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עמוד בית
Tue, 28.05.24

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January 2017
Zev Sthoeger MD, Margalit Lorber MD, Yuval Tal MD, Elias Toubi MD, Howard Amital MD, Shaye Kivity MD, Pnina Langevitz MD, Ilan Asher MD, Daniel Elbirt MD and Nancy Agmon Levin MD

Background: Anti-BLyS treatment with the human belimumab monoclonal antibody was shown to be a safe and effective therapeutic modality in lupus patients with active disease (i.e., without significant neurological/renal involvement) despite standard treatment.

Objectives: To evaluate the “real-life” safety and efficacy of belimumab added to standard therapy in patents with active lupus in five Israeli medical centers.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective open-labeled study of 36 lupus patients who received belimumab monthly for at least 1 year in addition to standard treatment. Laboratory tests (C3/C4, anti dsDNA autoantibodies, chemistry, urinalysis and complete blood count) were done every 3–4 months. Adverse events were obtained from patients’ medical records. Efficacy assessment by the treating physicians was defined as excellent, good/partial, or no response.

Results: The study group comprised 36 lupus patients (8 males, 28 females) with a mean age of 41.6 } 12.2 years. Belimumab was given for a mean period of 2.3 } 1.7 years (range 1–7). None of the patients discontinued belimumab due to adverse events. Four patients (11.1%) had an infection related to belimumab. Only 5 patients (13.9%) stopped taking belimumab due to lack of efficacy. The response was excellent in 25 patients (69.5%) and good/partial in the other 6 (16.6%). Concomitantly, serological response (reduction of C3/C4 and anti-dsDNA autoantibodies) was also observed. Moreover, following belimumab treatment, there was a significant reduction in the usage of corticosteroids (from 100% to 27.7%) and immunosuppressive agents (from 83.3% to 8.3%).

Conclusions: Belimumab, in addition to standard therapy, is a safe and effective treatment for active lupus patients.

February 2011
R. Da Costa, M. Szyper-Kravitz, Z. Szekanecz, T. Csépány, K. Dankó, Y. Shapira, G. Zandman-Goddard, H. Orbach, N. Agmon-Levin and Y. Shoenfeld

Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system (CNS) and although it is a well-established autoimmune disease its ethiopathogenesis has yet to be fully elucidated. The disease may present in several clinical forms that are closely associated with disease morbidity. In recent years various environmental and hormonal factors have been implicated in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity.

Objectives: To evaluate ferritin and prolactin levels in MS patients and their correlation with clinical manifestations of the disease.

Methods: Serum samples from 150 multiple sclerosis patients were evaluated for demographic characteristics, clinical parameters as well as prolactin and ferritin levels utilizing the Liaison chemiluminescent immunoassays (DiaSorin, Italy). Sera from 100 matched healthy donors were used as controls.

Results: Hyperprolactinemia was documented in 10 of 150 MS patients (6.7%) and hyperferritinemia in 12 (8%), both of which were significantly more common in this group compared with healthy controls (P ≤ 0.01 and P = 0.02 respectively). Among female MS patients, elevated prolactin levels were related to the secondary progressive type of disease (P = 0.05), whereas hyperferritinemia was associated with male gender (P = 0.03) and with the relapsing progressive type of the disease (P = 0.02). An inverse association was found between hyperferritinemia and the relapsing-remitting type of MS in male patients (P = 0.05)

Conclusions: Our results suggest a plausible association between these biomarkers and certain clinical types and gender among MS patients. Further studies combining clinical data, CNS imaging and these markers are warranted.
 

December 2010
Y. Oren, Y. Shapira, N. Agmon-Levin, S. Kivity, Y. Zafrir, A. Altman, A. Lerner and Y. Shoenfeld

Background: Hypovitaminosis D has been shown to be extremely common in various regions around the world, mostly at high latitudes. Israel is characterized by certain features – cultural (e.g., ethnic isolates) and geographic (e.g., sunny climate) – that have been identified for their possible association with vitamin D status.

Objectives: To conduct an ecological study on a representative sample of the population of Israel, testing vitamin D status across age groups, genders, ethnic groups, and seasons.

Methods: We obtained serum samples from 195 healthy Israeli volunteers representing a broad demographic spectrum. Serum concentrations of 25(OH)D were measured with the commercial kit Liaison 25(OH)D Assay (DiaSorin, Italy).

Results: The mean vitamin D level for the entire cohort was surprisingly low (22.9 ± 10.1 ng/ml), with 149 subjects (78%) suffering from vitamin D insufficiency (< 30 ng/ml). Vitamin D status was better in infants than in older age groups. Differences by gender were significant only in the infant age group (i.e., vitamin D status was worse among females) and were not prominent across older ages. Israelis of Ashkenazi origin had higher vitamin D mean levels than those of Sephardic origin, who, in turn, had higher vitamin D levels than Arab subjects (31.4 ± 12, 24.1 ± 10, and 17.6 ± 9 ng/ml respectively). With regard to season, there were no differences between the samples collected in winter and the samples collected in summer.

Conclusions: The results suggest that hypovitaminosis D is common across all ages, genders and seasons in Israel, a country characterized by a sunny Mediterranean climate. Specific ethnic groups may be at especially high risk.

March 2010
S.D. Hajdu, R.B. Idan, V. Belsky and N. Agmon-Levin
November 2009
July 2009
N. Agmon-Levin, B. Gilburd, S. Kivity, B.S. Porat Katz, I. Flitman-Katzevman, N. Shoenfeld, D. Paran, P. Langevitz and Y. Shoenfeld

Background: Anti-ribosomal-P antibodies have been associated with central nervous manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus. However, inconsistencies in their prevalence and clinical correlations have become an obstacle to their use as a diagnostic marker of the disease. This lack of consistency might stem from several factors, such as the lag period between clinical manifestations and the time blood was drawn, or the different methods used for antibodies detection.

Objectives: To evaluate three different enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay tests for the detection of anti-Rib-P Abs[1] in patients with SLE[2] and normal controls.

Methods: Sera from 50 SLE outpatients and 50 healthy subjects were tested with three ELISA[3] kits: Kit-1, which uses synthetic peptide comprising the 22 C-terminal amino-acids; Kit-2, which uses native human ribosomal proteins (P0, P1, P2); and Kit-3, which is coated with affinity-purified human ribosomal proteins. ELISA studies were performed according to the manufacturers' instructions.

Results: The prevalence of anti-Rib-P Abs in SLE patients and controls was 30% vs. 0%, 17% vs. 21%, and 30% vs. 14% in kits 1-3 respectively. Anti-Rib-P Abs detected by Kit-1 correlated with the SLEDAI score (SLE Disease Activity Index). No correlation between prior CNS[4] manifestations and anti-Rib-P Abs was observed.

Conclusions: A significant difference was documented between the ELISA kits used for the detection of anti-Rib-P Abs. A correlation was found between these antibodies (evaluated by Kit-1) and concurrent SLEDAI scores, in contrast to the lack of correlation with previous CNS manifestations. This supports the notion of "active serology" that is evaluated at the same time manifestations are present, as well as the need for standardization of laboratory assays in the future that enable a better assessment of anti-Rib-P Abs presence and clinical correlation. 



 




[1] anti-Rib-P Abs = anti-ribosomal-P antibodies

[2] SLE = systemic lupus erythematosus

[3] ELISA = enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay

[4] CNS = central nervous system

 



 
March 2009
N. Agmon-Levin, S. Kivity and Y. Shoenfeld
February 2009
N. Agmon-Levin, B. Porat Katz and Y. Shoenfeld

Primary biliary cirrhosis is an autoimmune cholestatic liver disease characterized by humoral and cellular response directed at mitochondrial autoantigens, mainly the E2 component of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. The etiology of PBC[1], like most polygenic autoimmune diseases, belongs to the "complex" category, including genetic elements and environmental factors. Many environmental factors, such as xenobiotics, smoking, hormonal therapy, toxins, oxidative stress and recurrent urinary tract infections, are associated with PBC. Infectious agents can trigger autoimmunity via several mechanisms and are associated with various autoimmune diseases. A relationship between PBC and several infectious agents, and a possible role for Escherichia coli in the pathogenesis of PBC has been suggested. The identification of a culprit agent that induces or exacerbates PBC might have diagnostic and therapeutic implications. This review evaluates the evidence for an infectious agent role in the pathogenesis of PBC.






[1] PBC = primary biliary cirrhosis


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