[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a chronic autoimmune cholestatic liver disease frequently characterized by anti-mitochondrial autoantibodies (AMA). A minority of patients are AMA-negative. Cytotoxic-T-Lymphocyte-Antigen-4 (CTLA-4) is a surface molecule expressed on activated T-cells delivering a critical negative immunoregulatory signal. A soluble form of CTLA-4 (sCTLA-4) has been detected at high concentrations in several autoimmune diseases, and its possible functional meaning has been suggested. We aimed to evaluate sCTLA-4 concentration in sera of patients with PBC and to correlate it to immunological abnormalities associated with the disease. Blood samples were collected from 82 PBC-patients diagnosed according to international criteria (44 AMA-positive/MIT3-positive and 38 AMA-negative-MIT3-negative), and 65 controls. sCTLA-4 levels were evaluated by ELISA and Western blot. Increased sCTLA-4 concentrations were found in all AMA-positive PBC-patients, but in none of the AMA-negative ones, nor in normal controls or in controls with unrelated liver diseases. sCTLA-4 presence was associated with autoantibodies against MIT3, but not with nuclear autoantibodies (sp100, gp210). This is the first study to demonstrate that levels of sCTLA-4 are elevated in sera of PBC patients. However, they are clearly restricted to patients with AMA positivity, suggesting an immunological difference with respect to AMA-negative ones.
PLoS ONE 11/2014; 9(11):e112509. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Background: The use of automated immunometric methods for the detection of anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb), the main serological marker of autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD), has expanded in recent years. However, it is not known whether these new automated platforms have improved the diagnostic performance of TPOAb assays. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential improvement of the inter-method agreement of current automated third generation systems, 12 years after a previous study, which had assessed the analytical variability between semi-automated second generation methods of TPOAb detection. Methods: Eight pools of sera from patients with chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, exhibiting different TPOAb concentrations, were collected from routine laboratory diagnostics and distributed to seven companies throughout Italy. All automated third generation methods were calibrated against the Medical Research Council (MRC) reference preparation 66/387. Results: The overall mean variability (CV) was 93.6% when results were expressed in part as arbitrary Units (U/mL) and in part as International Units (IU/mL). The conversion of all values in IU/mL resulted in a significant decrease of CV (49.8%). The CV expressed as COM (cut-off concentration multiples) was 64.0%. Agreement of qualitative results was 95.3% with a pronounced difference in the threshold values proposed by manufacturers (range 3.2-35.0 IU/mL). Conclusions: These findings confirm the improvement of harmonisation between different methods of automated third generation TPOAb assays. Nevertheless, further efforts should be made in the definition of the positive cut-off concentration to avoid misclassification of AITD patients as well as in a new international reference preparation and in the autoantigen purification modality.
Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine 10/2014; 53(3). · 2.96 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Radioiodine is a common therapeutic option for Multinodular Toxic Goiter (MTG). We evaluated an algorithm for personalized radioiodine activity calculation. Ninety-three (28 male, 65 female; 43-84 years) patients with MTG eligible for radioiodine treatment ((131)I-iodide) were studied. The quantity of (131)I-iodide to be administered was estimated by Thyroid Volume Reduction (TVR) algorithm, developed for Graves' disease. It takes into account (131)I uptake, its effective half-life (T 1/2eff), thyroid volume, and its expected reduction during treatment. A comparison with the activity calculated by other dosimetric protocols and the "fixed" activity method was performed. (131)I uptake was measured by external counting, thyroid volume by ultrasonography (US), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and thyroid hormones by standard immunometric methods. In a follow-up of 6-120 months, remission of hyperthyroidism after a single (131)I-iodide treatment was observed in 76 patients (64 euthyroid, 12 hypothyroid). The thyroid volume reduction observed by US after the treatment fairly correlated with what predicted by our model; T 1/2eff was highly variable and critically affected dose calculation. The administered activities (median 526 MBq, range 156-625 MBq) were slightly lower than the "fixed" activities (600 MBq) and with respect to the other protocols' prescriptions (-15/38 %); the median (131)I activity administered to relapsed patients (605 MBq) was significantly greater (P = 0.01) with respect to the dose administered to cured patients (471 MBq). Our study shows that an effective cure of MTG can be obtained with relatively low (131)I activities and probably with a relatively low incidence of hypothyroidism, using TVR method.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cytotoxic T lymphocyte associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) is a costimulatory receptor transducing a potent inhibitory signal. Increasing evidence showed that CTLA-4 gene is an important susceptibility locus for autoimmune disorders. Alternatively spliced mRNA generates a soluble form, called sCTLA-4. Whereas low levels of sCTLA-4 are detected in normal human serum, increased/high serum levels are observed in several autoimmune diseases. The biological significance of increased sCTLA-4 serum level is not fully clarified yet. It can be envisaged that sCTLA-4 specifically inhibits the early T-cell activation by blocking the interaction of CD80/CD86 with the costimulatory receptor CD28. On the other hand, higher levels of sCTLA-4 could contend the binding of the membrane form of CTLA-4 with CD80/CD86, in later activation phase, causing a reduction of inhibitory signalling. We showed that sCTLA-4 from sera of patients with different autoimmune diseases is able to display functional activities on an in vitro system acting on the proliferation capability and modulating the secretion of cytokines. We observed a dual effect of sCTLA-4: inhibiting the secretion of IFN- γ , IL-2, IL-7, and IL-13 and activating the secretion of TGF- β and IL-10. This study underlines the role of sCTLA-4 in modulating the immune response and its relevance in autoimmune disease pathogenesis.
BioMed research international. 01/2014; 2014:215763.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aim: To evaluate the levels of soluble CTLA-4 (sCTLA-4) in sera of celiac disease (CD) patients with overlapping autoimmune diseases (OAD; diabetes mellitus, autoimmune thyroid diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases, and autoimmune polyendocrine syndromes). Methods: Sera from Italian patients with CD were obtained and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to measure sCTLA-4. Results: Consistently high serum sCTLA-4 levels were observed in CD (13.20 ng/mL, p<0.0001) and OAD (19.48 ng/mL, p<0.0001) compared to normal controls. A significant increase in the level of serum sCTLA-4 was observed in OAD (p=0.0273) compared to CD alone. At variance, no significant difference in the sCTLA-4 levels was observed when single OAD were compared. Conclusion: The present study shows for the first time a statistically significant increase of serum sCTLA-4 levels in CD patients with associated autoimmune disease (namely, CD and OAD) versus patients with CD alone. Previously, the potential genetic associations of several CTLA-4 polymorphisms to susceptibility to autoimmune diseases have been described, although the relationship between CTLA-4 polymorphisms and the ability to produce the soluble form is not fully clarified. CTLA-4 is a strong actor in the adaptive response: our data give supportive evidence of the common background of autoimmune diseases.
Genetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers 10/2013; · 1.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leukocyte-associated Ig-like receptor (LAIR) is a small family-receptor able to inhibit immune cell function via collagen binding. It exists as both membrane-bound and soluble forms. LAIR-1 functions as an inhibitory receptor on natural killer cells, T lymphocytes and monocytes. In addition to LAIR-1, the human genome encodes LAIR-2, a soluble homolog. Several studies have focused on LAIR-1, whereas few investigations concentrate on the expression and function of LAIR-2. We demonstrate the presence of high LAIR-2 levels in 74/80 sera from patients with autoimmune thyroid diseases (both Graves' disease and autoimmune thyroiditis). LAIR-2 levels seemed not to be related to specific clinical manifestations, such as thyroid functions (hypo- or hyperthyroidism), or specific clinical features (such as ophtalmopathy). In addition, serum LAIR-2 is able, in vitro, to bind its natural ligand, collagen. Since LAIR-2 has been found to have higher affinity for collagens than LAIR-1 did, we hypothesize a potential regulating capability of serum LAIR-2 in finally regulating the inhibitory capability of LAIR-1.
PLoS ONE 05/2013; 8(5):e63282. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In multinodular goitre (MNG), low radioiodine (RAI) activity after recombinant human (rh) TSH is able to reduce thyroid volume (TV) and improve symptoms. Our aim was to evaluate the long-term outcome of RAI after rhTSH treatment in patients who were divided according to their baseline TSH levels. Eighteen patients (69.2 ± 6.1 year) presented non-toxic (TSH >0.3 mIU/l) MNG (TV: 61.0 ± 3.8 ml; group 1), while 13 patients (74.1 ± 7.9 year) had non-autoimmune pre-toxic (TSH <0.3 mIU/l) MNG (TV: 82.6 ± 14.4 ml; group 2). TSH, thyroid hormones, TV (by ultrasonography), body mass index (BMI), symptoms and quality of life (QoL) were evaluated. Treatment induced short-term thyrotoxicosis in both groups, but this was slightly more marked in group 2 than in group 1. The number and severity of adverse events were similar. The follow-up period was 55.3 ± 4.1 months in group 1 and 57.2 ± 5.1 months in group 2. The final TV reduction was similar in groups 1 (63.4 ± 3.6 %) and 2 (57.2 ± 4.6 %) and TV reduction positively correlated only with initial TV. At the last examination, 14 group-1 subjects were on L-T4 therapy, while 2 group-2 subjects were on methimazole. An increase in BMI was noted only in group 2. MNG-related symptoms were significantly reduced in both groups. Symptoms related to sub-clinical hyperthyroidism improved in group 2, while no significant changes in QoL were noted in either group. This study confirms the effectiveness of rhTSH adjuvant treatment in reducing TV after low RAI activities, irrespective of baseline thyroid status. TSH levels <0.3 mIU/l proved to be predictive of a more severe thyrotoxic phase after rhTSH and RAI, while initial TSH levels >0.3 mIU/l were more frequently followed by a need for L-T4 therapy. Compressive symptoms improved in the majority of subjects.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aim: Radioiodine is a common option for treatment of hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules. Due to the expected selective radioiodine uptake by adenoma, relatively high "fixed" activities are often used. Alternatively, the activity is individually calculated upon the prescription of a fixed value of target absorbed dose. We evaluated the use of an algorithm for personalized radioiodine activity calculation, which allows as a rule the administration of lower radioiodine activities. Methods: Seventy-five patients with single hyperfunctioning thyroid nodule eligible for 131I treatment were studied. The activities of 131I to be administered were estimated by the method described by Traino et al. and developed for Graves'disease, assuming selective and homogeneous 131I uptake by adenoma. The method takes into account 131I uptake and its effective half-life, target (adenoma) volume and its expected volume reduction during treatment. A comparison with the activities calculated by other dosimetric protocols, and the "fixed" activity method was performed. 131I uptake was measured by external counting, thyroid nodule volume by ultrasonography, thyroid hormones and TSH by ELISA. Results:Remission of hyperthyroidism was observed in all but one patient; volume reduction of adenoma was closely similar to that assumed by our model. Effective half-life was highly variable in different patients, and critically affected dose calculation. The administered activities were clearly lower with respect to "fixed" activities and other protocols' prescription. Conclusion: The proposed algorithm proved to be effective also for single hyperfunctioning thyroid nodule treatment and allowed a significant reduction of administered 131I activities, without loss of clinical efficacy.
The quarterly journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging: official publication of the Italian Association of Nuclear Medicine (AIMN) [and] the International Association of Radiopharmacology (IAR), [and] Section of the Society of... 03/2013; · 1.72 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CTLA-4 is a key factor in regulating and maintaining self tolerance, providing a negative signal to the T cell and thus limiting immune responses. Several polymorphisms within the CTLA-4 gene have been associated with an increased risk of developing autoimmune diseases and, very recently, with susceptibility to human cancer. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a clonal disorder of lymphoid progenitors representing the most frequent malignancy of childhood. Here, we show the presence at significantly elevated levels of a circulating soluble form of CTLA-4 in 70% of B-ALL pediatric patients with active disease, the positive correlation between the percentage of leukemic B lymphocytes and the amount of serum sCTLA-4, and the expression of sCTLA-4 transcript by B cells in patients. Finally, a correlation between CD1d expression (a negative prognostic marker) and the sCTLA-4 in B-ALL patients was observed. This suggests a possible role of this soluble molecule as a marker of progression or severity of the neoplastic disease.
PLoS ONE 09/2012; 7(9):e44654. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: TSH receptor antibodies (TRAb) are the diagnostic hallmark of Graves' disease (GD) and immunoassays for their detection have been available for more than 30years over three generations of laboratory methods. Despite a growing body of data produced by clinical and laboratory research which demonstrates its elevated sensitivity and specificity, TRAb testing is poorly used for diagnosing GD. The aim of our systematic review and meta-analysis is to verify the diagnostic performance of TRAb detected with 2nd and 3rd generation immunoassay methods. METHODS: We searched for English articles using MEDLINE with the search terms "TSH receptor antibody assay", "TSH Receptor antibody tests" and "Graves' disease". We analyzed studies reporting on TSH receptor antibody tests performed by quantitative immunoassays, on untreated patients with GD as the index disease (sensitivity) and on a control group of either healthy subjects or patients affected by other thyroid diseases (specificity). A total of 681 titles were initially identified with the search strategy described. 560 publications were excluded based on abstract and title. Full-text review was undertaken as the next step on 111 publications providing data on TRAb testing; 58 articles were subsequently excluded because they did not include untreated GD patients, or used either bioassays or 1st generation immunoassays. 32 were also excluded because they included data only on sensitivity or only on specificity of the assay, or were duplicates. Finally, 21 articles were selected for meta-analysis. Extraction of data from selected articles was performed by two authors independently, using predefined criteria: the number of patients with GD and the number of healthy or diseased controls; specification of the analytical method used to detect TRAb; sensitivity and specificity of the assay. RESULTS: The meta-analysis showed that the overall pooled sensitivity and specificity of the 2nd and 3rd generation TRAb assays are 97.1% and 97.4%, and 98.3% and 99.2%, respectively, with little difference between the types of immunoassay methods employed (human or porcine receptor, manual or automated procedure). The likelihood of a TRAb-positive individual to have GD is 1367- to 3420-fold greater (depending upon the type of assay) compared to a TRAb-negative person. CONCLUSIONS: Data from the meta-analysis showed that TRAb measured with 2nd and 3rd generation immunoassay methods have very high sensitivity and specificity in the diagnosis of GD. The difference between 2nd and 3rd generation methods is small and is equally useful. In contrast with recommendations made by clinical endocrinologists who are not familiar with the state of the art in diagnostic technologies of autoimmunology laboratories, we propose a wide application of these tests in clinical practice to screen all hyperthyroid patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cytotoxic T lymphocyte associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) is involved in the activation pathways of T lymphocytes. It has been shown that the circulating form of CTLA-4 is elevated in patients with hymenoptera allergy and can be down regulated by immunotherapy.
to assess the effects on CTLA-4 of venom immunotherapy, given with different induction protocols: conventional (6 weeks), rush (3 days) or ultra rush (1 day).
Sera from patients with hymenoptera allergy were collected at baseline and at the end of the induction phase. CTLA-4 and IL-10 were assayed in the same samples. A subset of patients were assayed also after 12 months of VIT maintenance.
Ninety-four patients were studied. Of them, 50 underwent the conventional induction, 20 the rush and 24 the ultra-rush. Soluble CTLA-4 was detectable in all patients at baseline, and significantly decreased at the end of the induction, irrespective of its duration. Of note, a significant decrease of sCTLA-4 could be seen already at 24 hours. In parallel, IL-10 significantly increased at the end of the induction. At 12 months, sCTLA-4 remained low, whereas IL-10 returned to the baseline values.
Serum CTLA4 is an early marker of the immunological effects of venom immunotherapy, and its changes persist after one year of maintenance treatment.
PLoS ONE 06/2012; 7(6):e37980. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic urticaria is a common clinical condition whose etiology, in about 75% of cases, is unknown and is therefore called chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU). A link between CIU and autoimmune thyroid diseases was proposed several decades ago. Here we review this topic.
Several studies have been performed to determine if and to what degree there is an association between CIU and autoimmune thyroid diseases, particularly autoimmune thyroiditis. Many of these studies were not well controlled, however. Approximately one-fourth of CIU patients have serological evidence of thyroid autoimmunity, suggesting that these two disorders are associated. The mechanisms for the apparent association between CIU and serological evidence of thyroid autoimmunity are not clear. There are no data regarding the correlations between CIU and histological features of autoimmune thyroiditis or hypothyroidism. Despite this, there are anecdotal reports regarding L-thyroxine administration in patients with CIU.
Screening for thyroid autoimmunity is probably useful in patients with CIU. More solid evidence, based on still lacking well-conducted controlled studies, is desirable to determine if there is a therapeutic role for L-thyroxine treatment in ameliorating the skin manifestations of urticaria.
Thyroid: official journal of the American Thyroid Association 02/2011; 21(4):401-10. · 2.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although Iodine-131 (131I) therapy is fully validated for Graves' disease (GD), there is debate about radioiodine amount to be administered (prescribed activity), as well as the use of individualized dosimetry vs fixed 131I activity. The clinical outcome of 119 GD patients treated with 131I from 2003 to 2008 has been evaluated. The prescribed activity was calculated according to a dosimetric protocol taking into account several variables, including thyroid volume reduction during treatment. In addition, we performed a simulation according to other dosimetric protocols, by calculating the corresponding prescribed activities. The patients were followed up for at least 12 months after treatment. In the first period of observation (2003), a 120-200 Gray (Gy) radiation dose to the thyroid was prescribed, according to the guidelines published by the Italian Societies of Endocrinology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Physics: hyperthyroidism cure with a single radioiodine administration was obtained in 53% of patients. This outcome raised up to 89% when a higher radiation dose to the target (200- 250 Gy) was prescribed, although the administered activities were still lower, as a rule, than the most commonly employed fixed activities (400-600 Mega-Becquerel--MBq). Our method showed a high level of individual dose optimisation, particularly when compared to simplified methods. In conclusion, the protocol adopted in this study ensures a satisfactory rate of hyperthyroidism cure, while administering quite low 131I activities, provided that an adequate committed radiation dose to the thyroid is prescribed. In this context, the dose indication given by the aforementioned guidelines should probably be revised.
Journal of endocrinological investigation 12/2010; 34(3):201-5. · 1.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PurposeSpecific autoantibodies acting as TSH receptor agonists (TRAb) are responsible for Graves’ disease (GD). In the last 30 years
three generations of assay methods for the detection of TRAb have become available. The aim of this multicentre study was
to evaluate the analytical sensitivity, precision and diagnostic accuracy of TRAb measurement using a new automated assay
in comparison with a second-generation standard method.
MethodsSerum samples from patients with GD (n=82), autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT, n=57) or hyperthyroidism (HT, n=292), from 106 healthy subjects and from 57 patients with infectious diseases were analysed
using a third-generation TRAb immunoassay (anti-TSHR, RAD 120; Radim, Italy) based on the human monoclonal TSH receptor antibody
ResultsUsing a cut-off value of 1.25 mIU/l, established by ROC curve analysis, 80/82 GD patients (97.5%), 68/292 HT patients (23.2%),
and 6/57 AIT patients (10.5%) were TRAb-positive with the M22-based automated assay. The percentages of TRAb positivity were
lower in the same patients when the measurements were done with the second-generation method (95.1%, 18.9%, 7.0%, respectively).
ConclusionThe M22-based automated immunoassay shows high functional sensitivity (0.4 mIU/l) and high diagnostic specificity, is more
sensitive than the standard second-generation method and is less time-consuming and labourintensive, and is therefore the
up-to-date technology for TRAb detection in clinical practice.
KeywordsTSHR antibodies-Automated TRAb immunoassay-Graves’ disease-Hyperthyroidism-Sensitivity-Specificity
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CTLA-4, initially described as a membranebound molecule, is a costimulatory receptor transducing a potent inhibitory signal.
Increasing evidence shows the CTLA-4 gene to be an important susceptibility locus for autoimmune endocrinopathies and other autoimmune disorders. A soluble form
of cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (sCTLA-4) has been established and shown to possess CD80/CD86 binding activity
and in vitro immunoregulatory functions. sCTLA-4 is generated by alternatively spliced mRNA. Whereas low levels of sCTLA-4
are detected in normal human serum, increased serum levels are observed in several autoimmune diseases (e.g. Graves’ disease,
myasthenia gravis, systemic lupus erythematosus, type 1 diabetes, systemic sclerosis, coeliac disease, autoimmune pancreatitis
and primary biliary cirrhosis). The biological significance of increased sCTLA-4 serum levels is not fully clarified yet.
On the one hand, it can be envisaged that sCTLA-4 specifically inhibits early T-cell activation by blocking the interaction
of CD80/CD86 with the costimulatory receptor CD28. On the other hand, higher levels of sCTLA-4 could compete for the binding
of the membrane form of CTLA-4 with CD80/CD86 in the later phases of T-lymphocyte activation, causing a reduction in inhibitory
signalling. This double-edged nature of sCTLA-4 to block the binding of CD28 to CD80/CD86 may result in different outcomes
during the clinical course of an autoimmune disease.
KeywordsCTLA-4-Immunoregulation-Autoimmune disease-T-cell activation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BT3 is a new family of immunoreceptors belonging to the extended B7 family. BT3 molecules are expressed on the surface of resting and activated monocytes and monocyte-derived dendritic cells (iDC). We show that BT3 cross-linking, in the absence of other survival factors, provides a survival signal for monocytes and iDC and induces up-regulation of costimulatory molecules, such as CD80 and CD86, and HLA-DR. We further analyzed the effects of BT3 cross-linking on various proinflammatory responses on monocytes and iDC. The results obtained showed that BT3 engagement is able to modulate the production of IL8/CXCL8, IL-1β and IL-12/p70. Moreover, we demonstrated a synergistic effect between BT3 and Toll-like receptors ligands on both monocytes and iDC in up-regulating the production of proinflammatory cytokines. Thus, BT3 could be involved in the regulation of the balance between immune activation and suppression. A better understanding of its physiological role of these families of receptors awaits the precise identification of the nature, origin, expression, and distribution of their ligands.