 2002 and 2018. CM was categorised according to the NIH/Cochrane schema (fatty acids, herbs, or supplements). Logistic regression was used to assess associations between demographic characteristics and CM use. Change in CM use between 2006 and 2016 was investigated using a nonparametric test for trend of rate by year. Results. 2,156 (38.3%) ARAD participants were taking CM at enrolment (RA: 1,502/3,960 (37.9%), AS: 281/736 (38.2%), PsA: 334/749 (44.6%), and JIA: 39/185 (21.1%)). CM use was more prevalent in women (OR 1.3; 95% CI: 1.13-1.50), those with tertiary education (OR 1.32; 95% CI: 1.13-1.55), private health insurance (OR 1.26; (95% CI: 1.10-1.44), drinking alcohol sometimes (OR 1.22; 95% CI: 1.05-1.43), poorer function (HAQ) (OR 1.13; 95% CI: 1.02-1.24), use of NSAID (OR 1.32; 95% CI 1.17-1.50), weak (OR 1.21; 95% CI 1.05-1.41) but not strong opioids, and less prevalent in current smokers (OR 0.76; 95%: CI 0.63-0.91). CM use was not associated with pain, disease activity, or quality of life. The most common CMs were fish oils ( users) followed by glucosamine (). Both declined in use over time between 2006 and 2016 (27.5% to 21.4%, trend and 15.5% to 6.4%, trend ), respectively. Conclusion. Oral CM use is common among Australians with inflammatory arthritis. Its use is greater among women and those with tertiary education. Fish oil and glucosamine, the most common CMs, both declined in use over time. Ashley Fletcher, Marissa Lassere, Lyn March, Catherine Hill, Graeme Carroll, Claire Barrett, and Rachelle Buchbinder Copyright © 2020 Ashley Fletcher et al. All rights reserved. Efficacy of Vitamin E in Methotrexate-Induced Hepatotoxicity in Rheumatoid Arthritis: An Open-Label Case-Control Study Fri, 01 May 2020 00:05:05 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2020/5723485/ Objective. To examine the efficacy of vitamin E in methotrexate- (MTX-) induced transaminitis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Methods. A case-control study was conducted at a tertiary rheumatology center for 12 months. Patients with RA on MTX and deranged aminotransferases were included. Patients with previous liver diseases, baseline transaminitis before methotrexate initiation, alcohol intake, muscle diseases, under hepatotoxic drugs, and times the upper normal limit were excluded. The patients were divided into treatment (vitamin E 400 mg bid for 3 months) and control groups (no vitamin E) using a random number table. The dose of MTX was unaltered. Follow-up was done after 3 and 6 months. Independent -test was done to compare means of two groups. Paired -test was done to compare differences in mean. Results. Among 230 patients, 86.5% were female with a mean BMI of  kg/m2. In the treatment group, SGPT and SGOT at baseline were and  IU/L, respectively; at 3-month follow-up and  IU/L, respectively; and at 6-month follow-up and  IU/L, respectively. In the control group, SGPT and SGOT at baseline were and  IU/L, respectively, and at 3-month follow-up and  IU/L, respectively. Significant decrease in the level of aminotransferases was seen in the treatment group ( value < 0.001) and not in the control group ( values 0.161 and 0.728, respectively). The change in levels of SGPT and SGOT from baseline to 3 months of follow-up was statistically significant in between two study groups ( values 0.007 and <0.001, respectively). From the control group, 29 patients were crossed over to vitamin E for the next 3 months. SGPT and SGOT decreased from to and to  IU/L, respectively ( values 0.031 and 0.017, respectively). Conclusion. Vitamin E significantly attenuates MTX-induced transaminitis. Binit Vaidya, Manisha Bhochhibhoya, and Shweta Nakarmi Copyright © 2020 Binit Vaidya et al. All rights reserved. Changes in Urinary Microalbumin Levels after Correction of Hyperuricemia in Patients with Gout: An Observational Cohort Study Wed, 01 Apr 2020 00:35:07 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2020/8310685/ Background. Gout is commonly associated with metabolic syndrome. Strong association between the serum uric acid level and microalbuminuria has also been observed in various studies. Aim. To observe the change in urinary microalbumin after urate-lowering treatment in patients with gout and microalbuminuria. Methodology. A prospective, observational study was conducted at a tertiary-level rheumatic center (NCRD) in Kathmandu, Nepal. Adults diagnosed with gout using the 2015 ACR/EULAR criteria and microalbuminuria were enrolled in the study after obtaining informed consent. Sociodemographic profile and clinical history were recorded at baseline. Serum uric acid levels, spot urinary microalbumin (MAU) excretion, blood sugar, lipid profile, and blood pressure were measured at baseline, 3-month follow-up, and 6-month follow-up. A paired -test was used to compare the change in mean MAU after treatment. Results. A total of 778 patients diagnosed with gout were screened for microalbuminuria. Among them, 114 (14.6%) had urinary microalbumin levels of >30.0 mg/L during presentation. Mean MAU level among those with microalbuminuria was  mg/L. Thirty-five patients had concomitant HTN and were put on ARBs (20 mg of telmisartan). All received 40 mg of febuxostat. In patients with ARBs, MAU reduced significantly after 3 months of treatment with ARBs. Reduction in MAU in those without ARBs was seen after the 6-month follow-up, and the change was statistically significant. Conclusions. There is significant reduction in MAU after the use of urate-lowering drugs in patients with gout. Binit Vaidya, Kalpana Pudasaini, and Shweta Nakarmi Copyright © 2020 Binit Vaidya et al. All rights reserved. Role of Secreted Frizzled-Related Protein 1 and Tumor Necrosis Factor-α (TNF-α) in Bone Loss of Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis Sun, 01 Mar 2020 00:05:07 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2020/9149762/ Bone loss is one of the emerging extra-articular manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis. TNF-α is the main inflammatory cytokine that can directly increase bone resorption. However, its role in bone formation is still unknown, especially related to secreted frizzled-related protein 1 (SFRP-1), an osteoblast inhibitor. This study examines the correlation between TNF-α and SFRP-1, with a bone turn over marker (CTX and P1NP). This is a cross-sectional study with 38 subjects of premenopausal female patients with RA. This study found that 60.6% of the patients were in remission or low disease activity. The median of TNF-α was 10.6 pg/mL, mean of SFRP-1 was 9.29 ng/mL, mean of CTX was 2.74 ng/mL, and the median of P1NP was 34.04 pg/ml. There is positive correlation between TNF-α and P1NP (,), also between SFRP-1 and P1NP (;). A low level of TNF-𝛼, high level of SFRP-1, high level of CTX, and low level of P1NP in this study indicate a high bone turn over process, with dominant resorption activity in premenopausal female patients with RA. Andi Raga Ginting, Rudy Hidayat, Sumariyono Sumariyono, and Sukamto Koesnoe Copyright © 2020 Andi Raga Ginting et al. All rights reserved. A Review of Primary Vasculitis Mimickers Based on the Chapel Hill Consensus Classification Tue, 18 Feb 2020 05:20:03 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2020/8392542/ Primary systemic vasculitides are rare diseases that may manifest similarly to more commonly encountered conditions. Depending on the size of the vessel affected (large vessel, medium vessel, or small vessel), different vasculitis mimics must be considered. Establishing the right diagnosis of a vasculitis mimic will prevent unnecessary immunosuppressive therapy. Farah Zarka, Charles Veillette, and Jean-Paul Makhzoum Copyright © 2020 Farah Zarka et al. All rights reserved. Clinical and Immunological Profile of Mixed Connective Tissue Disease and a Comparison of Four Diagnostic Criteria Wed, 29 Jan 2020 13:35:19 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2020/9692030/ 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. Kevin John John, Mohammad Sadiq, Tina George, Karthik Gunasekaran, Nirmal Francis, Ebenezer Rajadurai, and Thambu David Sudarsanam Copyright © 2020 Kevin John John et al. All rights reserved. The Micro-Immunotherapy Medicine 2LARTH® Reduces Inflammation and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis In Vivo Thu, 23 Jan 2020 08:05:08 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2020/1594573/ 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. Ilaria Floris, Víctor García-González, Belen Palomares, Kurt Appel, and Beatrice Lejeune Copyright © 2020 Ilaria Floris et al. All rights reserved. Demographic and Clinical Patterns of Rheumatoid Arthritis in an Emirati Cohort from United Arab Emirates Wed, 25 Sep 2019 10:05:11 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2019/3057578/ 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. Rajaie Namas, Abhay Joshi, Zarmeena Ali, Jamal Al Saleh, and Mohammed Abuzakouk Copyright © 2019 Rajaie Namas et al. All rights reserved. Erratum to “Are All Oral COX-2 Selective Inhibitors the Same? A Consideration of Celecoxib, Etoricoxib, and Diclofenac” Sun, 02 Jun 2019 00:07:23 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2019/8635073/ Chris Walker Copyright © 2019 Chris Walker. All rights reserved. The Contribution of Drugs and Helicobacter pylori to Gastric Mucosa Changes in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Antiphospholipid Syndrome Sun, 05 May 2019 13:05:22 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2019/9698086/ 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. Tatiana M. Reshetnyak, Irina A. Doroshkevich, Natalia V. Seredavkina, Evgeny L. Nasonov, Igor V. Maev, and Vasiliy I. Reshetnyak Copyright © 2019 Tatiana M. Reshetnyak et al. All rights reserved. Simultaneous Adalimumab and Antitubercular Treatment for Latent Tubercular Infection: An Experience from Nepal Mon, 01 Apr 2019 10:05:37 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2019/2034950/ 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. Binit Vaidya and Shweta Nakarmi Copyright © 2019 Binit Vaidya and Shweta Nakarmi. All rights reserved. Vertebral Fractures among Patients Referred for Bone Densitometry Screening in Dubai Primary Health Care Facilities Wed, 06 Mar 2019 10:05:21 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2019/7974534/ 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. Anood Jamal Alshaali, Soha Abd El Aziz Abd El Aal, Amal Mohamad AlJaziri, Tamer Mohamed Farid Abdellatif, Manal Mohammad Omran Taryam, and Nahed AbdulKhaleq Monsef Copyright © 2019 Anood Jamal Alshaali et al. All rights reserved. Medication Adherence and Coping Strategies in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Cross-Sectional Study Mon, 04 Mar 2019 08:05:22 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2019/4709645/ Objectives. The aim of this study was to determine if strategies for coping with illnesses, demographic factors, and clinical factors were associated with medication adherence among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Methods. This cross-sectional study was conducted at a Viennese rheumatology outpatient clinic on RA patients. Medication adherence was assessed using the Medication Adherence Report Scale. Strategies for coping with illness were assessed using the Freiburg Questionnaire for Coping with Illness. Results. Half (N=63, 52.5%) of the 120 patients included in the study were considered completely medication adherent. Female sex (odds ratio [OR]: 4.57, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.14 – 18.42), older age (54-65 yr vs. <45 yr OR: 9.2, CI:2.0-40.70; >65 yr vs. <45 yr OR 6.93, CI:1,17 – 40.87), middle average income (middle average income vs. lowest income class OR= 0.06, CI= 0.01-0.43), and shorter disease duration (5-10 yr vs. >10 yr OR= 3.53, CI= 1.04-11.95; 1-4 yr vs. >10 yr OR=3.71, CI= 1.02-13.52) were associated with higher medication adherence. Levels of active coping (15.57 vs. 13.47, p=0.01) or diversion and self-encouragement (16.10 vs. 14.37, p=0.04) were significantly higher among adherent as opposed to less adherent participants. However, in multivariate regression models, coping strategies were not significantly associated with adherence. Conclusions. Age, sex, monthly net income, and disease duration were found to be associated with an increased risk for medication nonadherence among patients with RA. Coping strategies such as active coping, diversion, and self-encouragement were associated with adherence in univariate models, but not when adjusted for demographic and clinical factors. Carolin Berner, Ludwig Erlacher, Karl H. Fenzl, and Thomas E. Dorner Copyright © 2019 Carolin Berner et al. All rights reserved. Impact of a Student-Led Rheumatology Interest Group on Medical Student Interest in Rheumatology Sun, 24 Feb 2019 13:05:21 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2019/4892707/ Objectives. This observational study was designed to evaluate the impact of a student-led Rheumatology Interest Group on medical student interest in rheumatology. Methods. The mean numbers of student-rheumatology interactions per six months were assessed for elective enrollment, abstract submissions, and manuscripts, in the pre- and postinterest group period. Results. Enrollment in the rheumatology elective increased from 2.0 ± 0.36 per six months in the preintervention period to 6.2 ± 1.24 per six months in the postintervention period (p=0.0064). Abstract submissions increased from 0.5 ± 0.34 to 5.86 ± 1.49 (p=0.0077), and manuscript submissions from 0.16 ± 0.16 to 1.57 ± 0.37 (p=0.074). Conclusion. The Rheumatology Interest Group significantly increased medical student engagement in rheumatology. Sonia Silinsky Krupnikova, Timothy Brady, Michael Sheppard, N. Andrew LaCombe, Derek Jones, and Victoria K. Shanmugam Copyright © 2019 Sonia Silinsky Krupnikova et al. All rights reserved. Effects of the Cathepsin K Inhibitor ONO-5334 and Concomitant Use of ONO-5334 with Methotrexate on Collagen-Induced Arthritis in Cynomolgus Monkeys Sun, 17 Feb 2019 08:05:46 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2019/5710340/ We examined whether the cathepsin K inhibitor, ONO-5334, administered alone or in combination with methotrexate (MTX), could ameliorate joint destruction evoked by collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in female cynomolgus monkeys. CIA was induced by immunizing with bovine type II collagen. ONO-5334 (30 mg/kg/day) was orally administered once daily and MTX (10 mg/body/day) twice weekly for 9 weeks. X-ray (evaluation of joint destruction) and swelling (inflammatory) scores of proximal interphalangeal (PIP), distal interphalangeal (DIP), and metacarpophalangeal (MP) joints were evaluated. Urinary concentrations of C-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX-I) and type II collagen (CTX-II) were measured. Arthritis, accompanied by bone and cartilage destruction, was successfully induced in this collagen-induced arthritis monkey model. ONO-5334 showed no suppressive effect on joint swelling, while the joint swelling scores in the MTX and combination (ONO-5334 + MTX) groups were less than 50% compared with the control group. ONO-5334 decreased X-ray score by a mean of 64% (p<0.05 vs the control group), and MTX also decreased in X-ray score by a mean of 46% but with no statistical significance. Combination of ONO-5334 and MTX further decreased the X-ray score by 28% over MTX group (74% reduction vs the control group, p<0.01). Maximum increase in CTX-I (10-fold) and CTX-II (7-fold) compared to baseline was observed at 7 and 3 weeks after the first sensitization, respectively. After treatment with ONO-5334 alone or in combination with MTX, concentrations were maintained near baseline for both markers. In conclusion, ONO-5334 prevented joint destruction but not joint inflammation in this monkey CIA model. Concomitant use of ONO-5334 with MTX reduced architectural joint destruction compared to MTX alone; therefore, ONO-5334 may help to prevent joint destruction in combination with MTX for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Hiroyuki Yamada, Hiroshi Mori, Yasutomo Nakanishi, Satoshi Nishikawa, Yasuaki Hashimoto, Yasuo Ochi, Makoto Tanaka, and Kazuhito Kawabata Copyright © 2019 Hiroyuki Yamada et al. All rights reserved. Febuxostat and Cardiovascular Events: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Sun, 03 Feb 2019 00:00:00 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2019/1076189/ Background. Febuxostat is approved in the United States for the management of hyperuricemia in patients with gout. In November 2017 the FDA released a warning alert on a possible link between febuxostat and cardiovascular disease (CVD) reported in a single clinical trial. Objective. To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis and assess the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) in patients receiving febuxostat compared to a control group. Methods. We searched the MEDLINE and EMBASE database for studies published up until March 2018. We included randomized clinical trials (RCTs) that compared febuxostat to control groups including placebo and allopurinol. We calculated the pooled relative risk (RR) of MACE and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality with the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results. Our search yielded 374 potentially relevant studies. Among the 25 RCTs included in the systematic review, 10 qualified for the meta-analysis. Among the 14,402 subjects included, the median age was 54 years (IQR 52-67) and 90% were male (IQR 82-96); 8602 received febuxostat, 5118 allopurinol, and 643 placebo. The pooled RR of MACE for febuxostat was 0.9; 95% CI 0.6-1.5 (p= 0.96) compared to the control. The RR of CV-related death for febuxostat was 1.29; 95% CI 1.01-1.66 (p=0.03). Conclusions. Compared with other SU-lowering treatments, febuxostat does not increase or decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease but may increase the risk of CVD death. More RCTs measuring cardiovascular safety as a primary outcome are needed to adequately evaluate the risk of CVD with febuxostat. John A. Cuenca, Javier Balda, Ana Palacio, Larry Young, Michael H. Pillinger, and Leonardo Tamariz Copyright © 2019 John A. Cuenca et al. All rights reserved. Comment on “Long-Term Dietary Changes after Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis in Swedish Women: Data from a Population-Based Cohort” Wed, 02 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2019/1939686/ Velammal Petchiappan, Preethi Priyadarshini, and V. N. Nagaprabu Copyright © 2019 Velammal Petchiappan et al. All rights reserved. Are All Oral COX-2 Selective Inhibitors the Same? A Consideration of Celecoxib, Etoricoxib, and Diclofenac Sun, 09 Dec 2018 08:48:45 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2018/1302835/ Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been widely used for the treatment of arthritic conditions. Drugs in this heterogeneous class alleviate pain and inflammation by inhibiting cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). Cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) inhibition has traditionally been associated with increased gastrointestinal (GI) harm, whereas increased COX-2 selectivity has more recently become associated with greater risk of cardiovascular (CV) harm. When the entirety of data is considered, NSAIDs can be seen to exhibit a range of COX isoform selectivity, with all oral NSAIDs appearing to be associated with an increase in CV events. This review focuses on a comparison of the efficacy and the GI and CV safety profiles of three commonly used NSAIDs—celecoxib, etoricoxib, and diclofenac—using direct comparisons where available. While all three treatments are shown to have comparable efficacy, there are differences in their safety profiles. Both celecoxib and etoricoxib are associated with less GI harm than diclofenac despite the similarity of its COX-2 selectivity to celecoxib. Each of the three medicines under consideration is associated with a similar overall risk of CV events (fatal and nonfatal heart attacks and strokes). However, there are consistent differences in effects on blood pressure (BP), reported both from trials using ambulatory techniques and from meta-analyses of randomized trials, reporting investigator determined effects, with etoricoxib being associated with a greater propensity to destabilize BP control than either diclofenac or celecoxib. Chris Walker Copyright © 2018 Chris Walker. All rights reserved. The Effect of Prednisone on Tuberculin Skin Test Reaction in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis Sun, 21 Oct 2018 00:00:00 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2018/2586916/ Objectives. To assess the correlation between prednisone and methotrexate (MTX) treatment duration and dosage with the TST induration diameter of the TST reaction among rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Method. We retrospectively analyzed consecutive cases of RA patients who were TNF-i therapy candidates. TST measurements, prednisone and methotrexate dosages, and treatment durations were recorded. A control group was randomly selected from healthy subjects. We compared TST reaction size between the following three groups: RA patients with current prednisone treatment, RA prednisone naïve patients, and healthy individuals. Results. Our study sample comprised 43 RA patients with prednisone treatment, 22 prednisone naïve patients, and 195 healthy subjects. There was no significant difference in mean TST between the groups (5.3±6.6, 7.8±6.2, and 7.6±7.0, respectively, p=0.149). No correlation was noted between TST size and prednisone u-y (r=0.229, p=0.140) or methotrexate u-y in patients with and without prednisone therapy (r=0.219, p=0.158; and r=−0.293, p=0.186, respectively). Conclusions. Our results show that the TST reaction size among RA patients may not be affected by prednisone therapy. In addition, the TST reaction of RA patients may present similarly to that of healthy individuals. Therefore, we suggest that the criterion of a TST reaction of 5 mm to define latent TB infection in our population should be reevaluated. Olga Reitblat, Tsahi T. Lerman, Ornit Cohen, and Tatiana Reitblat Copyright © 2018 Olga Reitblat et al. All rights reserved. Population-Wide Associations between Common Viral Pathogens and Self-Reported Arthritis: NHANES 2009-2012 Mon, 01 Oct 2018 00:00:00 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2018/7684942/ Objective. Persistent infectious agents have been implicated in chronic and recurrent inflammation, which may trigger or worsen many types of arthritis. Our objective was to determine whether exposure to herpes simplex virus (HSV) and human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with self-reported arthritis among US adults. Methods. We used data from two consecutive cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2009 until 2012 (N of examined adults ages 20-69 = 9483). Participants were classified as having arthritis by self-report. Viral serology for HSV-1 and HSV-2 and HPV PCR studies from oral rinse and vaginal swabs were available for analysis. We compared HSV-1 and HSV-2 seropositivity as well as oral and vaginal HPV DNA positivity between participants with self-reported arthritis vs. those without, adjusting for age, gender, race, income, education, BMI, and the use of immunosuppressive medications. We used three comparator outcomes, gout, kidney stones, and hypertension, to evaluate whether the associations were specific or not to arthritis. Results. Arthritis was associated with older age, female gender, non-Hispanic White and Non-Hispanic Black race, higher BMI, and lower socioeconomic status. HSV-2 seropositivity, but not HSV-1 seropositivity, was independently associated with arthritis after adjustment for age, gender, race, income, education, BMI, and the use of immunosuppressive medications: AOR 1.48 (1.10-1.99). Oral HPV DNA positivity was also independently associated with arthritis: AOR 1.63 (1.17-2.28). After adjustment, there was no statistically significant difference in vaginal HPV DNA positivity between those with vs. those without arthritis: AOR 1.22 (0.90-1.66). There were no significant associations between viral exposures and any of the comparator outcomes. Conclusions. HSV-2 seropositivity and oral HPV DNA positivity were associated with self-reported arthritis and not with comparator outcomes, after adjustment for multiple potential confounders. These findings should be confirmed in longitudinal studies. Anna Shmagel, Grace Skemp-Dymond, Lisa Langsetmo, John T. Schousboe, Kristine Ensrud, and Robert Foley Copyright © 2018 Anna Shmagel et al. All rights reserved. Red Cell Distribution Width Is Positively Correlated with Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease 10-Year Risk Score, Age, and CRP in Spondyloarthritis with Axial or Peripheral Disease Thu, 27 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2018/2476239/ Background. Red blood cell distribution width (RDW) is a routine hematologic parameter that is a predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events and is independent of combined traditional risk factor scoring systems. The RDW has also been associated with rheumatic disease activity. Whether RDW is associated with traditional CVD risk factors or Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD) 10-year CVD risk score in patients with seronegative spondyloarthritis with axial or peripheral disease has not been previously determined. Methods. We performed a retrospective, chart review study evaluating the relationship between RDW, albumin, hemoglobin, C-reactive protein (CRP), absolute lymphocyte count (ALC), and ASCVD scoring parameters [age, hypertension status, diabetes mellitus (DM) status, lipid profile, and smoking status] in a cohort of spondyloarthritis patients, taking into consideration their HLA-B27 status, race, and treatment status. Results. RDW was found to positively correlate with ASCVD 10-year score and age, and ASCVD score did not change over time after patients were treated for spondyloarthritis. Albumin was found to negatively correlate with ASCVD 10-year risk score. Both RDW and albumin correlated with CRP. ALC failed to correlate with ASCVD 10-year score but did show a tendency to be associated with CVD, CVD events, and cardiac conduction abnormalities. Conclusions. These data indicate that further study is warranted to evaluate RDW, albumin level, and ALC as potential predictors of CVD in the spondyloarthritis patient population. Hassan Ahmad, Mariam Khan, Michelle Laugle, Desmond A. Jackson, Christopher Burant, Charles J. Malemud, Ali D. Askari, Maya Mattar, David E. Blumenthal, David A. Zidar, and Donald D. Anthony Copyright © 2018 Hassan Ahmad et al. All rights reserved. Integration of Genome-Wide DNA Methylation and Transcription Uncovered Aberrant Methylation-Regulated Genes and Pathways in the Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells of Systemic Sclerosis Sun, 02 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2018/7342472/ Objective. Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a systemic connective tissue disease of unknown etiology. Aberrant gene expression and epigenetic modifications in circulating immune cells have been implicated in the pathogenesis of SSc. This study is to delineate the interaction network between gene transcription and DNA methylation in PBMC of SSc patients and to identify methylation-regulated genes which are involved in the pathogenesis of SSc. Methods. Genome-wide mRNA transcription and global DNA methylation analysis were performed on PBMC from 18 SSc patients and 19 matched normal controls (NC) using Illumina BeadChips. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and differentially methylated positions (DMPs) were integrative analyzed to identify methylation-regulated genes and associated molecular pathways. Results. Transcriptome analysis distinguished 453 DEGs (269 up- and 184 downregulated) in SSc from NC. Global DNA methylation analysis identified 925 DMPs located on 618 genes. Integration of the two lists revealed only 20 DEGs which harbor inversely correlated DMPs, including 12 upregulated (ELANE, CTSG, LTBR, C3AR1, CSTA, SPI1, ODF3B, SAMD4A, PLAUR, NFE2, ZYX, and CTSZ) and eight downregulated genes (RUNX3, PRF1, PRKCH, PAG1, RASSF5, FYN, CXCR6, and F2R). These potential methylation-regulated DEGs (MeDEGs) are enriched in the pathways related to immune cell migration, proliferation, activation, and inflammation activities. Using a machine learning algorism, we identified six out of the 20 MeDEGs, including F2R, CXCR6, FYN, LTBR, CTSG, and ELANE, which distinguished SSc from NC with 100% accuracy. Four genes (F2R, FYN, PAG1, and PRKCH) differentially expressed in SSc with interstitial lung disease (ILD) compared to SSc without ILD. Conclusion. The identified MeDEGs may represent novel candidate factors which lead to the abnormal activation of immune regulatory pathways in the pathogenesis of SSc. They may also be used as diagnostic biomarkers for SSc and clinical complications. Honglin Zhu, Chengsong Zhu, Wentao Mi, Tao Chen, Hongjun Zhao, Xiaoxia Zuo, Hui Luo, and Quan-Zhen Li Copyright © 2018 Honglin Zhu et al. All rights reserved. Work Ability and Employment in Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Cross-Sectional Study on the Role of Muscle Strength and Lower Extremity Function Wed, 01 Aug 2018 00:00:00 +0000 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2018/3756207/ Objective. The aim of the present study was to assess the association between muscle strength, lower extremity function, employment status, and work ability in RA patients. Methods. One hundred seropositive RA outpatients of working age were included in this cross-sectional study. Employment status was assessed by interview and work ability by the Work Ability Index-Single Item Scale (WAS). Muscle strength was determined using dynamometer measurement of isometric hand grip and knee extensor strength. Lower extremity function was measured using the short physical performance battery (SPPB). Regression models estimate the association between unemployment, work ability and muscle strength, and lower extremity function, controlling for sociodemographic and disease-related factors. Results. Forty-one percent of the RA patients were not gainfully employed, and their median work ability had a good WAS value (7.00 ). Patients with better knee extensor strength (OR=1.07, 95% CI and better physical performance (OR=1.71, 95% CI ) had a significantly better chance of gainful employment. The odds for hand grip strength remained significant when adjusted for sociodemographic (OR=1.5, 95% CI ), but not for disease-specific variables. Better hand grip strength (β=0.25, p=0.039) and better knee extensor strength (β=0.45, p=0.001) as well as better lower extremity function (SPPB) (β=0.51, p<0.001) remained significantly associated with work ability following adjustment for sociodemographic and disease-specific variables. Conclusions. The association of employment status and work ability with parameters of physical fitness suggests that improvement in muscle strength and lower extremity function may positively influence work ability and employment in individuals with RA. Carolin Berner, Sandra Haider, Igor Grabovac, Thomas Lamprecht, Karl Heinrich Fenzl, Ludwig Erlacher, Michael Quittan, and Thomas Ernst Dorner Copyright © 2018 Carolin Berner et al. All rights reserved.