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1.  Dual Analysis for Mycobacteria and Propionibacteria in Sarcoidosis BAL 
Journal of clinical immunology  2012;32(5):1129-1140.
Purpose
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).
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1007/s10875-012-9700-5
PMCID: PMC3526106  PMID: 22552860
Sarcoidosis; mycobacteria; propionibacteria; bronchoalveolar lavage; mass spectrometry; MALDI-IMS
2.  Sarcoidosis Th17 Cells are ESAT-6 Antigen Specific but Demonstrate Reduced IFN-γ Expression 
Journal of clinical immunology  2012;33(2):10.1007/s10875-012-9817-6.
Rationale
Sarcoidosis is a granulomatous disease of unknown etiology. Many patients with sarcoidosis demonstrate antigen-specific immunity to mycobacterial virulence factors. Th-17 cells are crucial to the immune response in granulomatous inflammation, and have recently been shown to be present in greater numbers in the peripheral blood and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid (BALF) of sarcoidosis patients than healthy controls. It is unclear whether Th-17 cells in sarcoidosis are specific for mycobacterial antigens, or whether they have similar functionality to control Th-17 cells.
Methods
Flow cytometry was used to determine the numbers of Th-17 cells present in the peripheral blood and BALF of patients with sarcoidosis, the percentage of Th-17 cells that were specific to the mycobacterial virulence factor ESAT-6, and as well as to assess IFN-γ expression in Th-17 cells following polyclonal stimulation.
Results
Patients with sarcoidosis had greater numbers of Th-17 cells in the peripheral blood and BALF than controls and produced significantly more extracellular IL-17A (p=0.03 and p=0.02, respectively). ESAT-6 specific Th-17 cells were present in both peripheral blood and BALF of sarcoidosis patients (p<0.001 and p=0.03, respectively). After polyclonal stimulation, Th-17 cells from sarcoidosis patients produced less IFN-γ than healthy controls.
Conclusions
Patients with sarcoidosis have mycobacterial antigen-specific Th-17 cells peripherally and in sites of active sarcoidosis involvement. Despite the Th1 immunophenotype of sarcoidosis immunology, the Th-17 cells have reduced IFN-γ expression, compared to healthy controls. This reduction in immunity may contribute to sarcoidosis pathogenesis.
doi:10.1007/s10875-012-9817-6
PMCID: PMC3850764  PMID: 23073617
Sarcoidosis; Th-17; mycobacterial ESAT-6
3.  Cellular Responses to Mycobacterial Antigens Are Present in Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid Used in the Diagnosis of Sarcoidosis▿ †  
Infection and Immunity  2009;77(9):3740-3748.
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.
doi:10.1128/IAI.00142-09
PMCID: PMC2738026  PMID: 19596780
4.  Occupational Causes of Sarcoidosis 
Purpose of review
Sarcoidosis, the multiorgan, granulomatous disease of unknown etiology, remains mysterious. Several important investigations in the past two years add to accumulating evidence for both occupational and environmental causes of granulomatous inflammation.
Recent findings
This review considers the most recent studies that contribute to the hypothesis that sarcoidosis occurs when individuals are exposed to foreign antigens and to inorganic particulates that promote inflammation. Major recent findings, such as those emerging from the study of World Trade Center responders, the study of nanoparticles, and cases of work-associated sarcoidosis support the probability that occupational, as well as environmental, exposures to inflammatory stimuli trigger sarcoidosis-like illness. Major recent studies of microbially-rich indoor environments, including moldy indoor workplaces and mycobacterially-contaminated settings, contribute to the evidence that a variety of microbial antigens serve as targets for the hypersensitivity immune response in an inflammatory milieu.
Summary
There is increasing evidence that sarcoidosis can occur in workplace settings in which there is exposure to both foreign antigens and inorganic triggers of inflammation that promote an exuberant granulomatous immune response. It is likely that sarcoidosis has more than one cause.
doi:10.1097/ACI.0b013e3283515173
PMCID: PMC4196683  PMID: 22314258
Sarcoidosis; Occupation; Granuloma; Nanoparticle; World Trade Center
5.  Sarcoidosis 
Sarcoidosis is a multisystemic disorder of unknown cause characterized by the formation of immune granulomas in involved organs. It is an ubiquitous disease with incidence (varying according to age, sex, race and geographic origin) estimated at around 16.5/100,000 in men and 19/100,000 in women. The lung and the lymphatic system are predominantly affected but virtually every organ may be involved. Other severe manifestations result from cardiac, neurological, ocular, kidney or laryngeal localizations. In most cases, sarcoidosis is revealed by persistent dry cough, eye or skin manifestations, peripheral lymph nodes, fatigue, weight loss, fever or night sweats, and erythema nodosum. Abnormal metabolism of vitamin D3 within granulomatous lesions and hypercalcemia are possible. Chest radiography is abnormal in about 90% of cases and shows lymphadenopathy and/or pulmonary infiltrates (without or with fibrosis), defining sarcoidosis stages from I to IV. The etiology remains unknown but the prevailing hypothesis is that various unidentified, likely poorly degradable antigens of either infectious or environmental origin could trigger an exaggerated immune reaction in genetically susceptible hosts. Diagnosis relies on compatible clinical and radiographic manifestations, evidence of non-caseating granulomas obtained by biopsy through tracheobronchial endoscopy or at other sites, and exclusion of all other granulomatous diseases. The evolution and severity of sarcoidosis are highly variable. Mortality is estimated at between 0.5–5%. In most benign cases (spontaneous resolution within 24–36 months), no treatment is required but a regular follow-up until recovery is necessary. In more serious cases, a medical treatment has to be prescribed either initially or at some point during follow-up according to clinical manifestations and their evolution. Systemic corticosteroids are the mainstay of treatment of sarcoidosis. The minimal duration of treatment is 12 months. Some patients experience repeated relapses and may require long-term low-dose corticosteroid therapy during years. Other treatments (immunosuppressive drugs and aminoquinolins) may be useful in case of unsatisfactory response to corticosteroids, poor tolerance and as sparing agents when high doses of corticosteroids are needed for a long time. In some strictly selected cases refractory to standard therapy, specific antiTNF-α agents may offer precious improvement. Some patients benefit from topical corticosteroids.
doi:10.1186/1750-1172-2-46
PMCID: PMC2169207  PMID: 18021432
6.  Superoxide dismutase A antigens derived from molecular analysis of sarcoidosis granulomas elicit systemic Th-1 immune responses 
Respiratory Research  2008;9(1):36.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-9-36
PMCID: PMC2383887  PMID: 18439270
7.  Uterine Sarcoidosis: A Rare Extrapulmonary Site of Sarcoidosis 
Case Reports in Rheumatology  2013;2013:706738.
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.
doi:10.1155/2013/706738
PMCID: PMC3671678  PMID: 23762732
8.  Identification of Mycobacterium avium complex in sarcoidosis. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1996;34(9):2240-2245.
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.
PMCID: PMC229225  PMID: 8862592
9.  A Concise Review of Pulmonary Sarcoidosis 
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.
doi:10.1164/rccm.201006-0865CI
PMCID: PMC3081278  PMID: 21037016
mycobacterium; HLA; Löfgren syndrome; infliximab; pulmonary hypertension
10.  Potential Etiologic Agents in Sarcoidosis 
The etiology of sarcoidosis remains uncertain. The hallmark of sarcoidosis is the epithelioid granuloma, which serves as a necessary starting point for considering disease etiology. Any etiologic agent of sarcoidosis must also explain the typical clinical behaviors and characteristic immunopathologic features of the disease. One clinical observation that serves as a bridge to the etiology of sarcoidosis is the Kveim reaction. In this reaction, local epithelioid granulomas develop several weeks after the intradermal injection of homogenates of sarcoidosis tissue. Our group capitalized on the known properties of the Kveim reagent to search for candidate pathogenic tissue antigens in sarcoidosis without other a priori hypotheses regarding possible microbial or autoimmune etiologies. Using a limited proteomics approach based on the physicochemical properties of Kveim reagent, we detected a limited number of poorly soluble antigenic proteins in sarcoidosis tissues by protein immunoblotting, using sarcoidosis sera. Matrix-associated laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry identified one of these antigens to be the Mycobacterium tuberculosis catalase–peroxidase protein (mKatG). We found IgG responses to recombinant mKatG in more than 50% of patients with sarcoidosis but rarely in purified protein derivative (PPD)-negative control subjects. These findings support the conclusion that mKatG is a tissue antigen and target of the adaptive immune response in sarcoidosis, providing further evidence of a mycobacterial etiology in a subset of sarcoidosis. More generally, the approach used in these studies might be employed to discover and validate other candidate pathogenic antigens in sarcoidosis or other granulomatous disorders.
doi:10.1513/pats.200608-155MS
PMCID: PMC2647598  PMID: 17684291
sarcoidosis; etiology; granuloma; proteomics; mycobacteria
11.  Mycobacterium tuberculosis as a sarcoid factor? A case report of family sarcoidosis 
Patient: Male, 26
Final Diagnosis: Sarcoidosis
Symptoms: Disseminated lung parenchymal changes
Medication: —
Clinical Procedure: —
Specialty: Pulmonology
Objective:
Rare disease
Background:
Sarcoidosis is a granulomatous inflammatory disease that is induced by unknown antigen(s) in a genetically susceptible host. Although the direct link between Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) infection and sarcoidosis can be excluded on the basis of a current knowledge, the non-infectious mechanisms may explain the causative role of mycobacterial antigens. The co-incidence of tuberculosis (TB) and sarcoidosis, and higher incidence of mycobacterial DNA in biological samples of sarcoid patients, have been reported by many authors.
Case Report:
We present a case in which MTB infection in 1 family member triggered a sarcoid reaction in the infected subject and 2 other non-infected family members. We discuss different aspects of diagnosis and differentiation, as well as up-to-date hypotheses on the possible mechanisms leading to sarcoid inflammation in patients exposed to MTB.
Conclusions:
This case series documents the possibility of familial spreading of sarcoidosis, and points to MTB as a potential etiological factor.
doi:10.12659/AJCR.890014
PMCID: PMC4026149  PMID: 24847413
Tuberculosis; Mycobacterium Tuberculosis; Sarcoidosis
12.  Sarcoidosis following Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection: Coincidence or consequence 
We describe the case of a 47-year-old Caucasian male patient who developed sarcoidosis 18 months after he was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis for which he was treated according to guidelines. The presentation of sarcoidosis was very similar to his first presentation when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis as a possible aetiological agent in sarcoidosis has been point of debate since many years and has been studied thoroughly. Recent advances in immunologic and molecular techniques have strengthened the association between mycobacteria and sarcoidosis.1
Sarcoidosis is a systemic inflammatory disorder of unknown aetiology, characterised by the presence of non-caseating epitheloid cell granulomas. It is generally agreed that this is a tissue reaction to environmental agents in a genetically susceptible individual.2 Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by M. tuberculosis and characterised by caseating granulomas. In both clinical and histopathological features sarcoidosis is remarkably similar to tuberculosis and therefore can be difficult to distinguish.
First, this case report demonstrates the need of diagnostic testing when reactivation of tuberculosis is suspected. And second the role of M. tuberculosis in the aetiology of sarcoidosis will be discussed.
doi:10.1016/j.rmcr.2013.03.006
PMCID: PMC3949549
Tuberculosis; Sarcoidosis; Aetiology
13.  Effects of broad-spectrum antimycobacterial therapy on chronic pulmonary sarcoidosis 
Background
Sarcoidosis is an idiopathic, granulomatous disease for which molecular and immunologic studies have shown an association between it and mycobacterial antigens. Microbial antigens can reduce expression of the tyrosine kinase Lck, which has been associated with sarcoidosis severity. Here we investigate the efficacy of Concomitant Levofloxacin, Ethambutol, Azithromycin, and Rifampin (the CLEAR regimen) for treatment of chronic, pulmonary sarcoidosis.
Methods
Fifteen chronic, pulmonary sarcoidosis patients with forced vital capacities (FVC) between 45–80% of predicted were enrolled in this open-label trial. The primary efficacy endpoint was change in absolute FVC from baseline to completion of therapy. Secondary endpoints were change in functional capacity measured by Six Minute Walk Distance (6MWD) and quality of life assessment measured by St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ).
Results
Of 15 patients enrolled, 11 completed 4 weeks of therapy, and 8 completed 8 weeks of therapy. The CLEAR regimen was associated with an increase in FVC of 0.23 liters at 4 weeks and 0.42 liters at 8 weeks (P=0.0098 and 0.016, respectively). The 6MWD increased by 87 meters from baseline to 8 weeks (p=0.0078). The mean score of the validated SGRQ was improved at 8 weeks over baseline (p=0.023). Normalized expression of Lck and NF-κB was observed in those with clinical improvement.
Conclusions
The CLEAR regimen is associated with improved absolute FVC, as well as increased functional capacity and quality-of-life in selected chronic pulmonary sarcoidosis patients. Larger, randomized, controlled trials are needed to confirm these findings and to identify patients most likely to benefit from therapy.
PMCID: PMC3929334  PMID: 24284293
Sarcoidosis; Clinical trial; antibiotics
14.  Etiology of Sarcoidosis: Does Infection Play a Role? 
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.
PMCID: PMC3313528  PMID: 22461752
sarcoidosis; etiology; immunology; Mycobacterium; infection
15.  Childhood sarcoidosis: A rare but fascinating disorder 
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.
doi:10.1186/1546-0096-6-16
PMCID: PMC2559831  PMID: 18811966
16.  Assessment of Cardiac Sarcoidosis with Advanced Imaging Modalities 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:897956.
Sarcoidosis is a chronic systemic disease of unknown etiology that is characterized by the presence of noncaseating epithelioid granulomas, usually in multiple organs. Several studies have shown that sarcoidosis might be the result of an exaggerated granulomatous reaction after exposure to unidentified antigens in genetically susceptible individuals. Cardiac involvement may occur and lead to an adverse outcome: the heart mechanics will be affected and that causes ventricular failure, and the cardiac electrical system will be disrupted and lead to third degree atrioventricular block, malignant ventricular tachycardia, and sudden cardiac death. Thus, early diagnosis and treatment of this potentially devastating disease is critically important. However, sensitive and accurate imaging modalities have not been established. Recent studies have demonstrated the promising potential of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and 18F-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography (18F-FDG PET) in the diagnosis and assessment of cardiac sarcoidosis (CS). In this review, we discuss the epidemiology, etiology, histological findings, and clinical features of sarcoidosis. We also introduce advanced imaging including 18F-FDG PET and cardiac MRI as more reliable diagnostic modalities for CS.
doi:10.1155/2014/897956
PMCID: PMC4163361  PMID: 25250336
17.  Mycobacterium tuberculosis Antigen 85A Induces Th-1 Immune Responses in Systemic Sarcoidosis 
Journal of clinical immunology  2007;27(4):445-454.
Sarcoidosis is a granulomatous disease of unknown etiology, characterized by a Th-1 immunophenotype. Although humoral immune responses by sarcoidosis subjects to mycobacterial proteins have been detected, mycobacterial antigens capable of inducing cellular immune responses in sarcoidosis subjects have not been reported. We used the enzyme-linked immunospot assay to assess for recognition of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis mycolyl transferase, Antigen 85A, by peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 25 sarcoidosis subjects, 22 PPD− (purified protein derivative) healthy volunteers, and 16 PPD+ healthy subjects. Reactivity to Ag85A whole protein was observed in 15 of 25 sarcoidosis subjects compared to 2 of 22 PPD− subjects (p = 0.0006, Fisher’s exact test) and to 14 of 16 PPD+ subjects (p = 0.084, Fisher’s exact test). Monoclonal antibody against HLA-DR inhibited recognition. In addition to immune recognition of Ag85A whole protein, peptide-mapping studies identified four immunogenic Ag85A peptides, which induced Th-1 immune responses in individual sarcoidosis subjects, suggesting that multiple epitopes from a mycobacterial protein may have a role in sarcoidosis immunopathogenesis.
doi:10.1007/s10875-007-9080-4
PMCID: PMC3962023  PMID: 17357846
Sarcoidosis; mycobacteria; antigen; Th-1 immunophenotype
18.  Quantitative Analysis of Mycobacterial and Propionibacterial DNA in Lymph Nodes of Japanese and European Patients with Sarcoidosis 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2002;40(1):198-204.
The cause(s) of sarcoidosis is unknown. Mycobacterium spp. are suspected in Europe and Propionibacterium spp. are suspected in Japan. The present international collaboration evaluated the possible etiological links between sarcoidosis and the suspected bacterial species. Formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded sections of biopsy samples of lymph nodes, one from each of 108 patients with sarcoidosis and 65 patients with tuberculosis, together with 86 control samples, were collected from two institutes in Japan and three institutes in Italy, Germany, and England. Genomes of Propionibacterium acnes, Propionibacterium granulosum, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, and Escherichia coli (as the control) were counted by quantitative real-time PCR. Either P. acnes or P. granulosum was found in all but two of the sarcoid samples. M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis was found in no sarcoid sample. M. tuberculosis was found in 0 to 9% of the sarcoid samples but in 65 to 100% of the tuberculosis samples. In sarcoid lymph nodes, the total numbers of genomes of P. acnes or P. granulosum were far more than those of M. tuberculosis. P. acnes or P. granulosum was found in 0 to 60% of the tuberculosis and control samples, but the total numbers of genomes of P. acnes or P. granulosum in such samples were less than those in sarcoid samples. Propionibacterium spp. are more likely than Mycobacteria spp. to be involved in the etiology of sarcoidosis, not only in Japanese but also in European patients with sarcoidosis.
doi:10.1128/JCM.40.1.198-204.2002
PMCID: PMC120089  PMID: 11773116
19.  Sarcoidosis with Multi-organ Involvement Presenting as Ventricular Tachycardia 
Introduction:
Sarcoidosis is a granulomatous disease which can affect any organ, but most commonly presents with pulmonary manifestations. We present an unusual case of sarcoidosis with multiorgan involvement which initially manifested as ventricular tachycardia; the patient was subsequently found to have extensive cardiac, respiratory, skin, and hepatic involvement.
Case Report:
An otherwise healthy 35-year-old African American soldier presented to emergency care with hypotension and tachycardia greater than 200 beats per minute. He was found to be in sustained ventricular tachycardia with a pulse. Defibrillation was performed, the patient was loaded with amiodarone, and hospitalized. Cardiac catheterization showed no evidence of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. A cardiac MRI revealed high density lesions in the lateral wall and apex, and diffusely decreased left ventricular wall motion. An implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) was placed. Further questioning revealed a six month history of twenty pounds weight loss, persistent nasal congestion, and subcutaneous nodules. Biopsy of two subcutaneous nodules from the left upper extremity and nasal mucosa biopsy demonstrated noncaseating granulomas. His evaluation was notable for a mixed pattern hepatic injury, normocytic anemia, elevated lactate dehydrogenase, and a CT chest showing hilar and mediastinal adenopathy with multiple pulmonary nodules. Sarcoidosis was suspected and additional testing for HIV, EBV, vasculitis, lymphoma, fungal infection, and mycobacterial infection was negative. Pulmonary function tests showed normal basic spirometry and DLCO. Transthoracic echocardiogram demonstrated normal ejection fraction, and an 8mm cystic structure partially incorporated in the left ventricular wall. This was suspected to be a granulomatous accumulation. Sestamibi imaging showed a dense defect involving the apex and a medium sized, moderate severity, inferior wall defect consistent with an infiltrative process. Interrogation of his ICD six months after placement demonstrated no recurrence of arrhythmia. Initially, he was treated with 40mg prednisone daily. After a three-month course he had continued active disease and was treated with infliximab. His treatment is ongoing; lab parameters are improving.
Discussion:
Cardiac sarcoidosis is rare. Conduction abnormalities are the most common finding, and arrhythmias are second. Heart failure, valvular dysfunction, and chronic effusion are also frequently observed, and one case report describes a large left atrial mass which behaved like a myxoma. This patient's case is unusual because of his large degree of sinus and cardiac involvement, as well as his unusual left ventricular cystic structure. Sarcoidosis should be considered in all patients who have unexplained structural heart disease, particularly young individuals. Treatment of cardiac sarcoidosis is aimed at controlling inflammation and preventing compromise of cardiac structure or function. Sources agree that steroids are an effective initial treatment, but the initial dose and optimal duration are unclear. This patient's course suggests that infliximab is an efficacious treatment option in severe cases.
PMCID: PMC4175938
20.  Molecular analysis of sarcoidosis lymph nodes for microorganisms: a case–control study with clinical correlates 
BMJ Open  2013;3(12):e004065.
Introduction
Sarcoidosis is an incurable, chronic granulomatous disease primarily involving the lungs and lymph nodes of unknown aetiology, treated with non-specific anti-inflammatory/immunosuppressive drugs. Persistently symptomatic patients worsen with a disabling, potentially fatal clinical course. To determine a possible infectious cause, we correlated in a case-control study the clinical information with the presence of bacterial DNA in sarcoidosis mediastinal lymph nodes compared with control lymph nodes resected during cancer surgery.
Methods
We retrospectively studied formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded, mediastinal lymph nodes from 30 patients with sarcoidosis and 30 control patients with lung cancer. Nucleic acids were extracted from nodes, evaluated by ribosomal RNA PCR for bacterial 16S ribosomal DNA and the results were sequenced and compared with a bacterial sequence library. Clinical information was correlated.
Results
11/30 (36.7%) of lymph nodes from patients with sarcoidosis had detectable bacterial DNA, significantly more than control patient lymph nodes (2/30, 6.7%), p=0.00516. At presentation, 19/30 (63.3%) patients with sarcoidosis were symptomatic including all patients with detectable bacterial DNA. Radiographically, there were 18 stage I and 12 stage II patients. All stage II patients were symptomatic and 75% had PCR-detectable bacteria. After a mean follow-up of 52.8±32.8 months, all patients with PCR-detectable bacteria in this series were persistently symptomatic requiring treatment.
Discussion
36.6% of patients with sarcoidosis had detectable bacterial DNA on presentation, all of these patients were quite symptomatic and most were radiographically advanced stage II. These findings suggest that bacterial DNA-positive, symptomatic patients have more aggressive sarcoidosis that persists long term and might benefit from antimicrobial treatment directed against this presumed chronic granulomatous infection.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004065
PMCID: PMC3884606  PMID: 24366580
BACTERIOLOGY; MICROBIOLOGY
21.  Multiple mycobacterial antigens are targets of the adaptive immune response in pulmonary sarcoidosis 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):161.
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-11-161
PMCID: PMC2999599  PMID: 21092305
22.  Localization of Propionibacterium acnes in granulomas supports a possible etiologic link between sarcoidosis and the bacterium 
Modern Pathology  2012;25(9):1284-1297.
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.
doi:10.1038/modpathol.2012.80
PMCID: PMC3434354  PMID: 22596102
epithelioid cell granuloma; Hamazaki–Wesenberg body; lipoteichoic acid; trigger-factor protein
23.  Interleukin-12 family cytokines and sarcoidosis 
Sarcoidosis is a systemic granulomatous disease predominantly affecting the lungs. It is believed to be caused by exposure to pathogenic antigens in genetically susceptible individuals but the causative antigen has not been identified. The formation of non-caseating granulomas at sites of ongoing inflammation is the key feature of the disease. Other aspects of the pathogenesis are peripheral T-cell anergy and disease progression to fibrosis. Many T-cell-associated cytokines have been implicated in the immunopathogenesis of sarcoidosis, but it is becoming apparent that IL-12 cytokine family members including IL-12, IL-23, IL-27, and IL-35 are also involved. Although the members of this unique cytokine family are heterodimers of similar subunits, their biological functions are very diverse. Whilst IL-23 and IL-12 are pro-inflammatory regulators of Th1 and Th17 responses, IL-27 is bidirectional for inflammation and the most recent family member IL-35 is inhibitory. This review will discuss the current understanding of etiology and immunopathogenesis of sarcoidosis with a specific focus on the bidirectional impact of IL-12 family cytokines on the pathogenesis of sarcoidosis.
doi:10.3389/fphar.2014.00233
PMCID: PMC4209812  PMID: 25386143
sarcoidosis; IL-12; IL-23; IL-27; IL-35; pathogenesis; granuloma; anergy
24.  Expression of Hypoxia-Inducible Factor (HIF)-1a-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)-Inhibitory Growth Factor (ING)-4- axis in sarcoidosis patients 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:654.
Background
Sarcoidosis is a granulomatous disorder of unknown etiology. The term of immunoangiostasis has been addressed by various studies as potentially involved in the disease pathogenesis. The aim of the study was to investigate the expression of the master regulator of angiogenesis hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1a – vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)- inhibitor of growth factor 4-(ING4) - axis within sarcoid granuloma.
Methods
A total of 37 patients with sarcoidosis stages II-III were recruited in our study. Tissue microarray technology coupled with immunohistochemistry analysis were applied to video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) lung biopsy samples collected from 37 sarcoidosis patients and 24 controls underwent surgery for benign lesions of the lung. Computerized image analysis was used to quantify immunohistochemistry results. qRT-PCR was used to assess HIF-1a and ING4 expression in 10 sarcoidosis mediastinal lymph node and 10 control lung samples.
Results
HIF-1a and VEGF-ING4 expression, both in protein and mRNA level, was found to be downregulated and upregulated, respectively, in sarcoidosis samples compared to controls. Immunohistochemistry coupled with computerized image analysis revealed minimal expression of HIF-1a within sarcoid granulomas whereas an abundant staining of ING4 and VEGF in epithelioid cells was also visualized.
Conclusions
Our data suggest an impairment of the HIF-1a – VEGF axis, potentialy arising by ING4 overexpression and ultimately resulting in angiostasis and monocyte recruitment within granulomas. The concept of immunoangiostasis as a possible protection mechanism against antigens of infectious origin needs further research to be verified.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-654
PMCID: PMC3536569  PMID: 23181555
25.  Dendritic Cells in the Pathogenesis of 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.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2009-0033TR
PMCID: PMC2809219  PMID: 19372243
sarcoidosis; granuloma; dendritic cell; macrophage; inflammation

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