[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An autoimmune subset of chronic spontaneous urticaria is increasingly being recognized internationally, based on laboratory and clinical evidence that has accrued over the last 20 years. This evidence has been reviewed by a taskforce of the Dermatology section of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Functional autoantibodies in chronic urticaria (CU) patient sera have been demonstrated against IgE and FcεRIα by basophil and mast cell histamine release assays and by basophil activation assays. Antibody specificity has been confirmed by immunoassay, but there is a poor correlation between functionality and immunoreactivity. Approximately 25% of CU patients have a positive basophil histamine release assay and show autoreactivity (a positive autologous serum skin test), whereas 50% are negative regarding both. Functionality of CU sera appears to be complement dependent on mast cells but not exclusively on basophils. Basophil activation by CU sera is predominantly restricted to IgG1 and IgG3 subclasses. Circumstantial evidence for CU being an autoimmune disease comes from an observed association with other autoimmune diseases, a strong association between serum functionality and HLA-DR4 haplotype and the good response of CU patients to immunotherapies. It was proposed that a study should be undertaken to prospectively validate potentially relevant clinical criteria (from the history, examination and routinely available clinical investigations) against a new 'gold standard' for the diagnosis of ACU (positive autoreactivity, functional bioassay and immunoassay) to define preliminary criteria sets for the diagnosis of ACU based on clinical and laboratory features with highest individual sensitivity and specificity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To cite this article: Maurer M, Weller K, Bindslev-Jensen C, Giménez-Arnau A, Bousquet PJ, Bousquet J, Canonica GW, Church MK, Godse KV, Grattan CEH, Greaves MW, Hide M, Kalogeromitros D, Kaplan AP, Saini SS, Zhu XJ, Zuberbier T. Unmet clinical needs in chronic spontaneous urticaria. A GA2LEN task force report. Allergy 2011; 66: 317–330.AbstractChronic spontaneous urticaria, formerly also known as chronic idiopathic urticaria and chronic urticaria (CU), is more common than previously thought. At any time, 0.5–1% of the population suffers from the disease (point prevalence). Although all age groups can be affected, the peak incidence is seen between 20 and 40 years of age. The duration of the disease is generally 1–5 years but is likely to be longer in more severe cases, cases with concurrent angioedema, in combination with physical urticaria or with a positive autologous serum skin test (autoreactivity). Chronic spontaneous urticaria has major detrimental effects on quality of life, with sleep deprivation and psychiatric comorbidity being frequent. It also has a large impact on society in terms of direct and indirect health care costs as well as reduced performance at work and in private life. In the majority of patients, an underlying cause cannot be identified making a causal and/or curative treatment difficult. Nonsedating H1-antihistamines are the mainstay of symptomatic therapy, but treatment with licensed doses relieves symptoms effectively in <50% of patients. Although guideline-recommended updosing up to fourfold increases symptom control in many patients, a substantial number of patients have only little benefit from H1-antihistamines. Consequently, there is a great need for new therapeutic strategies.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The recommendations for the definition and diagnosis presented in this position paper are the result of a panel consensus meeting held in December 2008 in Berlin. This consensus meeting was a joint initiative of EAACI (European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology) Dermatology Section, the EU-funded network of excellence, GA2LEN (Global Allergy and Asthma European Network), the EDF (European Dermatology Forum) and UNEV (urticaria network e.V.). The aim of these recommendations is to improve the diagnosis and management of patients with physical urticaria or cholinergic urticaria and to promote research and a better understanding of these diseases. Our recommendations used the paper produced by a 1996 expert meeting (1) and they acknowledge the latest changes in our understanding of physical urticarias and cholinergic urticaria as well as the recent development of novel diagnostic tools. In addition, this consensus paper highlights areas of need for further research.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Reports of methotrexate for chronic urticaria are anecdotal. Objectives To assess the effectiveness of methotrexate in steroid-dependent chronic urticaria, its impact on steroid reduction and any differences in response between patients with and without functional autoantibodies. Methods A retrospective case-note review of 16 patients with steroid-dependent chronic urticaria treated with methotrexate was carried out. Ten patients had chronic ordinary/spontaneous urticaria (CU), including three with associated delayed-pressure urticaria; four patients had normocomplementaemic urticarial vasculitis (UV); and two patients had idiopathic angio-oedema without weals. Median disease duration before methotrexate was 48.5 months (range 12-164). All were unresponsive to antihistamines and second-line agents, except prednisolone. Eleven were assessed for autoimmune urticaria with the basophil histamine release assay (n = 5), autologous serum skin test (n = 5) or both (n = 1). Response to methotrexate was scored: no benefit; some benefit (fewer weals and symptomatic improvement but no steroid reduction); considerable benefit (improvement with steroid reduction); or clear (no symptoms, off steroids but on antihistamines). Results Twelve of 16 patients (eight CU, three UV, one idiopathic angio-oedema) responded. Three showed some benefit, seven considerable benefit and two cleared. Four of eight responders and three out of three nonresponders showed evidence of functional autoantibodies. The dose to achieve a steroid-sparing effect was 10-15 mg weekly (cumulative dose range 15-600 mg, median 135 mg). Methotrexate was well tolerated. Conclusions Methotrexate may be a useful treatment for steroid-dependent chronic urticaria. Functional autoantibodies do not correlate with response. The beneficial effects of methotrexate may be anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive. It may therefore benefit chronic urticaria independently of the pathogenic mechanism, whether autoimmune or not.
British Journal of Dermatology 11/2009; 162(1):191-4. · 3.76 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This guideline, together with its sister guideline on the classification of urticaria (Zuberbier T, Asero R, Bindslev-Jensen C, Canonica GW, Church MK, Giménez-Arnau AM et al. EAACI/GA(2)LEN/EDF/WAO Guideline: definition, classification and diagnosis of urticaria. Allergy 2009;64: 1417-1426), is the result of a consensus reached during a panel discussion at the Third International Consensus Meeting on Urticaria, Urticaria 2008, a joint initiative of the Dermatology Section of the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), the EU-funded network of excellence, the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network (GA(2)LEN), the European Dermatology Forum (EDF) and the World Allergy Organization (WAO). As members of the panel, the authors had prepared their suggestions regarding management of urticaria before the meeting. The draft of the guideline took into account all available evidence in the literature (including Medline and Embase searches and hand searches of abstracts at international allergy congresses in 2004-2008) and was based on the existing consensus reports of the first and the second symposia in 2000 and 2004. These suggestions were then discussed in detail among the panel members and with the over 200 international specialists of the meeting to achieve a consensus using a simple voting system where appropriate. Urticaria has a profound impact on the quality of life and effective treatment is, therefore, required. The recommended first line treatment is new generation, nonsedating H(1)-antihistamines. If standard dosing is not effective, increasing the dosage up to four-fold is recommended. For patients who do not respond to a four-fold increase in dosage of nonsedating H(1)-antihistamines, it is recommended that second-line therapies should be added to the antihistamine treatment. In the choice of second-line treatment, both their costs and risk/benefit profiles are most important to consider. Corticosteroids are not recommended for long-term treatment due to their unavoidable severe adverse effects. This guideline was acknowledged and accepted by the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This guideline, together with its sister guideline on the management of urticaria [Zuberbier T, Asero R, Bindslev-Jensen C, Canonica GW, Church MK, Giménez-Arnau AM et al. EAACI/GA(2)LEN/EDF/WAO Guideline: Management of urticaria. Allergy, 2009; 64:1427-1443] is the result of a consensus reached during a panel discussion at the 3rd International Consensus Meeting on Urticaria, Urticaria 2008, a joint initiative of the Dermatology Section of the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), the EU-funded network of excellence, the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network (GA(2)LEN), the European Dermatology Forum (EDF) and the World Allergy Organization (WAO). Urticaria is a frequent disease. The life-time prevalence for any subtype of urticaria is approximately 20%. Chronic spontaneous urticaria and other chronic forms of urticaria do not only cause a decrease in quality of life, but also affect performance at work and school and, as such, are members of the group of severe allergic diseases. This guideline covers the definition and classification of urticaria, taking into account the recent progress in identifying its causes, eliciting factors, and pathomechanisms. In addition, it outlines evidence-based diagnostic approaches for different subtypes of urticaria. The correct management of urticaria, which is of paramount importance for patients, is very complex and is consequently covered in a separate guideline developed during the same consensus meeting. This guideline was acknowledged and accepted by the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The recommendations for the definition and diagnosis presented in this position paper are the result of a panel consensus meeting held in December 2008 in Berlin. This consensus meeting was a joint initiative of EAACI (European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology) Dermatology Section, the EU-funded network of excellence, GA(2)LEN (Global Allergy and Asthma European Network), the EDF (European Dermatology Forum) and UNEV (urticaria network e.V.). The aim of these recommendations is to improve the diagnosis and management of patients with physical urticaria or cholinergic urticaria and to promote research and a better understanding of these diseases. Our recommendations used the paper produced by a 1996 expert meeting (1) and they acknowledge the latest changes in our understanding of physical urticarias and cholinergic urticaria as well as the recent development of novel diagnostic tools. In addition, this consensus paper highlights areas of need for further research.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Injection of autologous serum collected during disease activity from some patients with chronic spontaneous urticaria (CU) into clinically normal skin elicits an immediate weal and flare response. This observation provides a convincing demonstration of a circulating factor or factors that may be relevant to the understanding of the pathogenesis and management of the disease. This test has become known as the autologous serum skin test (ASST) and is now widely practised despite incomplete agreement about its value and meaning, the methodology and the definition of a positive response. It should be regarded as a test for autoreactivity rather than a specific test for autoimmune urticaria. It has only moderate specificity as a marker for functional autoantibodies against IgE or the high affinity IgE receptor (FcepsilonRI), detected by the basophil histamine release assay, but high negative predictive value for CU patients without them. It is usually negative in other patterns of CU, including those that are physically induced. Positive ASSTs have been reported in some subjects without CU, including those with multiple drug intolerance, patients with respiratory allergy and healthy controls, although the clinical implications of this are uncertain. It is essential that failsafe precautions are taken to ensure that the patient's own serum is used for skin testing and aseptic procedures are followed for sample preparation and handling. CU patients with a positive ASST (ASST(+)) are more likely to be associated with HLADR4, to have autoimmune thyroid disease, a more prolonged disease course and may be less responsive to H1-antihistamine treatment than those with a negative ASST (ASST(-)) although more evidence is needed to confirm these observations conclusively.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oral allergy syndrome (OAS) or pollen-fruit allergy syndrome represents a mucosal allergic contact urticaria in people sensitized to common pollens, due to IgE cross-reactivity between homologous pollen allergens and various plant foods. It is the most prevalent food allergy, affecting millions of people with respiratory allergies. Usually, symptoms are mild, self-limiting and localized to the oropharyngeal mucosa, although they may sometimes become generalized and life-threatening. Although patients usually recognize the offending foods, diagnosis may sometimes be complicated. Several clinical syndromes and association between pollens and plant-derived foods have been described. Crossreactivity on the basis of stringent immunological and allergological criteria can also occur in people without pollen sensitization or concomitant respiratory allergies, as in latex-fruit syndrome. The term 'food contact hypersensitivity syndrome' (FCHS) is proposed in this paper for the first time, to include all mucosal hypersensitivity reactions presenting with contact to food (both immunological and nonimmunological), whether due to crossreactivity with homologous plant-derived allergens or not. At this time, prophylaxis and treatment can only be attained by avoidance, even when symptoms are mild, with consequent impairment in quality of life. A better understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of FCHS and food allergy in general is essential for deeper insights and future emergence of effective therapies.
Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 08/2008; 33(4):383-9. · 1.33 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Summary Appropriate management of urticaria depends on the correct evaluation of clinical patterns and causes where these can be identified. Guidance for treatment is presented, based on the strength of evidence available at the time of preparation. As many of the recommendations relate to the off-licence use of drugs, it is particularly important that clinicians should be familiar with dosing and side-effects of treatment in the context of managing urticaria.
British Journal of Dermatology 11/2007; 157(6):1116 - 1123. · 3.76 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This guideline is the result of a consensus reached during a panel discussion at the 2nd International Consensus Meeting on Urticaria, Urticaria 2004, a joint initiative of the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology Dermatology Section and the European Union (EU)-funded network of excellence, GA2LEN. It covers the definition and classification of urticaria, taking into account the recent progress in identifying causes, eliciting factors and pathomechanisms of this disease. We have outlined useful diagnostic approaches for different subtypes of urticaria. This guideline was, in addition, accepted by the European Dermatology Forum (EDF) and was formally approved by the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This guideline is the result of a consensus reached during a panel discussion at the second International Consensus Meeting on Urticara, Urticaria 2004, a joint initiative of the EAACI Dermatology Section and GA2LEN. Urticaria has a profound impact on the quality of life, and effective treatment is therefore required. The recommended first line treatment are nonsedating H1 antihistamines. They have proven to be effective in double-blind controlled studies, but dosages increased up to fourfold over the recommended doses may be necessary. However, for different urticaria subtypes and in view of individual variation in the course of the disease and response to treatment, additional or alternative therapies may be required. Immunosuppressive drugs like cyclosporin A and corticosteroids are not recommended for long-term treatment due to unavoidable severe adverse effects. This guideline was, in addition, accepted by the European Dermatology Forum (EDF) and formally approved by the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endogenous histamine-releasing factors (HRFs) are involved in 30-60% of patients with chronic urticaria (CU). Evidence for their existence comes from in vivo studies of autoreactivity with the autologous serum skin test (ASST), in vitro immunoassays demonstrating autoantibodies against the immunoglobulin E (IgE) or the high affinity IgE receptor (FcepsilonRI) and serum-induced histamine release (HR) from basophils and mast cells. We have examined the correlation between the ASST and a new basophil histamine-releasing assay (the HR-Urtikaria test) in a group of well-characterized CU patients and subsequently determined the frequency of HR-Urticaria-positive sera from a larger population of CU patients.
Group 1 consisted of 28 patients with CU (16 were ASST-positive) 20 patients with atopic dermatitis, 24 patients with allergy to birch and nine healthy controls. Group 2 consisted of 873 unselected CU patients.
White blood cells containing 1-2% basophils from a healthy nonatopic donor were incubated with patients sera in the presence of interleukin (IL)-3. Histamine was measured by the glass fibre method.
Using the ASST as the true outcome, the HR-Urticaria test showed a sensitivity and specificity of 75% in group 1 using a cut-off value for HR of >16.5%. None of the controls was positive in the HR-Urticaria test. In group 2, we found no difference in the frequency of positives between male (34.6%, n = 254) and female adults (35.1%, n = 576) but twice as many females as males were tested.
Our studies have shown that the HR-Urticaria test has a good sensitivity and specificity for endogenous HRFs demonstrated by the ASST in patients with CU and that about one-third of unselected patients with CU have a positive result.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Urticaria has diverse clinical presentations and causes. The implication of classifying urticaria primarily by clinical presentation rather than aetiology is that management can be focused on specific clinical problems without extensive investigations. Management pathways may involve nonpharmacological measures and drug interventions, which can be grouped into first-, second- and third-line therapies. Stronger, but potentially more risky, second- and third-line approaches may be justified for patients who do not respond to first-line therapy with antihistamines even though it may not be possible to define a specific aetiology, such as autoimmune urticaria, with confidence.
Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 06/2004; 29(3):217-21. · 1.33 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The relationship of aspirin sensitivity to urticaria is complex. Aspirin sensitivity can cause acute urticaria in some individuals, aggravate pre-existing chronic urticaria in others or, rarely, act as a cofactor with food or exercise to provoke anaphylaxis. Individuals who react with urticaria appear to come from a different population to those who react with asthma, although there is some overlap. Aspirin-sensitive chronic urticaria patients may also react adversely to some food additives. The pharmacological mechanisms of aspirin-sensitive urticaria are not fully understood but probably involve diversion of arachidonic acid metabolism from prostaglandin to cysteinyl leukotriene formation leading to direct effects on blood vessels and delayed mast cell degranulation with release of histamine. Cross-reactivity amongst all nonsteroidal drugs is common in aspirin-aggravated chronic urticaria but appears not to occur with selective cyclo-oxygenase 2 inhibitors.
Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 04/2003; 28(2):123-7. · 1.33 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The basopenia of chronic urticaria relates to histamine releasing autoantibodies in the serum of patients with autoimmune urticaria. This reduction in circulating basophils may be due to active recruitment into weals. If so, it might be expected that numbers in blood would be reduced when urticaria is active and increased after treatment. The primary aim of this study was to look at diurnal variation of basophil numbers in patients with chronic ordinary urticaria (not physical or vasculitic) in relation to disease activity and the effect of treatment with antihistamines and corticosteroids, and to compare the results with healthy controls. A secondary aim was to compare a standard manual counting method with automated basophil counts and to look at numbers of other circulating leucocytes that might be relevant to urticaria pathogenesis.
Manual basophil counts using a toluidine blue stain and automated 5-part differentials (Coulter Gen. S) were performed at 4-hourly intervals from 08.00 to 20.00 in 10 healthy controls (six women, age 24 to 63 years) and seven chronic urticaria patients (five women, 24 to 50 years). All chronic urticaria patients had severe daily or almost daily urticaria. Only one of six chronic urticaria sera showed in vitro basophil histamine releasing activity. Counts were performed without treatment, after a week of taking loratadine 10 mg daily and after 3 days of adding prednisolone at 0.6 mg/kg/day (maximum 40 mg). Daily urticarial activity scores (UAS) were derived from weal numbers and itch, maximum 7.
There was no significant overall diurnal variation of basophil numbers in healthy controls or chronic urticaria patients. Mean (SE) manually counted basophil were higher in healthy controls than chronic urticaria (43.4/ microL (2.1) vs. 4.4 (0.8), P < 0.001). Basophil counts were reduced in healthy controls on steroids (19.2 (1.9), P < 0.001) but increased in chronic urticaria (8.9 (1.9), P < 0.001). Loratadine did not influence them. UAS fell on treatment (3.3 (0.4) baseline, 1.4 (0.5) on loratadine and 0.5 (0.2) on prednisolone with loratadine, P < 0.001). There was a negative linear correlation between basophil numbers and UAS in untreated chronic urticaria patients (P = 0.001, Spearman rank correlation). Manual and automated basophil counts showed poor agreement. Lymphocyte numbers were lower in chronic urticaria than healthy controls. Neutrophils increased whereas lymphocytes and eosinophils decreased in all subjects on prednisolone. They were unaffected by loratadine.
The results are consistent with the hypothesis that circulating basophils may be recruited from blood into urticarial weals during disease activity. Automated counts are not suitable for assessing basophil numbers in chronic urticaria. The relevance of reduced lymphocyte numbers in chronic urticaria needs to be explored.