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עמוד בית
Wed, 17.07.24

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July 2019
July 2017
Paola Conigliaro MD PhD, Paola Triggianese MD PhD, Emiliano Giampà MD, Maria Sole Chimenti MD PhD, Barbara Kroegler MD and Roberto Perricone MD

Background: Abatacept acts as a co-stimulation modulator preventing activation of T cells. Although it is approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), its effects on adaptive immune response have not been fully elucidated. 

Objectives: To observe, in a cohort study, based on a clinical practice setting, the variation of peripheral blood T cells, immunoglobulin levels, and autoantibodies in the serum of RA patients during abatacept therapy. 

Methods: Our study comprised 48 RA patients treated with abatacept. All clinical data were collected at baseline and after 3 months of treatment. Clinical and laboratory tests included erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein, 28-joint disease activity score, RF, anti-citrullinated protein antibody, total immunoglobulins, immunoglobulin A (IgA), immunoglobulin G (IgG), immunoglobulin M (IgM), and lymphocyte sub-population. 

Results: Total immunoglobulin serum levels significantly decreased after 3 months of treatment and correlated positively with disease activity both at baseline and after 3 months of abatacept treatment. A reduction of serum IgM, IgG, IgA and RF was also demonstrated. The absolute number and percentage of cytotoxic (CD8+) T cells significantly decreased after 3 months of abatacept treatment, in particular the percentage of cytotoxic (CD8+) T cells significantly decreased only in patients responding to the treatment.

Conclusions: Our results highlight a different role of abatacept in the modulation of the adaptive immune response in RA by the reduction of polyclonal B-cell activation and cytotoxic T cells. 


September 2015
Uri Yoel MD, Jacob Gopas PhD, Janet Ozer PhD, Roni Peleg MD and Pesach Shvartzman MD

Background: In recent years several reports have been published describing dogs’ ability to detect, by scent, patients with cancer. This ability is based on the sniffing of volatile organic elements that are secreted by malignant cells, react to them. 

Objectives: To evaluate the ability of trained dogs to detect (i) breast cancer cell cultures (MCF7) compared to the control pseudo-normal keratinocyte cell line (HaCaT), and then (ii) melanoma (BG) and (iii) type 2 epithelial lung carcinoma (A549) malignant cell cultures to which they were not previously exposed in the course of their training.

Methods: Cell cultures were prepared in a standard manner. Two Belgian Shepherd dogs were trained and then tested in a single-blind test (for dogs and trainers) on their ability to detect the "target specimen," a MCF7 breast cancer cell culture. Following this, the ability of the dogs to detect cancer cell cultures that they were not previously exposed to (i.e., A549, BG) was tested. In each test round, four specimens placed in identical blocks were arranged in a line with one meter between them: one target specimen (MCF7, A549, BG), two control specimens (HaCaT), and a sample containing cell culture medium only.

Results: The two dogs picked out all the target specimens of MCF7 breast cancer cell cultures that they were trained to detect (10/10) as well as all the target specimens that they were not previously exposed to [A549 (5/5) and BG (5/5)], but did not pick out the control specimens or the cell culture medium. Thus, the sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values for both dogs were 100%.

Conclusions: The results of this study support the assumption that cancer cells have a unique odor pattern, and that this odor pattern is common to different types of cancer.


June 2014
Vanya Tsvetkova-Vicheva PhD, Emiliana Konova PhD, Tcvetan Lukanov PhD, Svetla Gecheva MD, Angelika Velkova PhD Dsc and Regina Komsa-Penkova PhD
 Background: Interleukin-17A (IL-17A)-producing CD4+T helper cells have been implicated in allergic inflammation; however, the role of IL-17A in allergic rhinitis (AR) patients with different degrees of atopy and airway reactivity to methacholine (Mch) has not been examined.

Objectives: To explore IL-17A-producing CD3+CD4+T cells in peripheral blood of patients with persistent AR and assess the degree of atopy, eosinophil count (Eo count), and bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR) to methacholine.

Methods: The study involved 61 patients and 30 controls. The percentage of CD3+CD4+IL-17A+T cells in peripheral blood was measured by flow cytometry, bronchial challenges with Mch were performed, as was skin prick tests with standard inhalant allergens, and Eo count was measured. Atopic status was determined by the number of positive SPT results and wheal mean diameter.

Results: A statistically significant difference in Th17 cell percentage was found in the AR and control groups (2.59 ± 1.32% and 1.24 ± 0.22% respectively, P = 0.001). Forty-one patients (67.2%) were polysensitized to indoor and outdoor allergens, while 20 (32.8%) had positive skin prick tests to indoor allergens. CD4+T cells were significantly higher in the patient group compared to the control group (2.91 ± 1.5% versus 1.91 ± 0.62%, P = 0.005), as was Eo count (4.48 ± 2.13 vs. 2.32 ± 1.83) (P = 0.0001). Forty-one in the AR group (67%) and 7 (23%) in the control group were Mch-positive (P = 0.001). The percentage of IL-17A-producing CD4+T cells was significantly higher in males compared to females (3.15 ± 1.8% versus 2.31 ± 0.9%, P = 0.02)

Conclusions: Polysensitized AR patients exhibited higher IL-17A-producing CD4+T cell levels and eosinophil counts. Male patients displayed a higher frequency of IL-17A-producing T cells. 

March 2012
S. Langier, K. Sade and S. Kivity

Defective immunological suppression can be a cause of the inflammation that leads to an allergic condition such as asthma. Suppressor regulatory T cells (Tregs) are essential for inducing and maintaining immunological tolerance to foreign and self-antigens, including allergens. Tregs are apparently altered in number and function in allergic asthmatic patients. Some treatments that ameliorate asthma symptoms lead to an increase in the number and functional impairment of Tregs, indicating that these cells play an important role in the anti-inflammatory effect of those medications.

March 2010
B. Prietl, S. Pilz, M. Wolf, A. Tomaschitz, B. Obermayer-Pietsch, W. Graninger and T.R. Pieber

Background: Epidemiological data show significant associations of vitamin D deficiency and autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D may prevent autoimmunity by stimulating naturally occurring regulatory T cells.

Objectives: To elucidate whether vitamin D supplementation increases Tregs[1] frequency (%Tregs) of circulating CD4+ T cells.

Methods: We performed an uncontrolled vitamin D supplementation trial among 50 apparently healthy subjects including supplementation of 140,000 IU at baseline and after 4 weeks (visit 1). The final follow-up visit was performed 8 weeks after the baseline examination (visit 2). Blood was drawn at each study visit to determine 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and %Tregs. Tregs were characterized as CD4+CD25++ T cells with expression of the transcription factor forkhead box P3 and low or absent expression of CD127.

Results: Forty-six study participants (65% females, mean age ± SD 31 ± 8 years) completed the trial. 25(OH)D[2] levels increased from 23.9 ± 12.9 ng/ml at baseline to 45.9 ± 14.0 ng/ml at visit 1 and 58.0 ± 15.1 ng/ml at visit 2. %Tregs at baseline were 4.8 ± 1.4. Compared to baseline levels we noticed a significant increase of %Tregs at study visit 1 (5.9 ± 1.7, P < 0.001) and 2 (5.6 ± 1.6, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Vitamin D supplementation was associated with significantly increased %Tregs in apparently healthy individuals. This immunomodulatory effect of vitamin D might underlie the associations of vitamin D deficiency and autoimmune diseases. Hence, our finding provides a rationale for further studies to investigate vitamin D effects on autoimmunological processes.

[1] Tregs = regulatory T cells

[2] 25(OH)D = 25-hydroxyvitamin D

December 2008
S. Halevy, N. Grossman

Background: Multiple drug allergy syndrome is a rarely reported clinical condition characterized by an adverse reaction to more than one different class of pharmacologically and structurally unrelated drugs. The pathogenesis may involve immediate-type or delayed-type hypersensitivity.

Objectives: To further characterize patients with MDA[1] in terms of the type of CADR, drug intake and clinical drug suspicion.

Methods: The study group comprised 12 patients (6 males, 6 females) with CADRs[2] showing in vitro drug-induced IFNγ[3] release for multiple drugs, suggesting the presence of MDA. The diagnostic role of in vitro IFNγ release in identifying the culprit drugs was evaluated in terms of clinical data and the results of in vivo tests (withdrawal and/or challenge tests) with the offending drugs.

Results: Clinical relevance was attributed to in vitro drug-induced IFNγ release towards multiple drugs in this series of 12 patients with a variety of CADRs, implying MDA. The results of in vivo tests for the offending drugs confirmed the diagnosis. The main causative agents responsible were antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Conclusions: The study further supports the role of a T cell-mediated mechanism in the pathogenesis of MDA. The in vitro drug-induced IFNγ release test may serve as a laboratory tool to identify the culprit drugs associated with this allergy.  

[1] MDA = multiple drug allergy

[2] CADR = cutaneous adverse drug reaction

[3] IFNg = interferon-gamma

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

February 2006
J.U. Holle, D. Capraru, E. Csernok, W.L. Gross and P. Lamprecht

Tumor necrosis factor-associated fever syndrome is an autosomal dominant disorder caused by mutations of the TNFRSF 1A gene encoding the 55 kD TNF receptor (p55 TNF-RI).

May 2005
D. Ben-Amitai, A. Metzker and H.A. Cohen
 Background: Mastocytosis is a heterogeneous group of diseases characterized by the abnormal infiltration of mast cells in the skin and, sometimes, other organs. Some patients may experience symptoms related to mast cell mediator release.

Objective: To analyze the clinical features of cutaneous mastocytosis in a large series of children.

Methods: We conducted a file review of all children clinically diagnosed with cutaneous mastocytosis in our department over the last 20 years. We evaluated gender, age at onset, character and distribution of the lesions, associated symptoms, and course of the disease.

Results: Altogether, 180 patients with cutaneous mastocytosis were identified. The male to female ratio was 1.5:1. About one-third of patients had a mastocytoma, which was present at birth in over 40% and appeared during the first year of life in most of the remainder. Urticaria pigmentosa was noted in 65% of the patients, presenting at birth in 20% and during the first year in most of the remainder. The majority of lesions was distributed over the trunk and limbs. Different kinds of associated symptoms were noted. Prognosis, in general, was good. Only 11% of the cases, all urticaria pigmentosa, were familial.

Conclusions: Most cases of pediatric mastocytosis are sporadic and appear during the first 2 years of life, especially on the trunk. Urticaria pigmentosa is the most frequent variant. The prognosis of pediatric mastocytosis, in general, is good. 

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