[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to identify disease biomarkers for the clinical and therapeutic management of autoimmune diseases such as systemic sclerosis (SSc) and undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD), we have explored the setting of peripheral T regulatory (T reg) cells and assessed an expanded profile of autoantibodies in patients with SSc, including either limited (lcSSc) or diffuse (dcSSc) disease, and in patients presenting with clinical signs and symptoms of UCTD. A large panel of serum antibodies directed towards nuclear, nucleolar, and cytoplasmic antigens, including well-recognized molecules as well as less frequently tested antigens, was assessed in order to determine whether different antibody profiles might be associated with distinct clinical settings. Beside the well-recognized association between lcSSc and anti-centromeric or dcSSC and anti-topoisomerase-I antibodies, we found a significative association between dcSSc and anti-SRP or anti-PL-7/12 antibodies. In addition, two distinct groups emerged on the basis of anti-RNP or anti-PM-Scl 75/100 antibody production among UCTD patients. The levels of T reg cells were significantly lower in patients with SSc as compared to patients with UCTD or to healthy controls; in patients with lcSSc, T reg cells were inversely correlated to disease duration, suggesting that their levels may represent a marker of disease progression.
Clinical and Developmental Immunology 01/2013; 2013:390563. · 3.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The early diagnosis and treatment of individuals harboring M. tuberculosis is key to ensuring the effectiveness of health programs aimed at the elimination of tuberculosis (TB). Monitoring for TB also has other important health care implications for the related immune pathology caused by the chronic inflammatory response to M. tuberculosis. Moreover, the recent introduction of biologic therapies for the treatment of several immune-mediated inflammatory diseases has shown unexpected high frequencies of reactivation of latent TB. The present cross-sectional study is aimed at estimating the prevalence of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in different groups of subjects, either undergoing a routine program of screening for TB or a clinical monitoring of autoimmune or lung disorders, by analyzing their immune response in vitro to a pool of different M. tuberculosis antigens through an IFN-gamma-release assay (IGRA). We consecutively tested 1,644 subjects including health care workers (931), healthy immigrants from different countries (93), patients with a diagnosis of psoriasis (405), patients with lung inflammatory disease (60) or lung neoplasia (32) and a group of HIV-1 infected Italian subjects (120). The prevalence of IGRAs positive responses among health care workers was 8.9 percent. In comparison, significantly higher frequencies were found in healthy immigrant subjects (33.3%), similar to those found in inflammatory broncho-pneumopathies (34.5%) or lung cancer (29.6%). Interestingly, an unexpected high prevalence was also found in patients affected by psoriasis (18.0%), while HIV-infected subjects had values comparable to those of health care workers (10.8%). An age cut-off was determined and applied for each group by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves in order to perform the statistical analysis among age-comparable groups. Multivariate analysis showed that the age and clinical conditions such as having a diagnosis of psoriasis or a lung inflammatory disease were independent risk factors for developing an IGRA positive response. This study highlights an unprecedented high prevalence of IGRA positive responses among patients affected by psoriasis and emphasizes the need for a preliminary assessment of LTBI before the administration of any biologic therapy based on cytokine antagonists such as anti-TNF-alpha. Moreover, screening for LTBI should be routinely performed in the presence of a chronic pulmonary disease.
Journal of biological regulators and homeostatic agents 01/2011; 25(2):213-20. · 5.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent attempts to diminish nickel use in most industrial products have led to an increasing utilization of alternative metal compounds for destinations such as the alloys used in orthopaedics, jewellery and dentistry. The present study was undertaken with the aim to evaluate the potential for an allergic response to nickel, palladium and rhodium on the basis of antigen-specific induction of inflammatory/regulatory cytokines, and to characterize, according to the cytokine profiles, the nature of simultaneous positive patch tests elicited in vivo. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 40 patients with different patch test results were kept in short term cultures in the presence of optimized concentrations of NiSO4 x 6H2O, PdCl2 and Rh(CH3COO)2. The production of IFN-gamma and IL-10 elicited by metal compounds were analyzed by the ELISpot assay.
We found a specific IFN-gamma response by PBMC upon in vitro stimulation with nickel or palladium in well recognized allergic individuals. All controls with a negative patch test to a metal salt showed an in vitro IL-10 response and not IFN-gamma production when challenged with the same compound. Interestingly, all subjects with positive patch test to both nickel and palladium (group 3) showed an in vitro response characterized by the release of IFN-gamma after nickel stimulation and production of IL-10 in response to palladium.
These results strongly suggest that the different cytokine profiles elicited in vitro reflect different immune responses which may lead to the control of the allergic responses or to symptomatic allergic contact dermatitis. The development of sensitive and specific in vitro assays based on the determination of the cytokine profiles in response to contact allergens may have important diagnostic and prognostic implications and may prove extremely useful in complementing the diagnostic limits of traditional patch testing.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) plays a central role in sustaining the inflammatory process in the skin as well as in the joints of patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. In fact, biological therapies based on monoclonal antibodies against TNF-alpha have been proven to be effective on both the arthropathy and the cutaneous symptoms of the disease. Among the several effects produced by TNF-alpha on keratinocytes there is the induction of expression of MMP-9, a matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) produced mainly by monocytes and macrophages. In this article we refer to the results of a study on the behavior of MMP-9 in the sera and in the lesional skin in association with effective therapy with infliximab. Measurements of TNF-alpha, MMP-2, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and E-selectin were also performed in the same samples. Eleven psoriatic patients included in a therapeutic protocol based on the administration of infliximab monotherapy were collected before treatment and after 6 and 12 weeks of therapy. Significant decrease of MMP-9 and MMP-2 levels in the sera was associated with clinical improvement and with the decrease of TNF-alpha, VEGF, and E-selectin, angiogenic molecules already known to be implicated in the clinical expression of psoriasis. The clinical amelioration of the cutaneous expression of psoriasis was significantly associated with the decrease of MMP-9, TNF-alpha, and E-selectin levels, spontaneously released by lesional biopsy samples before and after therapy, measured in the culture supernatants by immunoenzymatic assays. In addition, significant correlations were found between the clinical score and TNF-alpha, MMP-9, and E-selectin lesional production. MMP-9 levels were significantly correlated with those of TNF-alpha. Our findings show the existence of a direct relationship between MMP-9 and TNF-alpha production, strongly suggesting that MMP-9 may play a key role in the skin inflammatory process in psoriasis, while a different role may be attributed to MMP-2.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 10/2007; 1110:578-89. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inflammation represents an early and key event in the development of both the cutaneous psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Compelling evidences indicate that the production of TNF-alpha plays a central role in psoriasis by sustaining the inflammatory process in the skin as well as in the joints. Among the multiple effects produced by TNF-alpha on keratinocytes, the induction of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), a collagenase implicated in joint inflammatory arthritis which acts as an angiogenesis promoting factor, might represent a key mechanism in the pathogenesis of the disease. Aims of the present study were to investigate a) the role of MMP-9 in the development of psoriasis by assessing the presence of MMP-9 in lesional skin and in sera of psoriatic patients; b) the association of MMP-9 with the activity of the disease; c) the relationship between MMP-9 and TNF-alpha production.
Eleven psoriatic patients, clinically presenting joint symptoms associated to the cutaneous disease, were included in a therapeutic protocol based on the administration of anti-TNF-alpha monoclonal antibody (Infliximab). Sera and skin biopsies were collected before treatment and after 6 weeks of therapy. Tissues were kept in short term cultures and production soluble mediators such as TNF-alpha, MMP-9, MMP-2, VEGF and E-Selectin, which include angiogenic molecules associated to the development of plaque psoriasis, were measured in the culture supernatants by immunoenzymatic assays (ng/ml or pg/ml per mg of tissue). MMP-9 concentrations were also measured in the sera. The cutaneous activity of disease was evaluated by the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI).
Clinical and laboratory assessment indicated that all but one patients had a significant improvement of the PASI score after three months of therapy. The clinical amelioration was associated to a significant decrease of MMP-9 (P = 0.017), TNF-alpha (P = 0.005) and E-selectin (P = 0.018) levels, spontaneously released by lesional biopsies before and after therapy. In addition, significant correlations were found between the PASI measurements and TNF-alpha (r2 = 0.33, P = 0.005), MMP-9 (r2 = 0.25, P = 0.017), E-selectin (r2 = 0.24, P = 0.018) production. MMP-9 levels were significantly correlated with those of TNF-alpha (r2 = 0.30, P = 0.008). A significant decrease of MMP-9 in the sera, associated to the clinical improvement was also found.
Our findings show the existence of a direct relationship between MMP-9 and TNF-alpha production strongly suggesting that MMP-9 may play a key role in the skin inflammatory process in psoriasis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The diagnosis of autoimmune bullous diseases is based on clinical observation and on the presence of autoantibodies directed to molecules involved in the adhesion systems of the skin. Immunofluorescence assays are the currently accepted method for detection of autoantibodies; such assays depend greatly on the skill of operators and are difficult to standardize. Recombinant desmoglein-1 (Dsg1), Dsg3, and BP180 peptides, the main autoantigens in pemphigus or bullous pemphigoid, have been used to develop new quantitative enzyme immunoassays (EIA) for the detection of specific antibodies. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of these immunoassays and to determine the correlation between the results and the clinical aspects of diseases. Serum samples from patients with pemphigus vulgaris, pemphigus foliaceus, bullous pemphigoid, or mucous membrane pemphigoid, from healthy individuals, and from patients with unrelated autoimmune conditions were tested. Anti-desmoglein reactivity was detected in all the patients with pemphigus and in none of the controls. Patients with the more benign form of cutaneous disease had anti-Dsg1 antibodies, while patients with deeper cutaneous lesions or with mucosal involvement had anti-Dsg3 reactivity also, or exclusively. The BP180-based assay was positive for 66.6% of patients with bullous pemphigoid and for none of the patients with mucous membrane pemphigoid, and no reactivity was detected in the control sera. In conclusion, the anti-Dsg1 and anti-Dsg3 assays are useful in the diagnosis of pemphigus and provide information on the clinical phenotype of the disease. However, the sensitivity of EIA for detection of autoantibodies in bullous pemphigoid should be improved by the use of additional antigens or epitopes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study is to evaluate blood cytokines and immunological parameters in psoriatic patients during long-term treatment with Etanercept. Forty-five subjects of both sexes affected by psoriasis with or without arthritis entered the study and were treated with Etanercept according to international standard protocols. Biochemical blood analysis was carried out at baseline and during follow-up every second month. In particular, the following parameters were kept under control: antinuclear antibodies, anti-nDNA antibodies, anti-histone antibodies, blood cell count, circulating lymphocyte subtypes (CD3, CD4, CD8, CD16, CD19) and IgE. Cytokine profiles (IL-1-alpha, IL-1-beta, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, INF, TNF-alpha) were also evaluated in blood samples during the treatment up to 1 year of follow-up. A significant decrease in PASI score (p < 0.01) and in several cytokine levels was observed, particularly in IL-1, IL-6, IFN-gamma (p < 0.01) and to a lesser extent in TNF-alpha (p < 0.05). No statistically significant changes were recorded after 1 year of follow-up in blood immunological parameters, in particular in ANA titre, CD4/CD8 ratio, IgE levels, CD16, CD19 and eosinophils count. In conclusion, long-term treatment with Etanercept leads not only to a significant improvement in PASI score, but also to significant changes (reduction) in several proinflammatory and modulatory cytokines involved in the pathogenesis of the disease; on the other hand, there are no effects on immunological or bioumoral parameters showing that etanercept modulates rather than suppresses the physiological responses during psoriasis treatment.
International journal of immunopathology and pharmacology 21(3):643-9. · 2.99 Impact Factor