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עמוד בית
Mon, 17.06.24

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January 2024
Milena Tocut MD, Amir Tanay MD, Gisele Zandman-Goddard MD

Paraneoplastic syndromes are reported in 8–15% of patients diagnosed with cancer [1]. They are defined as syndromes that occur due to an underlying malignancy, which has yet to be diagnosed, or at the time of the diagnosis and less frequently following the diagnosis of a malignancy. Several mechanisms are involved including autocrine and paracrine mediators, hormones, peptides, cytotoxic lymphocytes, and cytokines [1,2].

November 2023
Erez Magiel MD, Christopher J. Klein MD, Shahar Shelly MD

In the acute settings of generalized myasthenia gravis (MG) treatment options include plasma exchange (PLEX), intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), and pyridostigmines. A thymoma is associated with the disease in up to 20% of cases [1,2].

In cases where a thymoma is detected, surgical treatment to remove the tumor is recommended in certain age groups. At present, there are no clear guidelines regarding the optimal time to perform thymectomy after diagnosis of acute crisis or from the last treatment to thymectomy. Treatment is at the clinician's discretion.

September 2023
Ljudmila Stojanovich PhD, Natasa Stanisavljevic PhD, Aleksandra Djokovic PhD, Milomir Milanovic PHD, Jovica Saponjski PhD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR

Background: Data are scarce on the immunogenicity of coronavirus disease 2019 vaccines in patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARD).

Objectives: To measure the immunoglobulin G (IgG) response after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) immunization and to evaluate clinical characteristics associated with seropositivity.

Methods: Samples were collected after the second and third doses of the three different types of vaccines in ARD patients. Seroconversion rates and IgG antibody S1/S2 titers were measured.

Results: The type of ARD diagnosis and previous treatment had no significant impact on the serum IgG antibody levels measured after the second (P = 0.489 and P = 0.330, respectively) and boost dose (P = 0.441 and P = 0.446, respectively). What made a significant difference regarding serum IgG antibody levels after the second dose was the type of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. The difference was highly statistically significant for all vaccine types (P = 0.001 with the highest odds ratio for the mRNA vaccine). After the boost with the mRNA vaccine, all patients achieved a high level of serum IgG antibody levels (t = 10.31, P = 0.001). No ARD patients experienced serious post-vaccinal reactions. Eight patients developed COVID-19 before the boost dose.

Conclusions: In ARDs patients, the highest level of serum IgG antibody against S1/S2 proteins was achieved with the mRNA vaccine, irrespective of the therapy applied or the type of the disease. We recommend a booster dose with mRNA vaccine in all ARDs for the highest SARS-CoV-2 protection without serious post-vaccinal reactions observed.

March 2023
Johnatan Nissan, Anna Blokh MD, Niv Ben-Shabat MD MPH, Harald Heidecke PhD, Gilad Halpert PhD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR, Howard Amital MD MHA

Background: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is estimated to affect 2–4% of the general population. While FMS has some known environmental and genetic risk factors, the disorder has no clear etiology. A common coexisting disorder with FMS is small fiber neuropathy (SFN). High levels of serum immunoglobulin M (IgM) binding to trisulfated-heparin-disaccharide (TS-HDS) were recently found to be associated with SFN.

Objectives: To evaluate potential differences in anti-TS-HDS antibody titers in women with FMS compared to healthy controls.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we evaluated 51 female participants: 30 with a diagnosis of FMS and 21 healthy controls who had been recruited at the Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases, Sheba Medical Center, Israel. All of the participants were older than 18 years of age. Anti-TS-HDS IgM levels were measured in their sera using the enzyme immunoassay technique.

Results: The mean anti-TS-HDS IgM levels were significantly lower in the FMS group, compared with the control group (7.7 ± 5 vs. 13.2 ± 8.6 U/ml, respectively; P = 0.013).

Conclusions: There is a possible association between FMS and anti-TS-HDS IgM. This association might be the missing link for the coexistence of SFN and FMS, but further study should be performed to assess this association and this auto-antibody characteristic.

Dana Arnheim MBBS BA, Arad Dotan BSc, Netta Shoenfeld MSW, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR

The interplay between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and autoimmunity is well known. One of the contributors leading to immune disorders is autonomic dysregulation, which is characterized by attenuated parasympathetic and elevated sympathetic systems. In this review, we described evidence regarding the relationship between stress, PTSD, autonomic dysfunction, and autoimmunity. Stress is a physiological response, which is functional for our being. The implication of dysfunction in stress response may be a cause of disease development. We described the fundamental role of the pathological high levels of stress in PTSD as a mediator factor that contributes to autonomic dysfunction, which as a result may lead to autoimmunity. Systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes are some of the autoimmune diseases PTSD patients are at higher risk of developing. Notably, some autoimmune diseases are shown to increase the susceptibility to develop PTSD, which may indicate a bidirectional influence. In addition, we elaborated on stress as a major component in both fibromyalgia and PTSD, as there are overlaps between the pathogenesis of fibromyalgia and PTSD. Underlying chronic low-grade inflammation, which characterizes PTSD patients, may be a potential target and biomarker in treating PTSD patients. We believe that chronic low-grade inflammation, high concentrations of cytokines, and other inflammatory biomarkers, which characterize PTSD patients, may be potential targets and biomarkers in the treatment of PTSD patients and part of the PTSD diagnostic criteria.

November 2022
Katya Meridor MD, Pnina Rotman-Pikielny MD, Or Carmi MD, Myriam Werner MD, Yair Levy MD

Background: Patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) are at increased risk for autoimmune thyroid diseases, but information regarding thyroid nodules and cancer in SSc is scarce.

Objectives: To evaluate the thyroid gland in patients with SSc at a single Israeli center.

Methods: Thyroid workup was conducted in consecutive SSc patients: thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxine (fT4), anti-thyroid peroxidase, and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies, as well as thyroid ultrasound and fine needle aspiration (FNA) when appropriate.

Results: Fifty patients, mean age 51.3 ± 13.5 years (44 women) were evaluated. Ten were previously diagnosed with thyroid disease. Median TSH level was 2.0 (normal range 0.23–4 mIU/l) and median fT4 level was 1.0 (normal range 0.8–2.0 ng/dL). Among the 40 thyroid disorder-naive patients, 3 had subclinical hypothyroidism and 5 had positive anti-thyroid antibodies; 22 (44%) had 1–6 thyroid nodules, which were ≥ 1 cm in 12 (24%). Accordingly, six patients underwent FNA, and five were diagnosed as colloid nodules and one as papillary carcinoma.

Conclusions: New cases of clinically significant autoimmune thyroid disease were not detected in our cohort of patients with SSc. Nevertheless, almost half had thyroid nodules. The clinical significance of these findings and their relation to thyroid cancer remains to be determined.

Ela Giladi MD, Adi Rotkopf MD, Avishay Elis MD

Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is frequently associated with clinical manifestations of autoimmune disorders (AD) and inflammatory responses of the immune system. The biological linkage between MDS clones and the occurrence of autoimmune manifestations is mirrored by the response of the latter to MDS modifying therapeutic approaches [1]. We encountered a rare case of MDS coexisting with antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), which was effectively treated with a hypomethylating agent followed by allogenic bone marrow transplantation.

July 2022
Abdulrahman Elsalti MD, Abdulkarim Alwani MD, Isa Seida MD, Mahmoud Alrais MD, Ravend Seida MD, Sevval Nil Esirgun MD, Tunahan Abali MD, Zeynep Kiyak MD, and Naim Mahroum MD
June 2022
Shir Rubinstein Levy B Med Sc, Gilad Halpert PhD, and Howard Amital MD MHA

Cannabis and cannabinoids have been known for thousands of years for their promising potential as analgesics. Chronic pain is a common complaint among many patients with rheumatic conditions. These disorders have revisited the medical approach toward cannabis and its potential role in pain relief. In addition, in recent years, information has mounted about the immunomodulatory effects of cannabis. In this review we discuss findings on the benefits cannabis may have in rheumatic and autoimmune disorders.

May 2022
Olga Vera-Lastra MD, Erik Cimé-Aké MD, Alberto Ordinola Navarro MD, Joel Eduardo Morales-Gutiérrez MD, Orestes de Jesús Cobos-Quevedo MD, Jorge Hurtado-Díaz MD, María Lucero Espinoza-Sánchez MD, Ana Lilia Peralta-Amaro MD, María Pilar Cruz-Domínguez MD, Gabriela Medina MD, Antonio Fraga-Mouret MD, Jesus Sepulveda-Delgado MD, and Luis J. Jara MD

Background: Patients with autoimmune disease (AID) and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) could have higher mortality due to the co-morbidity and the use of immunosuppressive therapy.

Objectives: To analyze the risk factors and outcomes of patients with AID and COVID-19 versus a control group.

Methods: A prospective cohort study included patients with and without AID and COVID-19. Patients were paired by age and sex. Clinical, biochemical, immunological treatments, and outcomes (days of hospital stay, invasive mechanical ventilation [IMV], oxygen at discharge, and death) were collected.

Results: We included 226 COVID-19 patients: 113 with AID (51.15 ± 14.3 years) and 113 controls (53.45 ± 13.3 years). The most frequent AIDs were Rheumatoid arthritis (26.5%), systemic lupus erythematosus (21%), and systemic sclerosis (14%). AID patients had lower lactate dehydrogenas, C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, IMV (P = 0.027), and oxygen levels at discharge (P ≤ 0.0001) and lower death rates (P ≤ 0.0001). Oxygen saturation (SaO2) ≤ 88% at hospitalization provided risk for IMV (RR [relative risk] 3.83, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.1–13.6, P = 0.038). Higher creatinine and LDH levels were associated with death in the AID group. SaO2 ≤ 88% and CO-RADS ≥ 4 were risk factors for in-hospital mortality (RR 4.90, 95%CI 1.8–13.0, P = 0.001 and RR 7.60, 95%CI 1.4–39.7, P = 0.016, respectively). Anticoagulant therapy was protective (RR 0.36, 95%CI 0.1–0.9, P = 0.041)

Conclusions: Patients with AID had better outcomes with COVID-19 than controls. Anticoagulation was associated with a lower death in patients with AID.

Arthur E. Frankel MD, Dennis Wylie PhD, Bjoern Peters PhD, Daniel Marrama BS, and Chul Ahn PhD

Background: Secondary immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a rare but serious complication of the pandemic. Diagnostic criteria include clinical and laboratory findings. Early treatment is often effective, but rare severe bleeding and death can occur. An autoimmune mechanism is likely.

Objectives: To determine a role for molecular mimicry in producing disease.

Methods: Hexapeptide and heptapeptide matches between severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and platelet N-glycosylated proteins and other human proteins were assessed.

Results: Shared viral and platelet glycoprotein peptides were found. Copy frequency of these peptides in the human proteome was low for many of the candidate molecular mimics.

Conclusions: The data support a contribution of molecular mimicry in COVID-19 ITP autoimmunity and offer avenues for in vitro diagnostic assay development. The continuation of the pandemic necessitates additional understanding of COVID-19 ITP as well as studies on diagnosis and mitigation.

 

April 2022
Natalia Gavrilova MD, Maria Lukashenko MD, Leonid Churilov MD, and Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR
January 2022
Abdulla Watad MD, Nicola Luigi Bragazzi MD PhD, and Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR
November 2021
Elizaveta Kouniavski MD, Eran Hadad MD, and Lior Heller MD

Background: Breast implant illness (BII) is a rising concern among many patients. Although not fully understood, a connection between silicone breast implants and systemic diseases may be present. This connection may influence the types of breast surgeries performed.

Objectives: To evaluate changing trends in breast surgeries in Israel over time, with regard to implantation, explantation, and implant exchange surgeries.

Methods: In this ecological study, we presented data from four private medical centers in Israel regarding the number of breast implant surgeries performed in the years 2018–2019. Data were collected bi-yearly. The types of surgeries included breast implantation, explantation, and breast implant exchange.

Results: When we summed and compared the yearly data, we saw that the number of implantations in 2018 was 2267 (80.1% of breast implant procedures that year), and 1929 (68.9%) in 2019. The number of implant exchanges in 2018 and 2019 was 482 (17.0%) and 608 (21.7%), respectively. In 2018, 80 (2.8%) explantations were performed and 262 (9.4%) in 2019.

Conclusions: There appears to be a trend in the rise of implant removal surgeries in addition to a decrease in breast implantations. One possible reason may be patient concerns of BII. Another reason may be the increased public interest and discussion about systemic effects of breast implants. More research is needed in this field to achieve better understanding of the phenomenon, the reasons behind it, and the possible solutions and ways of treatment

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