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Concept: Plasmapheresis


The clinical presentation, disease course, response to treatment, and long-term outcome of thirty childhood chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) patients are presented representing the largest cohort reported to date. Most children (60%) presented with chronic (>8-weeks) symptom-onset while a smaller proportion showed sub-acute (4-8 weeks) or acute (“GBS-like”; <4 weeks) onset of disease. No gender predilection was observed. The majority of patients had a relapsing (70%) versus a monophasic (30%) temporal profile. Most received initial IVIG monotherapy; 80% showing a good response. Long-term follow-up (mean=3.8 years) was available for 23 patients; 45% were off all immunomodulatory medications, demonstrating no detectable (55%) or minimal (43%) clinical deficits. Our data were compared with 11 previously published childhood CIDP series providing a comprehensive review of 143 childhood CIDP cases. The combined initial or first-line treatment response across all studies was favourable for IVIG (79% patients) and corticosteroids (84% patients). Response to first-line plasma exchange was poor (only 14% patients improved) although it may offer some transient or partial benefit as an adjuvant or temporary therapy for selected patients. The combined long-term outcome of our cohort and the literature reveals a favourable prognosis for most patients. The combined modified Rankin scale decreased from 3.7 (at presentation) to 0.7 (at last follow-up). This review provides important data pertaining to clinical course, treatment response and long-term outcome of this relatively uncommon paediatric autoimmune disease.

Concepts: Medicine, Modified Rankin Scale, Myelin, Autoimmune diseases, Neurological disorders, Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, Plasmapheresis, Progressive inflammatory neuropathy


INTRODUCTION: Wegener’s granulomatosis presenting as diffuse alveolar hemorrhage is uncommon. However, the recognition of multisystem disease involving joints, kidney, eye and lung is critical for diagnosing Wegener’s vasculitis. This is not the first report of this kind in the literature. CASE PRESENTATION: A 51-year-old Croatian woman presented to our Emergency Department with a history of progressively worsening productive cough and shortness of breath, epistaxis and two episodes of hemoptysis. She developed respiratory failure due to diffuse alveolar hemorrhage, which was successfully treated with high-dose steroids, cyclophosphamide and plasmapheresis. Her clinical course was complicated with methicillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus pneumonia, which has been associated with Wegener’s granulomatosis flares. CONCLUSION: The recognition of multisystem disease is critical for diagnosing Wegener’s vasculitis. Diffuse alveolar hemorrhage can be a fulminant manifestation of Wegener’s granulomatosis, in which case immediate and aggressive treatment with pulse steroids, high-dose cyclophosphamide and plasma exchange can be life-saving.

Concepts: Pulmonology, Pneumonia, Vasculitis, Wegener's granulomatosis, Arthritis, Granuloma, Plasmapheresis, Hemoptysis


Therapeutic plasma exchange is established treatment for patients with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) and for refractory cases immunosuppressive therapy can also be considered. We present a refractory case of TTP which was managed with therapeutic plasma exchange and rituximab.

Concepts: Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, Plasmapheresis


To clarify the most frequent modalities of use of plasma exchange (PE) in pediatric anti-N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (anti-NMDAR) encephalitis and to establish the most effective association with other immunotherapies.

Concepts: Medicine, Blood donation, Plasmapheresis


Acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (aTTP) is a life-threatening autoimmune thrombotic microangiopathy. In spite of treatment with plasma exchange and immunosuppression, patients remain at risk for thrombotic complications, exacerbations and death. In the Phase II TITAN study, treatment with caplacizumab, an anti-vWF Nanobody(®) , was shown to reduce the time to confirmed platelet count normalization and exacerbations during treatment.

Concepts: Fundamental physics concepts, Platelet, Autoimmune diseases, Thrombocytopenia, Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, Plasmapheresis


CD40/CD40 ligand (CD40L) dyad, a co-stimulatory bi-molecular complex involved in the adaptive immune response, has also potent pro-inflammatory actions in haematopoietic and non-haematopoietic cells. We describe here a novel role for soluble CD40L (sCD40L) as modifier of glomerular permselectivity directly acting on glomerular epithelial cells (GECs). We found that stimulation of CD40, constitutively expressed on GEC cell membrane, by the sCD40L rapidly induced redistribution and loss of nephrin in GECs, and increased albumin permeability in isolated rat glomeruli. Pre-treatment with inhibitors of CD40-CD40L interaction completely prevented these effects. Furthermore, in vivo injection of sCD40L induced a significant reduction of nephrin and podocin expression in mouse glomeruli, although no significant increase of urine protein/creatinine ratio was observed after in vivo injection. The same effects were induced by plasma factors partially purified from post-transplant plasma exchange eluates of patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), and were blocked by CD40-CD40L inhibitors. Moreover, 17 and 34 kDa sCD40L isoforms were detected in the same plasmapheresis eluates by Western blotting. Finally, the levels of sCD40Lwere significantly increased in serum of children both with steroid-sensitive and steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (NS), and in adult patients with biopsy-proven FSGS, compared to healthy subjects, but neither in children with congenital NS nor in patients with membranous nephropathy. Our results demonstrate that sCD40L directly modifies nephrin and podocin distribution in GECs. Moreover, they suggest that sCD40L contained in plasmapheresis eluates from FSGS patients with post-transplant recurrence may contribute, presumably cooperating with other mediators, to FSGS pathogenesis by modulating glomerular permeability.

Concepts: Immune system, Cell membrane, Nephrotic syndrome, Proteinuria, Blood plasma, Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, Glomerulosclerosis, Plasmapheresis


Therapeutic options to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses comprise glucocorticosteroids (GCS) as first-line and therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) as second-line treatments in GCS-unresponsive patients. No guidelines exist for the treatment of another relapse following TPE. We retrospectively analyzed the responsiveness to GCS in a subsequent relapse following TPE in previously GCS-unresponsive MS patients. Thirty-seven patients with GCS-unresponsive MS relapses received TPE (relapse A). All patients developed another relapse after the completion of TPE and received GCS again (relapse B). The primary study endpoint was the clinical response to GCS and TPE. Marked improvement was defined as clinically significant improvement in function, moderate improvement as a definite change of symptoms without significant impact on function, no effect comprised unchanged symptoms, and deterioration a worsening of symptoms or new deficits. The secondary endpoint was an improvement in expanded disability status scale (EDSS) scoring. All patients were GCS-unresponsive during relapse A and received TPE. During GCS treatment of relapse B, marked improvement was observed in 10, moderate improvement in 24, and no effect in three patients. The EDSS decreased in 15 patients. GCS might remain the first-line relapse treatment following TPE in formerly GCS-unresponsive MS patients.

Concepts: Multiple sclerosis, Glucocorticoid, Relapse, Expanded Disability Status Scale, Plasmapheresis


Experience with therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) for acute relapses in clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) or multiple sclerosis (MS) patients has been derived from small and inhomogeneous patient populations so far. In the present study, we retrospectively evaluated features associated with TPE response in a larger cohort of CIS and MS patients with acute worsening of disease.

Concepts: Medical terms, Patient, Retrospective, Multiple sclerosis, Syndromes, Clinically isolated syndrome, Syndrome, Plasmapheresis


In January 2013, the CDC reported an illness associated with intravenous (IV) abuse of oral Opana ER (oxymorphone) in Tennessee. The clinical presentation of this syndrome was reported to resemble that of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura in the 15 patients reported; 12 were treated with plasma exchange. We report a similar case series of 15 patients with 18 episodes of thrombotic microangiopathy associated with recent intravenous abuse of oral Opana ER. In our series, we demonstrate that therapeutic plasma exchange is unnecessary; supportive care and treatment of underlying infections and renal dysfunction (without use of plasma exchange) resulted in clinical improvement in all patients. Thus, it appears that plasma exchange with associated costs and risks can be safely omitted in patients with thrombotic microangiopathy resulting from IV abuse of oral Opana ER.

Concepts: Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, Abuse, Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, Plasmapheresis


Treatments for the anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis usually include steroids, intravenous immunoglobulin, plasma exchange, plasmapheresis, rituximab, cyclophosphamide and tumor resection. We aimed to compare the efficacy of the treatments including intravenous immunoglobulin, plasma exchange, plasmapheresis, rituximab or cyclophosphamide for male anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis patients without tumor and to discuss potential biomarkers for this disease. The Fisher exact test and the contingency table analysis were used to analyze the treatment efficacy for both male and female these patients. A hierarchical tree method was adopted to analyze the difference of the treatment efficacy between male and female patients. The results revealed that the efficacy rate of plasmapheresis (or plasma exchange) is not inferior to those of intravenous immunoglobulin and rituximab (or cyclophosphamide) for male patients without tumor. In addition, B-cell attracting C-X-C motif chemokine 13 (CXCL13) and microRNA let-7b are potential to be treatment response biomarkers for anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. But they may not be useful prognostic biomarkers for this encephalitis unless they are not biomarkers for other autoimmune encephalitides.

Concepts: Immune system, Rheumatoid arthritis, Multiple sclerosis, Wegener's granulomatosis, Myasthenia gravis, Fisher's exact test, Plasmapheresis, Contingency table