Sarcoidosis is a non-caseating granulomatous disease for which a role for infectious antigens continues to strengthen. Recent studies have reported molecular evidence of mycobacteria or propionibacteria. We assessed for immune responses against mycobacterial and propionibacterial antigens in sarcoidosis bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) using flow cytometry, and localized signals consistent with microbial antigens with sarcoidosis specimens, using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization imaging mass spectrometry (MALDI-IMS).
BAL cells from 27 sarcoidosis, 14 PPD- controls, and 9 subjects with nontuberculosis mycobacterial (NTM) infections were analyzed for production of IFN-γ after stimulation with mycobacterial ESAT-6 and Propionibacterium acnes proteins. To complement the immunological data, MALDI-IMS was performed to localize ESAT-6 and Propionibacterium acnes signals within sarcoidosis and control specimens.
CD4+ immunologic analysis for mycobacteria was positive in 17/27 sarcoidosis subjects, compared to 2/14 PPD-subjects, and 5/9 NTM subjects (p=00.008 and p=00.71 respectively, Fisher's exact test). There was no significant difference for recognition of P. acnes, which occurred only in sarcoidosis subjects that also recognized ESAT-6. Similar results were also observed for the CD8+ immunologic analysis. MALDI-IMS localized signals consistent with ESAT-6 only within sites of granulomatous inflammation, whereas P. acnes signals were distributed throughout the specimen.
MALDI-IMS localizes signals consistent with ESAT-6 to sarcoidosis granulomas, whereas no specific localization of P. acnes signals is detected. Immune responses against both mycobacterial and P. acnes are present within sarcoidosis BAL, but only mycobacterial signals are distinct from disease controls. These immunologic and molecular investigations support further investigation of the microbial community within sarcoidosis granulomas.
Sarcoidosis; mycobacteria; propionibacteria; bronchoalveolar lavage; mass spectrometry; MALDI-IMS
Sarcoidosis is a granulomatous inflammatory disorder of unclear etiology, which
is known to affect multiple organ systems including the lungs, heart, skin,
central nervous system, and eyes, among others. For this reason, sarcoidosis
represents a systemic medical disorder that is clinically relevant to multiple
medical sub-specialties. Despite extensive research, the etiology of sarcoidosis
has yet to be elucidated, although most evidence supports that the pathogenetic
mechanism of sarcoidosis is an aberrant immune response, driven by an
unidentified antigen (or antigens) in genetically susceptible individuals.
Multiple candidate etiologic agents, including microbial organisms and
environmental agents, have been investigated, but study results are
inconclusive. In this review, we describe the known histologic and immunologic
features of sarcoidosis and discuss the evidence supporting a role for
infectious processes in the pathogenesis of sarcoidosis.
sarcoidosis; etiology; immunology; Mycobacterium; infection
Sarcoidosis is a multisystem disease which is most commonly manifested in the pulmonary system. However, extrapulmonary manifestations have also been frequently reported. Isolated occurrence of sarcoidosis in the genital system is rare and poses a diagnostic and therapeutic dilemma. Uterine sarcoidosis can present with cervical erosions, endometrial polypoid lesions, and recurrent serometra. In majority of cases, it is diagnosed by endometrial curettage, but it has also been detected by examination of hysterectomy, polypectomy, and autopsy specimens. Nonnecrotizing granulomas are the characteristic pathologic finding of sarcoidosis. However, many infectious and noninfectious etiologies including certain neoplasms can produce similar granulomatous reactions in the female genital tract. These conditions affect the female genital tract more commonly than sarcoidosis, and therefore it is important to rule out these conditions first before making a diagnosis of sarcoidosis. Treatment of sarcoidosis is different from treating these other conditions and the most commonly used systemic or local corticosteroids can be hazardous if the underlying cause is infection. In this case report, the clinical presentation, histopathology, clinical course, and treatment of a patient with isolated uterine sarcoidosis are described, and a brief literature review of sarcoidosis of the female genital tract is provided.
Sarcoidosis is an idiopathic granulomatous disease with pathologic and immunologic features similar to tuberculosis. Routine histologic staining and culture fail to identify infectious agents. An alternative means for investigating a role of infectious agents in human pathogenesis involves molecular analysis of pathologic tissues for microbial nucleic acids, as well as recognition of microbial antigens by the host immune system. Molecular analysis for superoxide dismutase A (sodA) allows speciation of mycobacteria. SodA is an abundantly secreted virulence factor that generates cellular immune responses in infected hosts. The purpose of this study is to investigate if target antigens of the sarcoidosis immune response can be identified by molecular analysis of sarcoidosis granulomas.
We detected sodA amplicons in 12 of 17 sarcoidosis specimens, compared to 2 of 16 controls (p = 0.001, two-tailed Fisher's exact test), and 3 of 3 tuberculosis specimens (p = 0.54). Analysis of the amplicons revealed sequences identical to M. tuberculosis (MTB) complex, as well as sequences which were genetically divergent. Using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 12 of the 17 sarcoidosis subjects, we performed enzyme-linked immunospot assay (ELISPOT) to assess for immune recognition of MTB sodA peptides, along with PBMC from 26 PPD- healthy volunteers, and 11 latent tuberculosis subjects.
Six of 12 sarcoidosis subjects recognized the sodA peptides, compared to one of 26 PPD- controls (p = 0.002), and 6/11 PPD+ subjects (p = .68). Overall, 10 of the 12 sarcoidosis subjects from whom we obtained PBMC and archival tissue possessed molecular or immunologic evidence for sodA.
Dual molecular and immunologic analysis increases the ability to find infectious antigens. The detection of Th-1 immune responses to sodA peptides derived from molecular analysis of sarcoidosis granulomas reveals that these are among the target antigens contributing to sarcoidosis granulomatous inflammation.
Cell wall-defective bacteria which later reverted to acid-fast bacilli have been isolated from sarcoid tissue. These have not been conclusively shown to be mycobacteria. Specific PCR assays were applied to identify mycobacterial nucleic acids in these cultured isolates and in fresh specimens obtained from patients with sarcoidosis. Positive amplification and hybridization were observed with Mycobacterium avium complex- and/or Mycobacterium paratuberculosis-specific probes in five of the six cultured isolates and two fresh skin biopsy samples and one cerebrospinal fluid specimen. There was no amplification or hybridization with Mycobacterium tuberculosis or M. avium subsp. silvaticum probes, respectively. Patients' sera were also tested for antibody reactivities by immunoblotting with M. paratuberculosis recombinant clones expressing the 36,000-molecular-weight antigen (36K antigen) (p36) and the 65K heat shock protein (PTB65K). All seven sarcoidosis, four of six tuberculosis, and all six leprosy patient serum specimens showed strong reactivity with p36 antigen. In contrast, 13 of 38 controls showed only weak reactivity with p36 (P = 0.002 for controls versus sarcoidosis samples). Similarly, PTB65K reacted with high intensity with sera from 5 of 5 sarcoidosis, 5 of 6 tuberculosis, and 5 of 6 leprosy patients, compared with its low-intensity reaction with 5 of 22 controls (P = 0.001 for controls versus sarcoidosis samples). This study demonstrates the isolation and/or identification of M. paratuberculosis or a closely related M. avium complex strain from sarcoid skin lesions and cerebrospinal fluid. Furthermore, the reactivity of antibodies in sarcoid patient sera against p36 and PTB65K antigens was comparable to the reactivity of sera obtained from patients with known mycobacterial disease. Collectively, these data provide further support for the theory of the mycobacterial etiology of sarcoidosis.
Sarcoidosis is characterized by noncaseating granulomas containing CD4+ T cells with a Th1 immunophenotype. Although the causative antigens remain unknown, independent studies noted molecular and immunologic evidence of mycobacterial virulence factors in sarcoidosis specimens. A major limiting factor in discovering new insights into the pathogenesis of sarcoidosis is the lack of an animal model. Using a distinct superoxide dismutase A peptide (sodA) associated with sarcoidosis granulomas, we developed a pulmonary model of sarcoidosis granulomatous inflammation. Mice were sensitized by a subcutaneous injection of sodA, incorporated in incomplete Freund's adjuvant (IFA). Control subjects consisted of mice with no sensitization (ConNS), sensitized with IFA only (ConIFA), or with Schistosoma mansoni eggs. Fourteen days later, sensitized mice were challenged by tail-vein injection of naked beads, covalently coupled to sodA peptides or to schistosome egg antigens (SEA). Histologic analysis revealed hilar lymphadenopathy and noncaseating granulomas in the lungs of sodA-treated or SEA-treated mice. Flow cytometry of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) demonstrated CD4+ T-cell responses against sodA peptide in the sodA-sensitized mice only. Cytometric bead analysis revealed significant differences in IL-2 and IFN-γ secretion in the BAL fluid of sodA-treated mice, compared with mice that received SEA or naked beads (P = 0.008, Wilcoxon rank sum test). ConNS and ConIFA mice demonstrated no significant formation of granuloma, and no Th1 immunophenotype. The use of microbial peptides distinct for sarcoidosis reveals a histologic and immunologic profile in the murine model that correlates well with those profiles noted in human sarcoidosis, providing the framework to investigate the molecular basis for the progression or resolution of sarcoidosis.
lung; sarcoidosis; granuloma; Mycobacterium soda; mouse
Sarcoidosis likely results from the exposure of a genetically susceptible subject to an environmental agent, possibly an infectious one. Mycobacterial and propionibacterial organisms are the most commonly implicated potential etiologic agents. Propionibacterium acnes is the only microorganism, however, found in sarcoid lesions by bacterial culture. To evaluate the pathogenic role of this indigenous bacterium, we screened for the bacterium in sarcoid and non-sarcoid tissues using immunohistochemical methods with novel P. acnes-specific monoclonal antibodies that react with cell-membrane-bound lipoteichoic acid (PAB antibody) and ribosome-bound trigger-factor protein (TIG antibody). We examined formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded samples of lungs and lymph nodes from 196 patients with sarcoidosis, and corresponding control samples from 275 patients with non-sarcoidosis diseases. The samples were mostly from Japanese patients, with 64 lymph node samples from German patients. Immunohistochemistry with PAB antibody revealed small round bodies within sarcoid granulomas in 20/27 (74%) video-assisted thoracic surgery lung samples, 24/50 (48%) transbronchial lung biopsy samples, 71/81 (88%) Japanese lymph node samples, and 34/38 (89%) German lymph node samples. PAB antibody did not react with non-sarcoid granulomas in any of the 45 tuberculosis samples or the 34 samples with sarcoid reaction. In nongranulomatous areas, small round bodies detected by PAB antibody were found in alveolar macrophages of lungs and paracortical macrophages of lymph nodes from many sarcoid and some non-sarcoid patients. Large-spheroidal acid-fast bodies, Hamazaki–Wesenberg bodies, which were found in 50% of sarcoid and 15% of non-sarcoid lymph node samples, reacted with both PAB and TIG antibodies. Electron microscopy revealed that these Hamazaki–Wesenberg bodies had a single bacterial structure and lacked a cell wall with occasional protrusions from the body. The high frequency and specificity of P. acnes, detected by PAB antibody within sarcoid granulomas, indicates that this indigenous bacterium might be the cause of granuloma formation in many sarcoid patients.
epithelioid cell granuloma; Hamazaki–Wesenberg body; lipoteichoic acid; trigger-factor protein
Childhood sarcoidosis is a rare multisystemic granulomatous disorder of unknown etiology. In the pediatric series reported from the southeastern United States, sarcoidosis had a higher incidence among African Americans. Most reported childhood cases have occurred in patients aged 13–15 years. Macrophages bearing an increased expression of major histocompatibility class (MHC) II molecules most likely initiate the inflammatory response of sarcoidosis by presenting an unidentified antigen to CD4+ Th (helper-inducer) lymphocytes. A persistent, poorly degradable antigen driven cell-mediated immune response leads to a cytokine cascade, to granuloma formation, and eventually to fibrosis. Frequently observed immunologic features include depression of cutaneous delayed-type hypersensitivity and a heightened helper T cell type 1 (Th1) immune response at sites of disease. Circulating immune complexes, along with signs of B cell hyperactivity, may also be found. The clinical presentation can vary greatly depending upon the organs involved and age of the patient. Two distinct forms of sarcoidosis exist in children. Older children usually present with a multisystem disease similar to the adult manifestations, with frequent hilar lymphadenopathy and pulmonary infiltrations. Early-onset sarcoidosis is a unique form of the disease characterized by the triad of rash, uveitis, and arthritis in children presenting before four years of age. The diagnosis of sarcoidosis is confirmed by demonstrating a typical noncaseating granuloma on a biopsy specimen. Other granulmatous diseases should be reasonably excluded. The current therapy of choice for sarcoidosis in children with multisystem involvement is oral corticosteroids. Methotrexate given orally in low doses has been effective, safe and steroid sparing in some patients. Alternative immunosuppressive agents, such as azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, chlorambucil, and cyclosporine, have been tried in adult cases of sarcoidosis with questionable efficacy. The high toxicity profile of these agents, including an increased risk of lymphoproliferative disorders and carcinomas, has limited their use to patients with severe disease refractory to other agents. Successful steroid sparing treatment with mycophenolate mofetil was described in an adolescent with renal-limited sarcoidosis complicated by renal failure. Novel treatment strategies for sarcoidosis have been developed including the use of TNF-alpha inhibitors, such as infliximab. The long-term course and prognosis is not well established in childhood sarcoidosis, but it appears to be poorer in early-onset disease.
Isolated cutaneous sarcoidosis is a rare multisystemic granulomatous disorder of unknown etiology. Cutaneous lesions have been classified into specific and nonspecific depending on the presence of noncaseating granulomas on histopathologic studies. Macrophages most likely initiate the response of sarcoidosis by presenting unidentified antigens to CD4+ lymphocytes. A persistent poorly degradable antigen-driven CMI response leads to cytokine cascade, granulomaformation, and fibrosis. In the present study, we report a case of isolated cutaneous sarcoidosis, localized to the face, in an adolescent girl without systemic manifestations which is a rare entity.
Cutaneous; facial; sarcoidosis
Sarcoidosis is a noncaseating granulomatous disease, likely of autoimmune etiology, that causes inflammation and tissue damage in multiple organs, most commonly the lung, but also skin, and lymph nodes. Reduced dendritic cell (DC) function in sarcoidosis peripheral blood compared with peripheral blood from control subjects suggests that blunted end organ cellular immunity may contribute to sarcoidosis pathogenesis. Successful treatment of sarcoidosis with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, which modulate DC maturation and migration, has also been reported. Together, these observations suggest that DCs may be important mediators of sarcoidosis immunology. This review focuses on the phenotype and function of DCs in the lung, skin, blood, and lymph node of patients with sarcoidosis. We conclude that DCs in end organs are phenotypically and functionally immature (anergic), while DCs in the lymph node are mature and polarize pathogenic Th1 T cells. The success of TNF inhibitors is thus likely secondary to inhibition of DC-mediated Th1 polarization in the lymph node.
sarcoidosis; granuloma; dendritic cell; macrophage; inflammation
In every decade, sarcoidosis makes a chameleon-like change so its profile needs to be updated. It was first recognised as a dermatological curiosity which evolved into a multisystem disorder with bone cysts, uveitis, and intrathoracic involvement. New dimensions were uncovered by biochemistry and immunology, bringing it still nearer the elusive enigma, namely the cause of sarcoidosis. Aetiology includes an understanding of a genetic predisposition and environmental trigger factors. What was left undone in the 20th century will become evident in the 21st century with more sophisticated technology. Likewise, conventional treatments of the past will be superseded by cytokines and other magic bullets of the millennium.
Keywords: anergy; apoptosis; homoeostasis; cytokines
Sarcoidosis is a multisystem granulomatous disease for which the association with mycobacteria continues to strengthen. It is hypothesized that a single, poorly degradable antigen is responsible for sarcoidosis pathogenesis. Several reports from independent groups support mycobacterial antigens having a role in sarcoidosis pathogenesis. To identify other microbial targets of the adaptive immune response, we tested the ability of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells to recognize multiple mycobacterial antigens.
Fifty-four subjects were enrolled in this study: 31 sarcoidosis patients, nine non-tuberculosis mycobacterial (NTM) infection controls, and 14 PPD- controls. Using flow cytometry, we assessed for Th1 immune responses to ESAT-6, katG, Ag85A, sodA, and HSP.
Alveolar T-cells from twenty-two of the 31 sarcoidosis patients produced a CD4+ response to at least one of ESAT-6, katG, Ag85A, sodA, or HSP, compared to two of 14 PPD- controls (p = 0.0008) and five of nine NTM controls (p = 0.44), while eighteen of the 31 sarcoidosis subjects tested produced a CD8+ response to at least one of the mycobacterial antigens compared to two of 14 PPD- controls (p = 0.009) and three of nine NTM controls (0.26). Not only did the BAL-derived T cells respond to multiple virulence factors, but also to multiple, distinct epitopes within a given protein. The detection of proliferation upon stimulation with the mycobacterial virulence factors demonstrates that these responses are initiated by antigen specific recognition.
Together these results reveal that antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells responses to multiple mycobacterial epitopes are present within sites of active sarcoidosis involvement, and that these antigen-specific responses are present at the time of diagnosis.
Sarcoidosis is a systemic inflammatory disease characterized by the formation of non-caseating granulomas, with varied clinical manifestations. The common etiology of sarcoidosis is uncertain, but it is thought to be triggered by an exogenous antigenic stimulus, such as some bacterial proteins. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) recognize microbial components and elicit innate as well as adaptive immune responses. It has been reported that polymorphisms in TLR2 might be important in a small group of Caucasian sarcoidosis patients. The present study aimed to establish whether these findings are relevant to the Japanese population.
We genotyped 5 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in TLR2 and assessed the allelic diversity between 257 Japanese sarcoidosis patients and 193 Japanese healthy controls.
No significant differences in the frequency of TLR2 alleles and haplotypes in the sarcoidosis cases were found in comparison with the controls. However, marginal associations were observed for TLR2 at rs3804099 and rs3804100 in sarcoidosis patients with cutaneous manifestations.
Our results suggest that TLR2 polymorphisms are not significantly related to the pathogenesis of sarcoidosis in the Japanese population.
A case of Takayasu aortitis associated with sarcoidosis presenting with recurrent angina is reported. This association has been called ‘Takayasu syndrome’, which reflects what is likely a shared etiology. Myocardial perfusion abnormalities have recently been documented in sarcoidosis, but this case clarifies for the first time that the angina in Takayasu syndrome is likely due to small vessel coronary arteritis. Corticosteroids and cytotoxic therapy have been shown to be beneficial in all forms of sarcoidosis related to vasculitis. Initiation of steroid therapy may provide relief of angina in patients with evidence of reversible ischemia in normal coronary arteries.
Microvascular angina; Reversible ischemia; Sarcoidosis; Takayasu aortitis
This is an update on sarcoidosis, focusing on etiology, diagnosis, and treatment. In the area of etiopathogenesis, we now have a better understanding of the immune response that leads to the disease as well as genetic factors that modify both the risk for the disease and its clinical outcome. Several groups have also identified possible agents as a cause for sarcoidosis. Although none of these potential causes has been definitely confirmed, there is increasing evidence to support that one or more infectious agents may cause sarcoidosis, although this organism may no longer be viable in the patient. The diagnosis of sarcoidosis has been significantly aided by new technology. This includes the endobronchial ultrasound, which has been shown to increase the yield of needle aspiration of mediastinal and hilar lymph nodes. The positive emission tomography scan has proven useful for selecting possible biopsy sites by identifying organ involvement not appreciated by routine methodology. It has also helped in assessing cardiac involvement. The biologic agents, such as the anti–tumor necrosis factor antibodies, have changed the approach to refractory sarcoidosis. There is increasing evidence that the clinician can identify which patient is most likely to benefit from such therapy. As new and more potent antiinflammatory agents have been developed, it is clear that there are other factors that burden the patient with sarcoidosis, including fatigue and sarcoidosis-associated pulmonary hypertension. There have been several recent studies demonstrating treatment options for these problems.
mycobacterium; HLA; Löfgren syndrome; infliximab; pulmonary hypertension
Although the initiating factor(s) is unknown, it is now accepted that pulmonary sarcoidosis develops as a result of an over-stimulated local cellular immune response. Starting as a lymphocytic alveolitis, there is a progression to granuloma formation within the interstitium as stimulated T lymphocytes release mediators capable of attracting and activating monocytes to differentiate into macrophages and epithelioid cells. We are also aware that macrophage-like cells must act as antigen presenters to initiate T cell stimulation within the immune response. To date, interest in the alveolar macrophages of patients with sarcoidosis has focused more on their passive role as responders of the soluble T cell products released as the disease progresses. This paper explores the active role of mononuclear non-lymphoid cells as inducers of immune responses, by taking advantage of monoclonal antibodies capable of discriminating between phenotypically distinct subsets of macrophages. Recent results are presented that suggest a central role for these cells in controlling the course of this disease, focusing specifically on the mechanisms underlying the failure in some patients to resolve the interstitial inflammation and subsequently progressing to fibrosis. A new hypothesis proposes that aberrations in the functional capacity of macrophages may prohibit the emergence of a granuloma-resolving mechanism in some sarcoid patients.
Considerable evidence supports the concept that CD4+ T cells are important in sarcoidosis pathogenesis, but the antigens responsible for the observed Th1 immunophenotype remain elusive. The epidemiologic association with bioaerosols and the presence of granulomatous inflammation support consideration of mycobacterial antigens. To explore the role of mycobacterial antigens in sarcoidosis immunopathogenesis, we assessed the immune recognition of mycobacterial antigens, the 6-kDa early secreted antigenic protein (ESAT-6) and catalase-peroxidase (KatG), by T cells derived from bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid obtained during diagnostic bronchoscopy. We report the presence of antigen-specific recognition of ESAT-6 and KatG in T cells from BAL fluid of 32/44 sarcoidosis subjects, compared to 1/27 controls (P < 0.0001). CD4+ T cells were primarily responsible for immune recognition (32/44 sarcoidosis subjects), although CD8+ T-cell responses were observed (25/41 sarcoidosis subjects). Recognition was significantly absent from BAL fluid cells of patients with other lung diseases, including infectious granulomatous diseases. Blocking of Toll-like receptor 2 reduced the strength of the observed immune response. The presence of immune responses to mycobacterial antigens in cells from BAL fluid used for sarcoidosis diagnosis suggests a strong association between mycobacteria and sarcoidosis pathogenesis. Inhibition of immune recognition with monoclonal antibody against Toll-like receptor 2 suggests that induction of innate immunity by mycobacteria contributes to the polarized Th1 immune response.
Sarcoidosis, a systemic granulomatous disease of unknown etiology. The presentation of sarcoidal granuloma in neck nodes without typical manifestations of systemic sarcoidosis is difficult to diagnose. We describe the case of a 37-year-old woman with an increasing mass on the right side of neck. The excisional biopsy from the neck mass showed noncaseating epithelioid cell granuloma of the lymph nodes. No evidence of mycobacterial or fungal infection was noted. Thoracic evaluations did not show enlargement of mediastinal lymph nodes or parenchymal abnormalities. Immunohistochemistry showed abundant expression of tumor necrosis factor-α in the granuloma. However, transforming growth factor-β was not expressed, although interleukin-1β was focally expressed. These immunohistochemical findings supported characterization of the granuloma and the diagnosis of sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis can present with cervical lymph node enlargement without mediastinal or lung abnormality. Immunohistochemistry may support the diagnosis of sarcoidosis and characterization of granuloma.
Sarcoidosis; Lymphatic Diseases; Neck; Immunohistochemistry
Sarcoidosis is a multisystemic disease of unknown etiology characterized by a disproportionate Th1 granulomatous immune response in the organs involved. Plasmatic hypergammaglobulinemia and B cell accumulation in granulomatous lesions suggest the possible role of humoral immune responses in the pathogenesis of sarcoidosis. The purpose of this study is to describe B cell peripheral compartment in sarcoidosis.
We analyzed blood B cell subsets and BAFF levels in 33 patients with chronic sarcoidosis (active sarcoidosis n = 18; inactive sarcoidosis n = 15) and 18 healthy donors. Active chronic sarcoidosis patients had significantly less circulating memory B cells (p<0.01), more transitional (p<0.01) and increased numbers of IL-10-producing regulatory B cells (p<0.05) compared with healthy donors and patients with inactive sarcoidosis. BAFF serum levels were significantly higher in patients with active sarcoidosis (p<0.01 versus healthy donors and inactive sarcoidosis patients) and strongly correlated with serum hypergammaglobulinemia (r = 0.53, p<0.01) and angiotensin converting enzyme levels (r = 0.61, p = <0.01).
These data show that there is an altered B cell homeostasis in active sarcoidosis and suggest BAFF antagonist drugs as potential new treatments of this disease.
Sarcoidosis is a systemic granulomatous disease of unknown etiology. It has diverse clinical manifestations, most frequently including pulmonary disorders. It is associated with immunological abnormalities, the intricacies of which have yet to be clearly delineated. In the immunologically susceptible individual, genetic, environmental, nutritional, and socioeconomic factors may play a governing role in its development. Sarcoidosis is a diagnosis of exclusion established by clinical manifestations, radiologic findings, and histologic evidence of noncaseating epithelioid-cell granulomas in >1 organ. We will discuss parameters that are helpful in making this diagnosis.
BACKGROUND: Sarcoidosis is a systemic granulomatous disorder of unknown origin characterised by accumulation of T lymphocytes and macrophages in multiple organs. Several cytokines and adhesion molecules may contribute to the accumulation of T lymphocytes in pulmonary sarcoidosis. The distribution of T lymphocyte subsets, T cell bearing CD11a and beta chemokines such as regulated on activation normal T expressed and secreted (RANTES), macrophage inflammatory peptide 1 alpha (MIP-1 alpha), and macrophage chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and peripheral blood were compared in untreated patients with sarcoidosis and normal subjects. METHODS: Flow cytometric analysis with monoclonal antibodies to cell surface antigens was used to identify T lymphocyte subsets in the BAL fluid of untreated patients with sarcoidosis (n = 40)--either without (group A, n = 12) or with (group B, n = 28) radiological evidence of pulmonary involvement--and in 22 normal subjects. The level of different beta chemokines was estimated by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). RESULTS: A high percentage of CD3+ cells, CD4+ cells expressing HLA-DR antigen, and a high CD4/CD8 ratio were detected in the BAL fluid of patients compared with normal subjects. In particular, CD4+ CD29+ memory T cells were significantly increased in patients with sarcoidosis. Furthermore, these cells were higher in those in group B than group A. The level of RANTES in the BAL fluid of patients was significantly higher than in normal subjects and correlated well with the percentage, number, and expression of CD29 on CD4 cells. The expression of CD11a (alpha chain of lymphocyte function associated antigen-1, LFA-1) on CD3+ cells in the BAL fluid of patients with sarcoidosis was not different from that of normal subjects. However, the expression of CD11a on CD3+ cells in the BAL fluid of patients in group A was significantly lower than that of patients in group B and normal subjects. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest a possible interaction between activated memory T cells bearing CD11a and RANTES which may contribute to the pulmonary involvement in patients with sarcoidosis.
Sarcoidosis is a granulomatous disorder of unknown cause, affecting multiple organs, but mainly the lungs. The exact order of immunological events remains obscure. Reviewing current literature, combined with careful clinical observations, we propose a model for granuloma formation in pulmonary sarcoidosis. A tight collaboration between macrophages, dendritic cells, and lymphocyte subsets, initiates the first steps toward granuloma formation, orchestrated by cytokines and chemokines. In a substantial part of pulmonary sarcoidosis patients, granuloma formation becomes an on-going process, leading to debilitating disease, and sometimes death. The immunological response, determining granuloma sustainment is not well understood. An impaired immunosuppressive function of regulatory T cells has been suggested to contribute to the exaggerated response. Interestingly, therapeutical agents commonly used in sarcoidosis, such as glucocorticosteroids and anti-TNF agents, interfere with granuloma integrity and restore the immune homeostasis in autoimmune disorders. Increasing insight into their mechanisms of action may contribute to the search for new therapeutical targets in pulmonary sarcoidosis.
pulmonary sarcoidosis; granuloma; formation; integrity; dendritic cells; T helper 1 cells; T helper 17 cells; regulatory T cells
Sarcoidosis is a multisystem granulomatous disease of unknown etiology. The organs that are involved by sarcoidosis include the lungs in which the granuloma is seen in more than 90% of patients to the pituitary, which is only rarely affected. There are many hypotheses as to the cause of sarcoidosis. Some of them rely on the similarities seen between sarcoidosis and the other granuloma-forming diseases such as tuberculosis, berylliosis, pine pollen inhalation and acute and chronic bacterial and viral infections, while others find similarities between sarcoidosis and immune reactions observed in autoimmune disorders. Still other explanations implicate a genetic predisposition or a still-unknown agent as the underlying cause of the granuloma formation.
Sarcoidosis is a granulomatous multisystemic disease of unclear etiology, which can affect any organ. The cutaneous manifestations are present in 20% to 35% of patients. Cutaneous lesions have been classified as specific and nonspecific, depending on the presence of noncaseating granulomas on histologic studies. Specific lesions include maculopapules, plaques, nodules, lupus pernio, scar infiltration, alopecia, ulcerative lesions, and hypopigmentation among others. The most common nonspecific lesion is erythema nodosum. Others include calcifications, prurigo, erythema multiforme, nail clubbing, and sweet syndrome. Urticaria does not belong to nonspecific nor specific lesions of this illness. Diagnosis is based on 3 criteria: a compatible clinical and/or radiological picture, histological evidence of noncaseating granulomas, and exclusion of other diseases. There is no standarized therapy but corticosteroids are the mainstay of treatment for sarcoidosis. We report a case of undetermined chronic urticaria which after 6 months displayed compatible symptoms with respiratory disease associated with systemic involvement.
A 34-year-old man followed in our department due to a chronic urticaria, during 6 months with no good response to anti-histaminic treatment; refers non specific constitutional symptoms, including fever, weight loss, fatigue dyspnea and dry cough for 2 months. Skin prick test with standard aeroallergens and foods are done. Laboratory test (incluiding ECA levels), functional study; tuberculine test, chest x-ray, CT scan and lung biopsy were performed.
Skin prick test and tuberculine test were negatives. Angiotensin-converting enzyme was high (ECA: 141). We observed a mixed process with negative bronchodilator response in pulmonary function test and a moderate disminution in diffusing capacity. Difuse and bilateral reticulo-nodular infiltration with mediastinal and hiliar lymphadenopathy was observed in X-chest. Lung biopsy: Noncaseating granulomas were observed. The diagnosis was Sarcoidosis, stage II. The patient remains asymptomatic regarding cutaneous and respiratory symptoms, after fulfilling oral corticoiteroids treatment for sarcoidosis.
Chronic urticaria can be the tip of an iceberg indicating more changes in other organs. The importance of considering cutaneous sarcoidosis in the clinical differential diagnosis of an urticaria relies on the association with systemic involvement, partial treatment response and the convenience of the skin as a tissue source for histologic analysis.
A 36-year-old man was admitted for persistent abdominal pain and weight loss. He had had significant exposure to asbestos, as he had been active in cleanup after the World Trade Center attack. A CT scan of his abdomen was initially read as peritoneal carcinomatosis without evidence of ascites. Infectious etiology was subsequently ruled out and diagnostic laparoscopy was performed for tissue diagnosis revealing noncaseating granulomas consistent with peritoneal sarcoidosis. Of note, he had an elevated CA-125 level on admission, which is unique in males with peritoneal sarcoidosis.
Peritoneal sarcoidosis; Peritoneal carcinomatosis; CA-125 level; Asbestos exposure