Article

Macrophage activation syndrome as part of systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis: diagnosis, genetics, pathophysiology and treatment.

Department of Pediatrics, Università degli Studi di Genova, Genova, Italy.
Genes and immunity (Impact Factor: 3.79). 03/2012; 13(4):289-98. DOI: 10.1038/gene.2012.3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) is a severe, frequently fatal complication of systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA) with features of hemophagocytosis leading to coagulopathy, pancytopenia, and liver and central nervous system dysfunction. MAS is overt in 10% of children with sJIA but occurs subclinically in another 30-40%. It is difficult to distinguish sJIA disease flare from MAS. Development of criteria for establishing MAS as part of sJIA are under way and will hopefully prove sensitive and specific. Mutations in cytolytic pathway genes are increasingly being recognized in children who develop MAS as part of sJIA. Identification of these mutations may someday assist in MAS diagnosis. Defects in cytolytic genes have provided murine models of MAS to study pathophysiology and treatment. Recently, the first mouse model of MAS not requiring infection but rather dependent on repeated stimulation through Toll-like receptors was reported. This provides a model of MAS that may more accurately reflect MAS pathology in the setting of autoinflammation or autoimmunity. This model confirms the importance of a balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. There has been remarkable progress in the use of anti-pro-inflammatory cytokine therapy, particularly against interleukin-1, in the treatment of secondary forms of MAS, such as in sJIA.

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose. To compare the laboratory data and changes in these data between patients with MAS and patients with flare-up of the autoimmune diseases. Methods. In a prospective study, the static laboratory data and dynamic changes in the selected data in 17 consecutive patients with MAS and 53 patients with active disease of SJIA, PJIA, Kawasaki disease, and SLE were compared. The ROC curve analysis was used to evaluate cutoff points, sensitivity, and specificity of the static and dynamic laboratory data to differentiate between MAS and active disease. Results. In the MAS group, the mean CRP3, ALT, AST, total bilirubin, ferritin, LDH, PT, PTT, and INR were significantly higher and the mean WBC2, PMN2, Lymph2, Hgb1, 2, 3, ESR2, serum albumin, and sodium were significantly lower than in control group. Some of the important cutoff points were PLT2 < 209000/microliter, AST > 38.5, ALT > 38, WBC < 8200 × 103/UL, ferritin > 5277 ng/mL. Conclusion. The dynamic changes in some laboratory data, especially PLT, can differentiate between MAS and active disease. The changes in WBC, PMN, and ESR and the levels of the liver enzymes may also be helpful in the early differentiation. Very high levels of ferritin may also help the diagnosis along with other clinical and laboratory signs.

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