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.
Amir Dagan, Naim Mahroum, Gad Segal, Shmuel Tiosano, Abdulla Watad, Doron Comaneshter, Arnon D. Cohen and Howard Amital
Background: Patients with giant cell arteritis (GCA) suffer from inflammatory diseases often treated by large amounts of corticosteroids. Whether this inflammatory burden also carries an increased risk for cardiovascular morbidity, and especially ischemic heart disease, is not clearly established.
Objectives: To clarify the linkage between GCA and ischemic heart disease.
Methods: In a cross-sectional study, we assessed the association between GCA and ischemic heart disease, adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors, among GCA patients and matched controls using the database of the largest healthcare provider in Israel.
Results: The study group was comprised of 5659 GCA patients and 28,261 age and gender matched controls. The proportion of ischemic heart disease was higher in the GCA group (27.5% vs. 12.5% among controls, odds ratio 2.65). Diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and smoking were also found to have higher concurrency in GCA. After stratifying for those cardiovascular co-morbidities using logistic regression, GCA remained independently associated with ischemic heart disease with an odds ratio of 1.247 (1.146–1.357 P < 0.001).
Conclusions: GCA is associated with both cardiovascular risk factors and ischemic heart disease. Healthcare professionals should not overlook this aspect of the disease when managing GCA patients.
Claudia Fabiani MD PhD, Giacomo Emmi MD PhD, Giuseppe Lopalco MD, Lorenzo Vannozzi MD PhD, Daniela Bacherini MD, Silvana Guerriero MD PhD, Rossella Franceschini MD, Bruno Frediani MD, Florenzo Iannone MD PhD, Gian Marco Tosi MD, Donato Rigante MD and Luca Cantarini MD
Background: The evidence on the use of dexamethasone implants in the treatment of Behçet’s disease (BD)-related uveitis is limited to a few cases.
Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy of dexamethasone implants on ocular functional, morphological, and clinical parameters in BD patients with severe refractory uveitis.
Methods: Five eyes from five BD patients were enrolled. A single intravitreal dexamethasone injection was applied to each eye. Best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), central macular thickness (CMT) assessed with optical coherence tomography, retinal vasculitis assessed by fluorescein angiography, vitreous haze score (Nussenblatt scale), intraocular pressure (IOP), and lens status (LOCS III, Lens Opacities Classification System III) were recorded at baseline and at 1, 3, and 6 month follow-up visits.
Results: At baseline, all eyes showed marked macular edema and 4/5 had concomitant active retinal vasculitis. Mean BCVA was increased from baseline at each control visit with a mean improvement of 0.26 ± 0.18 lines at 6 months follow-up. Mean CMT decreased from baseline at each control visit with a mean improvement at 6 months follow-up of 198.80 ± 80.08 µm. At the end of the study, none of the eyes showed macular edema and the mean CMT was 276.80 ± 24.94 µm. Retinal vasculitis resolved in all eyes. One eye experienced an IOP spike during treatment that resolved spontaneously, and one eye developed a clinically significant lens opacity at 6 months follow-up.
Conclusions: Treatment with a dexamethasone implant in BD-uveitis and inflammatory macular edema was safe and effective as an additional treatment combined with systemic immunomodulatory drugs.
Veronica Pedini MD, Isabella Savore MD and Giovanna Maria Danieli MD PhD
Background: Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) is the most common symptomatic primary immune deficiency of adulthood. Besides recurrent infections, autoimmune disorders–mainly cytopenias–affect 30% of patients with CVID.
Objectives: To describe the efficacy and safety of facilitated subcutaneous immunoglobulin (fSCIg), which is a combination of 10% [human] SCIg with recombinant human hyaluronidase for the treatment of CVID-linked cytopenias.
Methods: We describe four women (mean age 54 years) with CVID associated with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) (n=3) and autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) (n=1). Diagnosis of CVID was made according to the European Society of Immune Deficiencies / Pan-American Group for Immune Deficiency criteria. All were treated with fSCIg (bi-monthly, 20 g).
Results: After a median follow-up of 22 months, all patients achieved a stable remission from the cytopenias, characterized by increased platelet values in ITP (mean values 93000/mmc), and resolution of anemia. A reduction of the daily prednisone dose was documented in the patient with AIHA. No systemic adverse drug reactions were observed.
Conclusions: Our preliminary data documented the efficacy and safety of fSCIg in the treatment of CVID associated with autoimmune cytopenias, with a good tolerability. We also noted the role of fSCIg as a steroid sparing agent. It is thus possible to suppose an immunomodulatory role for fSCIg, but linked to different mechanisms than IVIg, due to the peculiar pharmacokinetic and administration route of fSCIg.
Abdulla Watad MD, Nicola Luigi Bragazzi MD PhD MPH, Kassem Sharif MD, Ora Shovman MD, Boris Gilburd MD, Howard Amital MD and Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MACR
Background: Anti-glomerular basement membrane (GBM) antibody disease, or Goodpasture’s disease, is the clinical manifestation of the production of anti-GBM antibodies, which causes rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis with or without pulmonary hemorrhage. Anti-GBM antibody detection is mandatory for the diagnosis of Goodpasture’s disease either from the serum or kidney biopsy. Renal biopsy is necessary for disease confirmation; however, in cases in which renal biopsy is not possible or is delayed, serum detection of anti-GBM antibody is the only way for diagnosis.
Objectives: To assess the predictive value of positive anti-GBM antibodies in a clinical setting.
Methods: Data from anti-GBM antibody tests performed at one medical center between 2006 and 2016 were systematically and retrospectively retrieved. We recruited 1914 patients for the study. Continuous variables were computed as mean ± standard deviation, while categorical variables were recorded as percentages where appropriate. Sensitivity and specificity of anti-GBM titers were calculated. Kaplan–Meyer analysis was performed, stratifying survival according to the anti-GBM antibody titers.
Results: Of the 1914 anti-GBM test results detected, 42 were positive, 23 were borderline, 142 were excluded, and 1707 results were negative. Male-to-female ratio was 1:1.2. Sensitivity of anti-GBM test was 41.2% while specificity was 85.4%. Concerning the Kaplan–Meyer analysis, overall survival was 1163.36 ± 180.32 days (median 1058 days).
Conclusions: Our study highlights the lack of sensitivity of serological testing of anti-GBM titers. Comparing survival curves, the survival correlated with anti-GBM titer only in a borderline way. Because highly sensitive bioassays are not routinely used in clinics, renal biopsy is still pivotal for Goodpasture’s disease diagnosis.