M Martinetti

Policlinico San Matteo Pavia Fondazione IRCCS, Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (161)514.57 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Kawasaki disease (KD) is a pediatric acute multisystemic vasculitis complicated by development of coronary artery lesions. The breakthrough theory on KD etiopathogenesis points to pathogens/environmental factors triggered by northeastern wind coming from China. Natural Killer cells and T lymphocytes express the inhibitory/activating Killer Immunoglobulin-like Receptors (KIR) to elicit an immune response against pathogens by binding to human leukocyte antigens (HLA) class I epitopes. We first report on the role of KIR/HLA genetic epistasis in a sample of 100 Italian KD children. We genotyped KIR, HLA-A, HLA-B and HLA-C polymorphisms, and compared KD data with those from 270 Italian healthy donors. The HLA-A*11 ligand for KIR2DS2/2DS4/3DL2 was a KD susceptibility marker by itself (odds ratio (OR)=3.85, confidence interval (CI)=1.55-9.53, P=0.004). Although no epistasis between HLA-A*11 and KIR2DS2/S4 emerged, HLA-A*11 also engages KIR3DL2, a framework gene encoding for a pathogen sensor of CpG-oligodeoxynucleotides (CpG-ODN), and KD blood mononuclear cells are actually prone to pathogen CpG-ODN activation in the acute phase. Moreover, carriers of KIR2DS2/HLA-C1 and KIR2DL2/HLA-C1 were more frequent among KD, in keeping with data demonstrating the involvement of these HLA/KIR couples in autoimmune endothelial damage. The highest KD risk factor was observed among carriers of KIR2DL2 and two or more HLA ligands (OR=10.24, CI=1.87-56.28; P=0.007).Genes and Immunity advance online publication, 3 September 2015; doi:10.1038/gene.2015.34.
    Genes and immunity 09/2015; DOI:10.1038/gene.2015.34 · 2.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autoimmune rheumatic diseases in pregnancies are associated with increased adverse obstetric outcomes. We compared maternal soluble human leucocyte antigen-G (sHLA-G) blood levels in subjects with a rheumatic disease preexisting pregnancy and unaffected controls. Third-trimester blood maternal sHLA-G concentrations were significantly higher in subjects with rheumatic diseases than in controls (mean 93.1ng/ml [SD 42.1] vs 58.1ng/ml [SD 96.3], p=0.003). Cord blood sHLA-G concentrations were significantly higher in rheumatic disease than in those born to control mothers (median 41.2ng/ml [IQR: 3.3-44.0] vs 17.9ng/ml [IQR: 17.2-88.1], p=0.007). A strict positive correlation (r=0.88, p<0.001) was found between the maternal and fetal titers of ANA autoantibodies as well as between maternal and fetal sHLAG circulating levels (r=0.58 and r=0.67, respectively, for controls and cases, p<0.001). Maternal s-HLA-G blood concentrations were significantly higher in subjects with rheumatic disease DEL/DEL homozygous for a polymorphism of the 3' untranslated regulatory region of HLA-G (HLA-G 14bp) than in the corresponding healthy controls (mean values 141.5ng/ml [SD: 166] vs 54.2ng/ml [SD: 35], p=0.009). Increasing maternal and cord blood levels of s-HLA-G concentrations among pregnant subjects with rheumatic diseases compared with controls suggest that autoimmune diseases prompt a maternal and fetal immune response that favors pregnancy immune tolerance. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Reproductive Immunology 08/2015; 110. DOI:10.1016/j.jri.2015.04.005 · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Crohn's disease (CD) is a disabling chronic enteropathy sustained by a harmful T-cell response toward antigens of the gut microbiota in genetically susceptible subjects. Growing evidence highlights the safety and possible efficacy of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as a new therapeutic tool for this condition. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the effects of bone marrow-derived MSCs on pathogenic T cells with a view to clinical application. METHODS: T-cell lines from both inflamed and non-inflamed colonic mucosal specimens of CD patients and from healthy mucosa of control subjects were grown with the antigen muramyl-dipeptide in the absence or presence of donors' MSCs. The MSC effects were evaluated in terms of T-cell viability, apoptotic rate, proliferative response, immunophenotype, and cytokine profile. The role of the indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) was established by adding a specific inhibitor, the 1-methyl-DL-tryptophan, and by using MSCs transfected with the small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting IDO. The relevance of cell-cell contact was evaluated by applying transwell membranes. RESULTS: A significant reduction in both cell viability and proliferative response to muramyl-dipeptide, with simultaneous increase in the apoptotic rate, was found in T cells from both inflamed and non-inflamed CD mucosa when co-cultured with MSCs and was reverted by inhibiting IDO activity and expression. A reduction of the activated CD4+CD25+ subset and increase of the CD3+CD69+ population were also observed when T-cell lines from CD mucosa were co-cultured with MSCs. In parallel, an inhibitory effect was evident on the expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-α, interferon-γ, interleukin-17A and -21, whereas that of the transforming growth factor-β and interleukin-6 were increased, and production of the tolerogenic molecule soluble HLA-G was high. These latter effects were almost completely eliminated by blocking the IDO, whose activity was upregulated in MSCs co-cultured with CD T cells. The use of a semipermeable membrane partially inhibited the MSC immunosuppressive effects. Finally, hardly any effects of MSCs were observed when T cells obtained from control subjects were used. CONCLUSION: MSCs exert potent immunomodulant effects on antigen-specific T cells in CD through a complex paracrine and cell-cell contact-mediated action, which may be exploited for widespread therapeutic use.
    Stem Cell Research & Therapy 07/2015; 6(1). DOI:10.1186/s13287-015-0122-1 · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Whipple's disease (WD) is a rare systemic condition caused, in genetically predisposed subjects, by Tropheryma whipplei, a common bacterium widespread in the environment. The relevance of genetic predisposition in WD is shown by the association with HLA alleles DRB1*13 and DQB1*06 and by the demonstration that, in patients with WD, the cytokine genetic profile is skewed toward a Th2 and Treg response. Since IL-16 is involved in hampering the development of a protective macrophagic response against Tropheryma whipplei, we investigated whether the genetic background of IL-16 is different between patients with WD and controls. The -295 T-to-C polymorphism of the promoter region of the IL-16 gene was studied in 90 patients with WD and 152 healthy controls. Levels of serum IL-16 protein were also tested. The frequency of the wild type T allele was significantly higher in patients with WD compared to the controls (155/180 vs. 235/304; p = 0.02 for the Chi(2) test), odds ratio 1.82 [95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.07-3.10]. The TT genotype was found in 65/90 patients with WD and 88/152 controls (p = 0.026). No relationship was found between serum levels of IL-16 and genotypes. Although the functional consequences of this genetic background on levels of IL-16 and on the course of the disease are still unknown, we found, for the first time, that the wild type T allele and the TT genotype of the -295 polymorphism are associated with WD.
    European Journal of Clinical Microbiology 07/2015; 34(9). DOI:10.1007/s10096-015-2433-7 · 2.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mycosis fungoides (MF) is the most common cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. We previously reported that the prognosis of MF patients is not only related on clinical variables but it is also associated with peculiar HLA alleles. Until today, the association of HLA ligands for KIR with the prognosis of the disease has not yet been analysed. We investigated the frequency of HLA ligands for killer cell Immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) in MF patients, evaluating if the presence of particular HLA alleles that are ligands for KIR may have prognostic value. The study includes 46 Caucasian MF patients that, between 1993 and 1997, underwent HLA genomic typing. All patients were diagnosed and followed up from 1977 to 2012 (mean follow-up of 11 years). MF patients have been divided into two groups (long survivors and dead patients). We noticed that the HLA-Bw6/Bw6 specificity increased among the group of seven dead patients compared to the group of 39 long survivors (71.4% vs. 41.0%, P = ns, OR = 3.59), while in the long survivors group the HLA- Bw4/Bw4 specificity increased when compared to dead patients (23.0% vs. 0%, P = ns). Moreover, we observed that six of the seven dead patients had HLA-DQB1*05; the phenotypic frequency of this HLA allele, in dead and long survivors patients, was 85.7% and 23.0% respectively (P = 0.004; OR = 20). Our observations suggest that the presence of the HLA-DQB1*05 alleles characterizes the patients with the poorest prognosis in MF. In addition, absence of the KIR-ligand epitope HLA-B Bw4 showed a trend of being more prominent in MF patients with the poorest prognosis. © 2015 European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.
    Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology 03/2015; DOI:10.1111/jdv.13083 · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) or toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) may develop in susceptible patients after administration of different drugs. Only mild cutaneous reactions have been related to lomefloxacin. A correlation between human leucocyte antigen (HLA) and cutaneous adverse reaction has been identified. Case report: Twenty-four hours after intake of lomefloxacin, a 30-year-old Caucasian woman developed a severe skin reaction with symptoms suggesting SJS/TEN. The fast onset reaction worsened with skin blisters and 20% body surface area skin detachment within 48 h. Burn unit admittance was required; corticosteroids and human immunoglobulins were administered. Complete recovery occurred within 3 months, except for epidermal discoloration. Molecular studies showed a peculiar profile characterized by HLA class I genotype rich of ligands for natural killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) and HLA class II haplotype, HLA-DRB1*03:01,DQB1*02:01, prone to autoimmunity. Conclusion: While the HLA profile approaches our case to other well-documented drug-induced SJS/TEN, KIR involvement still remains puzzling.
    Dermatology 10/2014; 229(4). DOI:10.1159/000365188 · 1.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Problem: To target gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) by means of temporal variation in pregnancy-associated plasma protein A (PAPP-A) and soluble human leukocyte antigen-G (sHLA-G). Method of study: Retrospective analysis of PAPP-A and sHLA-G blood levels in historical samples of 112 GDM and 112 controls, drawn at first trimester, and prospective study in 18 GDM and 105 controls collected in triplicate along the pregnancy. Six hundred and sixty-five samples were analyzed. Results: Gestational diabetes mellitus had significantly lower first-trimester PAPP-A concentrations than controls (2343±1519 versus 2996±1955 mU/mL, in retrospective brunch and 2490.57±1828.52 versus 3240.84±1930.69 mU/L in prospective one, P<0.001). First-trimester sHLA-G level was significantly lower in GDM than in controls (52.88±59.69 versus 66.81±50.14 ng/mL, P<0.001) and increased during gestation in diabetic women showing an opposite trend with respect to the controls. Conclusion: PAPP-A and sHLA-G are independent markers of GDM. Quantitative variations during pregnancy help to early unravel the onset of GDM.
    American journal of reproductive immunology (New York, N.Y.: 1989) 05/2014; 72(4). DOI:10.1111/aji.12270 · 2.44 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Toxicology 04/2014; 52(4):322-322. · 3.67 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Toxicology 04/2014; 52(4):395-395. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR)-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) interaction represents an example of genetic epistasis, where the concomitant presence of specific genes or alleles encoding receptor-ligand units is necessary for the activity of natural killer (NK) cells. Although KIR and HLA genes segregate independently, they co-evolved under environmental pressures to maintain particular KIR-HLA functional blocks for species survival. We investigated, in 270 Italian healthy individuals, the distribution of KIR and HLA polymorphisms in three climatic areas (from cold north to warm south), to verify their possible geographical stratification. We analyzed the presence of 13 KIR genes and genotyped KIR ligands belonging to HLA class I: HLA-C, HLA-B and HLA-A. We did not observe any genetic stratification for KIR genes and HLA-C ligands in Italy. By contrast, in a north-to-south direction, we found a decreasing trend for the HLA-A3 and HLA-A11 ligands (P = 0.012) and an increasing trend for the HLA-B ligands carrying the Bw4 epitope (P = 0.0003) and the Bw4 Ile80 epitope (P = 0.0005). The HLA-A and HLA-B KIR ligands were in negative linkage disequilibrium (correlation coefficient -0.1211), possibly as a consequence of their similar function in inhibiting NK cells. The distribution of the KIR-HLA functional blocks was different along Italy, as we observed a north-to-south ascending trend for KIR3DL1, when coupled with HLA-B Bw4 ligands (P = 0.0067) and with HLA-B Bw4 Ile80 (P = 0.0027), and a descending trend for KIR3DL2 when coupled with HLA-A3 and HLA-A11 ligands (P = 0.0044). Overall, people from South Italy preferentially use the KIR3DL1-HLA-B Bw4 functional unit, while those from the North Italy equally use both the KIR3DL2-HLA-A3/A11 and the KIR3DL1-HLA-B Bw4 functional units to fight infections. Thus, only KIR3DL receptors, which exert the unique role of microbial sensors through the specific D0 domain, and their cognate HLA-A and HLA-B ligands are selectively pressured in Italy according to geographical north-to-south distribution.
    Tissue Antigens 03/2014; 83(3):168-73. DOI:10.1111/tan.12299 · 2.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mycosis fungoides (MF) is the most common and one of the least aggressive forms of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Several studies have demonstrated the influence of human leucocyte antigen (HLA) genes on the susceptibility of MF, highlighting the importance of certain alleles but, until today, no studies have evaluated the relationship between HLA alleles and the prognosis of patients with MF. The aim of this retrospective cohort study was to evaluate the polymorphism of HLA class I and class II alleles in a group of 46 MF Caucasian patients, looking for their influence in susceptibility and prognosis of the disease. Study population included a case-cohort sample of 46 Caucasian patients with MF that, between 1993 and 1997, underwent HLA class I and II genomic typing. All patients were diagnosed and followed up from 1977 to 2012 (mean follow-up of 11 years) and they were divided into three groups according to the evolution of the disease. Molecular typing at low-resolution level revealed that HLA-A*24, A*68, A*69, B*35 and DQB1*05:02 alleles were involved in susceptibility to MF. Correspondence analysis underlined that long-lasting remission was characterized by HLA-A*24 and HLA-A*25 alleles, frequent relapse by HLA-DRB1*01, DQA1*01:01, DQB1*05:01 alleles and death by HLA-A*68, HLA-B*08, HLA-B*35, HLA-C*03 alleles. This study suggests that the prognosis of MF patients is not only correlated with clinical/pathological/serological/immunological variables but it also relies on specific HLA alleles.
    Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology 02/2014; 28(12). DOI:10.1111/jdv.12391 · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The effect of minor H antigen mismatching on the occurrence of GvHD and GvL after HLA-matched hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) has mainly been demonstrated in single center studies. Yet, the International Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Workshops (IHIWS) provide a collaborative platform to execute crucial large studies. In collaboration with 20 laboratories of the IHIWS, the role of 10 autosomal and 10 Y-chromosome encoded minor H antigens was investigated on GvHD and relapse incidence in 639 HLA-identical related donor (IRD) and 210 HLA-matched unrelated donor (MUD) HSCT. Donor and recipient DNA samples were genotyped for the minor H antigens HA-1, HA-2, HA-3, HA-8, HB-1, ACC-1, ACC-2, SP110, PANE1, UGT2B17, and HY. The correlations with the primary outcomes GvHD (acute or chronic GvHD), survival, and relapse were statistically analyzed. The results of these multi-center analyses show that none of the HLA class I-restricted HY antigens were found to be associated with any of the primary outcomes. Interestingly, of the HLA class II-restricted HY antigens analyzed, HLA-DQ5 positive recipients showed a significantly increased GvHD-free survival in female-to-male HSCT compared to male-to-female HSCT (p=0.013) in HLA-DQ5-positive recipients. Yet, analysis of the overall gender effect, thus independent of the known HY antigens, between the gender groups demonstrated an increased GvHD incidence in the female to male transplants (p<0.005) and a decreased GvHD free survival in the female to male transplants (p<0.001). Of all autosomally encoded minor H antigens, only mismatching for the broadly expressed minor H antigen HA-8 increased the GvHD incidence in IRD HSCT (Hazard Ration (HR)=5.28; p<0.005), but not in MUD HSCT. Most striking was the influence of hematopoietic restricted minor H antigens on GvL as mismatching for hematopoietic minor H antigens correlated with lower relapse rates (p=0.078), higher relapse free survival (p=0.029) and higher overall survival (p=0.032) in recipients with GvHD, but not in those without GvHD. In conclusion, the significant GvHD effect of the broadly expressed minor H antigen HA-8 favors matching for HA-8 in IRD, but not in MUD, patient/donor pairs. The GvHD-GvL association demonstrating a significant lower relapse in hematopoietic minor H antigen mismatched patient/donor pairs underlines their clinical applicability for adoptive immunotherapy enhancing the GvL effect in a GvHD controllable manner.
    Biology of blood and marrow transplantation: journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation 06/2013; 19(8). DOI:10.1016/j.bbmt.2013.06.001 · 3.40 Impact Factor
  • Digestive and Liver Disease 03/2013; 45:S82. DOI:10.1016/S1590-8658(13)60225-X · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Cord blood provides haematopoietic stem cells for allogeneic transplantation and, thanks to the naivety of its immune system, has several advantages over other sources of stem cells. In the transplantation setting, the presence of immunosuppressive human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-G molecules has been advocated to prevent both rejection and Graft-versus-Host disease. HLA-G is physiologically expressed throughout pregnancy and is contained in cord blood at birth. Moreover, it has recently been reported that not only cord blood mesenchymal cells, but also CD34+ cell progenies produce soluble HLA-G (sHLA-G). We tried to identify the largest producer of sHLA-G among 85 healthy cord blood donors at Pavia Cord Blood Bank, correlating the sHLA-G concentration with the HLA-G 14bp insertion/deletion (INS/DEL) genotype and CD34+ cell concentration. Materials and methods: We measured sHLA-G levels in 36 cord blood plasma stored at -20 °C for 2 months and 49 cord blood plasma stored at -196 °C for 4-6 years, by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. All cord blood donors were genotyped for the HLA-G 14bp INS/DEL polymorphism by polymerase chain reaction. For each cord blood unit, we measured the cell concentration by flow cytometry. Results: We did not find differences in sHLA-G levels between cord blood plasma aliquots stored for 4-6 years at -196 °C and cord blood plasma aliquots stored for 2 months at -20 °C. We observed a higher sHLA-G concentration in cord blood plasma donors who carried the HLA-G 14bp INS/INS genotype and had higher CD34+ cell concentrations (P=0.006). Discussion: This is the first report showing that the best cord blood stem cell donor is also the best sHLA-G producer, particularly if genetically characterized by the HLA-G 14bp INS/INS genotype. If the therapeutic role of sHLA-G molecules were to be finally established in the transplantation setting, our data suggest that cord blood plasma donors can provide a safe source of allogeneic sHLA-G immunosuppressive molecules ready for transfusion.
    Blood transfusion = Trasfusione del sangue 01/2013; 12:1-6. DOI:10.2450/2012.0144-12 · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We compared the immunogenetic data from 2666 patients affected by HLA-related autoimmune diseases with those from 4389 ethnically matched controls (3157 cord blood donors CBD, 1232 adult bone marrow donors BMD), to verify the appropriateness of HLA typing requests received in the past decade. The frequency of HLA-B∗27 phenotype was 10.50% in 724 ankylosing spondylitis, 16.80% in 125 uveitis (3.41% BMD, 4.24% CBD, P < 0.0001); HLA-B∗51 allele was 15.57% in 212 Behçet's disease (12.91% BMD, 9.88% CBD, P < 0.0001); the HLA-DRB1-rheumatoid arthritis (RA) shared epitope was 13.72% in 554 RA (10.85% BMD, 13.48% CBD, P = 0.016); the carriers of almost one of HLA-DQB1 susceptibility alleles were 84.91% in 795 celiac disease (CD) and 59.37% in 256 insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) (46.06% in 875 CBD, 42.75% in 662 BMD P < 0.0001). Overall, our results show that the HLA marker frequencies were higher in patients than controls, but lower than expected from the literature data (excluding CD and IDDM) and demonstrate that, in complex immunogenetic conditions, a substantial number of genetic analyses are redundant and inappropriate, burdening to the public health costs. For this reason, we suggest the Italian Scientific Society of Immunogenetics to establish guidelines to improve the appropriateness of typing requests.
    01/2013; 2013:904247. DOI:10.1155/2013/904247
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    ABSTRACT: Whipple's disease (WD) is a very rare chronic systemic condition characterised by a Th2/T regulatory (Treg) dysregulated immune response versus Tropheryma whipplei, a bacterium widely diffuse in the environment. To investigate whether this Th2/Treg polarised response has a genetic background, we investigated the Th1, Th2, Th17 and Treg cytokine genetic profile of 133 patients with WD. Thanks to the European Consortium on WD (QLG1-CT-2002-01049), the polymorphism of 13 cytokine genes was analysed in 111 German and 22 Italian patients using the polymerase chain reaction with sequence-specific primers (PCR-SSP) technique. The frequencies of the genotypes, haplotypes and functional phenotypes were compared with those obtained in 201 German and 140 Italian controls. Clinical heterogeneity was also considered. Functionally, WD patients may be considered as low producers of TGF-β1, having an increased frequency of the genotype TGF-β1+869C/C,+915C/C [12.3 % vs. 3.81 %, odds ratio (OR) = 4.131, p = 0.0002] and high secretors of IL-4, carrying the genotype IL-4-590T/T (5.34 % vs. 1.17 %, OR = 5.09, p = 0.0096). No significant association was found between cytokine polymorphism and clinical variability. Analogously to the recent cellular findings of a Th2/Treg polarised response, we showed that the cytokine genetic profile of WD patients is skewed toward a Th2 and Treg response. This was similar in both German and Italian populations. However, the significant deviations versus the controls are poorer than that expected on the basis of these recent cellular findings.
    European Journal of Clinical Microbiology 07/2012; 31(11):3145-50. DOI:10.1007/s10096-012-1677-8 · 2.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), celiac disease (CD) and autoimmune thyroid disease (ATD) are autoimmune conditions relatively common in paediatric age and frequently occur in association in the same subject. This event is not by chance and requires an explanation. Here, we studied the distribution of HLA-DQ αβ heterodimers in 334 Italian children with T1DM, ATD and CD alone or in association and in 224 Italian healthy controls. In particular, 164 patients had T1DM (133 alone, 20+ATD, 7+CD and 4+CD+ATD), 118 had ATD (110 alone, 8+CD) and 52 had CD (40 alone, 11+ATD and 1+T1DM). 51 patients suffered from multiple autoimmune diseases. The risk for multiple autoimmune diseases was significantly associated with the increased number of HLA-DQ markers of susceptibility for both T1DM (p = 0.003) and CD (p = 0.006). The presence of one or more diabetogenic DQ molecules significantly increased the probability of developing not only T1DM (p < 0.001) but also CD (p < 0.001) and ATD (p = 0.001). Similarly, the presence of one or more celiac HLA-DQ heterodimers significantly increased the likelihood of developing not only CD (p < 0.001), but also T1DM (p < 0.001) and ATD (p < 0.001). We confirm that the sharing of the immunogenetic background is responsible for the development of multiple autoimmune diseases although with a different risk according to the number and type of susceptible HLA-DQ heterodimers as reported in the algorithm proposed here. It is likely that combinations of DQA1 and DQB1 alleles are the real culprits of the progression towards multiple autoimmune diseases and HLA-DQ genomic typing will improve the capability to predict associated autoimmune diseases in infancy.
    Autoimmunity 06/2012; 45(6):470-5. DOI:10.3109/08916934.2012.697594 · 2.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The HLA genomic structure underlines the permanence of fixed haplotypes transmitted in blocks as allelic combinations. One of the most discussed concerns is how and why such a strong linkage between HLA alleles has been maintained for so long. We hypothesized a possible KIR-driven pressure in the genesis of specific HLA-A,B haplotypes. Certain HLA-A and -B molecules are ligands for the same KIR receptors through the Bw4 binding motif spanning residues 77-83 in the α1 domain. We analyzed the HLA-A and -B genomic types of 9897 Caucasian people (3533 newborns and 6364 adults) subdividing them according to the presence/absence of the HLA-B Bw4 serological epitope. For each HLA-B Bw4- and Bw6-cross-reactive group, we evaluated the presence/absence of HLA-A ligands for KIR3DL1 (HLA-A*23, HLA-A*24, HLA-A*32) and KIR3DL2 (HLA-A*03, HLA-A*11). The frequency of HLA-A KIR ligands significantly increased moving from the HLA-B Bw4/Bw4 to the HLA-B Bw4/Bw6 and the HLA-B Bw6/Bw6 groups among both newborns and adults (P<0.0001). Here, we suggest that, when the HLA-B KIR-ligand motif is lacking, the HLA-A KIR-ligand might have a vicarious role in controlling the natural killer cell-mediated innate immune response. Basing upon this compensatory function in the engagement of KIR receptors, we hypothesize that specific HLA-A,B ancestral haplotypes were generated.
    Genes and immunity 05/2012; 13(6):452-7. DOI:10.1038/gene.2012.14 · 2.91 Impact Factor
  • Digestive and Liver Disease 03/2012; 44:S78. DOI:10.1016/S1590-8658(12)60208-4 · 2.96 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
514.57 Total Impact Points


  • 1993–2015
    • Policlinico San Matteo Pavia Fondazione IRCCS
      • s.c. Cardiologia
      Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy
  • 1989–2011
    • University of Pavia
      • • Department of Biology and Biotechnology "Lazzaro Spallanzani"
      • • Department of Diagnostic, Paediatric, Clinical and Surgical Science
      Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2007
    • Leiden University Medical Centre
      • Department of Immunhematology and Blood Transfusion
      Leyden, South Holland, Netherlands
  • 2002
    • Policlinico S.Orsola-Malpighi
      Bolonia, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 1998
    • Istituto di Cura e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Basilicata
      Rionero in Vulture, Basilicate, Italy
  • 1996
    • National Research Council
      Roma, Latium, Italy