Alberto Zanella

Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda - Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milano, Lombardy, Italy

Are you Alberto Zanella?

Claim your profile

Publications (196)753.57 Total impact

  • Source
    Andreas Engert · Carlo Balduini · Anneke Brand · Bertrand Coiffier · Catherine Cordonnier · Hartmut Döhner · Thom Duyvene' de Wit · Sabine Eichinger · Willem Fibbe · Tony Green · [...] · Ralf Trappe · Alexandra Traverse-Glehen · Sule Unal · Sophie Vaulont · Vip Viprakasit · Umberto Vitolo · Richard van Wijck · Agnieszka Wójtowicz · Sacha Zeerleder · Barbara Zieger ·
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The European Hematology Association (EHA) Roadmap for European Hematology Research highlights major achievements in diagnosis and treatment of blood disorders and identifies the greatest unmet clinical and scientific needs in those areas to enable better funded, more focused European hematology research. Initiated by the EHA, around 300 experts contributed to the consensus document, which will help European policy makers, research funders, research organizations, researchers, and patient groups make better informed decisions on hematology research. It also aims to raise public awareness of the burden of blood disorders on European society, which purely in economic terms is estimated at Euro 23 billion per year, a level of cost that is not matched in current European hematology research funding. In recent decades, hematology research has improved our fundamental understanding of the biology of blood disorders, and has improved diagnostics and treatments, sometimes in revolutionary ways. This progress highlights the potential of focused basic research programs such as this EHA Roadmap. The EHA Roadmap identifies nine sections in hematology: normal hematopoiesis, malignant lymphoid and myeloid diseases, anemias and related diseases, platelet disorders, blood coagulation and hemostatic disorders, transfusion medicine, infections in hematology, and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. These sections span 60 smaller groups of diseases or disorders. The EHA Roadmap identifies priorities and needs across the field of hematology, including those to develop targeted therapies based on genomic profiling and chemical biology, to eradicate minimal residual malignant disease, and to develop cellular immunotherapies, combination treatments, gene therapies, hematopoietic stem cell treatments, and treatments that are better tolerated by elderly patients.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Haematologica
  • Source

    Full-text · Conference Paper · Dec 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Hereditary spherocytosis (HS) is a congenital hemolytic anemia caused by defects in red blood cell (RBC) membrane proteins leading to premature RBC clearance in the spleen. The presence of RBC autoantibodies has never been extensively investigated in HS. RBC antibody-bound immunoglobulin (Ig)G was investigated in 91 consecutive HS patients by mitogen-stimulated direct antiglobulin test (MS-DAT), a sensitive method able to magnify latent RBC antibody autoimmunity and related with hemolytic variables, previous splenectomy, and type of membrane defect. A total of 61% of HS cases had RBC antibodies by MS-DAT (29 Band 3, 17 spectrin deficiency, and nine no defined defect). The amount of RBC-bound IgG was greater in HS compared with controls (236 ± 192 ng/mL vs. 52 ± 29 ng/mL, p < 0.0001), although lower than that observed in autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA; 634 ± 371 ng/mL vs. 236 ± 192 ng/mL, p < 0.0001). Western blot experiments showed that purified IgG fraction from MS-DAT-positive patients bind to α- and β-spectrin, Band 3, and Band 4.9. Positive cases displayed increased reticulocytosis and slightly reduced hemoglobin (Hb) values compared to negative ones. Patients displaying RBC-bound IgG of more than 250 ng/mL (the positive threshold of AIHA) showed increased number of spherocytes and mainly had spectrin deficiency. RBC-bound IgG and free Hb increased over time after storage at 4°C, a surrogate of ex vivo aging, more evidently in HS than controls, and particularly in Band 3 deficiency. RBC autoantibodies were detected by MS-DAT in more than a half of HS patients. Positive cases showed a more evident hemolytic pattern suggesting a pathogenic role of these autoantibodies in RBC opsonization and splenic removal. © 2015 AABB.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Transfusion
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Over the last several decades, our understanding of the genetic variation, pathophysiology, and complications of the hemolytic anemia associated with red cell pyruvate kinase deficiency has expanded. Nonetheless, there remain significant gaps in our knowledge with regard to clinical care and monitoring. Treatment remains supportive with phototherapy and/or exchange transfusion in the newborn period, regular or intermittent red cell transfusions in children and adults, and splenectomy to decrease transfusion requirements and/or anemia related symptoms. In this article, we review the clinical diversity of pyruvate kinase deficiency, the current standard of treatment and for supportive care, the complications observed, and future treatment directions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · American Journal of Hematology
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To evaluate infections and oncohematologic evolution in adult patients with chronic idiopathic and autoimmune neutropenia in a prospective study. 76 consecutive patients were enrolled from September 2008 to April 2012. Complete blood counts and clinical evaluation were performed at enrolment, at month 3, 6, and then every 6months. Anti-neutrophil antibodies were tested by GIFT method. Patients (49 chronic idiopathic- and 27 autoimmune neutropenia) were followed for a median of 5years (range 24-84months). At enrolment, neutropenia was mild in 44 patients (median neutrophils 1.27×10(3)/μL), moderate in 23 (median 0.8×10(3)/μL), and severe in 9 (median 0.4×10(3)/μL). Neutrophil counts showed a great inter-subject but no intra-subject variability, with lower values in autoimmune neutropenia, in males, and in MGUS cases. Over time, no grade >3 infections occurred; 13/49 chronic idiopathic and 6/27 autoimmune neutropenia patients experienced a grade 2 event, irrespective of mean and nadir neutrophil values. Bone marrow evaluation at enrolment showed reduced cellularity in 23% of cases, and dyserythropoietic features in 55%, with no definite hematologic diagnosis. During the follow-up, 5 cases were diagnosed with NK expansion, 4 with hairy cell leukemia, and 3 with myelodysplasia (1 myelomonocytic leukemia, 1 refractory cytopenia with unilineage dysplasia, and 1 multilineage dysplasia), with a median time to evolution of 30months. Chronic idiopathic and autoimmune neutropenia, although usually benign, deserve hematological follow-up with a bone marrow evaluation at diagnosis and a re-evaluation in the presence of worsening neutropenia, appearance of additional cytopenias, and lymphocytosis. Copyright © 2015 European Federation of Internal Medicine. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · European Journal of Internal Medicine

  • No preview · Article · May 2015 · American Journal of Hematology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Hereditary spherocytosis (HS), hereditary elliptocytosis (HE), and hereditary stomatocytosis (HSt) are inherited red cell disorders caused by defects in various membrane proteins. The heterogeneous clinical presentation, biochemical and genetic abnormalities in HS and HE have been well documented. The need to raise the awareness of HSt, albeit its much lower prevalence than HS, is due to the undesirable outcome of splenectomy in these patients. The scope of this guideline is to identify the characteristic clinical features, the red cell parameters (including red cell morphology) for these red cell disorders associated, respectively, with defective cytoskeleton (HS and HE) and abnormal cation permeability in the lipid bilayer (HSt) of the red cell. The current screening tests for HS are described, and their limitations are highlighted. An appropriate diagnosis can often be made when the screening test result(s) is reviewed together with the patient's clinical/family history, blood count results, reticulocyte count, red cell morphology, and chemistry results. SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of erythrocyte membrane proteins, monovalent cation flux measurement, and molecular analysis of membrane protein genes are specialist tests for further investigation. Specialist tests provide additional evidence in supporting the diagnosis and that will facilitate the management of the patient. In the case of a patient's clinical phenotype being more severe than the affected members within the immediate family, molecular testing of all family members is useful for confirming the diagnosis and allows an insight into the molecular basis of the abnormality such as a recessive mode of inheritance or a de novo mutation. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · International journal of laboratory hematology
  • Source
    Alberto Zanella · Wilma Barcellini
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) is a relatively uncommon disorder caused by autoantibodies directed against self red blood cells. It can be idiopathic or secondary, and classified as warm, cold (cold hemagglutinin disease (CAD) and paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria) or mixed, according to the thermal range of the autoantibody. AIHA may develop gradually, or have a fulminant onset with life-threatening anemia. The treatment of AIHA is still not evidence-based. The first-line therapy for warm AIHA are corticosteroids, which are effective in 70-85% of patients and should be slowly tapered over a time period of 6-12 months. For refractory/relapsed cases, the current sequence of second-line therapy is splenectomy (effective approx. in 2 out of 3 cases but with a presumed cure rate of up to 20%), rituximab (effective in approx. 80-90% of cases), and thereafter any of the immunosuppressive drugs (azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, cyclosporin, mycophenolate mofetil). Additional therapies are intravenous immunoglobulins, danazol, plasma-exchange, and alemtuzumab and high-dose cyclophosphamide as last resort option. As the experience with rituximab evolves, it is likely that this drug will be located at an earlier point in therapy of warm AIHA, before more toxic immunosuppressants, and in place of splenectomy in some cases. In CAD, rituximab is now recommended as first-line treatment.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Haematologica
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The clinical outcome, response to treatment, and occurrence of acute complications, were retrospectively investigated in 308 primary autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) cases and were correlated with serological characteristics and severity of anemia at onset. Patients had been followed-up for a median of 33 months (range 12-372); 60% were warm AIHA, 27% cold hemagglutinin disease, 8% mixed, and 5% atypical (mostly DAT-negative). The latter two categories showed more frequently a severe onset (Hb levels ≤6 g/dL) along with reticulocytopenia. The majority of warm AIHA received first line steroid therapy only, whereas patients with mixed and atypical forms were more frequently treated with 2 or more therapy lines, including splenectomy, immunosuppressants and rituximab. The cumulative incidence of relapse was increased in more severe cases (HR 3.08, 95% CI 1.44-6.57 for Hb ≤6 g/dL, p<0.001). Thrombotic events were associated to Hb levels ≤6 g/dL at onset, intravascular hemolysis and previous splenectomy. Predictors of a fatal outcome were severe infections particularly in splenectomized cases, acute renal failure, Evans' syndrome and multi-treatment (4 or more lines). The identification of severe and potentially fatal AIHA in a largely heterogeneous disease requires particular experienced attention by clinicians.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Blood
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We studied monosomy and deletions of chromosome 7 in 208 patients with myeloid disorders; we found 39 patients (19%) with monosomy or deletion of chromosome 7: 24 patients with chromosome 7 deletion and 15 with monosomy 7. In the 24 patients with chromosome 7 deletions, studied with copy-number variants, short-tandem repeats, microsatellites, single nucleotide polymorphisms, and deletion polymorphisms, the most common deleted region was 7q31.1 (20 patients). Deletion polymorphism studies performed in these 20 patients showed an interstitial deletion of at least 140 kilobase in 6 patients; the deletion spans between the genes forkhead box P2 and Myo D family inhibitor domain containing. Because both genes do not seem to be involved in leukogenesis, we suggest to look carefully into this deletion for the presence of tumor suppressor genes and microRNAs.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Human pathology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although the issue of informed consent for human research biobanks has been analyzed in a number of publications, revolving on speculative as well as empirical perspectives, it remains a critical matter within the ethical community globally. Considering that ethical requirements for information and consent vary widely, depending on the international, regional and national regulatory landscape, the development of a harmonized model of informed consent for research biobanks is today a huge challenge. After the analysis of the informed consent issue in pediatric biobanks, this chapter describes the variability of regulations addressing adult research biobanks on a global, regional and national level by focusing on the several consent standards reported into the literature. Afterward, this chapter proposes a template and procedure for developing unified informed consent forms for the storage and use of human specimens for research purposes, based on the experience of an inter- disciplinary group of professionals collaborating with a multispecialty biobank in the context of a public university hospital. Although local, this experience and the related consent template and procedure could serve as models suitable in similar research environments.
    No preview · Chapter · Jan 2014
  • Wilma Barcellini · Alberto Zanella
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Anti-red blood cell (RBC) autoantibodies are the causative agents of autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), whose estimated incidence is one to three cases per 100,000 per year. The most frequent are immunoglobulin (Ig)G, which are usually directed against epitopes of the Rh system, react at 37 °C, mainly determine extravascular hemolysis, and are responsible for the ''warm'' forms (WAIHA). IgM are pentameric autoantibodies able to fix complement more efficiently than other isotypes, cause intravascular hemolysis, are directed against the I/i system, have an optimal temperature of reaction at 4 °C, and are responsible for the ''cold'' forms of autoimmune hemolytic anemia (cold hemoagglutinin disease, CHD). AIHAs can be distinguished as primary (idiopathic) and secondary to other diseases (autoimmune, infections, lymphoproliferative, or neoplastic diseases) and show great clinical heterogeneity, from compensated forms without anemia to fulminating disease. The gold standard for the detection of anti-RBC antibodies is the direct antiglobulin test (DAT) or Coombs test. DAT-tube is the traditional agglutination technique usually performed with broad-spectrum Coombs reagents; the use of monospecific anti-IgG, anti-IgM, and anti-C3 antisera is recommended to define the class of the autoantibody, along with its thermal characteristics. It is worth mentioning a simple test, the spontaneous agglutination of RBCs at 20 °C, a characteristic feature indicating the presence of cold IgM autoantibodies. DAT-tube may give false-negative results due to the small number of RBC-bound IgG molecules below the threshold of the test (estimated 400 molecules per RBC). Moreover, the tube technique with polyspecific (IgG+C) may fail to detect IgA autoantibodies; the use of monospecific antisera against IgA can overcome the DAT negativity. Another cause of DAT-negativity may be the presence of low-affinity autoantibodies, which can be detected by low ionic strength solutions (LISS) or cold washings. More sensitive methods include microcolumn, solid-phase, complement-fixation antibody-consumption test, enzyme-linked and radiolabelled tests, flow-cytometry, mitogen-stimulated-DAT, and the dual direct antiglobulin test. Despite all the above-mentioned tests, 5-10% of AIHA may be DAT negative, and the diagnosis is made after exclusion of other causes of hemolysis and on the basis of the clinical response to therapy.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2013
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Toll-like receptors (TLR) represent major agents of innate immunity and initiators of adaptive immunity. TLR4 and TLR9 gene expression was related with the occurrence of infections, autoimmunity and disease progression in 95 B-CLL patients, grouped according to stage, therapy, and known prognostic markers, and followed prospectively (median 33.6 months, range 25-50). A retrospective analysis (median 6.8 years, range 6-26) was also performed. TLR4 gene expression was decreased and TLR9 increased in patients versus controls, the former being more pronounced in advanced and multi-treated disease, and in patients with unmutated IgVH and unfavorable cytogenetic. Patients with reduced TLR4 had an increased risk of disease progression and development of autoimmune complications. No relationship was found between reduced TLR4 expression and infectious episodes, which were observed in advanced stages and treated patients. These findings suggest that impaired innate immunity identifies B-CLL patients with poor prognosis and reduced ability to silence autoreactive phenomena.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Leukemia & lymphoma
  • M-J King · A Zanella

    No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · International journal of laboratory hematology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: to evaluate the sustained response to low-dose (LD)-rituximab in autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), the ex vivo effect on anti-RBC antibody production by mitogen-stimulated direct antiglobulin test (MS-DAT), and the in vitro dose-effect of the drug on the production of anti-RBC antibodies. 32 patients, 18 warm (W)AIHA and 14 cold hemagglutinin disease (CHD), were treated with LD-rituximab (100 mg fixed dose x4 weekly infusions) along with a short course of oral prednisone. Complete clinical examination, blood counts and hemolytic markers were performed at enrollment, and at month 6, 12, 24, and 36. Hematologic parameters significantly improved at all time points compared to enrollment. The overall response was 90%, 100%, 100% and 89% and the relapse free survival 87%, 79%, 68% and 68% at 6, 12, 24 and 36 months, respectively. Response rates were slightly better in WAIHA than in CHD, and relapse risk was greater in cold than warm forms (HR 2.1, 95% CI 0.6 -7.9). Four patients were retreated (one patient twice), all achieving a response, lasting a median of 18 months (range 9-30). Treatment was well tolerated without adverse events or infections. Anti-RBC antibody production by MS-DAT significantly decreased over time. In vitro studies showed that rituximab effectively inhibited anti-RBC antibody production at 50 μg/mL, 1/6 of the drug concentration after therapy with standard doses. These data confirm that LD-rituximab treatment is effective and induces sustained responses in AIHA, and that a lower dose of the drug is enough to down-regulate autoantibody production. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · European Journal Of Haematology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Hereditary spherocytosis (HS) and pyruvate kinase (PK) deficiency are the most common causes of congenital hemolytic anemia. We describe a case of HS with defective PK activity initially misdiagnosed as PK deficiency. Hematologic investigation, SDS-PAGE analysis of red cell membrane proteins and sequencing of the PKLR gene were performed. The molecular characterization of the PKLR gene showed a heterozygous mutation 994G > A (Gly332Ser) associated with the promoter substitution -148C > T, whose role in the pathophysiology of PK deficiency is debated. Further investigations revealed spectrin deficiency; the family study demonstrated that the hemolysis was exclusively attributable to HS. The present case pinpoints to the need for extensive family investigations to correctly diagnose chronic hemolytic anemia, in particular when molecular characterization does not fully explain the clinical phenotype.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Clinical laboratory
  • Source
    M-J King · A Zanella
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This overview describes two groups of nonimmune hereditary hemolytic anemias caused by defects in membrane proteins located in distinct layers of the red cell membrane. Hereditary spherocytosis (HS), hereditary elliptocytosis (HE), and hereditary pyropoikilocytosis (HPP) represent disorders of the red cell cytoskeleton. Hereditary stomatocytoses represents disorders of cation permeability in the red cell membrane. The current laboratory screening tests for HS are the osmotic fragility test, acid glycerol lysis time test (AGLT), cryohemolysis test, and eosin-5'-maleimide (EMA)-binding test. For atypical HS, SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of erythrocyte membrane proteins is carried out to confirm the diagnosis. The diagnosis of HE/HPP is based on abnormal red cell morphology and the detection of protein 4.1R deficiency or spectrin variants using gel electrophoresis. None of screening tests can detect all HS cases. Some testing centers (a survey of 25 laboratories) use a combination of tests (e.g., AGLT and EMA). No specific screening test for hereditary stomatocytoses is available. The preliminary diagnosis is based on presenting a compensated hemolytic anemia, macrocytosis, and a temperature or time dependent pseudohyperkalemia in some patients. Both the EMA-binding test and the osmotic fragility test may help in differential diagnosis of HS and hereditary stomatocytosis.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2013 · International journal of laboratory hematology
  • Source
    Paola Bianchi · Elisa Fermo · Alberto Zanella

    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Haematologica
  • Paola Bianchi · Elisa Fermo · Alberto Zanella

    No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Haematologica
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK) is a key glycolytic enzyme that catalyzes the reversible phosphotransfer reaction from 1,3-bisphosphoglycerate to MgADP, to form 3-phosphoglycerate and MgATP. Two isozymes encoded by distinct genes are present in humans: PGK-1, located on Xq-13.3, encodes a ubiquitous protein of 417 amino acids, whereas PGK-2 is testis-specific. PGK1 deficiency is characterized by mild to severe hemolytic anemia, neurological dysfunctions and myopathy; patients rarely exhibit all three clinical features. Nearly 40 cases have been reported, 27 of them characterized at DNA or protein level, and 20 different mutations were described. Here we report the first Italian case of PGK deficiency characterized at a molecular and biochemical level. The patient presented during infancy with hemolytic anemia, increased CPK values, and respiratory distress; the study of red blood cell enzymes showed a drastic reduction in PGK activity. In adulthood he displayed mild hemolytic anemia, mental retardation and severe myopathy. PGK-1 gene sequencing revealed the new missense mutation c.1112T>A (p.Ile371Lys). The mutation was not found among 100 normal alleles, and even if located in the third to the last nucleotide of exon 9, it did not alter mRNA splicing. The p.Ile371Lys mutation falls in a conserved region of the enzyme, near the nucleotide binding site. The mutant enzyme shows reduced catalytic rates toward both substrates (apparent k(cat) values, 12-fold lower than wild-type) and a decreased affinity toward MgATP (apparent K(m), 6-fold higher than wild-type). Moreover, it lost half of activity after nearly 9-min incubation at 45°C, a temperature that did not affect the wild-type enzyme (t(1/2)>1 h). The possible compensatory expression of PGK2 isoenzyme was investigated in the proband and in the heterozygote healthy sisters, and found to be absent. Therefore, the highly perturbed catalytic properties of the new variant p.Ile371Lys, combined with protein instability, account for the PGK deficiency found in the patient and correlate with the clinical expression of the disease.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Molecular Genetics and Metabolism

Publication Stats

4k Citations
753.57 Total Impact Points


  • 2006-2015
    • Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda - Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico
      • • Haematology 2
      • • Transfusion and Immunohaematology Centre
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 1997-2009
    • Ospedale di San Raffaele Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
    • Ospedale Maggiore di Lodi
      Lodi, Lombardy, Italy
  • 1966-2009
    • University of Milan
      • • Department of Internal Medicine
      • • Institute of Medical Statistics and Biometry "G. A. Maccacaro" IBSUM
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2002
    • Second University of Naples
      Caserta, Campania, Italy
    • University of Pavia
      • Department of Biology and Biotechnology "Lazzaro Spallanzani"
      Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2000
    • Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell'Emilia Romagna
      Brescia, Lombardy, Italy
    • CILEA Interuniversity Consortium
      Segrate, Lombardy, Italy
  • 1976
    • Università degli Studi di Torino
      Torino, Piedmont, Italy