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עמוד בית
Sun, 03.03.24

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October 2011
A. Altman, U. Nussinovitch, O. Goitein and Y. Shoenfeld
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.

August 2009
January 2008
M. Szyper-Kravitz, A. Altman, J.F. de Carvalho, F. Bellisai, M. Galeazzi, Y. Eshet and Y. Shoenfeld

The antiphospholipid syndrome is characterized by recurrent fetal loss, venous and/or arterial thrombosis, and thrombocytopenia associated with elevated titers of lupus anticoagulant and anticardiolipin antibodies. Although thrombosis is the characteristic vascular involvement in APS[1], the development of vascular aneurysms in patients with APS has been reported. We describe four patients with established APS, who developed abdominal aortic aneurysm, and review the literature on previous published cases of arterial aneurysms developing in patients with APS. In addition, we discuss the possible pathophysiological association between APS and the development of this vascular abnormality.

[1] APS = antiphospholipid syndrome

September 2007
A. Chernikovski, N. Loberant, I. Cohen, F. Nassar, J. Lerner and E. Altman
June 2007
.T. Handzel, V. Barak, Y. Altman, H. Bibi, M. Lidgi, M. Iancovici-Kidon, D. Yassky, M. Raz

Background: The global spread of tuberculosis necessitates the development of an effective vaccine and new treatment modalities. That requires a better understanding of the differences in regulation of the immune responses to Mycobacterium tuberculosis between individuals who are susceptible or resistant to the infection. Previous immune studies in young Ethiopian immigrants to Israel did not demonstrate anergy to purified protein derivative or a Th2-like cytokine profile.

Objectives: To evaluate the profile of Th1 and Th2 cytokine production in immigrant TB patients, in comparison with asymptomatic control subjects.

Methods: The present study included (part 1): 39 patients with acute TB[1] (group 1), 34 patients with chronic relapsing TB (group 2), 39 Mantoux-positive asymptomatic TB contacts (group 3), and 21 Mantoux-negative asymptomatic controls (group 4). Patients were mainly immigrants from Eastern Europe and Ethiopia. Levels of interferon gamma, interleukin 2 receptor, IL-6[2] and IL-10 were measured in serum and in non-stimulated and PPD[3]-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cell culture supernatants, using commercial ELISA kits. In addition (part 2), levels of IFNg[4] and IL-12p40 were evaluated in 31 immigrant Ethiopian patients and 58 contact family members.

Results: Patients with acute disease tended to secrete more cytokines than contacts, and contacts more than chronic patients and controls, without a specific bias. None of the patients showed in vitro anergy. Discriminant probability analysis showed that from the total of 12 available parameters, a cluster of 6 (IFNg-SER[5], IFNg-PPD, IL-2R[6]-SER, IL-10-SER, IL-10-NS[7] and IL-6-PPD) predicted an 84% probability to become a TB contact upon exposure, 71% a chronic TB patient and 61% an acute TB patient. Family-specific patterns of IFNg were demonstrated in the second part of the study.

Conclusions: Firstly, no deficiency in cytokine production was demonstrated in TB patients. Secondly, acute TB patients secreted more cytokines than contacts, and contacts more than unexposed controls. Thus, neither anergy nor a cytokine dysregulation explains susceptibility to acute TB disease in our cohort, although chronic TB patients produced less cytokines than did acute patients and less than asymptomatic contacts. Thirdly, a certain cytokine configuration may predict a trend of susceptibility to acquire, or not acquire, clinical TB. It is presently unclear whether this finding may explain the disease spread in large populations. Finally, the familial association of IFNg secretion levels probably points towards a genetic regulation of the immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. 


[1] TB = tuberculosis

[2] IL = interleukin

[3] PPD = purified protein derivative

[4] IFNγ = interferon-gamma

[5] SER = serum

[6] IL-2R = interleukin 2 receptor

[7] NS = non-stimulated

November 2002
Jorge Rouvier, MD, Claudio Gonzalez, MD, Alejandra Scazziota, PhD and Raul Altman, MD

Background: Elevated fibrinogen, considered an independent risk factor for coronary disease, stratifies an individual as high risk for coronary disease. A risk marker requires little intra-individual variability during a long period.

Objectives: To establish intra-individual variability of fibrinogen levels in patients with coronary disease.

Methods: We investigated fibrinogen levels prospectively in four blood samples drawn from 267 patients with a history of arterial disease (arterial group) and from 264 patients with cardiac valve replacements (valvular group). The samples were taken during the course of 78.7 and 78.8 days from the arterial and valvular groups respectively.

Results: Marked intra-individual dispersion with a reliability coefficient of 0.541 was found in the arterial group and 0.547 in the valvular group. The Bland-Altman test showed low probability to obtain similar results in different samples from the same individual. These results show large intra-individual variability, with similarities in the arterial as well as in the valvular group.

Conclusions: It is not possible to stratify a patient by a specific fibrinogen dosage.

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