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עמוד בית
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November 2021
Ilaria Duca MD, Bruno Lucchino MD, Francesca Romana Spinelli MD PhD, Alessio Altobelli MD, Carmelo Pirone MD, Chiara Gioia MD, Guido Valesini MD, Fabrizio Conti MD PhD, and Manuela Di Franco MD

Background: In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), females usually have a worse prognosis. To date, the influence of physician gender in the evaluation of RA activity is still largely unknown.

Objectives: To investigate the discrepancy in RA disease activity assessment between male and female physicians and to compare patient and evaluator perception of disease activity and global health (GH) status.

Methods: One female and one male rheumatologist evaluated 154 RA patients recording tender and swollen joint count, GH, evaluator global assessment (EGA), and patient global assessment (PGA) disease activity. A third rheumatologist calculated DAS28, CDAI, and SDAI. Difference was evaluated by Wilcoxon test. Physician–patient agreement was assessed by intraclass correlation coefficient.

Results: GH, PGA, and DAS28 were higher when recorded by the female examiner. Male EGA was higher than female. Among male patients, PGA was higher when collected by the female examiner. The probability of being judged as having an active disease did not rely on physician gender. The agreement with the physician’s evaluation of disease activity was high. PGA values were higher than EGA in both examiners. The physician–patient agreement was moderate for the male examiner and good for the female. The female physician had a higher agreement with both genders.

Conclusions: Subjective measure of disease activity differs between female and male rheumatologists, contributing to a different evaluation of disease activity. Patients have a higher perception of disease activity compared to physicians. The stronger agreement between female physicians and patients may be related to a more emphatic setting established by the female physician

July 2021
Ramona Lucchetti MD, Fulvia Ceccarelli MD PhD, Enrica Cipriano MD, Carlo Perricone MD PhD, Francesca Romana Spinelli MD PhD, Cristiano Alessandri MD, and Fabrizio Conti MD

Background: Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an inflammatory rheumatic disease characterized by different phenotypes in terms of joint involvement. The so-called oligoarticular pattern involves fewer than five active joints at a different time points. The evaluation of disease activity in this subset of patients is an unmet need due to the lack of specific indices able to capture modifications over time.

Objectives: To evaluate the ability of musculoskeletal ultrasound to monitor the response to apremilast treatment in oligoarticular PsA patients.

Methods: We evaluated 24 oligoarticular patients (19 women, 5 men; median age 56 years, interquartile range (IQR) 19; median disease duration 5 years, IQR 5.75). All patients were assessed at baseline (T0), and after 6 (T1), 12 (T2), and 24 (T3) weeks. Clinical assessment included evaluation of 66 swollen joints and patient global health assessment. All the patients underwent ultrasound assessment of the clinically involved joints. Synovial effusion/hypertrophy and power Doppler were scored with a semi-quantitative scale (0–3). The total inflammatory score was the sum of the scores.

Results: We found a reduction in the ultrasound inflammatory score at all time points, with a significant improvement at 6 and 12 weeks of treatment compared with baseline: T0 median 8.5 (IQR 5.0); T1 3.5 (3.0); T2 2.0 (3.5); P  = 0.01. We observed a significant reduction of patient global health assessment after 24 weeks (T0 median 50 (32.5); T3 40 (57.5); P = 0.01).

Conclusions: Musculoskeletal ultrasound could be useful in the assessment of treatment response in PsA patients with oligoarticular subset

July 2020
Fulvia Ceccarelli MD PhD, Enrica Cipriano MD, Francesco Natalucci MD, Carlo Perricone MD PhD, Giulio Olivieri MD, Valeria Orefice MD, Francesca Morello MD, Cristiano Alessandri MD, Francesca R. Spinelli MD PhD and Fabrizio Conti MD

Background: Belimumab was the first biological drug approved for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients. Phase II/III randomized controlled trials and real-life studies identified patients with musculoskeletal involvement as best responders.

Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of belimumab in SLE-related joint involvement.

Methods: The cohort comprised SLE patients receiving belimumab for musculoskeletal indications. Belimumab was intravenously administrated according to protocols; all the patients were evaluated at baseline (T0) and after 3 (T1), 6 (T2), and 12 (T3) months. We assessed joint activity by disease activity score 28, simple disease activity index (SDAI), clinical disease activity index (CDAI), and swollen tender ratio. Each patient underwent musculoskeletal ultrasound of 34 joints to assess synovial effusion synovial hypertrophy, and power Doppler; by using a semi-quantitative scale (0–3) we obtained the total inflammatory score (0–216).

Results: We evaluated 20 patients (males/females 1/19, median age 45 years [interquartile range (IQR) 12], median disease duration 144 months [IQR 144]). CDAI and SDAI significantly decreased at T1 (P = 0.02 and P = 0.01 respectively) and this improvement was maintained at the following time-points (CDAI: T2 P = 0.008, T3 P = 0.004; SDAI: T2 P = 0.006, T3 P = 0.01). A significant reduction of median ultrasound score was identified at T1 (T0 20.5 [IQR 13.5] vs. T1 7.5 [IQR 4.7], P < 0.001), and maintained at T2 (7.0 [IQR 5], P < 0.0001), and T3 (7.0 [IQR 9.0], P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Belimumab induces a sustained improvement of ultrasound-detected inflammatory status at the articular level.

June 2020
Valeria Orefice MD, Fulvia Ceccarelli MD PhD, Giuseppina Perrone MD, Carlo Perricone MD PhD, Paola Galoppi MD, Viviana Antonella Pacucci MD, Francesca Romana Spinelli MD PhD, Cristiano Alessandri, Roberto Brunelli MD and Fabrizio Conti MD

Background: Cyclophosphamide treatment has been associated with ovarian function impairment. Co-treatment with gonadotropin-releasing hormone-analogue (GnRH-a) seems to be able to prevent this complication. However, even though data are available on neoplastic patients, limited data have been published on systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) women cohorts

Objectives: To evaluate GnRH-a efficacy on ovarian function preservation in SLE women receiving cyclophosphamide treatment

Methods: The authors performed a retrospective study including SLE women requiring cyclophosphamide treatment and compared those treated with and without GnRH-a (case and controls, respectively). All patients were evaluated before cyclophosphamide treatment and every 3 months in the following years. Ovarian function was evaluated using hormonal profiles

Results: The study comprised 33 SLE cyclophosphamide-treated women: 18 co-treated with triptorelin and 15 controls. The mean follow-up was 8.1 ± 5.1 years (range 4–11). Premature ovarian failure (POF) prevalence was significantly lower in SLE women treated by cyclophosphamide plus triptorelin compared to controls (11.1% vs. 33.3%, P = 0.0002). The occurrence of POF was significantly associated with higher age at the time of cyclophosphamide treatment (P = 0.008). Only patients in the GnRH-a treated group had successful pregnancies

Conclusions: The study provides information about the efficacy of co-treatment with GnRH-a in SLE women receiving cyclophosphamide, as demonstrated by the lower POF incidence compared to untreated subjects, based on long-term follow-up. These results reinforce the use of GnRH-a for fertility preservation in premenopausal SLE patients treated by cyclophosphamide

July 2019
Carlo Perricone MD PhD, Daphna Katz, Cinzia Ciccacci PhD, Fulvia Ceccarelli MD PhD, Guido Valesini MD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR, Paola Borgiani PhD and Fabrizio Conti MD PhD

Recurrent pericarditis is a state of repetitive inflammation of the pericardium with intervals of remission. The etiology of recurrent pericarditis is still largely unknown, yet most causes are presumed to be immune mediated. Genetic factors, including human leukocyte antigen (HLA) haplotypes, can be involved in dysregulation of the immune system and as a predisposition to several autoimmune conditions, including recurrent pericarditis. Several diseases are frequently associated with such manifestations. They include systemic lupus erythematosus, familial Mediterranean fever, and tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated periodic syndrome. However, idiopathic recurrent pericarditis remains the most frequently observed clinical condition and the conundrum of this disease still needs to be solved.

March 2015
Carlo Perricone MD, Monica Pendolino MD, Marta Olivieri MD, Fabrizio Conti MD PhD, Guido Valesini MD and Cristiano Alessandri MD

Abstract

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by multisystem involvement due to immune dysregulation. Neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus (NPSLE) includes neurological syndromes involving the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous system, as well as psychiatric syndromes observed in patients with SLE in which other causes have been excluded. The pathogenesis of NPSLE has been attributed to many different mechanisms. In particular, autoantibody-mediated vasculopathy seems to play a major role in the pathogenesis of the clinical features. Several autoantibody specificities have been reported in the serum and cerebrospinal fluid of NPSLE patients. Recently, we demonstrated an association between serum anti-endothelial antibodies (AECA) and psychosis or depression in SLE patients, strengthening the notion of a possible role of this class of autoantibodies in the pathogenesis of the disease. The study of these autoantibodies could be a useful diagnostic and prognostic tool in patients with NPSLE.

 

 

October 2014
Carlo Perricone MD, Shunit Rinkevich-Shop PhD, Miri Blank PhD, Natalie Landa-Rouben PhD, Cristiano Alessandri MD, Fabrizio Conti MD, PhD, Jonathan Leor MD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP and Guido Valesini MD
November 2003
November 2000
by Fabrizio Conti, MD, Francesca Romana Spinelli, MD, Alejandra Ossandon, MD and Guido Valesini, MD
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