World Autoimmune & Autoinflammatory Arthritis Day

The International Foundation for Autoimmune & Autoinflammatory Arthritis has orchestrated an annual campaign since 2012 to raise awareness of diseases that are autoimmune in nature and that cause joint inflammation and pain. That includes such diseases as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Sjögren’s syndrome, to name a few. World Autoimmune/Autoinflammatory Arthritis Day is May 20 this year. The theme, with a nod to the “auto” prefix, is “Race to Fuel Awareness.” The ASBMB will observe WAAAD by sharing research and stories about the mechanisms of the diseases.

Q&A: “(She) suffered dreadfully with it”
Amanda Fosang’s mother was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when she was just in her 30s. Today Fosang’s lab studies joint disease. Read our Q&A with with the Journal of Biological Chemistry associate editor.

News: An antidote for adverse reactions to antibody therapy
One advantage of using monoclonal antibodies to treat inflammatory diseases is that they stay in the body for a long time. But that’s an upside only for those who can tolerate the therapy. For those who cannot, researchers are seeking an antidote. Read about the paper.

Research findings: Investigating the role of AhR signaling in health and disease
In this short literature review, researchers cover what is known about how the aryl hydrocarbon receptor influences the immune response. The AhR integrates signals from food and the gut environment to modulate inflammation, making it a possible target for drugs to treat multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases. Read the minireview in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Research findings: How MHC molecules grab citrullinated peptides to foster rheumatoid arthritis
Upwards of 70 percent of rheumatoid arthritis patients test positive for antibodies that target citrullinated peptides in joint synovial fluid. Production of these antibodies depends on binding between citrullinated peptides and a particular surface receptor of antigen-presenting cells. Ting et al examined binding affinity between diverse citrullinated peptides and variants of the receptor, yielding insights into the molecular mechanisms that could be targeted to reduce the autoinflammatory response. Read an introduction to the research. Read the paper itself.

News: Expanding the reach of therapeutic antibodies
A paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry describes a new approach to efficiently produce antibodies that can bind to two different target molecules simultaneously, a long-desired innovation in cancer immunotherapy. Read about the research.

Research findings: Making a better immunoglobulin
For patients with autoimmune disorders that don’t respond to traditional treatments, intravenous IG is a therapy of last resort. IVIG, however, is expensive, as the IG is derived from thousands of donors.  A synthetic IG is needed. These researchers are working on it.

Research findings: Taking aspirin plus fish oil? Consider this
A 2014 study in the Journal of Lipid Research showed that fish oil supplementation in healthy adults increased factors that help mitigate inflammation. What’s more, their results also indicated that aspirin may not have any additional benefits when it is taken with fish oil. Read our story.

Research findings: The heartbreak of psoriasis
Psoriasis isn’t just an unsightly skin problem. One-third of patients with the inflammatory disease develop arthritis. On top of that, it alters HDL (“good cholesterol”) and increases the risk of heart disease. Learn more.

Research findings: Understanding how an enzyme can help or harm
Variation in the enzyme endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 1, or ERAP1, is associated with ankylosing spondylitis and other diseases. Some ERAP1 variants increase the risk of autoimmune disease, while others are protective. A study in the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics investigated how different ERAP1 variants affect antigen presentation. Here’s the paper.

Research findings: Rituximab binding to target cells
The monoclonal antibody rituximab, sold as Rituxin or MabThera, is often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers studied how carbohydrate modifications to antibody receptors can affect rituximab binding to its target cells.  They reported their findings in the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics. Here’s the paper.