Current Opinion in Rheumatology was launched in 1989. It is one of a successful series of review journals whose unique format is designed to provide a systematic and critical assessment of the literature as presented in the many primary journals. The field of Rheumatology is divided into 15 sections that are reviewed once a year. Each section is assigned a Section Editor, a leading authority in the area, who identifies the most important topics at that time. Here we are pleased to introduce the Journal's Section Editors for this issue.
Betty Diamond received an MD from Harvard Medical School in 1973. She performed a residency in internal medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, and then a post-doctoral fellowship in immunology with Dr Matthew Scharff at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She has been on the faculty at Einstein and Columbia and is currently Chief of the Autoimmune Disease Center at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.
Dr Diamond's research has focused on the induction and pathogenicity of anti-DNA antibodies in systemic lupus erythematosus. She received the Outstanding Investigator Award of the ACR in 2001 and the Lee Howley Award from the Arthritis Foundation in 2002. She also received the Recognition Award, National Association of MD-PhD Programs in 2004.
Dr Diamond's primary interests are in the mechanisms of central and peripheral tolerance of autoreactive B cells, and the defects in these mechanisms that are present in autoimmune disease. Her laboratory has been studying the regulation of DNA-reactive B cells. Her laboratory has studied the role of hormones and antigen in inducing autoimmunity. In a mouse transgenic for the heavy chain of a pathogenic anti-DNA antibody, elevated concentrations of both estradiol and prolactin break tolerance cause high affinity anti-DNA B cells that are normally deleted in the bone marrow to be activated and contribute to the expressed antibody repertoire. Studies have shown that each hormone affects different pathways in B cell development.
Dr Diamond's laboratory has also developed a model of SLE induced by immunization with a peptide mimetope of DNA. This model is of interest because mouse strains differ in the susceptibility to this antigen-induced model of SLE. The laboratory has performed genetic analyses to identify three chromosomal loci important in conferring disease susceptibility.
Dr Diamond continues to study anti-DNA antibodies from patients with SLE. These antibodies have been shown to have structural and genetic features in common with myeloma proteins. It remains a question whether this reflects a common lineage for anti-DNA B cells and transformed B cells or whether self antigen constitutes a necessary trigger to B cell transformation. Furthermore, recent studies show a lack of activation induced upregulated of FcRIIb, an inhibitory receptor, on B cells of SLE patients.
Finally, Dr Diamond's laboratory has demonstrated that a subset of anti-DNA antibodies cross-reacts with the NMDA receptor. These antibodies can mediate neuronal apoptosis in the hippocampus leading to a memory deficit or in the amygdala leading to a behavioral alteration. These studies show that lupus antibodies can cause aspects of neuropsychiatric lupus in a non-inflammatory fashion.
Thomas Aigner is Professor of Pathology and Deputy Director of the Institute of Pathology at the University of Leipzig, Germany. His primary studies were in philosophy and theology at the College of Philosophy SJ and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. He received his medical degrees (MD, DSc) from the Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in 1992 and 2000. Thomas Aigner started his scientific career as a medical student and postdoctoral fellow at the Max-Planck-Research Groups for Rheumatology (Division of Connective Tissue Research, Prof. Dr Klaus von der Mark) and followed-up own research projects in matrix biochemistry and chondrocyte biology. He then moved to the Department of Pathology and started his clinical training as surgical pathologist and received his board certificate in 2000. At the same time, Thomas Aigner was head of the Cartilage and Osteoarthritis Research Group at the Department of Pathology and was scientific coordinator of a German National Functional Genomics Network for the Diagnosis and Therapy of Osteoarthritis from 1999 to 2006. In March 2006, Thomas Aigner moved to the Institute of Pathology of the University of Leipzig.
The current research focus of Thomas Aigner is on the cell biology and the functional genomics of osteoarthritic chondrocytes with a specific emphasis on aging and inflammation of cells as core phenomena during osteoarthritis. Thomas Aigner has authored more than 150 papers in the field of osteoarthritis and cartilage research, serves on several editorial boards of international rheumatology journals and was guest editor of several review volumes on osteoarthritis. Thomas Aigner is currently member of the Board of Directors of OARSI (Osteoarthritis Research Society International).
Robert A. Colbert
Robert A. Colbert, MD, PhD is Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Division of Rheumatology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Dr Colbert is known for his work on the immunobiology of HLA-B27, identifying it as a protein that misfolds. Recent work has been focused on links between protein misfolding, activation of the unfolded protein response, and pro-inflammatory stimuli in the pathogenesis of HLA-B27-associated diseases including anklyosing spondylitis. His research interests also include defining predictive biomarkers for subtypes of early onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), including forms of disease that eventually result in ankylosing spondylitis. Dr Colbert received his MD and PhD degrees at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, where his research focused on molecular mechanisms of glucocorticoid action. Following a residency in pediatrics, he trained in the sub-specialty of pediatric rheumatology at the Duke University/University of North Carolina program, before joining the faculty in Cincinnati in 1994. Dr Colbert also serves as the Associate Director for the University of Cincinnati's NIH-funded MD/PhD program.
Dr Colbert is currently Chair of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board of the Spondylitis Association of America, Vice-Chair of the Spondyloarthritis Research and Therapy Network (SPARTAN), and is on the Arthritis Foundation's Research Advisory Council. He is co-chairing the American College of Rheumatology (ACR)-sponsored 2008 Keystone Pediatric Rheumatology Symposium, and is a member of the ACR's Committee on Research.