[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: After 14 years since the last edition, the Study Group on Autoimmune Diseases (GdS-AI) of the Italian Society of Clinical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (SIPMeL) has revised and supplemented the “Guidelines for the laboratory use of autoantibody tests in the diagnosis and monitoring of autoimmune rheumatic diseases”, with addition of new themes, update of recommendations and revaluation of the controversial aspects of the previous document. For the preparation of this edition, the assessment of the “quality of evidence” and of “strength of the recommendations” has been defined by the GRADE (Grading of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation) method, developed in 2000 by an international working group as a rigorous and explicit method for the production of clinical recommendations. The document is divided into 4 sections including 18 recommendations; each is introduced by a question, followed by the systematic evaluation of the scientific literature and the quality of the evidence found. The formal definition of the strength of the recommendations, expressed as “strong” or “weak”, has been assigned by consensus of all members of GdS-AI SIPMeL. This updated revision of the guidelines provides an overview on the current status of the tests for the detection of autoantibodies to intracellular antigens, including solid phase immunoassays and the automated reading of indirect immunofluorescence. Recommendations are directed mainly to the appropriateness of the request, the analytical methodology to be used, the interpretation and reporting of results. Finally, the document approaches open issues, such as the use of new terms and acronyms to name autoantibody tests used to diagnose autoimmune rheumatic diseases and the harmonization of procedures for the detection of autoantibodies.
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Rivista Italiana della Medicina di Laboratorio
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Il Gruppo di Studio in Autoimmunologia della SIPMeL ha riveduto e aggiornato le linee guida già proposte nel 2005 alla luce delle evidenze scientifiche comparse negli ultimi 10 anni per l’inquadramento diagnostico e il monitoraggio del paziente celiaco. L’identificazione della non celiac gluten sensitivity come entità nosologica a se stante ha reso inoltre necessari alcuni chiarimenti su aspetti diagnostici e classificativi. L’attuale versione ripropone sotto forma di raccomandazioni le indicazioni per un appropriato utilizzo dei test sierologici oggi disponibili, dei test genetici in grado di definire l’appartenenza ai gruppi a rischio e dei diversi quadri istologici, definendo gli step diagnostici e interpretativi in maniera diversificata a seconda della motivazione della richiesta (diagnosi, monitoraggio, gruppi a rischio) e dell’età dei pazienti. Le raccomandazioni sono il risultato delle più recenti evidenze disponibili in letteratura, del consenso tra i componenti del gruppo di studio e del lavoro interdisciplinare tra patologi clinici, immunologi e anatomo-patologi e ha l’obiettivo di supportare il lavoro del medico nell’approccio quotidiano alla diagnosi delle patologie glutine-associate.
Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Rivista Italiana della Medicina di Laboratorio
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 1956, Adams and Purves reported that sera of patients with Graves disease contained a thyroid-stimulating factor whose action was more prolonged than thyrotropin (also known as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)) and termed it the long-acting thyroid stimulator (LATS). In 1964, LATS was identified as an immunoglobulin by Meek et al. and Kriss et al. In 1966, the TSH receptor (TSHR) was discovered by Castan et al. In 1968, McKenzie proposed the first bioassay of TSH, subsequently used for the detection of LATS. In 1974, the target antigen of LATS was shown to be the TSHR. In the same year, Rees-Smith and Hall proposed the first immunoassay method for detecting TSHR autoantibodies (TSHRAb). In 1989, Cone et al. and Parmentier et al. cloned the human TSHR: this allowed the preparation of monoclonal antibodies (MAb), used to probe the structure of TSHR and to set up more accurate laboratory methods for the detection of TSHRAb.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a chronic autoimmune cholestatic liver disease frequently characterized by anti-mitochondrial autoantibodies (AMA). A minority of patients are AMA-negative. Cytotoxic-T-Lymphocyte-Antigen-4 (CTLA-4) is a surface molecule expressed on activated T-cells delivering a critical negative immunoregulatory signal. A soluble form of CTLA-4 (sCTLA-4) has been detected at high concentrations in several autoimmune diseases, and its possible functional meaning has been suggested. We aimed to evaluate sCTLA-4 concentration in sera of patients with PBC and to correlate it to immunological abnormalities associated with the disease. Blood samples were collected from 82 PBC-patients diagnosed according to international criteria (44 AMA-positive/MIT3-positive and 38 AMA-negative-MIT3-negative), and 65 controls. sCTLA-4 levels were evaluated by ELISA and Western blot. Increased sCTLA-4 concentrations were found in all AMA-positive PBC-patients, but in none of the AMA-negative ones, nor in normal controls or in controls with unrelated liver diseases. sCTLA-4 presence was associated with autoantibodies against MIT3, but not with nuclear autoantibodies (sp100, gp210). This is the first study to demonstrate that levels of sCTLA-4 are elevated in sera of PBC patients. However, they are clearly restricted to patients with AMA positivity, suggesting an immunological difference with respect to AMA-negative ones.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of automated immunometric methods for the detection of anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb), the main serological marker of autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD), has expanded in recent years. However, it is not known whether these new automated platforms have improved the diagnostic performance of TPOAb assays. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential improvement of the inter-method agreement of current automated third generation systems, 12 years after a previous study, which had assessed the analytical variability between semi-automated second generation methods of TPOAb detection.
Eight pools of sera from patients with chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, exhibiting different TPOAb concentrations, were collected from routine laboratory diagnostics and distributed to seven companies throughout Italy. All automated third generation methods were calibrated against the Medical Research Council (MRC) reference preparation 66/387.
The overall mean variability (CV) was 93.6% when results were expressed in part as arbitrary Units (U/mL) and in part as International Units (IU/mL). The conversion of all values in IU/mL resulted in a significant decrease of CV (49.8%). The CV expressed as COM (cut-off concentration multiples) was 64.0%. Agreement of qualitative results was 95.3% with a pronounced difference in the threshold values proposed by manufacturers (range 3.2–35.0 IU/mL).
These findings confirm the improvement of harmonisation between different methods of automated third generation TPOAb assays. Nevertheless, further efforts should be made in the definition of the positive cut-off concentration to avoid misclassification of AITD patients as well as in a new international reference preparation and in the autoantigen purification modality.
No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Radioiodine is a common therapeutic option for Multinodular Toxic Goiter (MTG). We evaluated an algorithm for personalized radioiodine activity calculation. Ninety-three (28 male, 65 female; 43–84 years) patients with MTG eligible for radioiodine treatment (131I-iodide) were studied. The quantity of 131I-iodide to be administered was estimated by Thyroid Volume Reduction (TVR) algorithm, developed for Graves’ disease. It takes into account 131I uptake, its effective half-life (T
1/2eff), thyroid volume, and its expected reduction during treatment. A comparison with the activity calculated by other dosimetric protocols and the “fixed” activity method was performed. 131I uptake was measured by external counting, thyroid volume by ultrasonography (US), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and thyroid hormones by standard immunometric methods. In a follow-up of 6–120 months, remission of hyperthyroidism after a single 131I-iodide treatment was observed in 76 patients (64 euthyroid, 12 hypothyroid). The thyroid volume reduction observed by US after the treatment fairly correlated with what predicted by our model; T
1/2eff was highly variable and critically affected dose calculation. The administered activities (median 526 MBq, range 156–625 MBq) were slightly lower than the “fixed” activities (600 MBq) and with respect to the other protocols’ prescriptions (−15/38 %); the median 131I activity administered to relapsed patients (605 MBq) was significantly greater (P = 0.01) with respect to the dose administered to cured patients (471 MBq). Our study shows that an effective cure of MTG can be obtained with relatively low 131I activities and probably with a relatively low incidence of hypothyroidism, using TVR method.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cytotoxic T lymphocyte associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) is a costimulatory receptor transducing a potent inhibitory signal. Increasing evidence showed that CTLA-4 gene is an important susceptibility locus for autoimmune disorders. Alternatively spliced mRNA generates a soluble form, called sCTLA-4. Whereas low levels of sCTLA-4 are detected in normal human serum, increased/high serum levels are observed in several autoimmune diseases. The biological significance of increased sCTLA-4 serum level is not fully clarified yet. It can be envisaged that sCTLA-4 specifically inhibits the early T-cell activation by blocking the interaction of CD80/CD86 with the costimulatory receptor CD28. On the other hand, higher levels of sCTLA-4 could contend the binding of the membrane form of CTLA-4 with CD80/CD86, in later activation phase, causing a reduction of inhibitory signalling. We showed that sCTLA-4 from sera of patients with different autoimmune diseases is able to display functional activities on an in vitro system acting on the proliferation capability and modulating the secretion of cytokines. We observed a dual effect of sCTLA-4: inhibiting the secretion of IFN- γ , IL-2, IL-7, and IL-13 and activating the secretion of TGF- β and IL-10. This study underlines the role of sCTLA-4 in modulating the immune response and its relevance in autoimmune disease pathogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aim:
To evaluate the levels of soluble CTLA-4 (sCTLA-4) in sera of celiac disease (CD) patients with overlapping autoimmune diseases (OAD; diabetes mellitus, autoimmune thyroid diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases, and autoimmune polyendocrine syndromes).
Sera from Italian patients with CD were obtained and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to measure sCTLA-4.
Consistently high serum sCTLA-4 levels were observed in CD (13.20 ng/mL, p<0.0001) and OAD (19.48 ng/mL, p<0.0001) compared to normal controls. A significant increase in the level of serum sCTLA-4 was observed in OAD (p=0.0273) compared to CD alone. At variance, no significant difference in the sCTLA-4 levels was observed when single OAD were compared.
The present study shows for the first time a statistically significant increase of serum sCTLA-4 levels in CD patients with associated autoimmune disease (namely, CD and OAD) versus patients with CD alone. Previously, the potential genetic associations of several CTLA-4 polymorphisms to susceptibility to autoimmune diseases have been described, although the relationship between CTLA-4 polymorphisms and the ability to produce the soluble form is not fully clarified. CTLA-4 is a strong actor in the adaptive response: our data give supportive evidence of the common background of autoimmune diseases.
No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Genetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leukocyte-associated Ig-like receptor (LAIR) is a small family-receptor able to inhibit immune cell function via collagen binding. It exists as both membrane-bound and soluble forms. LAIR-1 functions as an inhibitory receptor on natural killer cells, T lymphocytes and monocytes. In addition to LAIR-1, the human genome encodes LAIR-2, a soluble homolog. Several studies have focused on LAIR-1, whereas few investigations concentrate on the expression and function of LAIR-2. We demonstrate the presence of high LAIR-2 levels in 74/80 sera from patients with autoimmune thyroid diseases (both Graves' disease and autoimmune thyroiditis). LAIR-2 levels seemed not to be related to specific clinical manifestations, such as thyroid functions (hypo- or hyperthyroidism), or specific clinical features (such as ophtalmopathy). In addition, serum LAIR-2 is able, in vitro, to bind its natural ligand, collagen. Since LAIR-2 has been found to have higher affinity for collagens than LAIR-1 did, we hypothesize a potential regulating capability of serum LAIR-2 in finally regulating the inhibitory capability of LAIR-1.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In multinodular goitre (MNG), low radioiodine (RAI) activity after recombinant human (rh) TSH is able to reduce thyroid volume (TV) and improve symptoms. Our aim was to evaluate the long-term outcome of RAI after rhTSH treatment in patients who were divided according to their baseline TSH levels. Eighteen patients (69.2 ± 6.1 year) presented non-toxic (TSH >0.3 mIU/l) MNG (TV: 61.0 ± 3.8 ml; group 1), while 13 patients (74.1 ± 7.9 year) had non-autoimmune pre-toxic (TSH <0.3 mIU/l) MNG (TV: 82.6 ± 14.4 ml; group 2). TSH, thyroid hormones, TV (by ultrasonography), body mass index (BMI), symptoms and quality of life (QoL) were evaluated. Treatment induced short-term thyrotoxicosis in both groups, but this was slightly more marked in group 2 than in group 1. The number and severity of adverse events were similar. The follow-up period was 55.3 ± 4.1 months in group 1 and 57.2 ± 5.1 months in group 2. The final TV reduction was similar in groups 1 (63.4 ± 3.6 %) and 2 (57.2 ± 4.6 %) and TV reduction positively correlated only with initial TV. At the last examination, 14 group-1 subjects were on L-T4 therapy, while 2 group-2 subjects were on methimazole. An increase in BMI was noted only in group 2. MNG-related symptoms were significantly reduced in both groups. Symptoms related to sub-clinical hyperthyroidism improved in group 2, while no significant changes in QoL were noted in either group. This study confirms the effectiveness of rhTSH adjuvant treatment in reducing TV after low RAI activities, irrespective of baseline thyroid status. TSH levels <0.3 mIU/l proved to be predictive of a more severe thyrotoxic phase after rhTSH and RAI, while initial TSH levels >0.3 mIU/l were more frequently followed by a need for L-T4 therapy. Compressive symptoms improved in the majority of subjects.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aim: Radioiodine is a common option for treatment of hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules. Due to the expected selective radioiodine uptake by adenoma, relatively high "fixed" activities are often used. Alternatively, the activity is individually calculated upon the prescription of a fixed value of target absorbed dose. We evaluated the use of an algorithm for personalized radioiodine activity calculation, which allows as a rule the administration of lower radioiodine activities. Methods: Seventy-five patients with single hyperfunctioning thyroid nodule eligible for 131I treatment were studied. The activities of 131I to be administered were estimated by the method described by Traino et al. and developed for Graves'disease, assuming selective and homogeneous 131I uptake by adenoma. The method takes into account 131I uptake and its effective half-life, target (adenoma) volume and its expected volume reduction during treatment. A comparison with the activities calculated by other dosimetric protocols, and the "fixed" activity method was performed. 131I uptake was measured by external counting, thyroid nodule volume by ultrasonography, thyroid hormones and TSH by ELISA. Results:Remission of hyperthyroidism was observed in all but one patient; volume reduction of adenoma was closely similar to that assumed by our model. Effective half-life was highly variable in different patients, and critically affected dose calculation. The administered activities were clearly lower with respect to "fixed" activities and other protocols' prescription. Conclusion: The proposed algorithm proved to be effective also for single hyperfunctioning thyroid nodule treatment and allowed a significant reduction of administered 131I activities, without loss of clinical efficacy.
No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · The quarterly journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging: official publication of the Italian Association of Nuclear Medicine (AIMN) [and] the International Association of Radiopharmacology (IAR), [and] Section of the Society of...
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently, in Italy, the reimbursement for the use of rhTSH in preparing patients for radiometabolic treatment of iodine-avid metastases from differentiated thyroid cancer has been made possible. Intramuscular administration of rhTSH increases the radioiodine uptake and thyroglobulin production by thyroid cells. In addition to the previous indications on the use of rhTSH (mainly: serum thyreoglobulin assay with or without 131I scintigraphy and ablation with 131I of remnants in low risk patients), the reimbursement is now allowed for the treatment with radioiodine of iodine-avid loco-regional and distant metastases, in subjects with inability to reach adequate TSH levels and/or severe clinical conditions which could be potentially worsened by other concurrent diseases (history of stroke or transient ischemic attack, severe cardiac disease, renal failure or major psychiatric disorders). The Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) approved this use (and added this hormone in the special list of drugs regulated by the D.Lgs 648/96) on the basis of a series of scientific evidences, proposed by a "team of experts". In the present paper we illustrate the scientific background of the use of rhTSH (clinical usefulness, economic considerations, aspects related to a better quality of life) that allowed the modification of the reimbursement and how it was made possible in the Italian legislative context.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · The quarterly journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging: official publication of the Italian Association of Nuclear Medicine (AIMN) [and] the International Association of Radiopharmacology (IAR), [and] Section of the Society of...
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CTLA-4 is a key factor in regulating and maintaining self tolerance, providing a negative signal to the T cell and thus limiting immune responses. Several polymorphisms within the CTLA-4 gene have been associated with an increased risk of developing autoimmune diseases and, very recently, with susceptibility to human cancer. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a clonal disorder of lymphoid progenitors representing the most frequent malignancy of childhood. Here, we show the presence at significantly elevated levels of a circulating soluble form of CTLA-4 in 70% of B-ALL pediatric patients with active disease, the positive correlation between the percentage of leukemic B lymphocytes and the amount of serum sCTLA-4, and the expression of sCTLA-4 transcript by B cells in patients. Finally, a correlation between CD1d expression (a negative prognostic marker) and the sCTLA-4 in B-ALL patients was observed. This suggests a possible role of this soluble molecule as a marker of progression or severity of the neoplastic disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
TSH receptor antibodies (TRAb) are the diagnostic hallmark of Graves' disease (GD) and immunoassays for their detection have been available for more than 30 years over three generations of laboratory methods. Despite a growing body of data produced by clinical and laboratory research which demonstrates its elevated sensitivity and specificity, TRAb testing is poorly used for diagnosing GD. The aim of our systematic review and meta-analysis is to verify the diagnostic performance of TRAb detected with 2nd and 3rd generation immunoassay methods.
We searched for English articles using MEDLINE with the search terms "TSH receptor antibody assay", "TSH Receptor antibody tests" and "Graves' disease". We analyzed studies reporting on TSH receptor antibody tests performed by quantitative immunoassays, on untreated patients with GD as the index disease (sensitivity) and on a control group of either healthy subjects or patients affected by other thyroid diseases (specificity). A total of 681 titles were initially identified with the search strategy described. 560 publications were excluded based on abstract and title. Full-text review was undertaken as the next step on 111 publications providing data on TRAb testing; 58 articles were subsequently excluded because they did not include untreated GD patients, or used either bioassays or 1st generation immunoassays. 32 were also excluded because they included data only on sensitivity or only on specificity of the assay, or were duplicates. Finally, 21 articles were selected for meta-analysis. Extraction of data from selected articles was performed by two authors independently, using predefined criteria: the number of patients with GD and the number of healthy or diseased controls; specification of the analytical method used to detect TRAb; sensitivity and specificity of the assay.
The meta-analysis showed that the overall pooled sensitivity and specificity of the 2nd and 3rd generation TRAb assays are 97.1% and 97.4%, and 98.3% and 99.2%, respectively, with little difference between the types of immunoassay methods employed (human or porcine receptor, manual or automated procedure). The likelihood of a TRAb-positive individual to have GD is 1367- to 3420-fold greater (depending upon the type of assay) compared to a TRAb-negative person.
Data from the meta-analysis showed that TRAb measured with 2nd and 3rd generation immunoassay methods have very high sensitivity and specificity in the diagnosis of GD. The difference between 2nd and 3rd generation methods is small and is equally useful. In contrast with recommendations made by clinical endocrinologists who are not familiar with the state of the art in diagnostic technologies of autoimmunology laboratories, we propose a wide application of these tests in clinical practice to screen all hyperthyroid patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cytotoxic T lymphocyte associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) is involved in the activation pathways of T lymphocytes. It has been shown that the circulating form of CTLA-4 is elevated in patients with hymenoptera allergy and can be down regulated by immunotherapy.
to assess the effects on CTLA-4 of venom immunotherapy, given with different induction protocols: conventional (6 weeks), rush (3 days) or ultra rush (1 day).
Sera from patients with hymenoptera allergy were collected at baseline and at the end of the induction phase. CTLA-4 and IL-10 were assayed in the same samples. A subset of patients were assayed also after 12 months of VIT maintenance.
Ninety-four patients were studied. Of them, 50 underwent the conventional induction, 20 the rush and 24 the ultra-rush. Soluble CTLA-4 was detectable in all patients at baseline, and significantly decreased at the end of the induction, irrespective of its duration. Of note, a significant decrease of sCTLA-4 could be seen already at 24 hours. In parallel, IL-10 significantly increased at the end of the induction. At 12 months, sCTLA-4 remained low, whereas IL-10 returned to the baseline values.
Serum CTLA4 is an early marker of the immunological effects of venom immunotherapy, and its changes persist after one year of maintenance treatment.