[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective We previously reported that lupus anticoagulant (LAC) is the main predictor of poor pregnancy outcome in antiphospholipid antibody (aPL)-positive patients. We sought to confirm this finding in an independent group of patients who were subsequently recruited into the PROMISSE study.
Methods The PROMISSE study is a multicentre, prospective, observational study of pregnancy outcomes in women with aPL and/or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) that enrolled patients from 2003 to 2015. All consecutive, aPL-positive patients from the PROMISSE study who completed their pregnancy between April 2011 and January 2015 (after the previous PROMISSE report) are included in the current report. Patients were followed monthly until delivery, and aPL was tested at first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy and at 12 weeks post partum. Adverse pregnancy outcomes (APOs) were defined as fetal death after 12 weeks of gestation, neonatal death, delivery prior to 36 weeks of gestation due to pre-eclampsia or placental insufficiency or small-for-gestational age (birth weight <5th percentile).
Results Forty-four aPL-positive patients are included in this paper. Thirteen patients had APOs, which occurred in 80% of cases during the second trimester of pregnancy. LAC was present in 69% of patients with APOs compared with 27% of patients without APOs (p=0.01). No association was found between anticardiolipin antibodies (aCL) or anti-β2 glycoprotein I antibodies (aβ2GPI) IgG or IgM positivity and APOs. Definite antiphospholipid syndrome (history of thrombosis and/or pregnancy morbidity and aPL) was found in 92% of patients with any APOs compared with 45% of patients without APOs (p=0.004). Conversely, the frequency of SLE was not statistically different between those with and without APOs (30% vs 39%).
Conclusions Our findings, in an independent group of aPL-positive patients from the PROMISSE study, confirm that LAC, but not aCL and aβ2GPI, is predictive of poor pregnancy outcomes after 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Trial registration number NCT00198068.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autoimmune congenital heart block (ACHB) is an immune-mediated cardiac disease included among the manifestations collectively referred to as neonatal lupus. The placental transference of maternal Ro/La autoantibodies may damage the conduction tissues during fetal development leading to blocking of signal conduction at the atrioventricular (AV) node in an otherwise structurally normal heart. Irreversible complete AV block is the main cardiac manifestation of ACHB, but some babies may develop endocardial fibroelastosis, valvular insufficiency, and/or frank cardiomyopathies with significantly reduced cardiac function requiring transplant. The severity of ACHB is illustrated by a global mortality rate of 20% and pacemaker rates of at least 64%, often within the first year of life. This review analyses the main complex and/or unusual clinical situations associated with ACHB, including unusual maternal immunological profiles, infrequent maternal autoimmune diseases, cardiac damage unrelated to AV block, fetal invasive management, late complications after birth, risk of congenital heart block (CHB) in ovodonation and in vitro fertilization techniques, the role of maternal features other than autoimmunity, the influence of the birth order or the risk of CHB in twins and triplets.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Toll-like receptors (TLRs), first identified as pattern recognition receptors, are now recognized to serve as a key interface between innate and adaptive immunity. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is characterized by both continuous and cyclic stimulation of the innate and adaptive immune system by endogenous nucleic acids released from apoptotic or necrotic cells. TLR7 and TLR9 function as innate sensors of viral infection as their ligands are ssRNA and dsDNA, respectively. Recognition of self nucleic acids by endosomal TLRs in B cells and pDCs is thought to be an important step in the pathogenesis of SLE, generating anti-nuclear antibodies and producing type I IFN. In this review, we take a specific look at how TLR7, non-coding RNA, and SSA/Ro60 can contribute to clinical autoimmunity and organ damage in the context of neonatal lupus (NL). Although 15 times less common than SLE, NL provides a unique opportunity to study two different aspects of autoimmunity: passively acquired tissue injury in a developing fetus and clinical progression of disease in an asymptomatic mother found to have anti-Ro60 autoantibodies only after identification of heart block/rash in a child. Finally, we discuss hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) use by asymptomatic subjects which may forestall the clinical expression of autoimmunity.
No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Immunological Reviews
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sjögren's syndrome (SjS) is a systemic autoimmune disease that mainly affects the exocrine glands, leading to generalized mucosal dryness. However, primary SjS may initially present with non-sicca (systemic) manifestations. When these features appear before the onset of an overt sicca syndrome, we may talk of an underlying 'occult' SjS. The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) has promoted and supported an international collaborative study group (EULAR-SS Task Force) aimed at developing consensual recommendations to provide a homogeneous approach to the patient with primary SjS presenting with systemic involvement. This review summarizes the key factors that should be taken into account in the diagnostic approach in a patient with suspected SjS according to the main clinical patterns of presentation, and is especially focused on organ-specific systemic disease presentations, including a consensus set of recommendations in order to reach an early diagnosis. Close collaboration with the different specialties involved through a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach is essential in SjS patients presenting with systemic involvements.
No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Expert Review of Clinical Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives:
Extension of disease beyond the atrioventricular (AV) node is associated with increased mortality in cardiac neonatal lupus (NL). Treatment of isolated heart block with fluorinated steroids to prevent disease progression has been considered but published data are limited and discordant regarding efficacy. This study evaluated whether fluorinated steroids given to manage isolated advanced block prevented development of disease beyond the AV node and conferred a survival benefit.
In this retrospective study of cases enrolled in the Research Registry for NL, inclusion was restricted to anti-SSA/Ro-exposed cases presenting with isolated advanced heart block in utero who either received fluorinated steroids within 1 week of detection (N=71) or no treatment (N=85). Outcomes evaluated were: development of endocardial fibroelastosis, dilated cardiomyopathy and/or hydrops fetalis; mortality and pacemaker implantation.
In Cox proportional hazards regression analyses, fluorinated steroids did not significantly prevent development of disease beyond the AV node (adjusted HR=0.90; 95% CI 0.43 to 1.85; p=0.77), reduce mortality (HR=1.63; 95% CI 0.43 to 6.14; p=0.47) or forestall/prevent pacemaker implantation (HR=0.87; 95% CI 0.57 to 1.33; p=0.53). No risk factors for development of disease beyond the AV node were identified.
These data do not provide evidence to support the use of fluorinated steroids to prevent disease progression or death in cases presenting with isolated heart block.
No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
To evaluate the use and efficacy of belimumab in academic practices. Belimumab is a human monoclonal antibody that inhibits soluble B lymphocyte stimulator and has been approved for the treatment of adults with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Invitations to participate and complete a 1-page questionnaire for each patient prescribed belimumab were sent to 16 physicians experienced in SLE phase III clinical trials. The outcome was defined as the physician's impression of improvement in the initial manifestation(s) being treated without worsening in other organ systems.
Of 195 patients treated with belimumab at 10 academic centers, 96% were taking background medications for SLE at initiation of belimumab, with 74% taking corticosteroids. The main indications for initiation of belimumab were arthritis, rash, and/or worsening serologic activity, with 30% of patients unable to taper corticosteroids. Of the 120 patients taking belimumab for at least 6 months, 51% responded clinically and 67% had ≥ 25% improvement in laboratory values. While numbers are limited, black patients showed improvement at 6 months. In a subset of 39 patients with childhood-onset SLE, 65% responded favorably at 6 months, and 35% discontinued corticosteroids.
Our data demonstrate favorable clinical and laboratory outcomes in patients with SLE at 6 months across all racial and ethnic groups, with similar improvement seen among patients with childhood-onset SLE.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · The Journal of Rheumatology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Based on the consistent demonstration of fibrosis of the atrioventricular node surrounded by macrophages and multinucleated giant cells in anti-Ro antibody exposed fetuses dying with heart block, this study focuses on macrophage signaling stimulated by ssRNA associated with the Ro60 protein and the impact of antagonizing innate cell drivers such as TLR7/8. Transcriptome and epigenetic modifications which affect transcription factors, NF-κB and STAT1, were selected to evaluate the phenotype of macrophages in which TLR7/8 was ligated following treatment with either anti-Ro60/Ro60/hY3 RNA immune complexes or transfection with hY3. Based on microarray, TNF and IL6 were among the most highly upregulated genes in both stimulated conditions, each of which was significantly inhibited by preincubation with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). In contrast, following stimulation of macrophages with either TNF-α or IFN-α, which do not signal through TLR, the resultant gene expression was refractory to HCQ. Ligation of TLR7/8 resulted in increased histone methylation as measured by increased H3K4me2, a requirement for binding of NF-κB at certain promoters, specifically the kB1 region in the TNF promoter (ChIP-qPCR), which was significantly decreased by HCQ. In summary, these results support that the HCQ-sensitive phenotype of hY3 stimulated macrophages reflects the bifurcation of TLR downstream signals involving NF-κB and STAT 1 pathways and for the former dimethylation of H3K4. Accordingly, HCQ may act more as a preventive measure in downregulating the initial production of IFN-α or TNF-α and not affect the resultant autocoid stimulation reflected in TNF-α and IFN-α responsive genes. The beneficial scope of antimalarials in the prevention of organ damage, inclusive of heart block in an anti-Ro offspring or more broadly SLE, may include in part, a mechanism targeting TLR-dependent epigenetic modification.
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Autoimmunity
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Over 20% of pregnancies in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and/or antiphospholipid antibodies (APL) result in an adverse pregnancy outcome (APO) related to abnormal placentation. The ability to identify, early in pregnancy, patients who are destined for poor outcomes would significantly impact care of this high risk population. In non-autoimmune patients, circulating angiogenic factors are dysregulated in disorders of placentation, such as preeclampsia (PE) and fetal growth restriction.
To determine whether early dysregulation of circulating angiogenic factors, can predict APO in high risk SLE and/or APL pregnancies.
We used data and samples from the PROMISSE Study (Predictors of pRegnancy Outcome: BioMarkers In antiphospholipid antibody Syndrome and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), a multi-center prospective study that enrolled 492 pregnant women with SLE and/or APL between September 2003 and August 2013. Patients were followed through pregnancy from <12 weeks gestation. Circulating levels of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (sFlt1), placental growth factor (PlGF) and soluble endoglin (sEng) were measured monthly and subjects followed for APO, classified as severe (PE<34 weeks, fetal/neonatal death, indicated pre-term delivery <30 weeks) or moderate (PE≥34 weeks, indicated preterm delivery 30-36 weeks, growth restriction without PE).
Severe APOs occurred in 12% and moderate APOs in 10% of patients. By 12-15 weeks, sFlt1, PlGF, and sEng levels were markedly altered in women who developed severe APO. After adjusting for clinical risk factors, sFlt1 was the strongest predictor of severe APO among 12-15 week measures (odds ratio=17.3 comparing highest and lowest quartiles, 95% CI: 3.5-84.8; positive predictive value (PPV)=61%; negative predictive value (NPV)=93%). At 16-19 weeks, the combination of sFlt1 and PlGF was most predictive of severe APO, with risk greatest for subjects with both PlGF in lowest quartile (<70.3 pg/ml) and sFlt1 in highest quartile (>1872 pg/ml; odds ratio=31.1; 95% CI: 8.0-121.9; PPV=58%; NPV=95%). Severe APO rate in this high risk subgroup was 94% (95%CI: 70%-99.8%), if lupus anticoagulant or history of high blood pressure is additionally present. In contrast, among patients with both sFlt1 <1872 pg/ml and PlGF >70.3 pg/ml, rate of severe APO was only 4.6% (95% CI: 2.1%- 8.6%).
Circulating angiogenic factors measured during early gestation have a high negative predictive value in ruling out the development of severe adverse outcomes among patients with SLE and/or APL syndrome. Timely risk stratification of patients is important for effective clinical care and optimal allocation of healthcare resources.
No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · American journal of obstetrics and gynecology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives To evaluate the efficacy and safety of tabalumab, a human IgG4 monoclonal antibody that neutralises membrane and soluble B-cell activating factor (BAFF).
Methods This randomised, placebo-controlled study enrolled 1124 patients with moderate-to-severe systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) (Safety of Estrogens in Lupus Erythematosus National Assessment- SLE Disease Activity Index ≥6 at baseline). Patients received standard of care plus subcutaneous study drug, starting with a loading dose (240 mg) at week 0 and followed by 120 mg every 2 weeks (120 Q2W), 120 mg every 4 weeks (120 Q4W) or placebo. Primary endpoint was proportion achieving SLE Responder Index 5 (SRI-5) improvement at week 52.
Results Clinical characteristics were balanced across groups. The primary endpoint was met with 120 Q2W (38.4% vs 27.7%, placebo; p=0.002), but not with the less frequent 120 Q4W regimen (34.8%, p=0.051). Although key secondary endpoints (time to severe flare, corticosteroid sparing and fatigue) were not met, patients treated with tabalumab had greater SRI-5 response rates in a serologically active subset and improvements in more stringent SRI cut-offs, SELENA-SLEDAI, Physician's Global Assessment, anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies, complement, total B cells and immunoglobulins. The incidences of deaths, serious adverse events (AEs), and treatment-emergent AEs were similar in the 120 Q2W, 120 Q4W and placebo groups, but depression and suicidal ideation, albeit rare events, were more commonly reported with tabalumab.
Conclusion SRI-5 was met with 120 Q2W and although key secondary endpoints were not met, numerous other secondary endpoints significantly improved in addition to pharmacodynamic evidence of BAFF pathway blockade. The safety profile for tabalumab was similar to placebo, except for depression and suicidality, which were uncommon.
Trial registration number NCT01205438.
No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Annals of the rheumatic diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Blisibimod is a potent B cell-activating factor (BAFF) antagonist that binds to both cell membrane-expressed and soluble BAFF. The goal of these first-in-human studies was to characterize the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles of blisibimod in subjects with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
SLE subjects with mild disease that was stable/inactive at baseline received either a single dose of blisibimod (0.1, 0.3, 1, or 3 mg/kg subcutaneous [SC] or 1, 3, or 6 mg/kg intravenous [IV]) or placebo (phase 1a; N = 54), or four weekly doses of blisibimod (0.3, 1, or 3 mg/kg SC or 6 mg/kg IV) or placebo (phase 1b; N = 63). Safety and tolerability measures were collected, and B cell subset measurements and pharmacokinetic analyses were performed.
All subjects (93 % female; mean age 43.7 years) carried the diagnosis of SLE for ≥ 1 year. Single- and multiple-dose treatment with blisibimod produced a decrease in the number of naïve B cells (24-76 %) and a transient relative increase in the memory B cell compartment, with the greatest effect on IgD(-)CD27+; there were no notable changes in T cells or natural killer cells. With time, memory B cells reverted to baseline, leading to a calculated 30 % reduction in total B cells by approximately 160 days after the first dose. In both the single- and multiple-dosing SC cohorts, the pharmacokinetic profile indicated slow absorption, dose-proportional exposure from 0.3 through 3.0 mg/kg SC and 1 through 6 mg/kg IV, linear pharmacokinetics across the dose range of 1.0-6.0 mg/kg, and accumulation ratios ranging from 2.21 to 2.76. The relative increase in memory B cells was not associated with safety signals, and the incidence of adverse events, anti-blisibimod antibodies, and clinical laboratory abnormalities were comparable between blisibimod- and placebo-treated subjects.
Blisibimod changed the constituency of the B cell pool and single and multiple doses of blisibimod exhibited approximate dose-proportional pharmacokinetics across the dose range 1.0-6.0 mg/kg. The safety and tolerability profile of blisibimod in SLE was comparable with that of placebo. These findings support further studies of blisibimod in SLE and other B cell-mediated diseases.
Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02443506 . Registered 11 May 2015. NCT02411136 Registered 7 April 2015.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Arthritis research & therapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Because systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) affects women of reproductive age, pregnancy is a major concern.
To identify predictors of adverse pregnancy outcomes (APOs) in patients with inactive or stable active SLE.
385 patients (49% non-Hispanic white; 31% with prior nephritis) with SLE in the PROMISSE study. Exclusion criteria were urinary protein-creatinine ratio greater than 1000 mg/g, creatinine level greater than 1.2 mg/dL, prednisone use greater than 20 mg/d, and multifetal pregnancy.
APOs included fetal or neonatal death; birth before 36 weeks due to placental insufficiency, hypertension, or preeclampsia; and small-for-gestational-age (SGA) neonate (birthweight below the fifth percentile). Disease activity was assessed with the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Pregnancy Disease Activity Index and the Physician's Global Assessment (PGA).
APOs occurred in 19.0% (95% CI, 15.2% to 23.2%) of pregnancies; fetal death occurred in 4%, neonatal death occurred in 1%, preterm delivery occurred in 9%, and SGA neonate occurred in 10%. Severe flares in the second and third trimesters occurred in 2.5% and 3.0%, respectively. Baseline predictors of APOs included presence of lupus anticoagulant (LAC) (odds ratio [OR], 8.32 [CI, 3.59 to 19.26]), antihypertensive use (OR, 7.05 [CI, 3.05 to 16.31]), PGA score greater than 1 (OR, 4.02 [CI, 1.84 to 8.82]), and platelet count (OR, 1.33 [CI, 1.09 to 1.63] per decrease of 50 × 109 cells/L). Non-Hispanic white race was protective (OR, 0.45 [CI, 0.24 to 0.84]). Maternal flares, higher disease activity, and smaller increases in C3 level later in pregnancy also predicted APOs. Among women without baseline risk factors, the APO rate was 7.8%. For those who either were LAC-positive or were LAC-negative but nonwhite or Hispanic and using antihypertensives, the APO rate was 58.0% and fetal or neonatal mortality was 22.0%.
Patients with high disease activity were excluded.
In pregnant patients with inactive or stable mild or moderate SLE, severe flares are infrequent, and absent specific risk factors, outcomes are favorable.
National Institutes of Health.
No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Annals of internal medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This review describes eight 'great ideas' regarding bench-to-bedside considerations in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) presented at the second international LUPUS meeting in Quebec, September 2014. The topics included: correcting the impaired clearance of apoptotic fragments; optimisation of clinical trial design: the PERFECT (Pre Evaluation Reducing Frighteningly Elevated Coverable Targets) study; lipidomics and metabolomics in SLE; importance of the inflammasome; identification and treatment of asymptomatic autoimmunity: prevention of SLE; combining low doses of hydroxychloroquine and quinacrine for long-term maintenance therapy of SLE; reducing emergency room visits and the critical relevance of the autoantigen.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autoimmune congenital heart block (CHB) is an immune-mediated acquired disease that is associated with the placental transference of maternal antibodies specific for Ro and La autoantigens. The disease develops in a fetal heart without anatomical abnormalities that could otherwise explain the block, and which is usually diagnosed in utero, but also at birth or within the neonatal period. Autoantibody-mediated damage of fetal conduction tissues causes inflammation and fibrosis and leads to blockage of signal conduction at the atrioventricular (AV) node. Irreversible complete AV block is the principal cardiac manifestation of CHB, although some babies might develop other severe cardiac complications, such as endocardial fibroelastosis or valvular insufficiency, even in the absence of cardiac block. In this Review, we discuss the epidemiology, classification and management of women whose pregnancies are affected by autoimmune CHB, with a particular focus on the autoantibodies associated with autoimmune CHB and how we should test for these antibodies and diagnose this disease. Without confirmed effective preventive or therapeutic strategies and further research on the aetiopathogenic mechanisms, autoimmune CHB will remain a severe life-threatening disorder.
No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Nature Reviews Rheumatology