Maria Esposito Pellitteri

Università degli studi di Palermo, Palermo, Sicily, Italy

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Publications (19)74.39 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Tacrolimus ointment is a topical immunomodulator. Currently, there is available evidence regarding the potential use of topical tacrolimus in a range of dermatological disorders. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of tacrolimus ointment 0.1% for the nickel sulfate-induced steroid-resistant allergic contact dermatitis (ACD). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study design was performed in a total of 28 patients affected by nickel sulfate-induced steroid-resistant ACD after a 14-day run-in period. Then, the enrolled patients were randomized into two subgroups. Group A was treated with tacrolimus for 14 days and finally observed for a 7-day follow-up period. Group B, instead, was treated with placebo (vehicle). Four major symptoms (erythema, oozing, scaling, and itching) were considered as outcomes during the different phases of the study. In group A, during the treatment period with tacrolimus, a significant improvement was observed in all four considered symptoms. On the other hand, no improvement in symptoms was observed in the placebo-treated group B. Local adverse events in the tacrolimus-treated group, such as burning/itching at the application site, were transient and well tolerated. No patients withdrew because of burning/itching. In our study, tacrolimus ointment 0.1% appeared to be both effective and safe in the treatment of nickel sulfate-induced steroid-resistant ACD.
    Allergy and Asthma Proceedings 01/2006; 27(6):527-31. · 2.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Subjects with rhinitis but without asthma may have coexisting bronchial hyperresponsiveness, although the reasons for this are uncertain. To evaluate the factors that determine BHR in rhinitis we examined 410 patients with symptomatic rhinitis with forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC)>or=80% of the predicted value. In all subjects a skin prick test (SPT) was performed, a determination of total serum IgE and an eosinophils count in the blood. Of the 410 subjects we found that 161 (39.3%) exhibited a methacholine PD20 of 800 mg or less (Group A), whereas 249 (60.7%) had a methacholine PD20 more of 800 mg (Group B). Despite the matched mean values for FEV1 and FVC, compared with Group B, Group A had a lower predicted forced expiratory flow between 25% and 75%(FEF25%-75%) (86.7 +/- 12.0 vs. 93.7 +/- 7.3, P < 0.0001). A great portion of the subjects of the Group Ain respect to subjects of the Group B were exposed to passive smoke (37.8% vs. 22.0%, P = 0.0008), reported having mothers with asthma (34.1% vs. 6.0%, P < 0.0001), presented a positive skin prick test (93.7% vs. 67.0%, P < 0.0001), had higher levels of total serum IgE (geometric mean of Log10 2.46 +/- 0.27 kU/L vs. 2.06 +/- 0.38 kU/L, P < 0.0001) and higher blood eosinophil counts (geometric mean of Log10 2.67 +/- 0.07 x 10(-3) mL vs. 2.57 +/- 0.09 x 10(-3) mL, P < 0.0001), and reported increased nasal obstruction (2.0 (95% CI 1.8 to 2.2) vs. 0.6 (95% CI 0.5 to 0.7), P < 0.0001). Logistic regression demonstrates that nasal obstruction (OR 2.19, 95% CI 1.72 to 2.80) and the presence of positive SPT (OR 6.15, 95% CI 2.42 to 15.61) were the most available predictors to discriminate between subjects with BHR and subjects without BHR. In addition, BHR was positively related to blood eosinophil counts (OR= 2.80, 95% CI 1.54 to 5.07), FEF25%-75% values (OR= 2.72, 95% CI 1.23 to 5.99) and familiarity (mother) for asthma (OR = 2.45, 95% CI 1.10 to 5.46). Whereas passive smoke and total serum IgE were not positively related to BHR. Increased nasal obstruction and the presence of positive SPT were the most available predictors to discriminate between subjects with and without BHR. Finally, BHR was positively related to blood eosinophil counts, FEF25%-75% values and to familiarity (mother) for asthma.
    International journal of immunopathology and pharmacology 01/2005; 18(4):715-22. · 2.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: H 1 -receptor antagonists are considered to be particularly effective in reducing pruritus, and they are therefore recommended as first-line treatment in patients with chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU). Recently, antileukotriene receptors have been used in patients with CIU, either administered as monotherapy or combined with H 1 -receptor antagonists. We compared the clinical efficacy of 5 mg of desloratadine administered once daily either as monotherapy or combined with a leukotriene antagonist, 10 mg of montelukast daily, and 10 mg of montelukast administered daily as monotherapy for the treatment of patients affected by CIU with placebo. One hundred sixty patients aged 18 to 69 years (mean +/- SD, 43.9 +/- 13.4 years) with a history of moderate CIU were selected. A randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study design was used. Patients were treated with 5 mg of desloratadine once daily (n = 40), 10 mg of montelukast once daily (n = 40), 5 mg of desloratadine (n = 40) in the morning plus montelukast in the evening, or matched placebo (n = 40). Assessment of treatment efficacy was based on scores of daily cutaneous symptoms evaluated reflectively and instantaneously. Only the group treated with desloratadine as monotherapy or as combined therapy concluded the whole study. Twenty-seven of the 40 patients in the montelukast group and 35 of the 40 patients in the placebo group discontinued the treatment. As reflective evaluation, all groups showed significant differences compared with the placebo group in terms of total symptom score, number of hives, and size of largest hive. In addition to the pruritus, only the groups treated with desloratadine as monotherapy or combined therapy showed significant differences compared with those receiving placebo, whereas there were no differences between the montelukast and placebo groups. Finally, no differences were found between the desloratadine group and the desloratadine plus montelukast group. The instantaneous evaluation demonstrated similar results regarding the desloratadine group and the desloratadine plus montelukast group versus the placebo group, whereas there were no significant differences between the group treated with montelukast alone and the placebo group for pruritus and size of largest hive. No differences were found between the group treated with desloratadine alone and the desloratadine plus montelukast group. The results of this comparative study demonstrate that desloratadine is highly effective for the treatment of patients affected by CIU. In addition, the regular combined therapy of desloratadine plus montelukast does not seem to offer a substantial advantage with respect to desloratadine as monotherapy in patients affected by moderate CIU.
    Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 10/2004; 114(3):619-25. · 12.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Corticosteroids are considered to be particularly effective in reducing nasal congestion and are therefore recommended as first-line treatment in allergic rhinitis patients with moderate to severe and/or persistent symptoms. We compared the clinical efficacy of fluticasone propionate aqueous nasal spray (FPANS) 200 microg given once daily, administered in mono-therapy or combined therapy with a H1 receptor antagonist (cetirizine, CTZ) or with a leukotriene antagonist (montelukast, MSK), and the combined therapy of CTZ plus MSK in the treatment of patients affected by allergic rhinitis to Parietaria during natural pollen exposure. In addition, we examined the effect of the treatment on eosinophil counts and eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) in nasal lavage performed at beginning of season, during season and at the end of the season. One hundred patients aged 12-50 years (mean+/-SD 31.8+/-9.6) with a history of moderate to severe Parietaria pollen-induced seasonal allergic rhinitis were selected. A randomized, double-blind, double dummy, placebo (PLA)-controlled, parallel-group study design was used. Patients were treated FPANS 200 microg once daily (n=20) or with FPANS 200 microg once daily, plus CTZ (10 mg) in the morning (n=20), or with FPANS 200 microg once daily, plus MSK (10 mg) in the evening (n=20) or with CTZ (10 mg) in the morning plus MSK in the evening (n=20) or matched PLA (n=20). Assessment of efficacy was based on scores of daily nasal symptoms and on eosinophil counts and ECP in nasal lavage. All treatments showed significant differences (P<0.001) compared with PLA in terms of total symptom, rhinorrhea, sneezing and nasal itching scores. Concerning nasal congestion on waking and daily only the groups treated with FPANS in mono-therapy or in combined therapy showed significant differences compared with PLA. Comparing the group treated with FPANS alone and the groups treated with FPANS plus CTZ, we found significant differences for total symptom score (P=0.04) and for nasal itching (P=0.003). The comparison between FPANS plus CTZ and FPANS plus MSK showed significant difference for nasal itching (P=0.003). Finally, there were significant differences between the group treated with FPANS and the group treated with CTZ plus MSK for total symptom score (P=0.009), for nasal congestion on waking (P<0.001) and nasal congestion daily (P<0.001). Also the comparisons between the group treated with FPANS plus CTZ and the group treated with CTZ plus MSK demonstrated significant differences (P<0.001) for total symptom, for nasal congestion on waking and for nasal congestion on daily, for rhinorrhea (P=0.04) and for nasal itching (P=0.003) scores. Concerning the comparison between the group treated with FPANS plus MSK and the group treated with CTZ plus MSK we found significant differences for total symptom score (P=0.005), for nasal congestion on waking (P<0.001) and for nasal congestion on daily (P<0.001). No other differences were observed between the groups. Concerning blood eosinophil counts, significant differences were found between the treatments with FPANS in mono-therapy or in combined therapy with PLA group during and at the end of the season (P=0.0003 and P<0.0001, respectively). Concerning eosinophils and ECP in nasal lavage, all treatments showed significant differences (P<0.001) compared with PLA. Besides, there were significant differences (P<0.001) between the groups treated with FPANS alone or in combined therapy and the group treated with CTZ plus MSK. The results of this comparative study demonstrate that FPANS is highly effective for treating patients affected by allergic rhinitis, with efficacy exceeding that of CTZ plus MSK in combined therapy. In addition, the regular combined therapy of FPANS plus CTZ or plus MSK would not seem to offer substantial advantage with respect to FPANS in mono-therapy in patients affected by seasonal allergic rhinitis.
    Clinical & Experimental Allergy 03/2004; 34(2):259-67. · 4.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During inflammation, activated vascular endothelial cells and other cell types express various adhesion molecules, which facilitate the binding of circulating leukocytes and their extravasation in surrounding tissue (i.e. renal tissue). The serum concentration of circulating soluble adhesion molecules is supposed to reflect the degree of this activation. In the first part of the study, we determined if the serum levels of the soluble intercellular adhesion molecule (sICAM)-1 and the soluble endothelial cell-leukocyte adhesion molecule (sELAM)-1, in patients affected by microscopic polyangiitis (MPA), associated with myeloperoxidase (MPO)-anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA), were related to the active and the inactive vasculitis phase. In the second part of the study, we examined the changes in circulating sICAM-1 and sELAM-1 levels and the clinical outcome of renal function in these patients. We examined 20 MPO-ANCA-positive MPA patients in an acute phase and in a remission phase, after 6 months of treatment, and 50 subjects as controls, 30 with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) in stable chronic renal failure (CRF) and 20 healthy volunteers (HS) with normal renal function. Regarding serum creatinine (Cr) concentration, no significant differences were found comparing active and inactive phases in the MPA group and the CRF group. Mean serum adhesion molecule levels in the MPA group were higher in the active phase compared to the inactive phase and to the CRF and HS groups. In addition, considering the outcome of serum Cr concentrations in the MPA group, the serum adhesion molecule levels were higher and decreased more slowly in patients with final high serum Cr concentrations than in patients with final normal serum Cr concentrations. Our data suggest that in MPO-ANCA-positive MPA patients, higher sICAM-1 and sELAM-1 levels during the active phase and their slower decline during the treatment period, could be a prognostic risk factor for CRF development.
    Journal of nephrology 01/2004; 17(6):800-7. · 2.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The literature on immunosenescence has focused mainly on T cell impairment. However, it is well known that B function is also profoundly affected. In particular, several studies have shown age-related changes in immunoglobulin serum levels. Concerning allergic diseases, the incidence of onset of allergic symptoms, as well as their severity, seems to decrease with age. So, the decline of onset of allergic symptoms observed in ageing might result from a decrease of serum total IgE due to an unbalance of cytokines and soluble factors involved in its production. To gain insight into the mechanisms of age related incidence of onset of allergic symptoms, as well as their severity, in this study we have evaluated in a sample of young (12 females and 15 males, range 20-64 years) and old (42 females and 20, males range 70-93 years) individuals serum values of IgE and sCD23 and in vitro Type 2 cytokine production. Total serum IgE levels were quantified by CAP-system fluorescence enzyme immunoassay. Serum CD23 levels were measured by a sandwich enzyme-linked immunoassay. Enzyme immunoassay tests have been used to quantify IL-4, IL-10 and IL-13 on mitogen-stimulated cultures. Serum total IgE and sCD23 in the two groups of young and old subjects were not significantly different. No detectable levels of IL-4, IL-10 and IL-13 were observed in supernatants from unstimulated cultures in all the subjects tested. After 48 h stimulation with PHA, cytokine amounts became detectable in all subjects. However, the values of the cytokines under study were not significantly different between young and old subjects. In our study, we have not been able to show no impairment in the afferent (type 2 cytokine production) and in the central (serum IgE and sCD23 levels) branch of allergic responses. Previous studies have shown that the efferent branch, at least studied as basophil releasability and bronchial responsiveness, is not impaired in elderly. In conclusion, as suggested from the present and previous papers it is questionable whether there is sufficient information to validate the statement that the incidence of allergic diseases decreases with age.
    Mechanisms of Ageing and Development 05/2003; 124(4):445-8. · 3.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Corticosteroid administration produces multiple immunomodulatory effects, including down-regulation of cytokine production by CD4 T lymphocytes. Fluticasone propionate (FP) (Glaxo Smith&Kline, Greenford, UK), a highly lipophilic topical corticosteroid, has been shown to be safe and effective in the treatment of asthma and of both seasonal and perennial rhinitis. To gain insight into the mechanisms of FP therapeutic effects, we evaluated interleukin (IL)-13 (a type 2 cytokine that seemingly plays a pivotal role in allergic mechanisms) production by mitogen-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (MNC) in vitro, treated or not with FP. MNC from 10 healthy subjects and 10 asthmatic atopic patients with Parietaria allergy were stimulated v/v with phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) (50 gamma/ml) or with complete medium alone as a control. Culture supernatants, in vitro treated or not with 10(-7) or 10(-8) M FP, were collected after 48 or 72 h incubation. IL-13 production was assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. In random selected samples, after 4 or 24 h of cell cultures, RNA was extracted and IL-4 and IL-5 reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) products analyzed. At 48 h, there were no differences in IL-13 concentration in PHA-stimulated cultures between healthy subjects and asthmatic patients (93.6 +/- 18.9 versus 111.0 +/- 25.1 pg/ml). At 72 h, similar results were obtained (63.9 +/- 3.0 versus 73.3 +/- 2.5 pg/ml, respectively). At this time, however, IL-13 concentrations were significantly decreased versus 48 h both in asthmatics (p < 0.001) and in controls (p < 0.001). Treatment with 10(-7) M FP significantly reduced IL-13 production in healthy subjects and asthmatic patients both at 48 h (93.6 +/- 18.9 versus 50.50 +/- 10.6 pg/ml, p < 0.001, and 111.0 +/- 25.1 versus 59.3 +/- 13.6 pg/ml, p < 0.001, respectively) and at 72 h (63.9 +/- 9.6 versus 35.5 +/- 4.4 pg/ml, p < 0.001, and 73.3 +/- 8.0 versus 40.7 +/- 4.5 pg/ml, p < 0.001, respectively). Similar results were obtained with 10(-8) M FP at 48 and 72 h. Accordingly, evaluation of RT-PCR products from selected cell samples showed a FP dosage-dependent inhibition of IL-4 and IL-5 mRNA production both for healthy subjects and asthmatic patients. FP in vitro impairs IL-13 production by PHA-stimulated MNC from asthmatic and control subjects. This strengthens previous suggestions that IL-13 inhibition by steroids may, at least in part, account for their therapeutic effects.
    Mediators of Inflammation 06/2002; 11(3):187-90. · 3.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To assess the prevalence of latex sensitization in a group of hospital employees in a general hospital. Cross-sectional study on hypersensitivity to latex gloves among health-care workers. A general hospital in Palermo, Sicily. 196 health-care workers answered a questionnaire about their case history of allergic diseases (i. e., rhinitis and/or asthma) and about symptoms after wearing latex gloves. All subjects were tested by skin prick test (SPT) with commercial latex extract and aeroallergens and had blood draw for total serum IgE and latex-specific IgE testing and glove-use test. 42% of the subjects who answered the questionnaire reported at least one symptom after wearing latex gloves. All symptoms were local, and none of the subjects reported systemic reactions. The most common symptom was itching, but none of subjects with only itching presented a positive SPT or specific serum IgE to latex. The SPT to latex was positive in 19 of 196 subjects (9.7%). Specific IgE to latex were found in 15/196 subjects (7.6%). Glove-use test was positive in 14/196 (7.1%). The overall prevalence of latex sensitivity in health-care workers in our epidemiological setting is 7.1%. An accurate diagnosis must take in account the integration of in vivo and in vitro tests with previous history of allergic disease.
    Journal of investigational allergology & clinical immunology: official organ of the International Association of Asthmology (INTERASMA) and Sociedad Latinoamericana de Alergia e Inmunología 02/2002; 12(2):114-9. · 1.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nasal polyposis (NP) often coexists with asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis. Polyp histology typically shows chronic, eosinophilic inflammation. The inflammatory cell infiltrate generally includes eosinophils, lymphocytes, plasma cells and mast cells. To gain insight into the natural history of NP, we analysed mediator levels and leukocyte values in nasal fluids and eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), total IgE levels and eosinophils in the blood in several groups of both allergic and non-allergic patients with nasal polyps and in patients with allergic rhinitis (AR). Thirty-two patients with nasal polyps entered the study. As a control group, we studied 55 patients with AR, i.e. 20 patients with seasonal AR to grass pollen, 24 with AR sensitive to Parietaria and 11 with AR sensitive to house dust mite (HDM). Eighteen patients with nasal polyps were also allergic patients (8 were sensitive to Parietaria and 10 were sensitive to HDM), whereas 14 were non-allergic patients. Tryptase and histamine values were assayed in nasal fluids, whereas total IgE was determined in serum. ECP values were assayed both in nasal fluids and serum. Eosinophils were quantified both in the blood and nasal fluids. Tryptase levels were significantly higher in the nasal lavages from patients with NP than in those from patients without NP (4.7 vs. 3.5 U/l, p < 0.001) and correlated with symptom scores (r(s) = 0.42, p < 0.0001). The median levels of histamine in nasal fluids from patients with NP were also significantly higher than those observed in patients without NP (50.0 vs. 21.3 ng/ml, p < 0.001), but did not correlate with symptom scores. Finally, the median levels of ECP in nasal fluids from patients with NP were significantly higher than those observed in patients without NP (38.1 vs. 16.1 ng/ml, p < 0.001) and correlated with symptom scores (r(s) = 0.38, p < 0.001). Analysis of variance showed that, among the variables studied, the presence of nasal polyps was the factor responsible for the higher levels of tryptase, histamine and ECP in nasal fluids. With regard to leukocyte counts in nasal fluids, no significant differences were observed between rhinitis patients with NP and those without NP. With regard to serum ECP and serum total IgE, no significant differences were detected between the two groups under study. Blood eosinophil levels in patients with NP were significantly higher than those observed in patients without NP (5.8 vs. 5.6, p = 0.002). Analysis of variance showed that both the presence of nasal polyps and the type of sensitisation were important. Considering the total symptom scores, no significant differences were observed between rhinitis patients with NP and those without NP. The present findings are consistent with the view that chronic eosinophil mucosal inflammatory disease in NP involves a self-sustaining mechanism, i.e. local release of inflammatory mediators, independent of allergen stimulation of nasal mucosa. Increased release of inflammatory mediators contributes to the development of nasal polyps, determining oedema and an increased recruitment of inflammatory cells. Besides eosinophils, mast cells also play a key role in this process.
    International Archives of Allergy and Immunology 06/2001; 125(2):164-75. · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Topical corticosteroids are beneficial in the treatment of allergic respiratory disorders; they exert effects on a number of cells involved in allergic inflammatory reactions. On the other hand, major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-unrestricted cytotoxicity (i.e., natural killer [NK] cell activity) may play a role in the inflammatory allergic reaction. The objective was to gain insight into the mechanisms of the therapeutic effects of fluticasone propionate (FP), an inhaled corticosteroid used in asthma and rhinitis therapy. Therefore, we evaluated the NK and lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) activity of effector cells in vitro treated or not with FP. Evaluations were made on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNCs), obtained from healthy volunteers (n = 10) and from asthmatic atopic subjects (n = 10) with allergy to Parietaria. Asthmatic patients had significantly increased NK activity (P= 0.0008), and interleukin (IL)-2- (P=0.0005) and interferon (IFN)-alpha-induced LAK activities (P=0.0005). In both groups, FP 10(-7) M significantly reduced NK activity (P<0.0001), IL-2-induced LAK activity (P<0.0001), and IFN-alpha-induced LAK activity (P<0.0001). Similar results were obtained with FP 10(-8) M. Since MHC-unrestricted cytotoxicity has been implicated in the development of allergen-induced eosinophilic airway inflammation, inhibition of NK and LAK activity by FP may contribute to the steroid therapeutic effect in asthma.
    Allergy 04/2001; 56(4):323-7. · 5.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment options for allergic rhinitis include antihistamines, decongestants, anticholinergics, cromolyn sodium and corticosteroids. As the nose is a small organ, comprising less than 1% of total body mass and surface area, it seems logical to confine treatment of rhinitis to the diseased organ. To evaluate the effects of therapy with intranasal fluticasone propionate (FP), both on subjective symptoms and pathophysiological mechanisms, in rhinitis patients during pollen season when the patients were symptomatic. We used a double-blind, placebo (PLA)-controlled, randomized, double dummy, parallel group study of the effect of 6 weeks treatment. The double-blind comparison was made between the following three treatments: FP aqueous nasal spray, 200 microg taken once daily, levocabastine (LEV) nasal spray, 200 microg taken twice daily and PLA nasal spray. Clinical evaluation and the levels of cells and mediators in nasal washing were performed before and after treatments. Twenty-four patients (11 men and 13 women, aged 17-50 years, mean age 30.1 +/- 8.5) with strictly seasonal allergic rhinitis to Parietaria entered the study. Clinical evaluation and the levels of inflammatory cells (eosinophils and activated eosinophils, i.e. EG2+) and their mediators (tryptase, eosinophil cationic protein, eosinophil protein X and neutrophil myeloperoxidase) in nasal-lavage were performed before and after treatments. Treatment with FP significantly increased, with respect to placebo, the percentage of days without sneezing (P < 0. 001), nasal blockage (P < 0.001), rhinorrhea (P < 0.001), nasal itching (P < 0.001). Furthermore, treatment with FP showed additional benefits with respect to LEV. The percentage of days without nasal blockage was significantly higher in the FP group that in the placebo group (P = 0.018). The same applied to rhinorrhea (P = 0.009). The percentages of days without sneezing and itching were instead not significantly different between the two groups. As expected, no significant differences were observed in baseline medians of the rhinitis symptom scores as well as in mean values of all mediators and eosinophils in nasal lavages of the various groups under study. After treatment the mean of subjective symptoms as well as all values in nasal lavage level fell significantly only in the FP group, whereas no significant changes were observed either in LEV or PLA groups. Accordingly, significant differences were observed at the end of the treatments between the values of fluticasone group vs LEV and PLA group values. Significant correlations between these values and symptom scores were found, according with literature data suggesting a pathogenetic role for these mediators and eosinophils in rhinitis. FP (200 microg once daily) affords a significant degree of improvement in rhinitis control during pollen season, as measured by subjective and objective parameters, compared with LEV (200 microg twice daily) and PLA. The therapeutic benefits of intranasal FP are reflected in, and may be caused by, the decrease in nasal inflammatory cells.
    Clinical & Experimental Allergy 11/1999; 29(10):1367-77. · 4.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The diagnostic value for allergies of the low affinity IgE receptor and its soluble circulating fragment (sCD23) remains unclear. In particular, little is know about seasonal influences on serum sCD23 levels in subjects with pollen allergy. In the present study, to gain insight into pathophysiological role of sCD23, we have analyzed, in blood from patients allergic to Parietaria sCD23, IgE, and eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) serum levels. IgE were assessed as atopy markers and ECP as an inflammation marker. Patients were studied during and out of pollen season, and results were compared to those obtained in nonallergic subjects. The study population included 42 nonsmoking outpatients, living in Palermo (Sicily, Italy) or in other west Sicilian towns, with a clinical diagnosis of seasonal asthma or rhinitis and monopositive skin test to Parietaria pollen. The group of asthmatic subjects consisted of 25 patients who had one or more of the usual asthma symptoms (wheezing, dyspnea, and cough) only during the pollen season. The group of rhinitis patients consisted of 17 patients, who, during pollen season, had the nasal symptoms (nasal blockage, sneezing, nasal itching, and rhinorrhoea) but no signs of asthma. As a control group, we studied 10 nonatopic subjects from laboratory staff. They had no history of seasonal or perennial rhinitis, asthma, or urticaria and had negative skin tests to a panel of allergens. Soluble CD23, IgE, and ECP were assessed in blood during and out of pollen season. Total serum IgE levels were clearly higher in atopic patients, as classically established. Concerning sCD23 serum levels, a similar pattern of results was obtained. Accordingly, significant correlations were shown between the levels of sCD23 and IgE in all groups of patients. A completely different pattern was observed by analyzing serum ECP levels because ECP levels were significantly increased only in asthmatic patients during pollen season. Accordingly, no significant correlations were observed between the levels of sCD23 and those of ECP. Identifying immune factors associated with the development of atopy can enhance our understanding of the in vivo mechanisms involved and may have utility in paradigms designed to prevent diseases. As demonstrated by the close correlation with total serum IgE values and the lack of correlation with serum ECP values, serum levels of sCD23 appear to be an additional marker for the diagnosis of atopy but not for the follow-up of allergic diseases.
    Allergy and Asthma Proceedings 01/1999; 20(2):119-25. · 2.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aims of management in mild-to-moderate stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are to improve symptoms and quality of life (QOL), reduce decline in lung function, prevent and treat complications, increase survival while maintaining QOL, and minimize the adverse effects of treatment. Bronchodilator therapy is the keystone of improving COPD symptoms and functional capacity. The primary objective of this open-label study was to compare the efficacy and tolerability of salmeterol 50 μg BID administered by metered-dose inhaler versus oral, titrated, sustained-release theophylline BID, both given for 3 months to patients with a clinical history of chronic bronchitis. The secondary objectives of the study were to evaluate the safety profile of the two drugs for an additional 9-month period and to assess changes in QOL both within and between treatment groups, using the 36-Item Short Form (SF-36) Health Survey. One hundred seventy-eight outpatients (122 men, 56 women; mean age, 56 ± 12.9 years; mean body weight, 76.1 ± 11.8 kg) were randomized to the two treatment groups. Patients receiving salmeterol showed significant improvement in mean morning peak expiratory flow rate (16.56 L/min) over the 3-month period compared with patients receiving theophylline (P = 0.02). Salmeterol also significantly increased the percentage of symptom-free days and nights with no additional salbutamol requirement (P < 0.01). A significant difference was found between increases in forced expiratory volume in 1 second compared with baseline for salmeterol compared with theophylline throughout the initial 3-month period (0.13, 0.16, and 0.16 L at months 1, 2, and 3, respectively) and during the additional 9 months. The incidence of adverse events was similar in the two groups (salmeterol, 49.5%; theophylline, 49.4%), with a lower percentage of pharmacologically predictable adverse events in patients receiving salmeterol (4%) compared with those receiving theophylline (14.8%). Both drugs improved QOL, as measured by effects on the eight aspects of life experience analyzed by the SF-36 questionnaire. Salmeterol therapy was effective in more aspects, and the improvements seen in each were numerically greater than those seen with theophylline therapy. Statistically different changes between the two treatment groups were reported for physical functioning, changes in health perception, and social functioning (P = 0.02, P = 0.03, and P = 0.004, respectively). These data suggest that inhaled salmeterol 50 μg BID was more effective and better tolerated than oral, titrated theophylline and allowed better long-term control of airways obstruction and symptoms with improved lung function in patients with COPD
    Clinical Therapeutics - CLIN THER. 01/1998; 20(6):1130-1148.
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    ABSTRACT: In allergic rhinitis, mast cells, activated by cross-linking of allergen to mast cell-bound specific IgE, release both vasoactive mediators related to the early nasal symptoms and chemotactic mediators that attract inflammatory cells, such as eosinophils, related to the late-phase response. We have analyzed, during and out of pollen season, in blood and nasal fluid from patients allergic to grass pollen, histamine and tryptase to monitor the early phase markers and eosinophil and eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) to monitor the late phase. Twenty patients were enrolled in the study. As a control, we studied 10 nonatopic subjects. Mediators and eosinophils were assessed in blood and nasal fluid. Histamine was tested only in nasal fluid. During pollen season, tryptase but not histamine increased in nasal fluids from patients (2.96 vs 0.22 U/ml, p = 0.001) and correlated with symptom scores (r(s) = 0.63, p = 0.003). Tryptase was not detected in serum. Eosinophils increased in nasal cytology (17.0% vs 2.0%, p = 0.001) and in the blood (265 vs 12.7 x 10(6) L, p = 0.001) from patients, but they did not correlate with symptom scores. ECP increased only in the nasal lavage (1633 vs 1.30 ng/ml, p = 0.001) and correlated with symptom scores (r(s) = 0.53, p = 0.016). Both ECP and tryptase increase in nasal secretion in natural disease. Therefore the measurement of tryptase and ECP levels in nasal fluid might be a useful clinical test for monitoring disease activity and the effects of therapeutic agents.
    Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 01/1998; 100(6 Pt 1):832-7. · 12.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Initial attempts to evaluate the association between allergic rhinitis and non-specific bronchial responsiveness has produced conflicting results. In fact, some studies showed a strong correlation and other failed to find an association. However, little is known about the effect of natural specific allergen exposure on the bronchial reactivity of mono-sensitive patients with rhinitis in the southern Mediterranean area, in relation to skin reactivity to allergens, total serum IgE levels and blood eosinophils. The significance of the association between allergic rhinitis, and abnormal airway responsiveness with regard to the pathogenesis of asthma is unclear. For this reason, we have studied non-specific bronchial hyperreactivity, in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis, with reference to the responsible allergen. The aim of the study was to correlate the responsiveness to bronchoprovocation with methacholine in subjects a with allergic rhinitis during and out of the pollen season with total serum IgE and blood eosinophils. Fourty-nine non-smoking patients with clinical diagnosis of allergic rhinitis and mono-sensitive skin-prick tests to pollen allergens were enrolled in the study. Twenty patients suffered from seasonal rhinitis to Parietaria pollen, 15 patients to Gramineae pollen and 14 patients to Olea pollen. In all patients lung function measurements (assessed as response to methacholine), total serum IgE and blood eosinophil counts were measured during and out of the pollen season. During pollen season, 16 out of 49 rhinitis patients demonstrated values of bronchial responsiveness measured as response to inhaled methacholine in the asthmatic range whereas out of the pollen season only eight patients were in the asthmatic range. By analysing the results with reference to the responsible allergen, during the pollen season 15 out of 16 patients were Parietaria-sensitive and out of the pollen season seven out of eight patients. Finally, in Parietaria-sensitive rhinitis bronchial responsiveness significantly correlated, during and out of the pollen season, with total serum IgE and with blood eosinophil counts. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that Parietaria is more important than Olea and Gramineae as a risk for developing non-specific bronchial hyperresponsiveness. On the whole, present observations provide further evidence that there is an interrelationship of allergen kind, total serum IgE, eosinophil and bronchial hyperresponsiveness suggesting that they may play a role in the development of bronchial asthma in rhinitis patients.
    Clinical & Experimental Allergy 10/1997; 27(9):1052-9. · 4.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the present study we have investigated the prevalence of organ-specific and non organ-specific autoantibodies in 26 healthy centenarians (6 men, 20 women; age range 101-106 years), using as controls 54 healthy old (33 men and 21 women, age range 71-93) and 56 young subjects (29 men and 27 women, age range 26-60). We assayed sera of each group for the following organ-specific autoantibodies, anti-gastric mucosa (anti-PCA), anti-thyroglobulin (anti-Tg) and non organ-specific autoantibodies, anti-cardiolipin (anti-APA IgG and IgM), anti-nuclear antigens (anti-ANA), anti-double strand DNA (anti-ds-DNA), anti-extractable nuclear antigens (anti-ENA). Finally, natural anti-alpha-galactosyl (anti-alpha-GAL) antibodies were also analyzed. As expected, in the old subjects there was a significant increase of prevalence of anti-Tg and anti-PCA autoantibodies. By contrast, in centenarians the prevalence of organ specific anti-Tg and anti-PCA antibodies was not significantly different from that observed in controls aged less than 60 years. The prevalence of non organ-specific autoantibodies anti-APA (IgG), anti-APA (IgM), anti-ANA, was significantly increased both in the elderly and centenarians when compared with the prevalence observed in sera from the young. Anti-ENA and anti-dsDNA antibodies were not detected in all groups studied. Finally, the prevalence of natural anti-alpha-GAL antibodies significantly increases with age, including centenarians. In conclusion, we confirm and extend the results previously obtained by other authors. In fact, as already described, the prevalence of organ-specific autoantibodies in the elderly is not seen after the tenth decade of life. Interestingly, the prevalence of non organ-specific autoantibodies is instead increased in these subjects, suggesting that different mechanisms are involved in the pathogenesis of these autoantibodies. Particularly, these autoantibodies could be the expression of a damaged tissue process rather than of an autoimmune one, as suggested by data concerning natural antibodies.
    Mechanisms of Ageing and Development 04/1997; 94(1-3):183-90. · 3.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the present study we have investigated the prevalence of organ-specific and non organ-specific autoantibodies in 26 healthy centenarians (6 men, 20 women; age range 101–106 years), using as controls 54 healthy old (33 men and 21 women, age range 71–93) and 56 young subjects (29 men and 27 women, age range 26–60). We assayed sera of each group for the following organ-specific autoantibodies, anti-gastric mucosa (anti-PCA), anti-thyroglobulin (anti-Tg) and non organ-specific autoantibodies, anti-cardiolipin (anti-APA IgG and IgM), anti-nuclear antigens (anti-ANA), anti-double strand DNA (anti-dsDNA), anti-extractable nuclear antigens (anti-ENA). Finally, natural anti-α-galactosyl (anti-α-GAL) antibodies were also analyzed. As expected, in the old subjects there was a significant increase of prevalence of anti-Tg and anti-PCA autoantibodies. By contrast, in centenarians the prevalence of organ specific anti-Tg and anti-PCA antibodies was not significantly different from that observed in controls aged less than 60 years. The prevalence of non organ-specific autoantibodies anti-APA (IgG), anti-APA (IgM), anti-ANA, was significantly increased both in the elderly and centenarians when compared with the prevalence observed in sera from the young. Anti-ENA and anti-dsDNA antibodies were not detected in all groups studied. Finally, the prevalence of natural anti-α-GAL antibodies significantly increases with age, including centenarians. In conclusion, we confirm and extend the results previously obtained by other authors. In fact, as already described, the prevalence of organ-specific autoantibodies in the elderly is not seen after the tenth decade of life. Interestingly, the prevalence of non organ-specific autoantibodies is instead increased in these subjects, suggesting that different mechanisms are involved in the pathogenesis of these autoantibodies. Particularly, these autoantibodies could be the expression of a damaged tissue process rather than of an autoimmune one, as suggested by data concerning natural antibodies.
    Mechanisms of Ageing and Development. 01/1997;
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    ABSTRACT: We have analysed the relationship of blood eosinophil count and serum eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) levels in patients with acute and chronic idiopathic urticaria. The ECP levels and eosinophil counts were measured in the peripheral blood of 15 patients with acute urticaria, 25 with chronic idiopathic urticaria and 10 normal healthy subjects. Blood eosinophil counts and serum ECP levels increased in all patients with acute urticaria. Concerning patients affected by chronic urticaria, taking into account the recrudescence of the disease at the moment of taking the blood sample, only symptomatic patients showed increased eosinophil blood values whereas serum ECP levels were increased both in symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. Furthermore, serum ECP levels in chronic urticaria did not correlate with the peripheral eosinophil counts, as they did in acute urticaria. The results of the present study indicate that eosinophils may play a role in the inflammatory mechanisms in patients with acute and chronic urticaria showing a positive correlation between serum ECP levels and disease activity.
    Mediators of Inflammation 02/1996; · 3.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aims of management in mild-to-moderate stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are to improve symptoms and quality of life (QOL), reduce decline in lung function, prevent and treat complications, increase survival while maintaining QOL, and minimize the adverse effects of treatment. Bronchodilator therapy is the keystone of improving COPD symptoms and functional capacity. The primary objective of this open-label study was to compare the efficacy and tolerability of salmeterol 50 microg BID administered by metered-dose inhaler versus oral, titrated, sustained-release theophylline BID, both given for 3 months to patients with a clinical history of chronic bronchitis. The secondary objectives of the study were to evaluate the safety profile of the two drugs for an additional 9-month period and to assess changes in QOL both within and between treatment groups, using the 36-Item Short Form (SF-36) Health Survey. One hundred seventy-eight outpatients (122 men, 56 women; mean age, 56 +/- 12.9 years; mean body weight, 76.1 +/- 11.8 kg) were randomized to the two treatment groups. Patients receiving salmeterol showed significant improvement in mean morning peak expiratory flow rate (16.56 L/min) over the 3-month period compared with patients receiving theophylline (P = 0.02). Salmeterol also significantly increased the percentage of symptom-free days and nights with no additional salbutamol requirement (P < 0.01). A significant difference was found between increases in forced expiratory volume in 1 second compared with baseline for salmeterol compared with theophylline throughout the initial 3-month period (0.13, 0.16, and 0.16 L at months 1, 2, and 3, respectively) and during the additional 9 months. The incidence of adverse events was similar in the two groups (salmeterol, 49.5%; theophylline, 49.4%), with a lower percentage of pharmacologically predictable adverse events in patients receiving salmeterol (4%) compared with those receiving theophylline (14.8%). Both drugs improved QOL, as measured by effects on the eight aspects of life experience analyzed by the SF-36 questionnaire. Salmeterol therapy was effective in more aspects, and the improvements seen in each were numerically greater than those seen with theophylline therapy. Statistically different changes between the two treatment groups were reported for physical functioning, changes in health perception, and social functioning (P = 0.02, P = 0.03, and P = 0.004, respectively). These data suggest that inhaled salmeterol 50 microg BID was more effective and better tolerated than oral, titrated theophylline and allowed better long-term control of airways obstruction and symptoms with improved lung function in patients with COPD.
    Clinical Therapeutics 20(6):1130-48. · 2.23 Impact Factor