Maria Paola Albergoni

University-Hospital of Padova, Padua, Veneto, Italy

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Publications (14)48.54 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Steroidogenic enzymes autoantibodies (SEAbs) are frequently present and are markers of autoimmune premature ovarian failure (POF) in females with autoimmune Addison's disease (AAD). The prevalence and the significance of SEAbs in males with AAD have not been yet defined. We studied the prevalence of SEAbs in a large cohort of males with AAD and assessed the relationship between SEAbs positivity and testicular function. 154 males with AAD (mean age 34yrs) were studied. SEAbs included autoantibodies to: steroid-producing-cells (StCA), detected by immunofluorescence; steroid 17α-hydroxylase (17α-OHAbs) and side-chain-cleavage enzyme (SCCAbs) measured by immunoprecipitation assays. Gonadal function was evaluated by measuring follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), total testosterone (TT), sex-hormone-binding-globulin (SHGB), anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), inhibin-B (I-B). 26 males, 10 SEAbs(+) and 16 SEAbs(-) were followed-up for a mean period of 7.6 years to assess the behavior of SEAbs and testicular function. SEAbs were found in 24.7% of males with AAD with the highest frequency in patients with APS-1. The levels of reproductive hormones in 30 SEAbs(+) males were in the normal range according to age and were not significantly different compared to 55 SEAbs(-) males (p>0.05). During follow-up, both SEAbs(+) and SEAbs(-) patients maintained normal testicular function. SEAbs were found with high frequency in males with AAD, however were not associated with testicular failure. This study suggests that the diagnostic value of SEAbs in males with AAD differs compared to females and this may be related to the immuno-privileged status of the testis.
    Clinical & Experimental Immunology 02/2014; · 3.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Addison's disease (AD) is a rare endocrine condition. we aimed to evaluate clinical, immunologic, adrenal imaging, and genetic features in 633 Italian patients with AD followed-up since 1967. adrenal-cortex autoantibodies, presence of other autoimmune and non-autoimmune diseases, non-adrenal autoantibodies, adrenal imaging and genetic profile for HLA-DR and AIRE were analyzed. 492(77.7%) patients were found to be affected by autoimmune AD(A-AD), 57(9%) tuberculous AD, 29(4.6%) genetic-associated AD, 10(1.6%) adrenal cancer, 6(0.94%) post-surgical AD, 4(0.6%) vascular disorder related, 3(0.5%) post-infectious AD, and 32(5.1%) were defined as idiopathic. Adrenal cortex antibodies were detected in the vast majority (88-100%) of patients with recent onset A-AD, but in none of those with non-autoimmune AD. Adrenal imaging revealed normal/atrophic glands in all A-AD patients. 88% of patients with A-AD had other clinical or autoimmune diseases or were positive for non-adrenal autoantibodies. BASED ON THE COEXISTENCE OF OTHER AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS, 65.6% OF PATIENTS WITH A-AD WERE FOUND TO HAVE TYPE 2 AUTOIMMUNE POLYENDOCRINE SYNDROME (APS-2), 14.4% APS-1 AND 8.5% APS-4. CLASS II-HLA ALLELES DRB1*03 AND *04 WAS INCREASED, AND DRB1*01,07,13 WAS REDUCED IN APS-2 PATIENTS WHEN COMPARED TO CONTROLS. 96% OF THE PATIENTS WITH APS-1 REVEALED AIRE GENE MUTATIONS.CONCLUSIONS: A-AD is the most prevalent form of adrenal insufficiency in Italy, and approximately 90% of the patients are adrenal autoantibody positive at the onset. Assessment of patients with A-AD for the presence of other autoimmune diseases should be helpful in monitoring and diagnosing APS type 1, 2 or 4 and improving patients care.
    European Journal of Endocrinology 09/2013; · 3.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The design of the study was to investigate the prevalence of the following: 1) premature ovarian failure (POF) in patients with autoimmune Addison's disease (AD); 2) steroid-producing cell antibodies (StCA) and steroidogenic enzymes (17α-hydroxylase autoantibodies and P450 side-chain cleavage enzyme autoantibodies) in patients with or without POF; and 3) the value of these autoantibodies to predict POF. The study included 258 women: 163 with autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 2 (APS-2), 49 with APS-1, 18 with APS-4, and 28 with isolated AD. StCA were measured by an immunofluorescence technique and 17α-hydroxylase autoantibodies and P450 side-chain cleavage enzyme autoantibodies by immunoprecipitation assays. Fifty-two of 258 women with AD (20.2%) had POF. POF was diagnosed in 20 of 49 (40.8%) with APS-1, six of 18 (33.3%) with APS-4, 26 of 163 (16%) with APS-2, and none of 28 with isolated AD. In patients with APS-1 and APS-4, POF developed after AD, whereas it preceded AD in patients with APS-2. StCA were detected in 31 of 43 with POF (72%) and 51 of 198 without POF (25.7%). StCA were present in 22 of 38 with APS-1 (57.9%) (11 of 13 with POF); in five of 13 with APS-4 (38.5%) (three of four with POF); in 53 of 162 with APS-2 (32.7%) (17 of 26 with POF), and in one of 28 isolated AD patients (3.6%). Twelve of 13 patients with POF with a duration less than 5 yr (92.3%) and 18 of 25 with duration longer than 5 yr (72%) were StCA positive. Twenty-eight of 31 with POF (90.3%) were positive for at least one steroidogenic antibody. Forty-one women with AD less than 40 yr were followed up for a mean period of 9 yr. Eight of 21 women (38%) positive or seroconverted for steroidogenic autoantibodies developed POF at a mean age of 23 yr (six with APS-1, one with APS-2, and one with APS-4), and none of the 20 patients negative for steroidogenic autoantibodies developed POF. This study indicates that AD is frequently associated with POF and that steroidogenic antibodies are markers of patients with POF. Steroidogenic autoantibodies are predictive markers of POF in patients with AD.
    The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism 06/2011; 96(8):E1255-61. · 6.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In HSCT setting, KIR-driven alloreactivity might be better predicted if the donor KIR genotype is considered in addition to the recipient HLA genotype. The prediction of NK cell alloreactivity relies on the missing ligand in the recipient, a scenario that can be found in HLA-identical and non-identical allotransplants. The aim of this study was to investigate at genetic level the prognostic impact of recipient HLA-I lacking for donor KIR on allotransplanted patients outcome. We analysed donors KIR genotype and HLA genotype of 60 paediatric patients who received related (n=15) or unrelated (n=45) transplantation. When patients were grouped based on the KIR gene type involved in the KIR/HLA-I mismatch, we did not observe any relapse in the group of patients characterized by mismatches involving only inhibitory KIR. On the contrary, all relapses were observed in patients showing at least one activating gene involved in the mismatch (p<0.05). Although the biological mechanism accounting for this putative genetic rule is still to be clarified, we suggest that a careful survey of KIR/HLA-I mismatching should be taken into account in the selection of donor in related and unrelated HSCT.
    Pediatric Transplantation 03/2011; 15(2):198-204. · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To assess autoimmune regulator (AIRE) gene mutations, class II HLA haplotypes, and organ- or non-organ-specific autoantibodies in patients with chronic hypoparathyroidism (CH) without associated Addison's disease (AD) or chronic candidiasis (CC). Twenty-four patients who had CH without AD or CC were included in the study. AIRE gene mutations in all 14 exons were studied using PCR in 24 patients, 105 healthy controls and 15 first-degree relatives of CH patients with AIRE mutations. Human leucocyte antigens (HLA) were determined for all 24 patients and 105 healthy controls. Autoantibodies to a range of antigens including NACHT leucine-rich-repeat protein-5 (NALP5) and interferon omega (IFNω) were tested in all 24 patients. AIRE gene mutations were found in 6 of 24 (25%) patients, all females, and this was significantly higher (P < 0·001) compared with AIRE mutations found in healthy controls (2/105). Three patients (12·5%) had homozygous AIRE mutations characteristic of Autoimmune-Poly-Endocrinopathy-Candidiasis-Ectodermal-Dystrophy and all three were also positive for IFNω-autoantibodies. Three patients (12·5%) had heterozygous AIRE mutations; two of these were novel mutations. One of the patients with heterozygous AIRE mutations was positive for both NACHT leucine-rich-repeat protein 5 and IFNω autoantibodies. Heterozygous AIRE mutations were found in 10 of 15 first-degree relatives of CH patients with AIRE mutations, although none was affected by CH. Class II HLA haplotypes were not statistically different in patients with CH compared to healthy controls. Analysis of AIRE gene mutations together with serum autoantibody profile should be helpful in the assessment of patients with CH, in particular young women with associated autoimmune diseases.
    Clinical Endocrinology 11/2010; 73(5):630-6. · 3.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Natural killer cell-type lymphoproliferative disease of granular lymphocytes is a disorder characterized by chronic proliferation of CD3(-)CD16(+) granular lymphocytes. By flow cytometry analysis, we previously demonstrated a dysregulation in killer immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) expression in natural killer cells from patients with this lymphoproliferative disease, the activating KIR receptors being mostly expressed. We also found that patients with natural killer cell-type lymphoproliferative disease of granular lymphocytes usually had KIR genotypes characterized by multiple activating KIR genes. We investigated the mRNA levels of the KIR3DL1 inhibitory and the related KIR3DS1 activating receptors in 15 patients with natural killer cell-type lymphoproliferative disease of granular lymphocytes and in ten controls. These genes are usually expressed when present in the genome of the Caucasian population. We demonstrated the complete lack of KIR3DL1 expression in most of the patients analyzed, with the receptor being expressed in 13% of patients compared to in 90% of controls (P<0.01). Interestingly, studies of the methylation patterns of KIR3DL1 promoter showed a significantly higher methylation status (0.76 ± 0.12 SD) in patients than in healthy subjects (0.49±0.10 SD, P<0.01). The levels of expression of DNA methyl transferases, which are the enzymes responsible for DNA methylation, did not differ between patients and controls. In this study we showed, for the first time, a consistent down-regulation of the inhibitory KIR3DL1 signal due to marked methylation of its promoter, thus suggesting that together with the increased expression of activating receptors, the lack of the inhibitory signal could also play a role in the pathogenesis of natural killer cell-type lymphoproliferative disease of granular lymphocytes.
    Haematologica 10/2010; 95(10):1722-9. · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Humoral immune mechanisms may have a role in the neurological complications of celiac disease (CD). We assessed 71 CD patients for neurologic manifestations and presence of serum antibodies to neural antigens. Sixteen patients (22.5%) were found to have neurological deficits including headache, depression, entrapment syndromes, peripheral neuropathy, and epilepsy. Antibody reactivity to neural antigens was detected in 30/71 (42.2%) patients. There was no clear correlation between anti-neural reactivity and neurologic dysfunction. Follow-up of 62 patients did not reveal change in electrophysiology or antibodies, regardless of diet. However, in 2 patients with neuropathy, symptoms improved or worsened depending on the diet.
    Journal of Neuroimmunology 04/2008; 195(1-2):171-5. · 3.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: About 2.5% of patients with idiopathic peripheral neuropathy or idiopathic dysautonomia have underlying celiac disease (CD). Antibodies to ganglioside have been reported in CD patients with neuropathy. No data are so far available on the presence in CD of acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibodies. Muscle AChR antibodies are found in patients with myasthenia gravis, and ganglionic AChR antibodies in patients with autoimmune autonomic neuropathy. To determine the frequency of AChR antibodies in CD patients and assess possible correlations with neurological manifestations. Seventy CD patients (16 M, 54 F, mean age 36 years) underwent neurological and electrophysiological evaluation. AChR antibodies were detected with radioimmunoprecipitation assay. Sera from 15 age-matched patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and 10 with Sjogren syndrome were studied as controls. None of our CD patients complained of autonomic symptoms or fatigable weakness. Borderline titres (0.03-0.05 nmol/l) of ganglionic AChR antibodies were present in 4 patients, one affected with type I diabetes and one with subclinical neuropathy. Three of the 4 patients underwent cardiovascular autonomic function tests, which showed no abnormalities. Low levels of ganglionic AChR antibodies (0.05-0.10 nmol/l) were found in 2 SLE control patients, one of whom had a severe sicca complex. Muscle AChR antibodies (>1.0 nmol/l) were found in two CD patient and one control patient with SLE. Neither had symptoms or signs of myasthenia gravis. CD is occasionally associated with neurologic disease, and with antibody reactivity to neuronal antigens. None of our CD patients had autonomic failure or significant levels of ganglionic AChR antibodies. Two CD patient and one control with SLE had muscle AChR antibodies without clinical evidence of myasthenia. The presence of antibodies in CD and in SLE patients may reflect a non-specific autoimmune response in these patients or may indicate subclinical autoimmune autonomic and neuromuscular involvement.
    Autoimmunity 02/2008; 41(1):100-4. · 2.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITDs) are prone to develop other autoimmune manifestations and to display autoimmune polyendocrine syndromes. An increased prevalence of celiac disease (CD) was demonstrated in adult European and Italian patients with AITDs; conversely, an increased prevalence of AITDs was demonstrated in patients with CD. An IgA deficiency is the most frequent immunodeficiency in humans and, in general, high frequency of this disorder was demonstrated in those with autoimmune diseases. To define the prevalence of both CD and IgA deficiency in North Italian patients with AITDs. 276 Italian patients with AITD were enrolled (mean age 42.6 years range 12-89, 186 of whom had chronic thyroiditis and 90 had Graves' disease). The tissue transglutaminase autoantibodies of the IgA class (IgA-tTGAbs) were evaluated using an ELISA method in these patients. Furthermore, the serological levels of the IgA were determined. Five of the patients (1.8%) were affected by previously diagnosed CD and were on a gluten-free diet. Ten out of the remaining 271 patients (3.6%) were found to be positive for celiac-related autoantibodies. All of these patients agreed to undergo endoscopy and duodenal biopsies and silent CD was found in 5 of them but 5 had not histopathological signs of CD. CD (clinical, silent or latent) was present in 15/276 (5.4%) of the North Italian patients with AITD; this prevalence is significantly higher with respect to the general population (p < 0.00001). The genetic pattern of the 10 patients with both AITDs and CD was characterized by the presence of DQ2 in 8 patients and DQ8 in 2. An IgA deficiency was present in 2/276 of the patients (0.72%). CD is significantly increased in patients with thyroid autoimmune disorders for this reason it is important to screen for CD in patients with AITDs.
    Autoimmunity 02/2008; 41(1):116-21. · 2.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A 61-year-old man was observed to develop type 1 diabetes mellitus following a 3-month treatment with recombinant alpha-2b peginterferon combined with ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C. Serum samples, collected before the start of therapy and 2 months after the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus, revealed islet-cell antibodies at a titer of 20 and 40 JDF-U, respectively, and glutamic acid decarboxylase autoantibodies at a value of 76.5 and 196 IU/ml, respectively. Antibodies to second islet autoantigen were persistently negative. HLA class II typing revealed the presence of DRB1*04/DRB1*14, DQA1*0303-0104 and DQB1*04-0503 alleles. Eight months after the onset of type 1 diabetes mellitus, the patient is still receiving 30 IU insulin daily; the liver function tests are normal and serum hepatitis C virus RNA is negative. These data confirm that, in patients with potential diabetes mellitus, the disease may become manifest as a side-effect during therapy with peginterferon-alpha plus ribavirin. The patient as a candidate for interferon treatment should therefore be investigated, in addition to thyroid autoimmunity, also for pancreatic autoantibodies before starting therapy.
    European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology 07/2006; 18(6):689-92. · 1.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An autoimmune background is thought to characterize the families of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, but disease patterns and HLA-DR association seem to vary considerably among different ethnic groups. We investigated the prevalence of autoimmune diseases in 245 MS patients and 245 age- and sex-matched normal controls (NC), originating from and living in North-east Italy, and their first degree relatives, using a case-control method. Further, HLA-DRB1 expression was analysed in MS and NC. The following significant findings were observed: 1) a significant excess of autoimmunity in first-degree relatives of MS patients (p = 0.000), 2) an association of MS with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) (p = 0.02), 3) an increase in DR4 expression (namely DRB1*0401) in MS patients from families with multiple autoimmune pathology compared with reference MS patients (p=0.02) and NC (p=0.01). We conclude that the risk of autoimmune disease is higher in first-degree relatives of MS patients and that disease association and HLA-DR expression in North-east Italy differs from other geographic regions of Europe.
    Journal of Neurology 06/2006; 253(5):636-9. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with adrenal cortex autoantibodies (ACA) without overt autoimmune Addison's disease (AAD) are at risk of adrenal failure. To assess the contribution of different clinical, immunological, genetic, and functional factors in the progression to AAD, we followed up 100 ACA-positive and 63 ACA-negative patients without AAD for a maximum of 21 yr (mean 6.0 yr, median 4.8). ACA were measured by immunofluorescence and 21-OH autoantibodies (Abs) by RIA. Adrenal function was assessed by measuring basal levels of cortisol, aldosterone, ACTH, renin activity, and cortisol response to ACTH. The risk of developing AAD was calculated using survival and multivariate analyses. AAD developed in 31 ACA-positive patients and one ACA-negative patient. The cumulative risk of disease in ACA-positive patients was 48.5% [95% confidence interval (CI) 40.8-56.1]. The cumulative risk was higher in children than adults (100 vs. 31.9%; P < 0.0001), males than females (68.6 vs. 42.7%; P = 0.006), patients with subclinical rather than normal adrenal function at entry (87.4 vs. 30.1%; P < 0.0001), patients with hypoparathyroidism and/or candidiasis than patients with other autoimmune or nonautoimmune diseases (100 vs. 29.7%; P < 0.0001), and patients with high rather than low-medium ACA titers (62.8 vs. 41.2%; P = 0.12). The presence of human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DRB1 did not appear to contribute to the prediction of AAD. Adjusted hazard ratios by Cox model for the development of AAD were 3.37 for males (CI 1.38-8.24), 5.23 for hypoparathyroidism and/or candidiasis (CI 1.53-17.92), 3.33 for high antibody titers (CI 1.43-7.78), and 6.15 for impaired adrenal function at entry (CI 2.79-13.57). These results were used to construct a risk algorithm for estimating the probability of developing AAD from the combination of gender, age, adrenal function, antibody titer, and associated autoimmune disorders at entry. The values of estimated risk could be used to decide appropriate follow-up intervals and future immunointervention strategies.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 05/2006; 91(5):1637-45. · 6.43 Impact Factor
  • European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology - EUR J GASTROENTEROL HEPATOL. 01/2006; 18(6):689-692.
  • Haematologica 09/2002; 87(8 Suppl):20-3. · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We describe the case of a baby born to a mother with Addison's disease in the context of Autoimmune Polyendocrine Syndrome Type 2. Adrenal cortex autoantibodies and steroid 21-hydroxylase autoantibodies were detectable in the sera of both mother and baby, suggesting the transplacental passage of these autoantibodies. Adrenal autoantibodies were present in the baby's serum at delivery, at 3, 6 and till 34 months of age but no signs of clinical or subclinical adrenal insufficiency were found in the baby during the observation period. These data suggest that the presence of adrenal autoantibodies in serum alone is not a sufficient cause for the development of autoimmune adrenalitis.
    Journal of endocrinological investigation 27(7):618-21. · 1.65 Impact Factor