F Frau

Università degli studi di Cagliari, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

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Publications (44)124.18 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: AIM: An option to reduce the number of duodenal biopsies in the diagnosis of coeliac disease (CD) has recently been reported by the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition. New criteria showed that the duodenal biopsy may be avoided in presence of symptoms, high anti-transglutaminase type 2 antibody (anti-TG2) levels, anti-endomysial antibodies (EMA) and at-risk HLA, whilst biopsy still remains mandatory for individuals with moderate and low anti-TG2 levels. In this study, we considered the addition of serum measurement of anti-actin IgA antibody (AAA-IgA) to the new criteria, with the aim of further reducing the number of duodenal biopsies. METHODS: One hundred and forty consecutive symptomatic CD children and 78 controls were studied. All subjects were classified according to the new criteria with the addition of AAA-IgA levels and results were compared with the outcome of duodenal biopsy. RESULTS: The biopsies from the sixty-four individuals (out of 218) identified by the new criteria, presence of symptoms, anti-TG2 levels >10 times upper limit of normal (ULN), positive EMA and at-risk HLA, showed CD with a Marsh 3 lesion. In the remaining individuals, the addition of AAA-IgA allowed the detection of further 20 CD patients with a Marsh 3 damage when moderate (4 to 10 times ULN) but not low anti-TG2 levels were present. CONCLUSIONS: Our study confirms that the new criteria may avoid the duodenal biopsy in many CD patients. Moreover, although our finding needs to be confirmed, positivity for AAA-IgA may further reduce the number of duodenal biopsies in moderate anti-TG2 levels.
    Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Research. 05/2013; 2(5).
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    ABSTRACT: Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II genotypes in latent celiac disease, a clinical variant of celiac disease (CD) have been scarcely studied. The aim of this work was to investigate whether latent CD and CD share similar frequencies of HLA class II genotypes. HLA class II genotypes of CD patients compared with controls were subdivided in the following at-risk groups: DQB1*02/DQB1*02 (43.0%, odds ratio [OR] 8.02, p < 0.0001), DQB1*0302/DQB1*02 (12.2%, OR 2.77, p = 0.0002), DQB1*02/DQB1*X (39.2%, OR 1.23, p = 0.1903), DQB1*0302/DQB1*X (3.4%, OR 0.35, p = 0.0064) and DQB1*X/DQB1*X (0.8%, OR 0.01, p = 0.0001) where X is neither DQB1*0302 nor DQB1*02. Next, HLA class II genotypes of 21 latent CD patients were compared with the above at-risk groups. Only one latent CD patient (4.8%) was found in the high risk DQB1*02/DQB1*02 group, three (14.3%) were DQB1*0302/DQB1*02, one (4.8%) was DQB1*0302/DQB1*X and the remaining 16 (76.2%) showed the DQB1*02/DQB1*X genotype. Noteworthy, the only 1 patient with the DQB1*02/DQB1*02 high risk genotype did not carry the DR3-DQB1*02/DR3-DQB1*02 or the DR3-DQB1*02/DR7-DQB1*02 but the uncommon DR3-DQB1*02/DR4-DQB1*02 genotype. These data suggest that latent CD is prevalently associated with low-risk HLA class II genotypes.
    Human immunology 11/2010; 72(2):179-82. · 2.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Our study aims to determine the age of onset of adult-type hypolactasia in Sardinians, and to establish the age at which genotyping of the C/T-13910 variant can be used reliably in the diagnosis of lactose malabsorption. A lactose breath hydrogen test was given to 383 randomly selected patients, from 3 to 19 years old. The C/C-13910 genotype was found in 90% of patients; the frequency of the positive lactose breath hydrogen test increased with age and reached a prevalence of 85% at 9 years. In Sardinians, adult-type hypolactasia becomes phenotypically evident in all individuals older than 9 years, suggesting that this should be considered the minimum age at which the genetic test for lactase nonpersistence should be applied.
    Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition 11/2007; 45(4):503-6. · 2.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Celiac disease (CD) is a T-lymphocyte-mediated small intestinal enteropathy triggered and maintained by dietary gluten, with a strong genetic component mapping to the HLA genes encoding for the class II DQ(alpha1*0501, beta1*02) molecule. Damage of the small intestine may cause a variety of clinical signs ranging from isolated long-standing iron-deficiency anemia refractory to iron supplementation to forms of severe malnutrition that may become life threatening. However, patients carrying the typical intestinal lesions of CD and presenting no symptoms at all (silent CD) are also a common clinical observation. Since it is commonly assumed that clinical signs and symptoms tend to correlate with the severity of the intestinal damage, the purpose of this study was to investigate whether particular HLA class II genotypes might also influence the extent of intestinal damage and consequently the clinical presentation of the disease. We retrospectively compared histological grading of celiac disease intestinal biopsies with HLA haplotype, age at onset of disease and clinical signs and symptoms. Our findings showed that homozygosis for the DQB1*0201 allele is associated with a higher severity of the histological score (p<0.008). Of note for the clinician, this work also suggests that the same type 3c of intestinal damage causes a different clinical syndrome, depending on the patient's age. The genetic predisposition at the HLA-DQB1 locus influences the severity of the mucosal damage in a dose-dependent manner, but not the clinical presentation, of celiac disease.
    Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 01/2007; 42(1):48-53. · 2.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tissue transglutaminase enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (tTG-ELISA) has recently been proposed as a simple and fast screening test for celiac disease (CD). The rate of false-positive and false-negative tests with tTG-ELISA, however, has not been definitively established. Therefore, the aim of our study was to investigate anti-tTG antibodies (TGA) not only in untreated patients with CD and in healthy controls, but also in a large group of patients with other autoimmune diseases. The presence of TGA was investigated in sera from 111 patients with untreated CD, 96 patients with other autoimmune conditions (28 with autoimmune liver disease, 46 with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, 10 with inflammatory bowel syndrome, 12 with type 1 polyglandular syndrome) and from 100 healthy controls using guinea pig tTG-ELISA (gp-TG/ELISA) and highly purified recombinant human tTG-ELISA (h-TG/ELISA). Western blotting with guinea pig tTG was also performed. Ninety-four patients with CD who tested positive for antiendomysial antibodies (AEA) and one who tested negative for AEA showed antibodies against the gp-TG. Among the controls, 50% of patients with autoimmune liver disease and 6.5% of patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus tested positive with gp-TG/ELISA. Western blotting experiments revealed that the high rate of positive tests observed using ELISA among the control group sera is attributable to impurities in the gp-TG preparation. However, h-TG/ELISA tests were positive for the sera from all patients who tested positive for AEA and from one control who tested negative for AEA, whereas h-TG/ELISA tests were negative for all CD patients who tested negative for AEA and for other controls who tested negative for AEA. The frequency of false-negative and false-positive tests represents the major limit to the use of gp-tTG/ELISA. However, because h-TG/ELISA is both simple and fast, it could be used in large screening programs for CD.
    Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 02/2002; 34(1):31-4. · 2.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The cytoskeleton actin network of intestinal microvilli has been found to be rapidly impaired after gluten challenge in coeliac disease (CD). The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of an immune reaction towards cytoskeleton structures such as actin filaments in CD. Eighty three antiendomysial antibody positive CD patients (52 children and 31 adults) were studied at our outpatient clinics from 1996 to 1998 using indirect immunofluorescence, ELISA, and western blotting for antiactin (AAA) and antitissue transglutaminase (TGA) antibodies before and after a gluten free diet (GFD). Sixteen patients with smooth muscle antibody positive autoimmune hepatitis, 21 with inflammatory bowel diseases, seven with small bowel bacterial overgrowth, and 60 healthy subjects were studied as controls. Fifty nine of 83 CD patients (28/31 adults (90.3%); 31/52 children (59.6%)) were positive for IgA and/or IgG AAA. Seventy seven (92.7%) were positive for IgA TGA. IgA AAA were strongly correlated with more severe degrees of intestinal villous atrophy (p<0.0001; relative risk 86.17). After a GFD, AAA became undetectable within five months. Apart from the immune reaction against the extracellular matrix, we have described an immune reaction against the cytoskeleton in both children and adults with CD. As AAA are strongly associated with more severe degrees of villous atrophy, they may represent a useful serological marker of severe intestinal atrophy in CD.
    Gut 10/2000; 47(4):520-6. · 10.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alagille syndrome (AGS) is an autosomal dominant disorder with developmental abnormalities affecting the liver, heart, eyes, vertebrae, and craniofacial region. The Jagged-1 (JAG1) gene, which encodes a ligand of Notch, has recently been found mutated in AGS. In this study, mutation analysis of the JAG1 gene performed on 20 Italian AGS patients led to the identification of 15 different JAG1 mutations, including a large deletion of the 20p12 region, six frameshift, three nonsense, three splice-site, and two missense mutations. The two novel missense mutations were clustered in the 5' region, while the remaining mutations were scattered throughout the gene. The spectrum of mutations in Italian patients was similar to that previously reported. We also studied in detail a complex splice site mutation, 3332dupl8bp, which was shown to lead to an abnormal JAG1 mRNA, resulting in a premature stop codon. With the exception of the missense mutations, the majority of the JAG1 mutations are therefore likely to produce truncated proteins. Since the phenotype of the patient with a complete deletion of the JAG1 gene is indistinguishable from that of patients with intragenic mutations, our study further supports the hypothesis that haploinsufficiency is the most common mechanism involved in AGS pathogenesis. Furthermore, our data confirmed the absence of a correlation between the genotype of the JAG1 gene and the AGS phenotype.
    Human Mutation 02/1999; 14(5):394-400. · 5.21 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition - J PEDIAT GASTROENTEROL NUTR. 01/1999; 28(5).
  • Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition - J PEDIAT GASTROENTEROL NUTR. 01/1999; 28(5).
  • Human Mutation - HUM MUTAT. 01/1999; 14(5):394-400.
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    ABSTRACT: Liver disease has been described in 10%-15% of patients with autoimmune polyglandular syndrome type 1 (APS-1). After the discovery of cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) as a hepatocellular autoantigen in liver-kidney microsomal autoantibody (LKM)-positive patients with APS-1, the investigation of antiliver antibodies was extended to 11 Sardinian patients with APS-1. Indirect immunofluorescence and Western blotting analysis were performed to study the antiliver antibodies. Immunofluorescence revealed LKM antibodies in 3 patients with APS-1, 1 of whom died of fulminant hepatitis. Western blotting showed a liver microsomal protein band of approximately 51 kilodaltons in the LKM-positive sera of these 3 patients. Western blotting performed with recombinant cytochrome P450 enzymes allowed the identification of CYP2A6 as a specific target antigen. LKM antibodies in APS-1 sera are specifically directed against CYP1A2 or CYP2A6, but their diagnostic and prognostic significance for liver disease remain to be determined.
    Gastroenterology 02/1998; 114(2):324-8. · 12.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IgA deficiency (IgA-D) has been associated with the HLA region, in particular with the North European haplotype HLA-A1, -B8, -DR3, but the exact location of the susceptibility gene(s) is unknown. Some reports suggest that a susceptibility gene is encoded in the class II region, while others implicate the class III region. We exploited differences between the common Sardinian and North European HLA-DR3 haplotypes to help localize the IgA-D susceptibility gene(s). With the knowledge that approximately 13% of HLA-DR3 homozygous individuals of North European origin are IgA-D, we examined 43 HLA-DR3 homozygous Sardinians to find that all had normal serum IgA, IgG and IgM levels. A detailed analysis of their MHC haplotypes indicated a common Sardinian HLA-DR3 haplotype TAP1A, TAP2A, HLA-DQB1*0201, -DQA1*0501, -DRB1*0301, LH1-(Z + 2), D3A-(Z + 2), C4B-0, C4A-L, G11-15, Bf-0-4, C2-a, HSP70-7.5, 9N3-(Z + 10), 82I-(Z - 2), TNFalpha-9, 62-(Z - 20), HLA-B18, -Cw5, -A30 which diverges from the common North European HLA-DR3 haplotype telomeric to the HLA-DR region. In parallel studies of five Sardinians with IgA-D, two of the 10 HLA haplotypes (20%) contained HLA-DR3, a frequency similar to that observed in the background population. One of these was the HLA-DR3- B8 North European haplotype, which occurs rarely in Sardinia. Our data favour the hypothesis that a class III region allele, present on the common North European but not on the Sardinian HLA-DR3 haplotype, confers susceptibility to IgA-D.
    Clinical & Experimental Immunology 02/1998; 111(1):76-80. · 3.41 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition - J PEDIAT GASTROENTEROL NUTR. 01/1998; 26(5).
  • Journal of Hepatology - J HEPATOL. 01/1998; 28:140-140.
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the factors that may confer susceptibility or protection to hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and to HCV-associated immunological disorders, we designed two studies on 420 Sardinian transfusion-dependent thalassemia patients followed in our department in Cagliari since 1974. The first one was an epidemiological survey aimed to evaluate the prevalence of HCV infection and HCV-associated immunological disorders. In the second study, the distribution of different HLA class II genes was examined by DNA analysis in 116 HCV positive patients, 30 HCV negative patients, and 606 healthy controls. Three hundred fourteen patients became infected with HCV (74.7%) after 5.6 +/- 2.8 years of regular transfusion program. Mixed cryoglobulinemia, purpura, arthritis, proteinuria, decreased complement levels, rheumatoid factor and anti-GOR, smooth muscle antibody (SMA), anti-nuclear antibody (ANA), and liver, kidney microsome (LKM) autoantibodies were significantly more represented in HCV positive patients than in negative ones (P < .05). A significant increase of HLA class II DR2 subtype (DRB1*1601,DQB1*0502) was observed in a group of 30 HCV negative patients who despite 10.3 +/- 2.2 years in a regular blood transfusion program did not show any evidence of HCV infection (Pc < .0092). Our results represent clear evidence for a relationship between HCV infection and immune extrahepatic abnormalities. A gene(s) located in the human major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region may play an important role in conferring protection against HCV infection.
    Hepatology 12/1996; 24(6):1338-41. · 12.00 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Inflammatory changes in the rectum of patients with celiac disease after local instillation of gluten have been reported. The aim of this study was to examine rectal mucosa after local gluten challenge in children with celiac disease and their siblings. Rectal biopsy specimens were obtained before and 6 hours after rectal challenge with a peptictryptic digest of gliadin in 33 children with treated celiac disease, 12 controls, and 19 siblings of children with celiac disease. Epithelium and lamina propria volumes were determined, and CD3+ and gamma delta + lymphocytes were counted. After local instillation of gliadin, a significant increment in the absolute number of intraepithelial lymphocytes was noted in patients with celiac disease but not in controls. Immunohistochemical analysis showed a significant increase in CD3+ and gamma delta + cells, with the gamma delta/CD3 ratio remaining unchanged after challenge. A discriminant analysis allowed correct classification of 100% of patients with celiac disease and controls. The same analysis was used to classify 6 of 13 siblings as having celiac disease. The positivity was not associated with the presence of the heterodimer encoded by the DQA*0501 DQB1*0201 alleles in any of the siblings. All patients with celiac disease were identified by rectal gluten challenge. Approximately half of the siblings reacted to rectal instillation of gluten. The genetic background of such sensitization to gluten remains to be elucidated.
    Gastroenterology 09/1996; 111(2):318-24. · 12.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The contribution of genetic variation at HLA class II loci to the susceptibility to and protection from IDDM was investigated by analyzing the distribution of HLA-DRB1*04 haplotypes in 630 Sardinian newborns and 155 Sardinian IDDM patients. The different RRs and ARs of the various DR4-DQB1*0302 haplotypes, significantly ranging from the strongly associated DRB1*0405, DQB1*0302 to the protective DRB1*0403, DQB1*0302 haplotypes, provides clearcut evidence that the DRB1 locus is crucial in conferring IDDM predisposition or protection. Also, the DQB1 locus influences IDDM predisposition or protection by restricting the disease-positive association to DRB1*0405 haplotypes carrying the susceptibility DQB1*0302 or DQB1*0201 alleles but not the protective DQB1*0301 allele. Haplotype analysis not only suggests that the DRB1 and DQB1 loci influence IDDM risk in the same way, but also that the HLA-linked protection is "dominant" compared with "susceptibility." These results, obtained from a population with one of the highest IDDM incidences in the world, define more clearly the contribution of the various HLA loci to IDDM protection or susceptibility and allow a more precise calculation of AR.
    Human Immunology 09/1995; 43(4):301-8. · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The contribution of genetic variation at HLA class II loci to the susceptibility to and protection from IDDM was investigated by analyzing the distribution of HLA-DRB1*04 haplotypes in 630 Sardinian newborns and 155 Sardinian IDDM patients. The different RRs and ARs of the various DR4- DQB1*0302 haplotypes, significantly ranging from the strongly associated DRB1*0405, DQB1*0302 to the protective DRB1*0403, DQB1*0302 haplotypes, provides clear-cut evidence that the DRB1 locus is crucial in conferring IDDM predisposition or protection. Also, the DQB1 locus influences IDDM predisposition or protection by restricting the disease-positive association to DRB1*0405 haplotypes carrying the susceptibility DQB1*0302 or DQB1*0201 alleles but not the protective DQB1*0301 allele. Haplotype analysis not only suggests that the DRB1 and DQB1 loci influence IDDM risk in the same way, but also that the HLA-linked protection is 'dominant' compared with 'susceptibility.' These results, obtained from a population with one of the highest IDDM incidences in the world, define more clearly the contribution of the various HLA loci to IDDM protection or susceptibility and allow a more precise calculation of AR.
    01/1995;
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine whether interferon-alfa (IFN-alpha) therapy benefits patients with transfusion-dependent thalassemia and chronic active hepatitis C, and whether their iron burden modifies the response to this therapy. We conducted a controlled trial of recombinant IFN-alpha (3 million units per square meter of body surface area, three times a week for 15 months) in 65 patients with thalassaemia major and chronic active hepatitis C; 14 of them were untreated control subjects. In 21 of the 51 treated patients, alanine aminotransferase values returned to normal within 6 months, and hepatitis C virus ribonucleic acid was no longer detected in serum; no changes were detected among control subjects. The response to IFN-alpha therapy was inversely related (p < 0.002) to the liver iron burden as assessed by atomic absorption, the histologic semiquantitative method, or both methods. During 3 years of follow-up, two responder patients had relapses. We conclude that IFN-alpha represents a useful therapeutic option for children with transfusion-dependent thalassemia and chronic active hepatitis C with a mild to moderate iron burden.
    Journal of Pediatrics 08/1994; 125(1):123-8. · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study, performed in individuals of Sardinian descent, reports an epidemiologic and molecular analysis of the recently identified DQB1*0304 and DQB1*0305 alleles. These two alleles having a gene frequency of 0.017 and 0.005, respectively, are not uncommon in Sardinia and are distributed fairly uniformly on the island. The analysis of DQB1 second and third exons of the two alleles revealed that although they have always been found included within the same DRB1*0403-DQA1*03 haplotype, they had a different origin. The sequence pattern of DQB1*0305 confirmed that it originated from the DQB1*0302 "recipient" gene by the insertion of a DQB1*0402 nucleotide stretch, within its beta-sheet region, while that of DQB1*0304 suggested that it originated from the DQB1*0301 gene, either by a single point mutation at codon 57 (GCC instead of GAC) or, alternatively, by a segmental transfer of a DQB1*0302 motif, including codon 57, within its alpha-helic region. Independently from the mechanism of generation, the fact that DQB1*0304 originated from DQB1*0301 allele was intriguing considering that, in over 1500 HLA class II Sardinian haplotypes examined, neither the putative parental DRB1*0403-DQA1*03-DQB1*0301 haplotypes were found. Finally, since the assignment of DQB1*0305 may be inaccurate with the traditional panel of probes commonly used for DQB1 oligotyping, the use of an additional oligonucleotide probe is recommended.
    Human Immunology 07/1994; 40(2):143-9. · 2.30 Impact Factor