[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Safety and immunogenicity data of seasonal influenza vaccination in transplanted patients (Tps) are controversial. Preexisting cross-reactive antibodies generated by repeated vaccination with drift variant strains could bias interpretation of immunogenicity data in Tp.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regulated transgene expression may improve safety and efficacy of hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) gene therapy. Clinical trials for X-linked Chronic Granulomatous Disease (X-CGD) employing gammaretroviral vectors were limited by insertional oncogenesis or lack of persistent engraftment. Our novel strategy, based on regulated lentiviral vectors (LV), targets gp91(phox) expression to the differentiated myeloid compartment while sparing HSC, to reduce the risk of genotoxicity and potential perturbation of reactive oxygen species levels. Targeting was obtained by a myeloid-specific promoter (MSP) and posttranscriptional, microRNA-mediated regulation. We optimized both components in human bone marrow HSC and their differentiated progeny in vitro and in a xenotransplantation model, and generated therapeutic gp91(phox) expressing LVs for CGD gene therapy. All vectors restored gp91(phox) expression and function in human X-CGD myeloid cell lines, primary monocytes and differentiated myeloid cells. While unregulated LVs ectopically expressed gp91(phox) in CD34(+) cells, transcriptionally and posttranscriptionally regulated LVs substantially reduced this off-target expression. X-CGD mice transplanted with transduced HSC restored gp91(phox) expression, and MSP-driven vectors maintained regulation during BM development. Combining transcriptional (SP146.gp91-driven) and posttranscriptional (miR-126-restricted) targeting, we achieved high levels of myeloid-specific transgene expression, entirely sparing the CD34+ HSC compartment. This dual-targeted LV construct represents a promising candidate for further clinical development.Molecular Therapy (2014); doi:10.1038/mt.2014.87.
Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy. 05/2014;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Similar features between the immune system of healthy elderly people and of younger individuals subjected to conditions of chronic immune activation are progressively being observed. This is raising the hypothesis that chronic immune activation may cause the premature aging of the immune system. Here we dissect this theory by comparing changes occurring to B-cells during healthy aging to the ones occurring during chronic immune activation in younger individuals. Moreover, we discuss how these changes may affect or predict response to vaccination in immune compromised individuals.
Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics. 04/2014; 10(7).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the clinical manifestations at diagnosis and during follow-up in patients with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome to better define the natural history of the disease.
A retrospective and prospective multicenter study was conducted with 228 patients in the context of the Italian Network for Primary Immunodeficiencies. Clinical diagnosis was confirmed by cytogenetic or molecular analysis.
The cohort consisted of 112 males and 116 females; median age at diagnosis was 4 months (range 0 to 36 years 10 months). The diagnosis was made before 2 years of age in 71% of patients, predominantly related to the presence of heart anomalies and neonatal hypocalcemia. In patients diagnosed after 2 years of age, clinical features such as speech and language impairment, developmental delay, minor cardiac defects, recurrent infections, and facial features were the main elements leading to diagnosis. During follow-up (available for 172 patients), the frequency of autoimmune manifestations (P = .015) and speech disorders (P = .002) increased. After a median follow-up of 43 months, the survival probability was 0.92 at 15 years from diagnosis.
Our data show a delay in the diagnosis of 22q11.2 deletion syndrome with noncardiac symptoms. This study provides guidelines for pediatricians and specialists for early identification of cases that can be confirmed by genetic testing, which would permit the provision of appropriate clinical management.
The Journal of pediatrics 03/2014; · 4.02 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) is a rare primary immunodeficiency due to phagocytic cell defect. We describe the case of 43 month old boy with CGD presenting with Salmonella spp brain abscesses, together with a review of the 13 cases reported in the literature.
The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 01/2014; · 3.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS) is a common microdeletion syndrome, which occurs in approximately 1:4000 births. Familial autosomal dominant recurrence of the syndrome is detected in about 8-28% of the cases. Aim of this study is to evaluate the intergenerational and intrafamilial phenotypic variability in a cohort of familial cases carrying a 22q11.2 deletion.
Thirty-two 22q11.2DS subjects among 26 families were enrolled.
Second generation subjects showed a significantly higher number of features than their transmitting parents (212 vs 129, P = 0.0015). Congenital heart defect, calcium-phosphorus metabolism abnormalities, developmental and speech delay were more represented in the second generation (P < 0.05). Ocular disorders were more frequent in the parent group. No significant difference was observed for the other clinical variables. Intrafamilial phenotypic heterogeneity was identified in the pedigrees. In 23/32 families, a higher number of features were found in individuals from the second generation and a more severe phenotype was observed in almost all of them, indicating the worsening of the phenotype over generations. Both genetic and epigenetic mechanisms may be involved in the phenotypic variability.
Second generation subjects showed a more complex phenotype in comparison to those from the first generation. Both ascertainment bias related to patient selection or to the low rate of reproductive fitness of adults with a more severe phenotype, and several not well defined molecular mechanism, could explain intergenerational and intrafamilial phenotypic variability in this syndrome.
BMC Medical Genetics 01/2014; 15(1):1. · 2.54 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In vitro study showed that NADPH oxidase (NOx), the most important enzyme producing reactive oxygen species (ROS), plays a role in the process of platelet activation. However, it is unclear if changes in its activity affect platelet activation in vivo.
Journal of the American Heart Association. 01/2014; 3(3).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have previously reported that an early initiation of highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in HIV-1 vertically infected children enhanced the function of memory B-cells gained during childhood routine vaccinations. On the other hand, a significant waning of immunity was observed for patients with a late treatment. In this follow-up study, we report data from a sample of patients in our cohort including late-treated patients being revaccinated with routine childhood vaccines.
The levels of serum antibodies and cellular immunity were measured by antigen-specific ELISA and B-cell ELISpot. Moreover, flow cytometry on the frequencies of mature-activated (CD10-CD21-) (MA) and double negative (CD27-IgD-) (DN) B-cells as hallmarks of immune-activation and immune-senescence respectively, were performed for all patients.
Reduced protective humoral immunity and cellular immunity to routine childhood vaccines was observed in late-treated patients. Moreover we found that timing of HAART related with the frequencies of MA and DN.
Altogether the data presented in this follow-up study re-enforce the importance for an early start of HAART in HIV-1 vertically infected individuals and suggest that timing of HAART is a fundamental factor to take into account for vaccination design in this population.
The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 12/2013; · 3.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Yearly immunization against seasonal influenza is highly recommended for HIV-1 infected individuals but evaluating the success of vaccination by serological markers may not be fully informative in this population. Recently, it has been hypothesized that the generation of long-lasting immune responses may depend on whether similar antigens challenge the immune system frequently and intermittently. In the present study, in order to search for additional correlates of vaccine-induced protective immunity and to further dissect this theory, both humoral and memory B-cell responses to the trivalent 2012-2013 seasonal influenza vaccination has been evaluated by strain-specific (separately for H1N1, H3N2 and B strain) standard hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay and B-cell enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISpot) in a cohort of vertically HIV-1 infected children and young individuals as compared to age-matched healthy controls. A high number of HIV-1 infected individuals had protective antibody levels prior to vaccination and showed low seroconversion rates after vaccination as compared to healthy controls. On the contrary, similar frequencies of influenza-specific memory B-cells were detected by B-cell ELISpot in both groups suggesting that an adequate B-cell response has been elicited. Data from the H1N1 strain, which is recurrent in seasonal influenza vaccines since 2009, pointed out decreasing antibody but not memory B-cell responses for HIV-1 infected patients being vaccinated for a greater number of years. Further investigations are required to standardize the influenza-specific B-cell ELISpot and to understand whether it could be used routinely as an additional tool to evaluate response to influenza vaccination in immune-compromised individuals being vaccinated yearly.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neutropenia is not uncommon in childhood. The aim of our study was to analyze the underlying causes of neutropenia and to evaluate its clinical significance in a series of children referred to our center.
One hundred and four consecutive children with neutropenia were enrolled in this study. Clinical and laboratory features were analyzed.
The majority of patients (63.5%) showed chronic neutropenia. Among all chronic forms, the most frequent was chronic idiopathic neutropenia (CIN), followed by autoimmune neutropenia (AIN). Congenital neutropenia was identified in 6 patients. Acute neutropenia was mainly due to infections. Overall, at the time of first detection, neutropenia was more frequently severe or moderate. One-third of our patients who presented with severe neutropenia were ultimately diagnosed with a post-infectious acute form. Conversely, nearly half patients with CIN, AIN, or congenital neutropenia showed moderate/mild neutropenia at onset. Among patients with AIN and CIN, nearly half recovered between 7 months and 46 months and approximately one-fourth experienced infectious episodes during follow-up. No significant difference was noticed in terms of mean ANC between patients with and without remission, neither between patients with and without infections.
Our study confirms the great etiological heterogeneity of neutropenia in children. We could not demonstrate a correlation between ANC level at onset and the underlying disorder, nor a correlation between mean ANC and duration of neutropenia or infectious episodes during follow-up. Neutropenia remains a disease of concern to pediatricians, requiring several laboratory investigations, prolonged follow-up, and, in few cases, advanced molecular methods.
Pediatric Allergy and Immunology 12/2013; · 3.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Low‐affinity immunoglobulin (Ig)G with potential autoreactivity to lymphocytes and hypergammaglobulinaemia have been described previously in HIV‐1‐infected patients. Whether such antibodies increase after challenging the immune system, for example with an immunization, is not known. In the present study, the modulation of antibodies with low affinity and potential autoreactivity was evaluated after 2012–13 seasonal flu vaccination with a simple empirical laboratory test measuring the titres of anti‐lymphocyte antibodies (ALA) in two different models of secondary immunodeficiency: HIV‐1 vertically infected patients (HIV) and patients treated with immunosuppressive therapies after kidney transplantation (KT) compared to healthy individuals (HC). In parallel, the activation status of B cells and their degree of immune senescence was evaluated by measuring the B cell interleukin (IL)‐21R expression/plasma IL‐21 levels and the frequencies of mature‐activated (MA) and double‐negative (DN) B cells. A significant increase of ALA titres was observed after vaccination in HIV and KT but not in HC, and this correlated directly with the frequencies of both MA and DN and inversely with the B cell IL‐21R expression. This suggests that the quality of an immune response triggered by flu vaccination in HIV and KT may depend upon the activation status of B cells and on their degree of immune senescence. Further investigations are needed to verify whether high frequencies of MA and DN may also relate to increase autoimmunity after immunization in high‐risk populations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: NADPH oxidase, one of the most important enzymes producing reactive oxidant species, is suggested to play a role in experimental atherosclerosis, but its role in human atherosclerosis is still unclear. We hypothesized that a reduced activity of NADPH oxidase might be linked to a reduced atherosclerotic burden. METHODS AND RESULTS: Thirty-one women carriers of hereditary deficiency of NOX2, the catalytic subunit of NADPH oxidase, were matched for sex and age with 31 controls and 31 obese women. Flow-mediated dilation and intima-media thickness, 2 surrogate markers of atherosclerosis, serum activity of NOX2, urinary isoprostanes, serum levels of nitrite/nitrate, and platelet production of isoprostanes and nitrite/nitrate were determined.Compared with controls (5.7±3.0% and 0.60±0.11 mm), carriers of NOX2 deficiency had higher flow-mediated dilation (9.2±5.0%; P<0.001) and lower intima-media thickness (0.50±0.11 mm; P=0.002), whereas obese women had lower flow-mediated dilation (3.2±2.1%; P=0.007) and higher intima-media thickness (0.71±0.15 mm; P<0.001). Compared with controls, carriers of NOX2 deficiency had lower urinary isoprostanes (132.6±87.3 versus 82.3±46.0 pg/mg creatinine; P=0.007) and serum NOX2 activity (24.9±19.3 versus 12.8±11.9 pg/mL; P=0.004) and higher serum nitrite/nitrate (23.8±7.6 versus 30.5±6.3 µmol/L; P<0.001), whereas obese women had higher urinary isoprostanes (132.6±87.3 versus 182.2±84.6 pg/mg creatinine; P=0.008) and serum NOX2 activity (24.9±19.3 versus 36.1±18.6 pg/mL; P=0.008) and lower serum nitrite/nitrate (23.8±7.6 versus 12.6±4.2 µmol/L; P<0.001). Flow-mediated dilation correlated with intima-media thickness (r=-0.433; P<0.001), serum NOX2 activity (r=-325; P<0.001), and urinary isoprostanes (r=-0.314; P=0.002). Ex vivo study showed that, compared with controls, platelets from carriers of NOX2 deficiency had lower isoprostanes (P<0.001) and higher nitrite/nitrate (P<0.001), whereas platelets from obese women had higher isoprostanes (P<0.001) and lower nitrite/nitrate (P=0.013). CONCLUSIONS: The study shows reduced atherosclerotic burden in carriers of NOX2 deficiency, suggesting that oxidative stress generated by this enzymatic pathway is implicated in human atherosclerosis.
Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 01/2013; · 6.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Twenty vertically HIV-infected children, 6-16 years of age, with stable viral load control and CD4+ values above 400 cells/mm(3).
Ten subjects continued their ongoing antiretroviral treatment (ART, Group A) and 10 were immunized with a HIV-DNA vaccine in addition to their previous therapy (ART and vaccine, Group B). The genetic vaccine represented HIV-1 subtypes A, B and C, encoded Env, Rev, Gag and RT and had no additional adjuvant. Immunizations took place at weeks 0, 4 and 12, with a boosting dose at week 36. Monitoring was performed until week 60 and extended to week 96.
Safety data showed good tolerance of the vaccine. Adherence to ART remained high and persistent during the study and did not differ significantly between controls and vaccinees. Neither group experienced either virological failure or a decline of CD4+ counts from baseline. Higher HIV-specific cellular immune responses were noted transiently to Gag but not to other components of the vaccine. Lymphoproliferative responses to a virion antigen HIV-1 MN were higher in the vaccinees than in the controls (p = 0.047), whereas differences in reactivity to clade-specific Gag p24, RT or Env did not reach significance. Compared to baseline, the percentage of HIV-specific CD8+ lymphocytes releasing perforin in the Group B was higher after the vaccination schedule had been completed (p = 0.031). No increased CD8+ perforin levels were observed in control Group A.
The present study demonstrates the feasibility, safety and moderate immunogenicity of genetic vaccination in vertically HIV-infected children, paving the way for amplified immunotherapeutic approaches in the pediatric population.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(11):e79957. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract NADPH oxidase is known to modulate the arterial tone, but the role of its specific subunits is still unclear. The objective of this study was to compare the role of p47 and gp91phox (NOX2) on artery dilatation. We conducted a multicenter study enrolling 30 patients with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) (25 with NOX2 deficiency and 5 with p47(phox) deficiency) and 30 healthy subjects (HS), matched for gender and age, in whom flow-mediated dilation (FMD), serum activity of NOX2 (soluble NOX2-derived peptide [sNOX2-dp]), urinary isoprostanes (8-iso-PGF2α), and platelet production of isoprostanes and NOX2 were determined. Compared to HS, patients with CGD had significantly higher FMD and lower sNOX2-dp and 8-iso-PGF2α levels. Compared to patients with NOX2 deficiency and HS, patients with p47(phox) hereditary deficiency had intermediate FMD and oxidative stress, that is, higher and lower FMD and lower and higher isoprostanes compared to HS and patients with NOX2 deficiency, respectively. In agreement with this finding, an ex vivo study showed higher inhibition of NOX2 activity and lower isoprostane formation in platelets from patients with NOX2 deficiency compared to platelets from ones with p47(phox) deficiency. Our observations lead to the hypothesis that oxidants are implicated in artery vasoconstriction. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 00, 000-000.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Current evidence on routine immunization of HIV-1 infected children point out the need for a special vaccine schedule in this population. However, optimal strategies for identifying individuals susceptible to infections, and then offering them sustained protection through appropriate immunization schedule, both in terms of timing and number of vaccine doses, still remain to be elucidated. Understanding the degree of immune recovery after HAART initiation is important in guiding administration of routine vaccination in HIV-1 infected children. Although quantitative measures (e.g., CD4+ T-cell counts and immunoglobulin levels) are frequently performed to evaluate immune parameters, these measures do not fully mirror functional immune recovery. Here, we will review the status of single mandatory and recommended vaccines for HIV-1 infected children in relation to immune recovery after HAART initiation with the aim of identifying new means to help design personalized vaccine schedules for this population.
Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics. 12/2012; 8(12).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated whether the PTPN22 C1858T polymorphism is associated with the autoimmune conditions present in the family of a child affected by type 1 diabetes (T1D) carrying the TT genotype (index patient) and the potential immunological effect of the variant. We found that nine family members carried the CT genotype and five suffered from autoimmunity. Interestingly, anti-ZnT8 antibodies were detected in T1D patients and in three healthy relatives. In the TT patient, we showed diminished T-cell proliferation and reduced interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) production. A marked reduction of IL-2 was also observed for all CT relatives with autoimmunity and a lack of IFN-γ production was observed for the younger brother of the index patient, heterozygous for the polymorphism. In this family, the C1858T variant might confer a high risk of autoimmunity. Moreover, our data confirm that impaired IL-2 production upon T-cell receptor stimulation is associated with autoimmunity in the carriers of the polymorphism. This study might prompt to extend the panel of risk markers in relatives of subjects affected by T1D.