Characteristics and Disease Progression of Mixed Connective Tissue Disease and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Brief Summary

Official Title: “Immune Response to Small Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein Autoantigens”

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) are long-term autoimmune diseases in which the immune system attacks parts of the body. The abnormal immune reaction causes inflammation of and damage to various body parts and can affect joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and the brain. SLE and MCTD often affect young women, especially black and Hispanic women, and there is no known cure. Knowing more about SLE and MCTD will help in developing new and effective treatments. The purpose of this study is to characterize immune system abnormalities, genetic components, and disease progression in people with SLE and MCTD.

  • Study Type: Observational
  • Study Design: Observational Model: Cohort, Time Perspective: Prospective
  • Study Primary Completion Date: July 2017

Detailed Clinical Trial Description

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system produces antibodies against the body's healthy cells and tissues. These antibodies, called autoantibodies, contribute to the inflammation of various parts of the body and can cause damage to organs and tissues. Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) is another autoimmune disease that overlaps in terms of signs and symptoms with three other connective tissue diseases, including SLE. In both SLE and MCTD, the immune system appears to be abnormally activated by small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (snRNP) autoantigens. Furthermore, lung tissue, in particular, appears to be affected by the immune response induced by snRNP autoantigens. The causes of SLE and MCTD remain unknown. However, it is likely that a combination of genetic, environmental, and possibly hormonal factors work together to cause the diseases. Past studies suggest that several different genes may be involved in determining a person's likelihood of developing SLE or MCTD, which tissues and organs are affected, and the severity of the disease. The purpose of this study is to characterize immune system abnormalities, genetic components, and disease progression in people with SLE and MCTD.

Participants will attend up to four study visits, at intervals of at least 3 months, over the course of this study. Each study visit will include questionnaires, a physical exam, and possibly blood and/or urine collection. At the end of the study period, participants may choose to continue or discontinue participation.

Outcome Measures for this Clinical Trial

Primary Measures

  • Data characterizing immune cell responses and corresponding clinical data
    • Time Frame: Up to 4 visits at intervals of at least 3 months.
      Safety Issue?: No
  • Phenotype measurement to include disease activity, disease severity, and functional status
    • Time Frame: up to 4 visits at intervals of at least 3 months
      Safety Issue?: No

Criteria for Participation in this Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Patients with known rheumatic diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, connective tissue disease, undifferentiated connective tissue disease

Exclusion Criteria

  • Poor venous access, unstable medical problems or significant cardiopulmonary disease, anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, anticoagulation therapy, recent significant changes in medication or pregnacy. Patient cannot be taking large dose of corticosteroids (above 30mg per day) or cytotoxic drugs (cyclophosphamide, azathiprine, cyclosporine, methotrexate).

Gender Eligibility for this Clinical Trial: Both

Minimum Age for this Clinical Trial: 18 Years

Maximum Age for this Clinical Trial: 100 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted for this Clinical Trial: No

Clinical Trial Investigator Information

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University of Miami
  • Collaborator
    • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Eric L. Greidinger, Chief, Division of Rheumatology; Associate Professor of Medicine – University of Miami
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Eric L. Greidinger, MD, Principal Investigator, University of Miami
  • Overall Contact(s)
    • Judith Pignac-Kobinger, MS, 305-243-8567,


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