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Concept: Immunosuppressive drug

144

Over the last few years, dermoscopy has been shown to be a useful tool in assisting the noninvasive diagnosis of various general dermatological disorders. In this article, we sought to provide an up-to-date practical overview on the use of dermoscopy in general dermatology by analysing the dermoscopic differential diagnosis of relatively common dermatological disorders grouped according to their clinical presentation, i.e. dermatoses presenting with erythematous-desquamative patches/plaques (plaque psoriasis, eczematous dermatitis, pityriasis rosea, mycosis fungoides and subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus), papulosquamous/papulokeratotic dermatoses (lichen planus, pityriasis rosea, papulosquamous sarcoidosis, guttate psoriasis, pityriasis lichenoides chronica, classical pityriasis rubra pilaris, porokeratosis, lymphomatoid papulosis, papulosquamous chronic GVHD, parakeratosis variegata, Grover disease, Darier disease and BRAF-inhibitor-induced acantholytic dyskeratosis), facial inflammatory skin diseases (rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, discoid lupus erythematosus, sarcoidosis, cutaneous leishmaniasis, lupus vulgaris, granuloma faciale and demodicidosis), acquired keratodermas (chronic hand eczema, palmar psoriasis, keratoderma due to mycosis fungoides, keratoderma resulting from pityriasis rubra pilaris, tinea manuum, palmar lichen planus and aquagenic palmar keratoderma), sclero-atrophic dermatoses (necrobiosis lipoidica, morphea and cutaneous lichen sclerosus), hypopigmented macular diseases (extragenital guttate lichen sclerosus, achromic pityriasis versicolor, guttate vitiligo, idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis, progressive macular hypomelanosis and postinflammatory hypopigmentations), hyperpigmented maculopapular diseases (pityriasis versicolor, lichen planus pigmentosus, Gougerot-Carteaud syndrome, Dowling-Degos disease, erythema ab igne, macular amyloidosis, lichen amyloidosus, friction melanosis, terra firma-forme dermatosis, urticaria pigmentosa and telangiectasia macularis eruptiva perstans), itchy papulonodular dermatoses (hypertrophic lichen planus, prurigo nodularis, nodular scabies and acquired perforating dermatosis), erythrodermas (due to psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, mycosis fungoides, pityriasis rubra pilaris and scabies), noninfectious balanitis (Zoon’s plasma cell balanitis, psoriatic balanitis, seborrheic dermatitis and non-specific balanitis) and erythroplasia of Queyrat, inflammatory cicatricial alopecias (scalp discoid lupus erythematosus, lichen planopilaris, frontal fibrosing alopecia and folliculitis decalvans), nonscarring alopecias (alopecia areata, trichotillomania, androgenetic alopecia and telogen effluvium) and scaling disorders of the scalp (tinea capitis, scalp psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis and pityriasis amiantacea).

Concepts: Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Autoimmune diseases, Immunosuppressive drug, Eczema, Psoriasis, Conditions of the skin appendages, Discoid lupus erythematosus

139

Cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) initiates the innate immune system in response to cytosolic dsDNA. After binding and activation from dsDNA, cGAS uses ATP and GTP to synthesize 2', 3' -cGAMP (cGAMP), a cyclic dinucleotide second messenger with mixed 2'-5' and 3'-5' phosphodiester bonds. Inappropriate stimulation of cGAS has been implicated in autoimmune disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus, thus inhibition of cGAS may be of therapeutic benefit in some diseases; however, the size and polarity of the cGAS active site makes it a challenging target for the development of conventional substrate-competitive inhibitors. We report here the development of a high affinity (KD = 200 nM) inhibitor from a low affinity fragment hit with supporting biochemical and structural data showing these molecules bind to the cGAS active site. We also report a new high throughput cGAS fluorescence polarization (FP)-based assay to enable the rapid identification and optimization of cGAS inhibitors. This FP assay uses Cy5-labelled cGAMP in combination with a novel high affinity monoclonal antibody that specifically recognizes cGAMP with no cross reactivity to cAMP, cGMP, ATP, or GTP. Given its role in the innate immune response, cGAS is a promising therapeutic target for autoinflammatory disease. Our results demonstrate its druggability, provide a high affinity tool compound, and establish a high throughput assay for the identification of next generation cGAS inhibitors.

Concepts: Immune system, Innate immune system, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Immunity, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Immunosuppressive drug

56

Background A protein that is expressed on capillary endothelial cells, called GPIHBP1 (glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored high-density lipoprotein binding protein 1), binds lipoprotein lipase and shuttles it to its site of action in the capillary lumen. A deficiency in GPIHBP1 prevents lipoprotein lipase from reaching the capillary lumen. Patients with GPIHBP1 deficiency have low plasma levels of lipoprotein lipase, impaired intravascular hydrolysis of triglycerides, and severe hypertriglyceridemia (chylomicronemia). During the characterization of a monoclonal antibody-based immunoassay for GPIHBP1, we encountered two plasma samples (both from patients with chylomicronemia) that contained an interfering substance that made it impossible to measure GPIHBP1. That finding raised the possibility that those samples might contain GPIHBP1 autoantibodies. Methods Using a combination of immunoassays, Western blot analyses, and immunocytochemical studies, we tested the two plasma samples (as well as samples from other patients with chylomicronemia) for the presence of GPIHBP1 autoantibodies. We also tested the ability of GPIHBP1 autoantibodies to block the binding of lipoprotein lipase to GPIHBP1. Results We identified GPIHBP1 autoantibodies in six patients with chylomicronemia and found that these autoantibodies blocked the binding of lipoprotein lipase to GPIHBP1. As in patients with GPIHBP1 deficiency, those with GPIHBP1 autoantibodies had low plasma levels of lipoprotein lipase. Three of the six patients had systemic lupus erythematosus. One of these patients who had GPIHBP1 autoantibodies delivered a baby with plasma containing maternal GPIHBP1 autoantibodies; the infant had severe but transient chylomicronemia. Two of the patients with chylomicronemia and GPIHBP1 autoantibodies had a response to treatment with immunosuppressive agents. Conclusions In six patients with chylomicronemia, GPIHBP1 autoantibodies blocked the ability of GPIHBP1 to bind and transport lipoprotein lipase, thereby interfering with lipoprotein lipase-mediated processing of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins and causing severe hypertriglyceridemia. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the Leducq Foundation.).

Concepts: Blood, Atherosclerosis, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Immunosuppressive drug

38

Lupus nephritis is a common and severe manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus, and an important cause of both acute kidney injury and end-stage renal disease. Despite its aggressive course, lupus nephritis is amenable to treatment in the majority of patients. The paradigm of immunosuppressive treatment for lupus nephritis has evolved over the past few decades from corticosteroids alone to corticosteroids combined with cyclophosphamide. Sequential treatment regimens using various agents have been formulated for induction and long-term maintenance therapy, and mycophenolate mofetil has emerged as a standard of care option for both induction and maintenance immunosuppressive treatment. The current era has witnessed the emergence of multiple novel therapeutic options, such as calcineurin inhibitors and biologic agents that target key pathogenetic mechanisms of lupus nephritis. Clinical outcomes have improved in parallel with these therapeutic advances. This Review discusses the evidence in support of current standard of care immunosuppressive treatments and emerging therapies, and describes their roles and relative merits in the management of patients with lupus nephritis.

Concepts: Nephrology, Corticosteroid, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Glomerulonephritis, Immunosuppressive drug, Lupus nephritis, Cyclophosphamide, Mycophenolic acid

28

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder in which chronic neuroinflammation contributes to disease escalation. Nevertheless, while immunosuppressive drugs have repeatedly failed in treating this disease, recruitment of myeloid cells to the CNS was shown to play a reparative role in animal models. Here we show, using the 5XFAD AD mouse model, that transient depletion of Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs), or pharmacological inhibition of their activity, is followed by amyloid-β plaque clearance, mitigation of the neuroinflammatory response and reversal of cognitive decline. We further show that transient Treg depletion affects the brain’s choroid plexus, a selective gateway for immune cell trafficking to the CNS, and is associated with subsequent recruitment of immunoregulatory cells, including monocyte-derived macrophages and Tregs, to cerebral sites of plaque pathology. Our findings suggest targeting Treg-mediated systemic immunosuppression for treating AD.

Concepts: Immune system, Immunology, Neurology, Neurodegenerative disorders, T cells, Immunosuppressive drug

28

Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) preparations comprise pooled IgG antibodies from the serum of thousands of donors and were initially used as an IgG replacement therapy in immunocompromised patients. Since the discovery, more than 30 years ago, that IVIG therapy can ameliorate immune thrombocytopenia, the use of IVIG preparations has been extended to a wide range of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Despite the broad efficacy of IVIG therapy, its modes of action remain unclear. In this Review, we cover the recent insights into the molecular and cellular pathways that are involved in IVIG-mediated immunosuppression, with a particular focus on IVIG as a therapy for IgG-dependent autoimmune diseases.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Immunology, Humoral immunity, Immunity, Antigen, Intravenous immunoglobulin, Immunosuppressive drug

28

BACKGROUND: Intentional blood group (BG)-incompatible (ABOi) heart transplantation in childhood is emerging in many centers. Safety limits remain undetermined. In this multicenter study we have compiled experience on clinical and immunologic boundaries. METHODS: Data from six centers in Europe and North America on ABOi transplantation were collected in a standardized survey. RESULTS: Fifty-eight ABOi transplants were performed in 57 patients. Median age at transplant was 6.8 months (0.03 to 90 months); post-transplant follow-up was 37.7 months (0.46 to 117 months), accumulating 188 patient-years. Forty-seven percent of the patients received pretransplant mechanical circulatory support. Donors were either blood group A (n = 25), B (n = 18) or AB (n = 15). The median peak antibody titer to the donor BG pretransplant was 1:8 (0 to 1:64) for anti-A and 1:4 (0 to 1:32) for anti-B. Titers against the donor BG were lower post- than pretransplant in B recipients (p = 0.02), whereas third-party antibodies in BG O recipients developed normally post-transplant. Induction immunosuppression included anti-thymocyte globulin (61%), basiliximab (32%) or none (7%). All patients received calcineurin inhibitors, including 62% with mycophenolate mofetil, 10% with azathioprine, 2% with everolimus and 24% with steroids. There were 4 episodes of cellular rejection (Grade≥2R) and 7 antibody-mediated rejections. Five patients underwent antibody removal post-transplant. One patient developed severe graft vasculopathy. Freedom from death or retransplantation was 100%/96%/69% at 1/5/10 years. No graft loss was attributed to BG antibodies. CONCLUSIONS: Successful ABOi heart transplantation can be performed at an older age and with higher isohemagglutinin titers than initially assumed and using similar immunosuppressive regimens as for ABO-compatible transplants. Rejection and graft vasculopathy are rare. Persistently low titers of antibodies to the donor BG post-transplant suggest elements of tolerance and/or accommodation.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Blood, Immunology, Organ transplant, Transplant rejection, Immunosuppressive drug, Hemolytic disease of the newborn

28

Chronic leg ulcers in patients with rheumatological diseases can cause significant morbidity. We performed a retrospective case review to describe the epidemiology, clinical features and outcome of chronic leg ulcers in this group of patients. Twenty-nine patients with underlying rheumatological conditions, namely, rheumatoid arthritis (15 patients), systemic lupus erythematosus (8 patients), overlap syndromes (3 patients), systemic sclerosis (1 patient) and ankylosing spondylitis (1 patient) were included. The ulcers were mostly located around the ankle (55·2%) and calves (37·9%). The predominant aetiology of the ulcers, in decreasing order of frequency, was venous disease, multifactorial, vasculitis or vasculopathy, infective, pyoderma gangrenosum, ischaemic microangiopathy and iatrogenic. Treatment modalities included aggressive wound bed preparation, compression therapy (17 patients), changes in immunosuppressive therapy (15 patients), hyperbaric oxygen therapy (4 patients) and cellular skin grafting (2 patients). Management of chronic leg ulcers in rheumatological patients is challenging and the importance of careful clinicopathological correlation and treatment of the underlying cause cannot be overemphasised.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Lupus erythematosus, Autoimmune diseases, Arthritis, Immunosuppressive drug

28

OBJECTIVE: To identify the clinical findings of Hashimoto’s encephalopathy (HE) in children and assess their neurological outcome. METHODS: In this retrospective observational study of 42 children with encephalitis dominated by acute neuro-behavioral features, eight met the diagnostic criteria of HE. Their biological, EEG and brain MRI characteristics were compared to those of the other 34 children. Their clinical outcome was also compared to that of 14 children with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT). RESULTS: All eight HE children were girls and had high levels of anti-thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies at onset (4043.3 ± 2969.8 IU/mL, inclusion criteria: TPO > 60 IU/mL) despite normal T4 and TSH levels in six of them. All HE children had abnormal EEG and brain MRI was abnormal in four of them. Relapses were observed in five children with a second relapse, despite steroid therapy, occurring sooner after the previous episode (median 18 days (range 17-188) vs 213 days (range 14-518)). Immunosuppressive therapy was started in all five children and two developed sequelae by the last follow-up visit (after 4 ± 1.3 years). Mean anti-TPO antibody titers were significantly higher in HE children than in those with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) (4043.3 ± 2969.8 IU/mL vs 1980.9 ± 3449.9 IU/mL, p = 0.03). Four HE children subsequently developed hypothyroidism whereas only one HT patient presented encephalitis. CONCLUSION: HE is characterized by suggestive clinical symptoms with high levels of anti-TPO antibodies and, in most cases, normal T4 and TSH titers. Despite steroid treatment, relapses and sequelae are frequent. HE may evolve toward HT, but the reverse appears to be rare.

Concepts: Observational study, Thyroid-stimulating hormone, Electroencephalography, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Hyperthyroidism, Thyroid, Immunosuppressive drug, Hashimoto's encephalopathy

28

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive cutaneous malignancy linked to a contributory virus (Merkel cell polyomavirus). Multiple epidemiologic studies have established an increased incidence of MCC among persons with systemic immune suppression. Several forms of immune suppression are associated with increased MCC incidence, including hematologic malignancies, HIV/AIDS, and immunosuppressive medications for autoimmune disease or transplant. Indeed, immune-suppressed individuals represent ∼10% of MCC patients, a significant overrepresentation relative to the general population. We hypothesized that immune-suppressed patients may have a poorer MCC-specific prognosis and examined a cohort of 471 patients with a combined follow-up of 1,427 years (median 2.1 years). Immune-suppressed patients (n=41) demonstrated reduced MCC-specific survival (40% at 3 years) compared with patients with no known systemic immune suppression (n=430; 74% MCC-specific survival at 3 years). By competing risk regression analysis, immune suppression was a stage-independent predictor of worsened MCC-specific survival (hazard ratio 3.8, P<0.01). Thus, immune-suppressed individuals have both an increased chance of developing MCC and poorer MCC-specific survival. It may be appropriate to follow these higher-risk individuals more closely, and, when clinically feasible, there may be a benefit of diminishing iatrogenic systemic immune suppression.Journal of Investigative Dermatology advance online publication, 29 November 2012; doi:10.1038/jid.2012.388.

Concepts: Immune system, Epidemiology, Cancer, Immunology, Immunosuppressive drug, Merkel cell cancer, Polyomavirus, Merkel cell polyomavirus