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J Rheumatol. 2013 Aug;40(8):1293-302. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.121110. Epub 2013 Jun 15.

BAFF and TACI gene expression are increased in patients with untreated very early rheumatoid arthritis.

Author information

1
Rheumatology Research Unit, and the Cellular Immunology Unit, Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

B cells play important roles in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Given the beneficial effect of B cell depletion therapy in RA as well as the observed alterations in B cell subpopulations in this disease, we evaluated whether changes in the expression of genes related to B cell survival and activation were already present in patients with untreated very early RA (VERA; < 6 weeks of disease duration).

METHODS:

The expression of a group of B cell-related activation and survival genes was quantified in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with VERA by real-time PCR and compared with untreated early RA (< 1 year), established treated RA, and other untreated early arthritis conditions. Serum B cell-activating factor belonging to the tumor necrosis factor family (BAFF) was quantified by ELISA.

RESULTS:

BAFF gene expression and serum levels were highest in patients with VERA. The expression of BAFF receptor (BAFF-R) increased with disease progression, while transmembrane activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor (TACI) was elevated since the first weeks of RA onset. Paired box 5 gene expression was also increased at all RA stages. Chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor 5 was elevated only in established RA. No differences were observed in B cell maturation antigen, activation-induced cytidine deaminase, B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein, and B cell lymphoma 2 expression.

CONCLUSION:

Disturbances in the expression of B cell-related activation and survival genes, particularly BAFF and TACI, occur from the onset of RA and precede changes in BAFF-R. These alterations can lead to the development of autoreactive B cells from the first weeks of RA onset.

KEYWORDS:

B CELLS; BAFF; MESSENGER RNA; RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS; TACI

PMID:
23772083
DOI:
10.3899/jrheum.121110
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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