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עמוד בית
Thu, 25.07.24

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August 2020
Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD, Devy Zisman MD and Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD
July 2020
Fulvia Ceccarelli MD PhD, Enrica Cipriano MD, Francesco Natalucci MD, Carlo Perricone MD PhD, Giulio Olivieri MD, Valeria Orefice MD, Francesca Morello MD, Cristiano Alessandri MD, Francesca R. Spinelli MD PhD and Fabrizio Conti MD

Background: Belimumab was the first biological drug approved for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients. Phase II/III randomized controlled trials and real-life studies identified patients with musculoskeletal involvement as best responders.

Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of belimumab in SLE-related joint involvement.

Methods: The cohort comprised SLE patients receiving belimumab for musculoskeletal indications. Belimumab was intravenously administrated according to protocols; all the patients were evaluated at baseline (T0) and after 3 (T1), 6 (T2), and 12 (T3) months. We assessed joint activity by disease activity score 28, simple disease activity index (SDAI), clinical disease activity index (CDAI), and swollen tender ratio. Each patient underwent musculoskeletal ultrasound of 34 joints to assess synovial effusion synovial hypertrophy, and power Doppler; by using a semi-quantitative scale (0–3) we obtained the total inflammatory score (0–216).

Results: We evaluated 20 patients (males/females 1/19, median age 45 years [interquartile range (IQR) 12], median disease duration 144 months [IQR 144]). CDAI and SDAI significantly decreased at T1 (P = 0.02 and P = 0.01 respectively) and this improvement was maintained at the following time-points (CDAI: T2 P = 0.008, T3 P = 0.004; SDAI: T2 P = 0.006, T3 P = 0.01). A significant reduction of median ultrasound score was identified at T1 (T0 20.5 [IQR 13.5] vs. T1 7.5 [IQR 4.7], P < 0.001), and maintained at T2 (7.0 [IQR 5], P < 0.0001), and T3 (7.0 [IQR 9.0], P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Belimumab induces a sustained improvement of ultrasound-detected inflammatory status at the articular level.

Attila Kovács, Anita Cserenyecz, Beáta Baksay, Éva Kemény and Zoltán Szekanecz
May 2020
Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD, Yonit Tavor MD, Doron Markovits MD PhD, Kohava Toledano MD, Alexander Rozin MD, Menahem A. Nahir MD PhD and Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD

Background: Behçet's disease is a multi-systemic chronic relapsing inflammatory disease, classified among the vasculitides. The heterogeneity of clinical manifestations challenges the disease management.

Objectives: To assess efficacy and safety of adalimumab in patients with active persistent Behçet's arthritis who did not respond to disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs and to assess the impact of treatment on the cytokine milieu.

Methods: Our cohort comprised 10 patients with active arthritis who received adalimumab in a 24-week investigator-initiated prospective open-label study. Patients who relapsed within 12 weeks following adalimumab discontinuation could enter a 3-year extension study. The patients underwent a comprehensive assessment including questionnaires and measurement of inflammatory cytokines, adalimumab serum levels, and anti-drug antibodies.

Results: A significant improvement was observed in arthritis, disease activity visual analogue scales, Behçet's disease current activity form, and interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels, but not in health assessment questionnaire and functional assessment of chronic illness therapy fatigue scale questionnaire. Resolution of oral and urogenital ulcers was achieved in all patients. Significant reduction of pain was reported by 40% of patients. The disease relapsed in 9 of 10 patients, within 2–6 weeks following adalimumab discontinuation. Of the 7 patients who continued the study, arthritis was resolved in 5. Two patients with high neutralizing antidrug antibodies titer relapsed.

Conclusions: Adalimumab treatment achieved a significant improvement in arthritis, mucocutaneous manifestations, and IL-6 levels in all study patients but only 40% reported significant pain reduction. The arthritis relapsed in 90% of patients following adalimumab discontinuation and long-term treatment was required.

March 2020
Yonatan Edel, Iftach Sagy, Elisheva Pokroy-Shapira, Shirly Oren, Ariela Dortort Lazar, Mohammad Egbaria, Shachaf Shiber, Bat Sheva Tal and Yair Molad

Background: Guidelines recommend initiation of parenteral biologic or oral target-specific disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bDMARDs/tsDMARDs) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients who do not adequately respond to conventional DMARDs.

Objectives: To compare the preferred route of administration of bDMARDs or tsDMARDs in RA patients who were previously treated with at least one type.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted of consecutive RA patients previously prescribed bDMARDs or tsDMARDs. We analyzed the factors associated with patients' preferred route of administration.

Results: The cohort included 95 patients, mostly female (72.6%), seropositive (81.05%), mean age 63.4 ± 11.9 years. The oral route was preferred by 39 patients (41%) and 56 (59%) preferred the parenteral route. Most patients (65.9%) preferred to continue with their current route (P < 0.001). Switching from a current route was less common with patients who were currently using the oral route (13.3% vs. 38.2%, P = 0.04). Many patients (53.8%) who preferred the oral route had never experienced it before, while this was rare (3.6%) regarding the parenteral route (P = 0.0001). Employment status was associated with preference of the subcutaneous route over the intravenous route of bDMARDs (P = 0.01). Of the 21 patients who had previously experienced both parenteral and oral treatment, 16 (76.2%) preferred the oral route.

Conclusions: RA patients preferred to continue treatment with an administration route they have already experienced. However, when choosing an unexperienced route, significantly more patients preferred the oral route. Our results strengthen the understanding of patient preferences, which could improve drug adherence, compliance, and disease outcome.

Fabrizio Cantini MD PhD, Laura Niccoli MD, Giulia Franchi MD, Arianna Damiani MD and Maurizio Benucci MD

We describe the features of nocebo, and its impact in studies of transition from the originator to the respective biosimilar in inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Investigations in healthy volunteers as well as in the neurology and anesthesiology fields demonstrated the involved cerebral areas and the neurotransmitter pathways responsible for the nocebo response. Whether these findings are applicable to patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases remains to be demonstrated. Nocebo may account for part of the after-switching biosimilar failures. However, in the absence of validated classification or diagnostic criteria, specific neurochemical and neuroimaging studies, the lack of data on serum tumor necrosis factor and drug levels, and the disease improvement after the switching back to the originator biologic observed in some patients, the nocebo diagnosis remains the role of the individual clinician. Investigations on nocebo pathophysiology and diagnosis are required to address its impact in after-transition biosimilar studies in rheumatology.

September 2019
Tal Gazitt MD MSc, Adi Kibari MD, Najwan Nasrallah MD, Muhanad Abu Elhija MD and Devy Zisman MD
July 2019
Giacomo Cafaro MD, Elena Bartoloni MD, Alessia Alunno MD PhD, Onelia Bistoni BSc, Sabrina Cipriani PhD, Fabiana Topini PhD and Roberto Gerli MD

Platelets have the ability to influence the immune system and the inflammatory process and may be strongly involved in the whole pathogenic process of chronic inflammatory joint diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. They may play a significant role even before the clinical onset of the disease, contributing to the loss of tolerance of the immune system and the induction of autoimmunity. Subsequently, they can interact with the most important cellular players involved in autoimmunity and inflammation, namely innate immunity cells and T cells and eventually contribute to the building of inflammation in the synovium, thus inducing the activation, migration, and proliferation of fibroblasts that eventually lead to joint damage. Due to their peculiar features, studying the behavior of platelets is a challenging task; however, platelets may prove to be valuable therapeutic targets in the future.

Mohammad Adawi MD MHA, Sabbah Firas MD and Arnon Blum MD

Inflammation is the basic mechanism leading to many pathological processes, including degenerative diseases, atherosclerosis, and cancer. We found an interesting link connecting rheumatoid arthritis and atherosclerosis that may explain the high cardiovascular event rate among patients with rheumatoid arthritis, but also may lead to a new way of thinking and a better understanding of atherosclerosis. Rheumatoid arthritis could serve as a model of accelerated atherosclerosis. Understanding the basic mechanisms of rheumatoid arthritis may solve some of the complexity of atherosclerosis.

May 2019
Nadja Kobold MD, Barbara Jenko PhD, Matija Tomšič MD PhD, Vita Dolžan MD PhD and Sonja Praprotnik MD PhD

Background: Methotrexate is the most frequently administered first-line treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The disease-modifying effects of methotrexate are mainly associated with enhanced release of free adenosine. The downstream anti-inflammatory effects of adenosine are mediated via its binding to adenosine receptor 2A (ADORA2A) and 3 (ADORA3). Many clinically important single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were reported in ADORA2A and ADORA3 genes.

Objectives: To investigate whether tagging ADORA2A and ADORA3 polymorphisms influences methotrexate treatment in RA.

Methods: In total, 212 RA patients treated with methotrexate were genotyped for tagging ADORA2A (rs2298383, rs8141793, rs2236624, rs5751876, rs35320474, and rs17004921) and ADORA3 SNPs (rs2298191, rs1544223, rs78594984, rs35511654, rs2229155, rs3393, and rs3394).

Results: RA patients who carried ADORA3 rs35511654 G allele showed a tendency toward better response to methotrexate treatment (P = 0.054). Carriers of ADORA2A polymorphic allele rs2298383 (P = 0.011), rs2236624 (P = 0.027), rs5751876 (P = 0.018), and rs35320474 (P = 0.026) were less likely to experience methotrexate induced adverse events. All associations remained significant after adjustment for clinical factors. The effects of these polymorphisms were also significant in haplotype analyses.

Conclusions: Polymorphisms in the ADORA2A gene may influence methotrexate treatment response and may be considered as a potential biomarker for methotrexate treatment in rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Emese Balogh MD, Monika Biniecka PhD, Ursula Fearon MD PhD, Douglas J. Veale MD PhD and Zoltán Szekanecz MD PhD

Angiogenesis is the outgrowth of new blood vessels from existing ones and is an early occurrence in inflamed joint tissue. It is governed by a tightly controlled balance of pro- and anti-angiogenic stimuli, which promote or inhibit generation and proliferation of new endothelial cells, vascular morphogenesis, and vessel remodeling. At the beginning, capillary formation is crucial in maintaining the supply of various nutrients as well as oxygen to the inflamed tissue. Local and systemic expression of angiogenic factors may indicate a constant remodeling of synovial vasculature. Redox signaling is closely related to angiogenesis and can alter angiogenic responses of synovial cells. In this review we discuss key issues about the endothelial pathology in inflammatory arthritis followed by a review of angiogenic processes and main angiogenic mediators. We discuss the hypoxia-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-Ang/Tie2 system and its related therapeutic implications in detail with further review of various mediator protein targets and intracellular regulatory pathway targets with their current and potential future role in preclinical or clinical setting whilst ameliorating inflammation.

April 2019
Elisabeth Dramsdahl MD, Dag Gundersen Storla MD and Marco Harari MD

Background: Multidisciplinary biopsychosocial rehabilitation for patients presenting with rheumatic diseases has been shown to produce better results in a warm climate. Dead Sea Climatotherapy (DSC) has been successfully used for decades to treat many patients with rheumatic diseases.

Objectives: To evaluate the short-term improvement of Norwegian patients who presented with chronic pain following a multidisciplinary biopsychosocial approach to treatment combined with DSC. Both objective and subjective clinical parameters were evaluated.

Methods: This retrospective study included a statistical analysis of 938 patients presenting with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis (n=105), osteoarthritis (n=342), fibromyalgia (n=374), and other orthopedic conditions (n=117). Clinical assessments were conducted before and after a 3 week treatment program at the Dead Sea.

Results: Six parameters improved significantly in the rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis group as well as in the osteoarthritis group. Five parameters in the fibromyalgia group improved, while two improved in the orthopedic conditions group. Overall, major significant changes occurred in the pain self-assessment, joint motility, and daily activities scores.

Conclusions: A 3-week multidisciplinary biopsychosocial program combined with DSC induced positive changes in the clinical parameters of Norwegian patients presenting with chronic musculoskeletal pain.

Noam Rosen MD, Ofir Chechik MD, Yariv Goldstein MD, Oleg Dolkart PhD, Gavriel Mozes MD, Ofer Rak MD, Alison Dalich BSc, Yossi Geron MD and Eran Maman MD

Background: The number of patients undergoing shoulder arthroplasty is increasing yearly.

Objectives: To evaluate the results of a consecutive series of patients who underwent shoulder replacement for a variety of indications in a single medical center in Israel.

Methods: All shoulder arthroplasties performed in our institution between 2006 and 2015 were retrospectively reviewed. The functional outcomes and satisfaction of 180 shoulder arthroplasties were evaluated for objective and subjective parameters using the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Shoulder Score (ASES), the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) outcome measure, and the Short Form Health Survey (SF-12).

Results: The indications for surgery were osteoarthritis (n=35), rotator cuff arthropathy (n=32), fractures (n=99), and other reasons (n=14). The mean follow-up was 52 months. The scores improved markedly among the patients who underwent surgery later in the study period. The mean DASH score before 2012 was 48.8 and improved to 37.2 after 2013. The respective ASES also improved from 54.2 to 68.6. The use of hemiarthroplasty decreased from 85% to 33% as of 2013, while the use of total shoulder arthroplasty increased.

Conclusions: Shoulder arthroplasty represents an effective treatment modality with satisfactory functional outcomes. Our current study demonstrates a shift from hemiarthroplasty to total shoulder arthroplasty, with the number of procedures increasing yearly. Surgeon experience and the expanding volume of operations had a direct positive effect on the functional outcomes of shoulder arthroplasties.

October 2018
Adi Guy MD, Kassem Sharif MD, Nicola Luigi Bragazzi MD PhD, Alec Krosser MD, Boris Gilburd PhD, Eleanor Zeruya MD, Ora Shovman MD, Abdulla Watad MD and Howard Amital MD MHA

Background: Patients with rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS), encounter significantly higher rates of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system maintains hemodynamic stability through blood pressure regulation. When dysregulated, this system has been implicated in various pathological conditions, including cardiovascular events.

Objectives: To investigate the levels of renin and aldosterone in RA and AS patients.

Methods: Three groups were recruited: patients with RA, patients with AS, and healthy controls. Subjects were excluded if they had a diagnosis of hypertension, hyperaldosteronism, or renal artery stenosis, or were taking drugs that might have affected renin levels. Renin and aldosterone levels were measured using commercially available kits. Data were analyzed using univariate analyses and multivariate regression analyses.

Results: Fifty-one subjects were enrolled in the study: 15 with RA, 4 with AS, and 32 healthy controls. At the univariate analysis, the three groups differed in age (P = 0.005), renin levels (P = 0.013), and aldosterone-to-renin ratio (P = 0.019). At the post-hoc tests, both AS and RA patients differed from controls for renin levels and the aldosterone-to-renin ratio. At the multivariate regression analysis, AS patients had lower renin values than controls (beta standardized regression coefficient -0.323, P = 0.022).

Conclusion: Patients with RA tended to have lower levels of plasma renin compared to healthy subjects. This finding indicates that the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system might not be directly involved in the process that results in increased cardiovascular events in rheumatoid arthritis.

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