[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myositis specific autoantibodies (MSAs) are useful in the diagnosis of idiopathic inflammatory myopathies and in the definition of disease subsets. The aim of this study was to set up an unlabelled protein immunoprecipitation technique for MSA identification in the sera of myositis patients, in order to identify and investigate new antibody reactivity, undetectable by currently used methods.
Sera of 183 patients with connective tissue diseases (75 adult dermatomyositis, 12 juvenile dermatomyositis, 43 polymyositis, 53 other connective tissue diseases) and 30 healthy controls were screened by an in-house procedure of unlabelled protein immunoprecipitation. In the same sera MSAs and myositis associated antibodies were determined by immunoblotting and immunoprecipitation for RNA.
The analytical specificity of unlabelled protein immunoprecipitation was demonstrated by testing reference sera with known antibody reactivity. Sera from five patients, affected with dermatomyositis (5/75=7%), immunoprecipitated two proteins of 40 and 90 kDa apparent molecular weights respectively, consistent with the subunits of the small ubiquitin like modifier activating enzyme heterodimer (SAE1/SAE2). The identity of putative SAE immunoprecipitated proteins was confirmed by immunoblotting on immunoprecipitates using commercial monospecific antibodies to SAE1 and SAE2. Major clinical features were compared between anti-SAE positive and negative patients. Interestingly, anti-SAE positive patients had mainly skin and muscle manifestations while dysphagia, interstitial lung disease, arthritis and constitutional symptoms were absent.
Unlabelled protein immunoprecipitation is a specific analytical approach, appropriate for the identification of the recently described anti-SAE autoantibody. We confirmed the role of anti-SAE antibody as marker of dermatomyositis.
Journal of immunological methods 08/2012; 384(1-2):128-34. · 2.35 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Overlap Syndromes (OSs) have been defined as entities satisfying classification criteria of at least two connective tissue diseases (CTDs) occurring at the same or at different times in the same patient. CTDs include systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic sclerosis (SSc), polymyositis/dermatomyositis (PDM), and Sjögren syndrome (SS). Every combination between these disorders has been reported. In some OS a specific autoantibody has been indentified, supporting the hypothesis that these syndromes are not a mere association of two or more CTD in the same patient, but a well defined clinical entity with specific clinical characteristics. As an example, anti-t-RNA synthetase syndrome is characterized by the presence of anti-t-RNA synthetase antibodies. Notably, clinical manifestations observed in OS may be different from those observed in the single CTD. The treatment of OS is mainly based on the use of corticosteroids and immunosuppressants. Biologic drugs, i.e. anti-TNFα or anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies, have been recently introduced as alternative treatments in refractory cases. Moreover, there are some concerns with the use of anti-TNF agents in patients with systemic autoimmune diseases due to the risk of triggering disease exacerbations. In this paper the most frequent OS are described with a special focus on the specific immunologic and clinical aspects. Furthermore, some personal data on anti-t-RNA synthetase syndrome and rhupus syndrome are reported.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess risk factors for a first thrombotic event in confirmed antiphospholipid (aPL) antibody carriers and to evaluate the efficacy of prophylactic treatments.
Inclusion criteria were age 18-65 years, no history of thrombosis and two consecutive positive aPL results. Demographic, laboratory and clinical parameters were collected at enrolment, once a year during the follow-up and at the time of the thrombotic event, whenever that occurred.
258 subjects were prospectively observed between October 2004 and October 2008. The mean ± SD follow-up was 35.0 ± 11.9 months (range 1-48). A first thrombotic event (9 venous, 4 arterial and 1 transient ischaemic attack) occurred in 14 subjects (5.4%, annual incidence rate 1.86%). Hypertension and lupus anticoagulant (LA) were significantly predictive of thrombosis (both at p<0.05) and thromboprophylaxis was significantly protective during high-risk periods (p<0.05) according to univariate analysis. Hypertension and LA were identified by multivariate logistic regression analysis as independent risk factors for thrombosis (HR 3.8, 95% CI 1.3 to 11.1, p<0.05, and HR 3.9, 95% CI 1.1 to 14, p<0.05, respectively).
Hypertension and LA are independent risk factors for thrombosis in aPL carriers. Thromboprophylaxis in these subjects should probably be limited to high-risk situations.
Annals of the rheumatic diseases 02/2011; 70(6):1083-6. · 8.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glucocorticoids (GCs) are potent anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive agents which exert multiple effects on immune cell functions. Although their use dates back 60 years, their functions and mode of action have not been completely elucidated yet. GCs act through different genomic and non genomic mechanisms which are mediated by the binding to cytosolic glucocorticoid receptor as well as to cell membrane receptors, or by interacting directly with enzymes and other cell proteins. T cell subtypes have a different sensitivity and response to GCs; in fact, GCs have an immunosuppressive effect on pro-inflammatory T cells, while they stimulate regulatory T cell activity. The effect of GCs on B cells is less clear. Interestingly, treatment with GCs may determine apoptosis of autoreactive B cells by reducing the B cell activator factor (BAFF). Tolerogenic dendritic cells which express low levels of Major Histocompatibility Complex class II, co-stimulatory molecules and cytokines, such as IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-12, can be induced by GCs. GCs at low levels stimulate and at high levels inhibit macrophage activity; moreover, they reduce the number of basophils, stimulate the transcription of inhibitors of leukocyte proteinases and the apoptosis of neutrophils and eosinophils. Finally, GCs inhibit the synthesis and function of some cytokines, particularly T helper type 1 cytokines, and to a lesser extent the secretion of chemokines and co-stimulatory molecules from immune and endothelial cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Serological testing for myositis-specific or associated autoantibodies [myositis-specific antibody (MSA) and myositis-associated antibody (MAA)] is useful for the diagnosis of idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIMs). However, available assays are neither standardized nor validated. The objective is to evaluate the accuracy of a commercial line blot assay for myositis diagnosis.
IgG antibodies against Jo-1, PL-7, PL-12, PM/Scl, Ku, Mi-2 and Ro52 antigens were detected by a line blot and in-house RNA immunoprecipitation or immunoblot. We tested sera from 208 IIM patients, 50 healthy subjects and 180 control patients (11 non-autoimmune myopathy, 23 muscular dystrophy, 11 UCTD, 68 SLE, 36 SSc, 22 SS and 9 arthropathy).
MSAs or MAAs were detected in 98 (47%) out of the 208 IIM patients by line blot: anti-Jo-1 in 43 (21%), anti-PL-7 or anti-PL-12 in 8 (4%), anti-Mi-2 in 9 (4%), anti-PM/Scl in 9 (4%), anti-Ku in 10 (5%) and anti-Ro52 in 49 (24%). Overall specificity was: 100% for anti-Jo-1, anti-PL-7 or PL-12 and anti-PM/Scl; 96% for anti-Ku; 98% for anti-Mi-2; and 76% for anti-Ro52. In-house testing confirmed line blot results regarding anti-Jo-1, anti-PM/Scl and anti-Ku, while it was more accurate than line blot in detecting anti-Mi-2 (7 vs 4% sensitivity, 100 vs 98% specificity), and anti-aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase (anti-ARS) non-Jo-1 antibodies (11 vs 4% sensitivity, 97 vs 99% specificity).
Line blot could be a suitable serological test in the diagnostic workup for myositis, and it represents a reliable alternative to more time-consuming procedures. Continuous effort is recommended in order to improve its accuracy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Around 1980 antinuclear antibody testing became widely used in routine laboratory practice leading to a tapering in the lag time between SLE onset and diagnosis. Since then nothing relevant has been introduced which could help us in making the diagnosis of SLE earlier than now. Notably, there is increasing evidence that early diagnosis and treatment could increase SLE remission rate and improve patient prognosis. Although it has been shown that autoantibodies appear before clinical manifestations in SLE patients, currently we cannot predict which autoantibody positive subjects will eventually develop the disease. Thus, great effort should be made in order to identify new biomarkers able to improve our diagnostic potential. B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS), anti-ribosomal P protein and anti-C1q antibodies are among the most promising. In recent years, some therapeutic options have emerged as appropriate interventions for early SLE treatment, including antimalarials, vitamin D, statins and vaccination with self-derived peptides. All these immune modulators seem to be particularly useful when introduced in an early stage of the disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During pregnancy the maternal immune system is modified in order to achieve immune tolerance toward paternal antigen expressed on foetal cells. These modifications, which occur both at the foeto-maternal interface and in the systemic circulation, are driven by oestrogens and progesterone whose blood concentrations increase during pregnancy. The cytokine profile is also modified. Th2 cytokines are enhanced while the Th1 response is inhibited. This could explain why Th1-mediated autoimmune diseases tend to improve and Th2-mediated diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), tend to worsen during pregnancy. However, whether or not SLE relapses more frequently during pregnancy is still a matter of debate. Steroid hormone and cytokine profiles differ in SLE patients compared with healthy subjects during pregnancy leading to a dysregulation of the balance between cell-mediated and humoral immune response, which, in turn, could explain the variability of the SLE course during gestation. This review focuses on hormonal-related cytokine changes observed during pregnancy in healthy subjects and SLE patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To asses risk factors for a first thrombotic event in antiphospholipid antibody (aPL) positive carriers and evaluate the efficacy of prophylactic treatments.
Recruitment criteria were age 18-65 years, no history of thrombosis, positivity for lupus anticoagulant and/or IgG/IgM anticardiolipin antibody (aCL) on > or =2 occasions at least 6 weeks apart. Demographic, laboratory and clinical parameters were collected at enrolment and at the time of the thrombotic event.
370 patients/subjects (mean (SD) age 34 (9.9) years) were analysed retrospectively for a mean (SD) follow-up of 59.3 (45.5) months. Thirty patients (8.1%) developed a first thrombotic event during follow-up. Hypertension and medium/high levels of IgG aCL were identified by multivariate logistic regression analysis as independent risk factors for thrombosis. Thromboprophylaxis during high-risk and long-term periods was significantly protective.
Hypertension or medium/high titres of IgG aCL are risk factors for a first thrombotic event in asymptomatic aPL carriers and primary prophylaxis is protective.
Annals of the rheumatic diseases 10/2008; 68(3):397-9. · 8.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the improvement of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) survival observed in the last decades, the long-term prognosis of these patients remains poor mainly due to complications of the disease and/or of its treatment. Therefore, in order to improve SLE prognosis, we should try to avoid long-term complications by adopting, early in the disease course, some strategies directed to prevent infections, atherosclerosis and cancer. Moreover, since it has been shown that autoantibodies appear before clinical manifestations in SLE, the question of whether or not asymptomatic individuals with a reliable positive serology should be treated arises. Other than advising these individuals to avoid sun exposure, drugs implicated in drug-induced lupus and cigarette smoking, the use of vitamin D and hydroxychloroquine could be considered. Finally, early SLE diagnosis has led to a modification of disease clinical spectrum at disease onset with an increased frequency of mild disease manifestations over severe ones. Thus great effort should be made in order to identify early in the disease course risk factors for the development of severe SLE manifestations. Finally patients with mild disease carrying factors predictive of severe manifestations should be treated more aggressively than we have done up to now.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) is an immunosuppressive agent initially used in the treatment of transplant recipients. MMF has been used in renal, heart, and liver transplantation, where it seems more effective than other immunosuppressive regimens in reducing the incidence of acute rejection episodes. MMF has a variety of immunosuppressive effects, including selective suppression of T and B lymphocyte proliferation, and has been more recently used in many autoimmune inflammatory conditions. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that can potentially involve any organ or system of the human body. Glomerulonephritis (GLN) has been recognized as the most frequent severe manifestation of SLE, leading to poor long-term prognosis. In the treatment of lupus GLN, several therapeutic approaches, all including immunosuppressive drugs, such as cyclophosphamide, azathioprine, or cyclosporine A, have been used. The short- and long-term toxicity of these drugs limits their use in a substantial number of patients. Over the last few years, MMF has emerged as an alternative therapeutic regimen in lupus GLN, mainly for patients refractory to other therapies. These studies have shown that it is highly effective and generally well tolerated.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 08/2007; 1110(1):516 - 524. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) is a new immunosuppressant recently introduced in the treatment of autoimmune conditions. The greatest experience with the use of MMF has been achieved in the treatment of proliferative lupus glomerulonephritis. However, MMF has also been used to control SLE extra-renal manifestations as well as other autoimmune rheumatic diseases such as idiopathic inflammatory arthropathies, inflammatory myopathies, systemic sclerosis, and systemic vasculitis. MMF seems to be well tolerated and effective and could be considered a useful alternative to standard immunosuppressants for the treatment of autoimmune rheumatic disorders. However, further studies are needed in order to determine its real place in the treatment of these conditions. In this paper, the use of MMF in different autoimmune rheumatic diseases is reviewed and discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus can be considered the most characteristic and important among the connective tissue diseases. In this short review the main stages of its history are sketched, from the introduction of the term "lupus", traditionally attributed to Roger Frugardi, in 1230 (but in fact already documented in the 10th century) to the actual knowledge of its clinical and laboratory aspects. Initially considered exclusively of dermatological interest, the first to describe a systemic form with visceral involvement were Moriz Kohn Kaposi and William Osler. Significant contribution was also given by serological diagnosis, and in particular, by the identification of specific markers of disease, such as anti-native DNA and anti-Sm antibodies, allowing early diagnosis and the establishment of an adequate therapy.