Abstract Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) is characterized by vascular thrombosis and/or pregnancy morbidity occurring in patients with persistent antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL). The primary objective of the APS Treatment Trends Task Force, created as part of the 14th International Congress on aPL, was to systematically review the potential future treatment strategies for aPL-positive patients. The task force chose as future clinical research directions: a) determining the necessity for controlled clinical trials in venous thromboembolism with the new oral direct thrombin or anti-factor Xa inhibitors pending the results of the ongoing rivaroxaban in APS (RAPS) trial, and designing controlled clinical trials in other forms of thrombotic APS; b) systematically analyzing the literature as well as aPL/APS registries, and creating specific registries for non-warfarin/heparin anticoagulants ; c) increasing recruitment for an ongoing primary thrombosis prevention trial, and designing secondary thrombosis and pregnancy morbidity prevention trials with hydroxychloroquine ; d) determining surrogate markers to select patients for statin trials; e) designing controlled studies with rituximab and other anti-B-cell agents; f) designing mechanistic and clinical studies with eculizumab and other complement inhibitors ; and g) chemically modifying peptide therapy to improve the half-life and minimize immunogenicity. The report also includes recommendations for clinicians who consider using these agents in difficult-to-manage aPL-positive patients.
Abstract Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT), now considered the most common autoimmune disease, was described over a century ago as a pronounced lymphoid goiter affecting predominantly women. In addition to this classic form, several other clinico-pathologic entities are now included under the term HT: fibrous variant, IgG4-related variant, juvenile form, Hashitoxicosis, and painless thyroiditis (sporadic or post-partum). All forms are characterized pathologically by the infiltration of hematopoietic mononuclear cells, mainly lymphocytes, in the interstitium among the thyroid follicles, although specific features can be recognized in each variant. Thyroid cells undergo atrophy or transform into a bolder type of follicular cell rich in mitochondria called Hürthle cell. Most HT forms ultimately evolve into hypothyroidism, although at presentation patients can be euthyroid or even hyperthyroid. The diagnosis of HT relies on the demonstration of circulating antibodies to thyroid antigens (mainly thyroperoxidase and thyroglobulin) and reduced echogenicity on thyroid sonogram in a patient with proper clinical features. The treatment remains symptomatic and based on the administration of synthetic thyroid hormones to correct the hypothyroidism as needed. Surgery is performed when the goiter is large enough to cause significant compression of the surrounding cervical structures, or when some areas of the thyroid gland mimic the features of a nodule whose cytology cannot be ascertained as benign. HT remains a complex and ever expanding disease of unknown pathogenesis that awaits prevention or novel forms of treatment.
Abstract Background There is increasing evidence that, in addition to the well-known effects on musculoskeletal health, vitamin D status may be related to a number of non-skeletal diseases. An international expert panel formulated recommendations on vitamin D for clinical practice, taking into consideration the best evidence available based on published literature today. In addition, where data were limited to smaller clinical trials or epidemiologic studies, the panel made expert-opinion based recommendations. Methods Twenty-five experts from various disciplines (classical clinical applications, cardiology, autoimmunity, and cancer) established draft recommendations during a 2-day meeting. Thereafter, representatives of all disciplines refined the recommendations and related texts, subsequently reviewed by all panelists. For all recommendations, panelists expressed the extent of agreement using a 5-point scale. Results and conclusion Recommendations were restricted to clinical practice and concern adult patients with or at risk for fractures, falls, cardiovascular or autoimmune diseases, and cancer. The panel reached substantial agreement about the need for vitamin D supplementation in specific groups of patients in these clinical areas and the need for assessing their 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) serum levels for optimal clinical care. A target range of at least 30 to 40 ng/mL was recommended. As response to treatment varies by environmental factors and starting levels of 25(OH)D, testing may be warranted after at least 3 months of supplementation. An assay measuring both 25(OH)D2 and 25(OH)D3 is recommended. Dark-skinned or veiled individuals not exposed much to the sun, elderly and institutionalized individuals may be supplemented (800 IU/day) without baseline testing.
Abstract Recent research in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) yielded new antigens and antibodies in SLE patients. We describe the various autoantibodies that can be detected in patients with SLE. A literature review, using the terms “autoantibody” and “systemic lupus erythematosus”, was conducted to search for articles on autoantibodies in SLE, their target antigens, association with disease activity and other clinical manifestations. One hundred and eighty autoantibodies were so far described in SLE patients. These include autoantibodies that target nuclear antigens, cytoplasmic antigens, cell membrane antigens, phospholipid-associated antigens, blood cells, endothelial cells, and nervous system antigens, plasma proteins, matrix proteins, and miscellaneous antigens. The target of an autoantibody, the autoantigen properties, autoantibody frequencies in SLE, as well as clinical associations, and correlation with disease activity are described for all 180 autoantibodies. SLE is so far the autoimmune disease with the largest number of detectable autoantibodies. Their production could be antigen-driven, the result of a polyclonal B cell activation, impaired apoptotic pathways, or the outcome of an idiotypic network dysregulation.
Abstract Background Failure of anti-TNF treatment in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients can take on several forms, each posing distinct etio-pathogenic considerations and management dilemmas. Aim The aim of this study is to review the mechanisms responsible for the various forms of anti-TNF failures in IBD and to elucidate strategies for optimizing clinical efficacy. Results Primary failures of anti-TNF induction therapy occur in up to 40% of patients in clinical trials and in 10–20% in clinical series. Longer disease duration, smoking and several genetic mutations are predisposing factors for primary failures. Curiously, primary non-response is probably not a class-effect phenomenon since switching to another anti-TNF is effective in over 50% of such patients. Secondary loss of response is also a common clinical problem with incidence ranging between 23 and 46% at 12 months after anti-TNF initiation. Underlying mechanisms are often related to increased anti-TNF clearance by anti-drug antibodies, but may also include other causes for recalcitrant IBD activity as well as disorders that are unrelated to IBD itself. Astute management begins with verifying the presence of uncontrolled inflammatory IBD activity as a cause for patient's symptoms. Next, it is prudent to consider a trial of wait-and-see approach, since in some patients with mild-moderate symptoms, loss of response may resolve without alteration of therapy. If it does not, measuring anti-TNF trough levels and anti-drug antibodies may clarify the underlying mechanism in individual patients although there are still limited and conflicting data regarding the role of these measurements in guiding the choice between dose-intensification, switch to another anti-TNF or to another immuno-modulator, and the addition of an immuno-modulator as a combination therapy with the failing anti-TNF. Anti-TNF re-induction after prior drug-holiday is a distinct clinical scenario and scarce evidence suggests re-induction outcome to be dependent on the circumstances when drug-holiday was commenced. Finally, discontinuation of anti-TNF in patients with stable deep clinico-biologic and mucosal remission may be a viable option, as in these carefully selected patients the majority may enjoy long-term remission without the need for continued anti-TNF treatment.
Abstract MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are single-stranded, endogenous non-coding small RNAs, ranging from 18 to 25 nucleotides in length. Growing evidence suggests that miRNAs are essential in regulating gene expression, cell development, differentiation and function. Autoimmune diseases are a family of chronic systemic inflammatory diseases. Recent findings on miRNA expression profiles have been suggesting their role as biomarkers in autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren's syndrome. In this review, we summarize the characteristics of miRNAs and their functional role in the immune system and autoimmune diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus, primary Sjögren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic sclerosis, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis; moreover, we depict the advantages of miRNAs in modern diagnostics.
Abstract Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic immune-mediated demyelinating disease of the central nervous system characterized by relapses and remissions. The risk of acquiring this complex disease is associated with exposure to environmental factors in genetically susceptible individuals. The epidemiology of MS has been extensively studied. We review the geographic epidemiology of the disease, the influence of immigration, age at immigration, clustering and epidemics. Various presumptive risk factors are discussed such as ultraviolet radiation, vitamin D, Epstein–Barr virus and infectious mononucleosis, other infectious agents and non-infectious factors. Two different hypotheses, the hygiene hypothesis and the prevalence hypothesis, were proposed to explain these environmental risk factors for MS. The epidemiological data, combined with pathological and immunological data, may contribute to the debate whether MS is an autoimmune disease, a latent or persistent viral disease, or a neurodegenerative disease.
Abstract Objective To evaluate whether vitamin D levels are related to the risk of developing autoimmune diseases and whether supplementation with vitamin D can modify the course of the diseases. Methods We reviewed the most relevant papers published from January 1973 to October 2011, using Medline and EMBASE and the search terms “vitamin D”; “autoimmune disease”; “autoimmunity”; “rheumatoid arthritis”; “systemic lupus erythematosus”; “scleroderma”; “systemic sclerosis”; “type 1 diabetes”; “multiple sclerosis”; and “undifferentiated connective tissue disease”. We selected studies on the environmental, genetic and epidemiologic association of vitamin D with autoimmune diseases. Using the strategy described, we identified 1268 articles. 331 articles were eliminated on the basis of the title and another 703 on the basis of the abstract, since they were considered irrelevant for the purposes of the study. Full-text examination was performed on the remaining 234 studies, and a further 15 studies were excluded from the review, since the results had been confirmed or superseded by more recent research. Finally, a systematic review was conducted on 219 articles concerning cross-sectional data on: vitamin D levels and autoimmune diseases; interventional data on vitamin D supplementation in autoimmune diseases; prospective data linking vitamin D level or intake to autoimmune disease risk. Results Physiopathology studies confirm that hypovitaminosis D, in genetically predisposed subjects, can impair self tolerance by compromising the regulation of dendritic cells, of regulatory T-lymphocytes and of Th1 cells. Cross-sectional studies show that levels of vitamin D < 30 ng/mL are present in a significant percentage, not only in patients with autoimmune disease, but also in healthy subjects (30–77%), and link profound deficiency (< 10 ng/mL) with aggravation of symptomatology, while genetic studies associate polymorphism of vitamin D receptors to various autoimmune diseases. Among experimental studies on humans, only those on type-1 diabetes prove that the risks are significantly reduced in infants treated with vitamin D after the 7th month (OR 0.71, 95% CI, 0.60 to 0.84) and that a dose–response effect exists. Conclusions Basic, genetic, and epidemiological studies indicate a potential role of vitamin D in the prevention of autoimmune diseases, but randomized and controlled trials are necessary to establish the clinical efficacy of vitamin D supplementation in ill or at-risk subjects.
Abstract miRNAs are small non-coding RNA molecules that modulate the expression of multiple protein-encoding genes at the post-transcriptional level. They have recently been recognized as powerful regulators of numerous genes and pathways in the pathogenesis of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The targets of most miRNAs remain unknown and their roles in biological processes such as cell differentiation, proliferation, and death (apoptosis) are not clearly understood. In this review we will discuss how certain candidate miRNAs affect inflammatory and immune mediated diseases by regulating their cellular and molecular targets. We focused the influence of gender and sex hormones on miRNA. We believe that understanding the role of miRNAs could shed light on the cause and progression of many inflammatory and autoimmune diseases and eventually lay the groundwork for therapeutic options.
Abstract Autoimmune diseases represent a heterogeneous group of conditions whose incidence is increasing worldwide. This has stimulated studies on their etiopathogenesis, derived from a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors, in order to improve prevention and treatment of these disorders. The relevance of T regulatory cells and of the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway in controlling immune responses has been highlighted. Recent studies have in particular elucidated the putative role of the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway in regulating T cell responses and its effects on immunological tolerance and immune-mediated tissue damage. The role of the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway in autoimmunity has been already investigated in vivo in several experimental animal models including insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, systemic lupus erythematosus, myocarditis, encephalomyelitis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases. With the advent of candidate gene and genome-wide association studies, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in PD-1 gene in humans have demonstrated relevant associations with a higher risk of developing autoimmune diseases in certain ethnic groups. In this review we present recent insights into the role of the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway in regulating lymphocyte activation, promotion of T regulatory cell development and function, breakdown of tolerance and development of autoimmunity. We finally speculate on the possible development of novel therapeutic treatments in human autoimmunity by modulating the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway.
Abstract Since the characterization of CD4+ CD25+ regulatory T (Treg) cells in mice, significant progress has been made in the definitions of the phenotype and the function of human Treg cells in health and in pathological conditions. Recent advances in the field leading to a better molecular definition of Treg subsets in humans and the description of the dynamics of differentiation of Treg cells should bring new insights in the understanding of human chronic systemic autoimmune diseases. How Treg cells are compromised in these diseases is a challenging issue because the elucidation of the mechanisms leading to such anomaly might lead to promising novel therapeutic approaches.
Abstract Studies in both animal models and humans have shown a subset of B cells behaving as immuno-regulatory cells, being a source of inhibitory cytokines such as IL-10 and TGF-β. Our aims were to establish the presence of human B regulatory (Breg) cells and to assess their ability to suppress proliferation of CD4+ T cells and to mediate T regulatory (Treg) cells' properties. For this purpose, human Breg, CD4+ T and Treg cells were purified using magnetic microbeads. CFSE-labeled CD4+ T cells were stimulated and cultured alone or with Breg cells. Their proliferative response was determined 72 hours later based on the CFSE staining. In parallel, Treg cells were cultured alone or with Breg cells in different conditions for 24 hours, and then stained and analyzed for Foxp3 and CTLA-4 expression. We found that, the co-culture of Breg cells (defined as CD25high CD27high CD86high CD1dhigh IL-10high TGF-βhigh ) with autologous stimulated CD4+ T cells decreased significantly (in a dose-dependent way) the proliferative capacity of CD4+ T cells. Furthermore, Foxp3 and CTLA-4 expression in Treg cells were enhanced by non-stimulated and further by ODN-CD40L stimulated Breg cells. The regulatory function of Breg cells on Treg cells was mainly dependent on a direct contact between Breg and Treg cells, but was also TGF-β but not IL-10 dependent. In conclusion, human Breg cells decrease the proliferation of CD4+ T cells and also enhance the expression of Foxp3 and CTLA-4 in Treg cells by cell-to-cell contact.
Abstract Autoantibodies are a hallmark in the diagnosis of many systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases (SARD) including idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM). Based on their specificity, autoantibodies in IIM are grouped into myositis specific (MSA) and myositis associated autoantibodies (MAA). Among the MSA, autoantibodies against aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (ARS) represent the most common antibodies and can be detected in 25–35% of patients. The presence of ARS and other autoantibodies has become a key feature for classification and diagnosis of IIM and is increasingly used to define clinically distinguishable IIM subsets. For example, anti-ARS autoantibodies are the key features of what has become known as anti-synthetase syndrome (aSS), characterized by multiple organ involvement, primarily interstitial lung disease, often accompanied by myositis, non-erosive arthritis, Raynaud's phenomenon, fever, and “mechanic's hands”. Autoantibodies directed to eight different ARS have been described: Jo-1 (histidyl), PL-7 (threonyl), PL-12 (alanyl), OJ (isoleucyl), EJ (glycyl), KS (asparaginyl), Zo (phenylalanyl) and Ha (tyrosyl). Each anti-ARS antibody seems to define a distinctive clinical phenotype. Although several research methods and commercial tests are available, routine testing for anti-ARS autoantibodies (other than anti-Jo-1/histidyl-tRNA synthetase) is not widely available, sometimes leading to delays in diagnosis and poor disease outcomes.
Abstract It has recently emerged that endothelial dysfunction is an early step in the development of atherosclerosis and is mainly characterised by a reduction in the bioavailability of nitric oxide. All of the traditional cardiovascular (CV) risk factors (dyslipidemia, arterial hypertension, hyperglycemia and diabetes) are associated with endothelial dysfunction, and oxidised low-density lipoproteins, the renin-angiotensin axis and insulin resistance play important roles in the pathogenesis of impaired endothelial function. The increased expression of adhesion molecules and pro-inflammatory cytokines leads to abnormal endothelium-dependent vasodilation which could be investigated using vasoreactivity tests such as flow-mediated dilation in the brachial artery. Recently, new evidences showed that the immune system plays an important role in the pathogenesis of endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis with a particular regard towards autoimmunity. The high prevalence of the atherosclerotic process in systemic autoimmune diseases supports the hypothesis of the immune pathogenesis. Evaluating coronary microvascular dysfunction by means of transthoracic echocardiography with non-invasive coronary flow reserve assessment is particularly interesting as it could detect preclinical impairment of coronary microvascular function. The discovery that the mechanisms responsible for endothelial damage have a genetic basis could improve the approach to CV diseases. This review summarises the most important aspects of the pathogenesis and development of endothelial dysfunction, with particular attention to the role of traditional CV risk factors, the usefulness of vasoreactivity tests, and the future perspectives opened by genetic studies.
Abstract Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory multi organ disease with well characterized pathology occurring in the skin and often the joints. Although the disease has many characteristic and even pathognomonic features, no established diagnostic criteria exist for cutaneous psoriasis and there is no unified classification for the clinical spectrum of the disease. Prior approaches that have been taken to classify psoriasis include age of onset, severity of the disease, and morphologic evaluation. The latter has yielded plaque, guttate, pustular, and erythrodermic as subtypes of psoriasis. Unlike other autoimmune diseases, histopathological examination and blood tests are generally not valuable tools in making the diagnosis of psoriasis. However, on occasion, dermatopathologic evaluation may be helpful in confirming the diagnosis of psoriasis. Thus, in most cases the diagnosis of psoriasis is dependent primarily on pattern recognition that is morphologic evaluation of skin lesions and joints.
Autoimmune diseases are a complex set of diseases characterized by immune system activation and, although many progresses have been done in the last 15 years, several unmet needs in the management of these patients may be still identified. Recently, a panel of international Experts, divided in different working groups according to their clinical and scientific expertise, were asked to identify, debate and formulate a list of key unmet needs within the field of rheumatology, serving as a roadmap for research as well as support for clinicians. After a systematic review of the literature, the results and the discussions from each working group were summarised in different statements. Due to the differences among the diseases and their heterogeneity, a large number of statements was produced and voted by the Experts to reach a consensus in a plenary session. At all the steps of this process, including the initial discussions by the steering committee, the identification of the unmet needs, the expansion of the working group and finally the development of statements, a large agreement was attained. This work confirmed that several unmet needs may be identified and despite the development of new therapeutic strategies as well as a better understanding of the effects of existing therapies, many open questions still remain in this field, suggesting a research agenda for the future and specific clinical suggestions which may allow physicians to better manage those clinical conditions still lacking of scientific clarity. (C) 2017 Published by Elsevier B.V.
Studies in both animal models and humans have shown a subset of B cells behaving as immuno-regulatory cells, being a source of inhibitory cytokines such as IL-10 and TGF-beta. Our aims were to establish the presence of human B regulatory (Breg) cells and to assess their ability to suppress proliferation of CD4(+) T cells and to mediate T regulatory (Treg) cells' properties. For this purpose, human Breg, CD4(+) T and Treg cells were purified using magnetic microbeads. CFSE-labeled CD4(+) T cells were stimulated and cultured alone or with Breg cells. Their proliferative response was determined 72 hours later based on the CFSE staining. In parallel, Treg cells were cultured alone or with Breg cells in different conditions for 24 hours, and then stained and analyzed for Foxp3 and CTLA-4 expression. We found that, the co-culture of Breg cells (defined as CD25(high) CD27(high) CD86(high) CD1d(high) IL-10(high) TGF-beta(high)) with autologous stimulated CD4(+) T cells decreased significantly (in a dose-dependent way) the proliferative capacity of CD4(+) T cells. Furthermore, Foxp3 and CTLA-4 expression in Treg cells were enhanced by non-stimulated and further by ODN-CD40L stimulated Breg cells. The regulatory function of Breg cells on Treg cells was mainly dependent on a direct contact between Breg and Treg cells, but was also TGF-beta but not IL-10 dependent. In conclusion, human Breg cells decrease the proliferation of CD4(+) T cells and also enhance the expression of Foxp3 and CTLA-4 in Treg cells by cell-to-cell contact. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are fibrous networks which protrude from the membranes of activated neutrophils. NETs are found in a variety of conditions such as infection, malignancy, atherosclerosis, and autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV), psoriasis, and gout. Studies suggest that an imbalance between "NETosis," which is a process by which NETs are formed, and NET degradation may be associated with autoimmune diseases. Neutrophils, interleuldn-8, ANCA and other inflammatory molecules are considered to play a key role in NET formation. Prolonged exposure to NETs-related cascades is associated with autoimmunity and increases the chance of systemic organ damage. In this review, we discuss the roles of various inflammatory molecules in relation to NETs. We also describe the role of NETs in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases and discuss the possibility of using targeted therapies directed to NETs and associated molecules to treat autoimmune diseases. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Abstract The clinical phenotype and evolution of antisynthetase syndrome (ASS) are heterogeneous. This study was therefore undertaken to identify subgroups of ASS patients with similar clinico-biological features and outcomes. This retrospective multicentric study included 233 consecutive patients with three different anti-aminoacyl-tRNA-synthetase antibodies (anti-ARS): anti-Jo1 ( n = 160), anti-PL7 ( n = 25) and anti-PL12 ( n = 48). To characterise ASS patients, bivariate, multiple correspondence (MCA), cluster and survival analyses were performed. Interstitial lung disease (ILD) and myositis were the most common ASS manifestations. However, their respective frequencies were correlated to anti-ARS specificity: ILD was more frequent (80% and 88% vs 67%, p = 0.014) whereas myositis was less common (44% and 47% vs 74%, p < 0.001) in patients with anti-PL7 and anti-PL12 compared to anti-Jo1. The MCA suggested that anti-PL7 and anti-PL12 phenotypes were close to one another and distinct from anti-Jo1. The clustering analysis confirmed these data, identifying subgroups strongly defined by the anti-ARS specificity and other clinical features. Cluster 1 ( n = 175, 86% of anti-Jo1) defined patients with the most diffuse phenotype, whereas patients from cluster 2 ( n = 48, 96% of anti-PL12 and anti-PL7) exhibited a disease more restricted to the lung. Patient survival was also conditioned by the anti-ARS specificity, and was significantly lower in patients with anti-PL7/12 rather than anti-Jo1 ( p = 0.012). Other factors associated with poor survival were mostly related to pulmonary involvement, including severe dyspnea ( p = 0.003) and isolated ILD ( p = 0.009) at diagnosis. In patients with ASS, the phenotype and the survival were correlated with the anti-ARS specificity.
Abstract The catastrophic variant of the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is characterized by thrombosis in multiple organs developing over a short period of time. First-line treatment for the catastrophic APS is the combination of anticoagulation plus corticosteroids plus plasma exchange and/or intravenous immunoglobulin. Despite this regimen, the mortality remains high and new treatment options are needed. By a systematic review of the Catastrophic APS Registry (CAPS Registry), we identified 20 patients treated with rituximab. The purpose of this study is to describe the clinical manifestations, laboratory features, and outcomes of rituximab-treated CAPS patients. In addition, the rationale for using rituximab in catastrophic APS is discussed.