Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that leads to impairment in social skills and delay in language development, and results in repetitive behaviors and restricted interests that impede academic and social involvement. Physical exercise has been shown to decrease repetitive behaviors in autistic children and improve cognitive function across the life-span. Exergaming combines physical and mental exercise simultaneously by linking physical activity movements to video game control and may yield better compliance with exercise. In this investigation, two pilot studies explored the potential behavioral and cognitive benefits of exergaming. In Pilot I, twelve children with autism spectrum disorders completed a control task and an acute bout of Dance Dance Revolution (DDR); in Pilot II, ten additional youths completed an acute bout of cyber cycling. Repetitive behaviors and executive function were measured before and after each activity. Repetitive behaviors significantly decreased, while performance on Digits Backwards improved following the exergaming conditions compared with the control condition. Additional research is needed to replicate these findings, and to explore the application of exergaming for the management of behavioral disturbance and to increase cognitive control in children on the autism spectrum.
autism; repetitive behaviors; exergaming; exercise; executive function
Lenalidomide is a thalidomide analogue that may serve as an adjunctive therapy for treatment refractory cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE).
We evaluate the use of lenalidomide in CLE and describe the skin and circulating leukocyte profile of treatment refractory patients before and after treatment.
Five subjects were treated with lenalidomide in an unblinded open-label study. Immunohistochemistry of skin was performed for T-cell markers, glycosaminoglycans and CXCL10, an interferon (IFN)-inducible chemokine, before and after treatment. Immunophenotyping and measurement of IFN-inducible genes from peripheral blood mononuclear cells was also performed before and after treatment.
Four subjects demonstrated clinical improvement of their skin, however one of these responders subsequently developed symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus. Small changes in rare circulating leukocyte subsets, plasmacytoid dendritic cells and regulatory T-cells, were observed with treatment and may correlate with clinical response. Treatment was associated with increased circulating HLA-DR expression and decreased markers of IFN-mediated pathways, regardless of clinical response.
Our results are limited by small sample size and the measurement of rare populations of circulating cell subsets.
Lenalidomide may have utility as therapy for severe, treatment refractory CLE. However, our preliminary data suggest that lenalidomide may activate T-cells and trigger systemic disease in some CLE patients. We also saw a unique histologic and circulating leukocyte phenotype in the nonresponding subject. Further characterization of the skin and circulating leukocyte profile of treatment refractory patients will improve our understanding of CLE.
Cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) is a chronic disease characterized by disfigurement and a relapsing course. Thalidomide has proven its efficacy in refractory cutaneous lupus disease, although it is not exempt from significant side effects and frequent relapses after withdrawal. New thalidomide analogues have been developed but lack clinical experience. The aim of this preliminary phase II study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of lenalidomide in patients with refractory CLE.
Fifteen patients with refractory cutaneous lupus disease were enrolled in this single-center, open-label, non-comparative pilot trial between January 2009 and December 2010. Oral lenalidomide (5 to 10 mg/day) was administered and tapered according to clinical response. Patients were followed up for a mean of 15 months (range: 7 to 30). Primary efficacy endpoint was the proportion of patients achieving complete response, defined by a Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus Disease Area and Severity index (CLASI) activity score of 0. Other secondary endpoints included development of side effects, evaluation of cutaneous and systemic flares, and impact on the immunological parameters.
One patient discontinued treatment due to side effects. All remaining patients saw clinical improvement and this was already noticeable after 2 weeks of treatment. Twelve of those patients (86%) achieved complete response but clinical relapse was frequent (75%), usually occurring 2 to 8 weeks after lenalidomide's withdrawal. No influence on systemic disease, immunological parameters or CLASI damage score was observed. Side effects including insomnia, grade 2 neutropenia and gastrointestinal symptoms, were minor (13%). These resolved after withdrawing medication. Neither polyneuropathy nor thrombosis was observed.
Lenalidomide appears to be efficacious and safe in patients with refractory CLE, but clinical relapse is frequent after its withdrawal.
Longitudinal research into adult outcomes in autism remains limited. Unlike previous longitudinal examinations of adult outcome in autism, the twenty participants in this study were evaluated across multiple assessments between early childhood (M = 3.9 years) and adulthood (M = 26.6 years). In early childhood, responsiveness to joint attention (RJA), language, and intelligence were assessed. In adulthood, the parents of participants responded to interviews assessing the adaptive functioning, autistic symptomology and global functioning of their children. RJA and early childhood language predicted a composite measure of adult social functioning and independence. Early childhood language skills and intelligence predicted adult adaptive behaviors. RJA predicted adult non-verbal communication, social skills and symptoms. Adaptive behaviors changed with development, but symptoms of autism did not. Additional factors associated with adult outcomes are discussed.
Autism; Longitudinal; Outcome; Adulthood; Social functioning
Lenalidomide is a recent thalidomide analog used for the treatment of refractory multiple myeloma. The main toxicity of this drug consists in severe neutropenia and thrombocytopenia. Lenalidomide-associated liver injury is rare, manifesting itself as elevated liver enzymes and hyperbilirubinemia reversible upon weeks after drug withdrawal. We report here in detail the clinical course as well as the biological and histological alterations of an acute lenalidomide-induced liver injury. Findings on liver biopsy allowed us to discriminate acute inflammatory changes due to the drug and minor associated lesions of graft-versus-host disease in this patient with recurrent myeloma after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.
Drug-induced liver injury; Lenalidomide; Liver biopsy; Multiple myeloma; Transaminases
In recent years, a number of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have reported on lenalidomide as a treatment for multiple myeloma (MM). Herein, we report results of a meta-analysis of RCTs examining the efficacy and safety of lenalidomide for MM.
Patients and Methods
Databases were searched using the terms “lenalidomide or revlimid AND multiple myeloma.”RCTs evaluating initial or maintenance therapeutic outcomes were included. Main outcome measures were response rates, progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival, and adverse events.
Seven trials were included (N = 192–614 participants). Lenalidomide doses and treatment regimens differed between trials. Complete response (CR) and very good partial response (VGPR) risk ratios (RR) favored lenalidomide over placebo (CR = 2.54, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.29–5.02; VGPR = 2.82, 95% CI = 1.30–6.09). The PFS hazard ratio favored lenalidomide over placebo (0.37, 95% CI = 0.33–0.41). For adverse events, neutropenia, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), infection, and hematologic cancer RR favored placebo over lenalidomide (neutropenia: 4.74, 95% CI = 2.96–7.57; DVT: 2.52; 95% CI: 1.60–3.98; infection: 1.98; 95% CI: 1.50–2.62; hematologic cancer: 3.20; 95% CI: 1.28–7.98).
Lenalidomide is an effective treatment for MM; however, treatment-related adverse events must be considered and appropriate adjustments and/or prophylactic treatment should be initiated where possible.
To evaluate the safety and activity of 6 months of treatment with lenalidomide at 5 or 25 mg/d in nonmetastatic biochemically relapsed prostate cancer.
Sixty men with non-castrate, nonmetastatic, biochemically relapsed prostate cancer were stratified by prostate-specific antigen (PSA) doubling time, surgery/radiation therapy, prior androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), and randomized to lenalidomide 5 mg (n = 26) or 25 mg/d (n = 34) for 3 weeks repeated monthly for 6 months or until dose-limiting toxicity or disease progression. Toxicity was evaluated monthly, and PSAs and X-rays/scans every 6 months. Study size was determined to detect a progression rate of 40% at 6 months in either arm with 85% power (compared with a rate of 80% in the population receiving no treatment). Changes in PSA slopes were calculated using the regression of the log PSA for each patient before and during the initial 6 months and compared by t test.
Baseline variables were balanced between arms. Grade 3/4 toxicity rates were 12% (n = 3) with 5 mg and 29% (n = 10) with 25 mg (P = 0.1), most commonly neutropenia (five patients, all on 25 mg). Two patients per arm had thromboembolic events. The change in PSA slope was greater with 25 mg versus 5 mg [−0.172 (−0.24 to −0.11) versus −0.033 (−0.11 to 0.04); P = 0.005]. With a mean follow-up of 31.4 months (range 14–44), five patients on 25 mg and one patient on 5 mg remain on the study.
Lenalidomide has acceptable toxicity and is associated with long-term disease stabilization and PSA declines. Randomized studies evaluating conventional clinical disease end points in this patient population are planned.
Autism is a disorder of early childhood characterized by social impairment, communication abnormalities and stereotyped behaviors. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis deserves special attention, since it is the basis for emotions and social interactions that are affected in autism.
To assess basal and stimulated plasma cortisol, and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) levels in autistic children and their relationship to disease characteristics.
Fifty autistic children were studied in comparison to 50 healthy age-, sex- and pubertal stage- matched children. All subjects were subjected to clinical evaluation and measurement of plasma cortisol (basal and stimulated) and ACTH. In addition, electroencephalography (EEG) and intelligence quotient (IQ) assessment were done for all autistic children.
Sixteen% of autistic patients had high ACTH, 10% had low basal cortisol and 10% did not show adequate cortisol response to ACTH stimulation. Autistic patients had lower basal (p = 0.032) and stimulated cortisol (p = 0.04) and higher ACTH (p = 0.01) than controls. Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) score correlated positively with ACTH (r = 0.71, p = 0.02) and negatively with each of basal (r = -0.64, p = 0.04) and stimulated cortisol (r = -0.88, p < 0.001). Hormonal profile did not differ in relation to EEG abnormalities, IQ and self- aggressive symptoms.
The observed hormonal changes may be due to a dysfunction in the HPA axis in autistic individuals. Further studies are warranted regarding the role of HPA axis dysfunction in the pathogenesis of autism.
We retrospectively explored changes in immunological parameters in men with biochemically recurrent prostate cancer treated with either 5mg or 25mg of lenalidomide in a randomized phase 2 trial, and determined whether those changes correlated with disease progression.
Cytokine levels were compared for each patient at baseline and after 6 months of treatment with lenalidomide. Regression models for correlated data were used to assess associations of cytokine levels with lenalidomide treatment effect. Estimates were obtained using generalized estimating equations (GEE). Changes in circulating anti-prostate antibodies were evaluated using a high-throughput immunoblot technique.
Treatment with lenalidomide was associated with global changes in immune-reactivity to a number of prostate-associated antigens, as well as with changes in circulating levels of the TH2 cytokines IL-4, IL-5, IL-10 and IL-13. Disease progression in treated patients was associated with an increase in circulating IL-8 levels, while IL-8 levels decreased significantly in non-progressors.
Lenalidomide demonstrates immunomodulatory properties in patients with biochemically recurrent prostate cancer. The induction of novel anti-prostate antibodies is a potential mechanism for lenalidomide response. Changes in serum IL-8 levels may serve as a potential biomarker in treated patients. These hypotheses require formal testing in future prospective trials.
prostate cancer; antibody; cytokine; IL-8; lenalidomide
Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the levels of ten toxic metals and essential elements in hair samples of children with autism, and to correlate the level of these elements with the severity of autism.
Method: The participants were 44 children, age 3 to 9 years, with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Edition, (DSM-IV). The severity of autistic symptomatology was measured by the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS). Hair analysis was performed to evaluate the long term metal exposure and mineral level.
Results: By comparing hair concentration of autistic vs nonautistic children, elevated hair concentrations were noted for aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, antimony, nickel, lead, and vanadium. Hair levels of calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, zinc, and selenium were considered deficient. There was a significant positive correlation between lead & verbal communication (p = 0.020) and general impression (p = 0.008). In addition, there was a significant negative correlation between zinc & fear and nervousness (p = 0.022).
Conclusion: Our data supports the historic evidence that heavy metals play a role in the development of ASD. In combination with an inadequate nutritional status the toxic effect of metals increase along with the severity of symptoms.
pulmonary hypertension; prognosis; mortality; echocardiography; right heart catheterization
To assess plasma zinc and copper concentration in individuals with autism.
Subjects and methods:
Plasma from 79 autistic individuals, and 18 age and gender similar neurotypical controls, were tested for plasma zinc and copper using inductively-coupled plasma-mass spectrometry.
Autistic individuals had significantly elevated plasma levels of copper and Cu/Zn and lower, but not significantly lower, plasma Zn compared to neurotypical controls.
Zn levels increased significantly in autistic individuals with and without GI disease after zinc therapy. Cu decreased significantly after zinc therapy in the GI disease group but not in the autistic group without GI disease.
Autistic children significantly improved with respect to hyperactivity and stimming after zinc therapy in autistic children with GI disease. Autistic children without GI disease did not improve in these symptoms after the same therapy.
These results suggest an association between zinc and copper plasma levels and autism, and they suggest that zinc therapy may be most effective at lowering copper levels in autistic children with GI disease.
autism; zinc; copper
Some children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) exhibit improved behaviors and enhanced communication during febrile episodes. We hypothesize that febrigenesis and the behavioral-state changes associated with fever in autism depend upon selective normalization of key components of a functionally impaired locus coeruleus-noradrenergic (LC-NA) system. We posit that autistic behaviors result from developmental dysregulation of LC-NA system specification and neural network deployment and modulation linked to the core behavioral features of autism. Fever transiently restores the modulatory functions of the LC-NA system and ameliorates autistic behaviors. Fever-induced reversibility of autism suggests preserved functional integrity of widespread neural networks subserving the LC-NA system and specifically the subsystems involved in mediating the cognitive and behavioral repertoires compromised in ASD. Alterations of complex gene-environmental interactions and associated epigenetic mechanisms during seminal developmental critical periods are viewed as instrumental in LC-NA dysregulation as emphasized by the timing and severity of prenatal maternal stressors on autism prevalence. Our hypothesis has implications for a rational approach to further interrogating the interdisciplinary etiology of ASD and for designing novel biological detection systems and therapeutic agents that target the LC-NA system’s diverse network of pre-and postsynaptic receptors, intracellular signaling pathways and dynamic epigenetic remodeling processes involved in their regulation and functional plasticity.
gene-environmental interactions; prenatal stressors; neuromodulators; sensorimotor processing; homeostatic signals; developmental critical periods; imprinted genes; pharmacoepigenomic agents
The incidence of multiple myeloma (MM) increases with age, and with the aging of the population, the number of adults with MM is expected to double in the next 20 years. Novel agents, including the immunomodulatory agents thalidomide and lenalidomide, and the proteosome inhibitor bortezomib have dramatically changed the treatment of multiple myeloma in the past decade. The purpose of this review was to examine the recent clinical therapeutic trials in older adults with MM. A number of trials have evaluated the addition of novel agents to the traditional backbone of melphalan and prednisone. The combination of thalidomide with melphalan and prednisone has been evaluated in 7 randomized trials. The combination improves response rates and, in meta-analyses, survival, but at the expense of increased toxicity. Other combination regimens which include lenalidomide or bortezomib likewise are associated with higher response rates, but at the expense of greater toxicity. High dose dexamethasone is excessively toxic in older adults and should be avoided. The roles for high-dose therapy with autologous stem cell transplant or intermediate-dose melphalan with autologous stem cell transplant in older adults with MM in the era of modern therapy remain to be defined. In summary, there are a number of new therapeutic options for older adults with MM, allowing an individualized treatment strategy based on the patient's comorbidities and goals of care.
multiple myeloma; geriatrics; aging; chemotherapy; immunomodulatory agents; proteosome inhibitors
One of the most consistent biological findings in autism is the elevated blood serotonin levels. Immune abnormalities, including autoimmunity with production of brain specific auto-antibodies, are also commonly observed in this disorder. Hyperserotonemia may be one of the contributing factors to autoimmunity in some patients with autism through the reduction of T-helper (Th) 1-type cytokines. We are the first to investigate the possible role of hyperserotonemia in the induction of autoimmunity, as indicated by serum anti-myelin-basic protein (anti-MBP) auto-antibodies, in autism.
Serum levels of serotonin and anti-MBP auto-antibodies were measured, by ELISA, in 50 autistic patients, aged between 5 and 12 years, and 30 healthy-matched children.
Autistic children had significantly higher serum levels of serotonin and anti-MBP auto-antibodies than healthy children (P < 0.001 and P < 0.001, respectively). Increased serum levels of serotonin and anti-MBP auto-antibodies were found in 92% and 80%, respectively of autistic patients. Patients with severe autism had significantly higher serum serotonin levels than children with mild to moderate autism (P < 0.001). Serum serotonin levels had no significant correlations with serum levels of anti-MBP auto-antibodies in autistic patients (P = 0.39).
Hyperserotonemia may not be one of the contributing factors to the increased frequency of serum anti-MBP auto-antibodies in some autistic children. These data should be treated with caution until further investigations are performed. However, inclusion of serum serotonin levels as a correlate may be useful in other future immune studies in autism to help unravel the long-standing mystery of hyperserotonemia and its possible role in the pathophysiology of this disorder.
Anti-myelin-basic protein antibodies; autism; autoimmunity; hyperserotonemia; serotonin
To explore possible benefits of a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) agent for autistic symptoms based on postmortem observation of nAChR abnormalities (deficient α4β2 nAChRs, excess α7 nAChRs) in brains of patients with autism.
Mecamylamine, because of its safety record in children with other disorders, was chosen for this first exploration. Twenty children with autism spectrum disorder age 4–12 years were randomly assigned for 14 weeks to placebo (n=8) or mecamylamine (n=12) in ascending fixed doses: 0.5 mg/day for 6 weeks, 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, then 5 mg/day for 6 weeks. Improvement was rated by a blinded independent evaluator. Because of small sample, data analysis was descriptive.
Eighteen participants (10 mecamylamine, 8 placebo) completed the study. All doses were well tolerated; the only side effect of note was constipation (50% compared with 25% of placebo group). Three children had clinically nonsignificant electrocardiographic QT prolongation. Both groups showed modest to moderate improvement, but differences between groups were negligible. On the primary outcome measure, the Ohio Autism Clinical Impressions Scale, 90% of the active treatment group showed improvement at some point (but only 40% sustained it), compared with 62% on placebo. Of the four in active treatment that sustained improvement, three had a maximum dose of 0.13–0.15 mg/kg/day, while those who regressed had doses ≥0.18 mg/kg/day. Graphed means suggested better outcome with lower mg/kg and longer medication duration. Four parents spontaneously reported reduced hyperactivity and irritability and better verbalization and continued mecamylamine at their own expense.
Mecamylamine appeared to be safe, but not very effective in autism. The suggestion of better results at lower doses and longer exposure warrants consideration for future trials. The next step would be exploration of a more specific α4β2 nAChR agonist, such as varenicline.
Autoimmunity to the central nervous system (CNS) may play a pathogenic role in a subgroup of patients with autism. This study aimed to investigate the frequency of serum anti-ganglioside M1 auto-antibodies, as indicators of the presence of autoimmunity to CNS, in a group of autistic children. We are the first to measure the relationship between these antibodies and the degree of the severity of autism.
Serum anti-ganglioside M1 antibodies were measured, by ELISA, in 54 autistic children, aged between 4 and 12 years, in comparison to 54 healthy-matched children. Autistic severity was assessed by using the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS).
Autistic children had significantly higher serum levels of anti-ganglioside M1 antibodies than healthy children (P < 0.001). The seropositivity of anti-ganglioside M1 antibodies was found in 74% (40/54) of autistic children. Serum levels of anti-ganglioside M1 antibodies were significantly higher in autistic children with severe autism (63%) than those with mild to moderate autism (37%), P = 0.001. Moreover, serum anti-ganglioside M1 antibodies had significant positive correlations with CARS (P < 0.001).
Serum levels of anti-ganglioside M1 antibodies were increased in many autistic children. Also, their levels had significant positive correlations with the degree of the severity of autism. Thus, autism may be, in part, one of the pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders. Further wide-scale studies are warranted to shed light on the possible etiopathogenic role of anti-ganglioside M1 auto-antibodies in autism. The role of immunotherapy in autistic patients who have increased serum levels of anti-ganglioside M1 antibodies should also be studied.
anti-ganglioside antibodies; autism; autoimmunity; Childhood Autism Rating Scale
S100B is a calcium-binding protein that is produced primarily by astrocytes. Increased serum S100B protein levels reflect neurological damage. Autoimmunity may have a role in the pathogenesis of autism in some patients. Autoantibodies may cross the blood-brain barrier and combine with brain tissue antigens, forming immune complexes and resulting in neurological damage. We are the first to investigate the relationship between serum levels of S100B protein, a marker of neuronal damage, and antiribosomal P protein antibodies in autistic children.
Serum S100B protein and antiribosomal P antibodies were measured in 64 autistic children in comparison to 46 matched healthy children.
Autistic children had significantly higher serum S100B protein levels than healthy controls (P < 0.001). Children with severe autism had significantly higher serum S100B protein than patients with mild to moderate autism (P = 0.01). Increased serum levels of antiribosomal P antibodies were found in 40.6% of autistic children. There were no significant correlations between serum levels of S100B protein and antiribosomal P antibodies (P = 0.29).
S100B protein levels were elevated in autistic children and significantly correlated to autistic severity. This may indicate the presence of an underlying neuropathological condition in autistic patients. Antiribosomal P antibodies may not be a possible contributing factor to the elevated serum levels of S100B protein in some autistic children. However, further research is warranted to investigate the possible link between serum S100B protein levels and other autoantibodies, which are possible indicators of autoimmunity to central nervous system in autism.
Antiribosomal P protein antibodies; Autism; Autoimmunity; S100B protein
Background. There has been lack of reviews of evidence on efficacy, methodology, and/or safety of acupuncture in autism spectrum disorders. This paper examines the emerging evidence of the effects of acupuncture in the treatment of autistic children. Method. A literature review was completed via Medline and three Chinese search engines. A total of 31 studies were evaluated for acupuncture methodology, study design, treatment effects, and tolerability. Results. The acupoints used, the duration of needling, the frequency of treatment, the choice of stimulation, and the course of the treatment were highly variable amongst the studies. Behavioral and/or developmental improvements were reported in all acupuncture treatment studies. All studies reported general tolerability. Weakness of experimental designs was discussed. Conclusions. Vigorously controlled double-blinded clinical trials are needed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of acupuncture in children with autism spectrum disorders.
Objectives. To analyze cooccurring disorders and problems in a representative group of 198 preschool children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) who had had interventions at a specialized habilitation center. Methods. Parents and children were seen by a research team. Data were based on parental interviews, pediatric assessments, and tests of the child. Information on autistic symptoms, general cognitive function, speech and language, motor function, epilepsy, vision, hearing, activity level, behavior, and sleep was collected. Results. Three ASD categories were used: (1) autistic disorder (AD), (2) autistic-like condition (ALC) or Asperger syndrome, and (3) one group with autistic symptoms/traits but not entirely all its criteria met for ASD. Children with autism had a mean of 3.2 coexisting disorders or problems, the ALC/Asperger group had a mean of 1.6, and children with autistic traits had a mean of 1.6. The most common disorder/problems in the total group pertained to language problems (78%), intellectual disability (ID) (49%), below average motor function (37%), and severe hyperactivity/ADHD (33%). Conclusions. The results accord with the concept of early symptomatic syndromes eliciting neurodevelopmental clinical examination (ESSENCE), and highlight the need of considering ASD in a broad perspective taking also other cooccurring developmental disorders into account.
Lenalidomide is an amino-substituted derivative of thalidomide with direct antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects on the myeloma tumor cell, as well as antiangiogenic activity and immunomodulatory effects. Together with the introduction of bortezomib and thalidomide, lenalidomide has significantly improved the survival of patients with relapsed and refractory myeloma. The most common adverse events associated with lenalidomide include fatigue, skin rash, thrombocytopenia, and neutropenia. In addition, when lenalidomide is combined with dexamethasone or other conventional cytotoxic agents, there is an increase in the incidence of venous thromboembolic events. There is now evidence that continued treatment with lenalidomide has a significant impact on survival by improving the depth and duration of response. This highlights the value of adverse event management and appropriate dose adjustments to prevent toxicity, and of allowing continued treatment until disease progression. In this review, we will discuss the different lenalidomide-based treatment regimens for patients with relapsed/refractory myeloma. This is accompanied by recommendations of how to manage and prevent adverse events associated with lenalidomide-based therapy.
lenalidomide; multiple myeloma; immunomodulatory drugs; relapse treatment; refractory disease
The relationship between relative metabolic disturbances and developmental disorders is an emerging research focus. This study compares the nutritional and metabolic status of children with autism with that of neurotypical children and investigates the possible association of autism severity with biomarkers.
Participants were children ages 5-16 years in Arizona with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (n = 55) compared with non-sibling, neurotypical controls (n = 44) of similar age, gender and geographical distribution. Neither group had taken any vitamin/mineral supplements in the two months prior to sample collection. Autism severity was assessed using the Pervasive Development Disorder Behavior Inventory (PDD-BI), Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC), and Severity of Autism Scale (SAS). Study measurements included: vitamins, biomarkers of vitamin status, minerals, plasma amino acids, plasma glutathione, and biomarkers of oxidative stress, methylation, sulfation and energy production.
Biomarkers of children with autism compared to those of controls using a t-test or Wilcoxon test found the following statistically significant differences (p < 0.001): Low levels of biotin, plasma glutathione, RBC SAM, plasma uridine, plasma ATP, RBC NADH, RBC NADPH, plasma sulfate (free and total), and plasma tryptophan; also high levels of oxidative stress markers and plasma glutamate. Levels of biomarkers for the neurotypical controls were in good agreement with accessed published reference ranges. In the Autism group, mean levels of vitamins, minerals, and most amino acids commonly measured in clinical care were within published reference ranges.
A stepwise, multiple linear regression analysis demonstrated significant associations between several groups of biomarkers with all three autism severity scales, including vitamins (adjusted R2 of 0.25-0.57), minerals (adj. R2 of 0.22-0.38), and plasma amino acids (adj. R2 of 0.22-0.39).
The autism group had many statistically significant differences in their nutritional and metabolic status, including biomarkers indicative of vitamin insufficiency, increased oxidative stress, reduced capacity for energy transport, sulfation and detoxification. Several of the biomarker groups were significantly associated with variations in the severity of autism. These nutritional and metabolic differences are generally in agreement with other published results and are likely amenable to nutritional supplementation. Research investigating treatment and its relationship to the co-morbidities and etiology of autism is warranted.
Autistic children show elevated serum levels of autoantibodies to several proteins essential for the function of normal brains. The voltage-dependent anion channel, VDAC, and hexokinase-I, a VDAC protective ligand, were identified as targets of this autoimmunity in autistic children. These autoantibodies were purified using immunoaffinity chromatographic techniques. Both antibodies induce apoptosis of cultured human neuroblastoma cells. Because VDAC and hexokinase-I are essential for brain protection from ischemic damage, the presence of these autoantibodies suggests a possible causal role in the neurologic pathogenesis of autism.
autism; autoimmunity; voltage-dependent anion channel; hexokinase-I; apoptosis
Autism is a behaviorally-defined neurodevelopmental disorder usually diagnosed in early childhood that is characterized by impairment in reciprocal communication and speech, repetitive behaviors, and social withdrawal. Although both genetic and environmental factors are thought to be involved, none have been reproducibly identified. The metabolic phenotype of an individual reflects the influence of endogenous and exogenous factors on genotype. As such, it provides a window through which the interactive impact of genes and environment may be viewed and relevant susceptibility factors identified. Although abnormal methionine metabolism has been associated with other neurologic disorders, these pathways and related polymorphisms have not been evaluated in autistic children. Plasma levels of metabolites in methionine transmethylation and transsulfuration pathways were measured in 80 autistic and 73 control children. In addition, common polymorphic variants known to modulate these metabolic pathways were evaluated in 360 autistic children and 205 controls. The metabolic results indicated that plasma methionine and the ratio of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) to S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH), an indicator of methylation capacity, were significantly decreased in the autistic children relative to age-matched controls. In addition, plasma levels of cysteine, glutathione, and the ratio of reduced to oxidized glutathione, an indication of antioxidant capacity and redox homeostasis, were significantly decreased. Differences in allele frequency and/or significant gene-gene interactions were found for relevant genes encoding the reduced folate carrier (RFC 80G>A), transcobalamin II (TCN2 776G>C), catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT 472G>A), methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR 677C>T and 1298A>C), and GST M1. We propose that an increased vulnerability to oxidative stress (endogenous or environmental) may contribute to the development and clinical manifestations of autism.
autism; oxidative stress; genotype; glutathione; methionine
Searching for a mechanism underlying autoimmunity in autism, we postulated that gliadin peptides, heat shock protein 60 (HSP-60), and streptokinase (SK) bind to different peptidases resulting in autoantibody production against these components. We assessed this hypothesis in patients with autism and in those with mixed connective tissue diseases. Associated with antigliadin and anti-HSP antibodies, children with autism and patients with autoimmune disease developed anti-dipeptidylpeptidase I (DPP I), anti-dipeptidylpeptidase IV (DPP IV [or CD26]) and anti-aminopeptidase N (CD13) autoantibodies. A significant percentage of autoimmune and autistic sera were associated with elevated immunoglobulin G (IgG), IgM, or IgA antibodies against three peptidases, gliadin, and HSP-60. These antibodies are specific, since immune absorption demonstrated that only specific antigens (e.g., DPP IV absorption of anti-DPP IV), significantly reduced IgG, IgM, and IgA antibody levels. For direct demonstration of SK, HSP-60, and gliadin peptide binding to DPP IV, microtiter wells coated with DPP IV were reacted with SK, HSP-60, and gliadin. They were then reacted with anti-DPP IV or anti-SK, anti-HSP, and antigliadin antibodies. Adding SK, HSP-60, and gliadin peptides to DPP IV resulted in 27 to 43% inhibition of the DPP IV-anti-DPP IV reaction, but DPP IV-positive peptides caused 18 to 20% enhancement of antigen-antibody reactions. We propose that (i) superantigens (e.g., SK and HSP-60) and dietary proteins (e.g., gliadin peptides) in individuals with predisposing HLA molecules bind to aminopeptidases and (ii) they induce autoantibodies to peptides and tissue antigens. Dysfunctional membrane peptidases and autoantibody production may result in neuroimmune dysregulation and autoimmunity.
Lenalidomide has demonstrated impressive antileukaemic effects in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). The mechanism(s) by which it mediates these effects remain unclear. Clinically, CLL patients treated with lenalidomide demonstrate an acute inflammatory reaction, the tumour flare reaction that is suggestive of an immune activation phenomenon. Samples from CLL patients treated with lenalidomide were used to evaluate its effect on the tumour cell and components of its microenvironment (immune cellular and cytokine). Lenalidomide was unable to directly induce apoptosis in CLL cells in vitro, however it modulated costimulatory (CD80, CD83, CD86) surface molecules on CLL cells in vitro and in vivo. Concurrently, we demonstrated that NK cell proliferation was induced by lenalidomide treatment in patients and correlated with clinical response. Cytokine analysis showed increase in levels of TNF-α post-lenalidomide treatment, consistent with acute inflammatory reaction. Furthermore, the basal cytokine profile (high IL-8, MIG, IP-10 and IL-4 levels and low IL-5, MIP1a, MIP1b, IL12/p70) was predictive of clinical response to lenalidomide. Collectively, our correlative studies provide further evidence that the antileukaemic effect of lenalidomide in CLL is mediated not only through modulation of the leukaemic clone but also through elements of the tumour microenvironment.
lenalidomide; chronic lymphocytic leukaemia; immune cells; microenvironment; immune activation