Journal: Clinical reviews in allergy & immunology
Raynaud’s phenomenon often precedes the diagnosis of systemic sclerosis and is the first symptom of the disease in many cases. Antinuclear antibody positivity can assist in the early identification of cases of isolated Raynaud’s phenomenon likely to progress to systemic sclerosis. However, the specific differences between rate of progression for different scleroderma hallmark antibodies is less clear. We review the predictive potential of ANA positivity and nailfold capillaroscopy for identifying cases of Raynaud’s phenomenon which may progress to connective tissue diseases. We also have reviewed data from our own large scleroderma cohort to explore the relationship between antibody subtype and time to development of SSc. Duration of pre-existing Raynaud’s phenomenon may be an important determinant of the profile of systemic sclerosis cases identified through screening. Ninety-five percent of our patients with isolated Raynaud’s phenomenon, negative autoimmune serology on more than one visit and normal capillaroscopy score showed no progression to connective tissue disease. Duration of antecedent Raynaud’s phenomenon differs between disease subsets and scleroderma-specific ANA patterns.
Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is a recessive, autosomal, auto-inflammatory disorder characterised by brief, recurring, self-limited episodes of fever and serositis resulting in abdominal, chest, joint and muscular pain; it is the most common of the periodic hereditary fevers and mostly affects Mediterranean populations. Daily administration of colchicine, a tricyclic alkaloid with anti-microtubule and anti-inflammatory properties, prevents the recurrence of FMF attacks and the development of secondary (AA) amyloidosis, the major long-tem complication of FMF. Colchicine is generally safe and well-tolerated; nevertheless, 5-10 % of FMF patients do not respond to conventional treatment, while another 2-5 % of patients are colchicine-intolerant because of toxicity issues, leading physicians to search for alternative therapeutic strategies. Recent new insights into the mechanisms of auto-inflammation add further proof to the efficacy of IL-1 targeting drugs in colchicine non-responder/intolerant FMF patients. A systematic study of relevant literature through PubMed/Medline was performed in order to identify publications reporting IL-1β biological treatment of FMF. Treatment methods, comorbidities, clinical response and side effects in literature case reports were analysed, as well as recent advances in the pathogenesis of auto-inflammation mechanisms in FMF and the causes of colchicine resistance or toxicity in common clinical practice. The paradigmatic experience of an FMF patient with severe FMF mutations (M694V/M694V) suffering from colchicine toxicity and successfully treated with anakinra is also reported. The present data show that anti-IL-1β biological treatment is actually a therapeutic option for FMF patients unresponsive or intolerant to colchicine or in FMF patients with concomitant vasculitis.
Raynaud’s phenomenon and digital ulcers (DUs) are frequent among systemic sclerosis (SSc) patients. Our aim was to investigate the diagnostic and predictive value for DU of endothelial dysfunction biomarkers (flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), serum levels of endothelin-1 (ET-1), and ADMA), angiogenic/angiostatic biomarkers (vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), endoglin, and endostatin), and nailfold videocapillaroscopy (NVC). We compared our results with a literature review. In a cohort study of 77 SSc patients, we followed two groups of patients: (i) naïve DU patients (39) and (ii) active DU at baseline (38 patients) for 3 years. Telangiectasia (p < 0.001) and diffuse disease subset (p = 0.001) were significantly more frequent in patients with active DU at enrolment. Additionally, NVC late scleroderma pattern (AUC 0.846, 95%CI 0.760-0.932), lower values of FMD (AUC 0.754, 95%CI 0.643-0.864), increased serum levels of ET-1 (AUC 0.758, 95%CI 0.649-0.866), ADMA (AUC 0.634, 95%CI 0.511-0.757), and endoglin as well as low VEGF serum levels (AUC 0.705, 95%CI 0.579-0.830) were significantly associated to new DU events in the 3-year follow-up. Cox regression analysis showed that FMD > 9.41 % (HR 0.37, 95%CI 0.14-0.99); ET-1 >11.85 pmol/L (HR 3.81, 95%CI 1.41-10.26) and late NVC pattern (HR 2.29, 95%CI 0.97-5.38) were independent predictors of DU recurrence. When estimating the probability of occurrence of first DU in naïve DU patients, only late NVC pattern (HR 12.66, 95%CI 2.06-77.89) was an independent predictor factor. In conclusion, late scleroderma patterns in NVC are the best independent predictors of SSc patients who are at risk of developing DU. Endothelial dysfunction assessed by FMD and ET-1 was also found to be an independent predictor of DU recurrence in a 3-year follow-up.
Histamine fish poisoning, also known as scombroid poisoning, is the most common cause of ichythyotoxicosis worldwide and results from the ingestion of histamine-contaminated fish in the Scombroidae and Scomberesocidae families, including mackerel, bonito, albacore, and skipjack. This disease was first described in 1799 in Britain and re-emerged in the medical literature in the 1950s when outbreaks were reported in Japan. The symptoms associated with histamine fish poisoning are similar to that of an allergic reaction. In fact, such histamine-induced reactions are often misdiagnosed as IgE-mediated fish allergy. Indeed, histamine fish poisoning is still an underrecognized disease. In this review, we discuss the epidemiology, pathophysiology, evaluation, and treatment of scombroid disease. Because more than 80 % of fish consumed in the USA is now imported from other countries, the disease is intimately linked with the global fish trade (National Marine Fisheries Service, 2012). Preventing future scombroid outbreaks will require that fishermen, public health officials, restaurant workers, and medical professionals work together to devise international safety standards and increase awareness of the disease. The implications of scombroid poisoning go far beyond that of fish and have broader implications for the important issues of food safety.
Food allergy is defined as an adverse immune response towards food proteins or as a form of a food intolerance associated with a hypersensitive immune response. It should also be reproducible by a double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge. Many reported that food reactions are not allergic but are intolerances. Food allergy often presents to clinicians as a symptom complex. This review focuses on the clinical spectrum and manifestations of various forms of food allergies. According to clinical presentations and allergy testing, there are three types of food allergy: IgE mediated, mixed (IgE/Non-IgE), and non-IgE mediated (cellular, delayed type hypersensitivity). Recent advances in food allergy in early childhood have highlighted increasing recognition of a spectrum of delayed-onset non-IgE-mediated manifestation of food allergy. Common presentations of food allergy in infancy including atopic eczema, infantile colic, and gastroesophageal reflux. These clinical observations are frequently associated with food hypersensitivity and respond to dietary elimination. Non-IgE-mediated food allergy includes a wide range of diseases, from atopic dermatitis to food protein-induced enterocolitis and from eosinophilic esophagitis to celiac disease. The most common food allergies in children include milk, egg, soy, wheat, peanut, treenut, fish, and shellfish. Milk and egg allergies are usually outgrown, but peanut and treenut allergy tends to persist. The prevalence of food allergy in infancy is increasing and may affect up to 15-20 % of infants. The alarming rate of increase calls for a public health approach in the prevention and treatment of food allergy in children.
Taxanes (a class of chemotherapeutic agents) are an important cause of hypersensitivity reactions (HSRs) in cancer patients. During the last decade, the development of rapid drug desensitization has been key to allow patients with HSRs to taxanes to be safely re-treated although the mechanisms of these HSRs are not fully understood. Earlier studies suggested that solvents, such as Cremophor EL used to solubilize paclitaxel, were responsible for HSRs through complement activation, but recent findings have raised the possibility that some of these HSRs are IgE-mediated. Taxane skin testing, which identifies patients with an IgE-mediated sensitivity, appears as a promising diagnostic and risk stratification tool in the management of patients with HSRs to taxanes. The management of patients following a HSR involves risk stratification and re-exposure could be performed either through rapid drug desensitization or graded challenge based on the severity of the initial HSR and the skin test result. Rapid drug desensitization has been shown to be an effective and safe method to re-introduce taxanes in hundreds of patients, including those with life-threatening HSRs. Patients with non-severe delayed skin HSRs may benefit from rapid drug desensitization since they may be at increased risk for an immediate HSR upon re-exposure. This review focuses on the clinical presentation, diagnosis, and novel mechanisms of immediate HSRs to taxanes. A new management strategy for HSRs to taxanes based on skin testing and rapid drug desensitization is proposed.
Propolis, a waxy substance produced by the honeybee, has been adopted as a form of folk medicine since ancient times. It has a wide spectrum of alleged applications including potential anti-infection and anticancer effects. Many of the therapeutic effects can be attributed to its immunomodulatory functions. The composition of propolis can vary according to the geographic locations from where the bees obtained the ingredients. Two main immunopotent chemicals have been identified as caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) and artepillin C. Propolis, CAPE, and artepillin C have been shown to exert summative immunosuppressive function on T lymphocyte subsets but paradoxically activate macrophage function. On the other hand, they also have potential antitumor properties by different postulated mechanisms such as suppressing cancer cells proliferation via its anti-inflammatory effects; decreasing the cancer stem cell populations; blocking specific oncogene signaling pathways; exerting antiangiogenic effects; and modulating the tumor microenvironment. The good bioavailability by the oral route and good historical safety profile makes propolis an ideal adjuvant agent for future immunomodulatory or anticancer regimens. However, standardized quality controls and good design clinical trials are essential before either propolis or its active ingredients can be adopted routinely in our future therapeutic armamentarium.
Hypersensitivity reactions to corticosteroids (CS) are rare in the general population, but they are not uncommon in high-risk groups such as patients who receive repeated doses of CS. Hypersensitivity reactions to steroids are broadly divided into two categories: immediate reactions, typically occurring within 1 h of drug administration, and non-immediate reactions, which manifest more than an hour after drug administration. The latter group is more common. We reviewed the literature using the search terms “hypersensitivity to steroids, adverse effects of steroids, steroid allergy, allergic contact dermatitis, corticosteroid side effects, and type I hypersensitivity” to identify studies or clinical reports of steroid hypersensitivity. We discuss the prevalence, mechanism, presentation, evaluation, and therapeutic options in corticosteroid hypersensitivity reactions. There is a paucity of literature on corticosteroid allergy, with most reports being case reports. Most reports involve non-systemic application of corticosteroids. Steroid hypersensitivity has been associated with type I IgE-mediated allergy including anaphylaxis. The overall prevalence of type I steroid hypersensitivity is estimated to be 0.3-0.5 %. Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) is the most commonly reported non-immediate hypersensitivity reaction and usually follows topical CS application. Atopic dermatitis and stasis dermatitis of the lower extremities are risk factors for the development of ACD from topical CS. Patients can also develop hypersensitivity reactions to nasal, inhaled, oral, and parenteral CS. A close and detailed evaluation is required for the clinician to confirm the presence of a true hypersensitivity reaction to the suspected drug and choose the safest alternative. Choosing an alternative CS is not only paramount to the patient’s safety but also ameliorates the worry of developing an allergic, and potentially fatal, steroid hypersensitivity reaction. This evaluation becomes especially important in high-risk groups where steroids are a life-saving treatment. The assessment should be done when the patient’s underlying condition is in a quiescent state.
Globally, the rising consumption of fish and its derivatives, due to its nutritional value and divergence of international cuisines, has led to an increase in reports of adverse reactions to fish. Reactions to fish are not only mediated by the immune system causing allergies, but are often caused by various toxins and parasites including ciguatera and Anisakis. Allergic reactions to fish can be serious and life threatening and children usually do not outgrow this type of food allergy. The route of exposure is not only restricted to ingestion but include manual handling and inhalation of cooking vapors in the domestic and occupational environment. Prevalence rates of self-reported fish allergy range from 0.2 to 2.29 % in the general population, but can reach up to 8 % among fish processing workers. Fish allergy seems to vary with geographical eating habits, type of fish processing, and fish species exposure. The major fish allergen characterized is parvalbumin in addition to several less well-known allergens. This contemporary review discusses interesting and new findings in the area of fish allergy including demographics, novel allergens identified, immunological mechanisms of sensitization, and innovative approaches in diagnosing and managing this life-long disease.
Following publication of this article  it came to our attention that we neglected to reference an article by Ishwarlal Jialal published in Critical Pathways in Cardiology .