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1.  A laboratory test based on determination of cytokine profiles: a promising assay to identify exposition to contact allergens and predict the clinical outcome in occupational allergic contact dermatitis 
BMC Immunology  2015;16:4.
Background
Para-phenylenediamine (PPD) is the main allergen causing adverse reactions to hair dyes and a frequent cause of occupational-related skin sensitization among hairdressers and beauticians. The immunologic mechanism of the disease relies on the production of inflammatory cytokines by allergen-specific T cells, while regulatory T cells are thought to down-modulate the allergic response. This study was aimed at investigating the expression of effector or regulatory cytokines in exposed subjects in order to verify whether different cytokine profiles might predict distinct clinical outcomes. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 21 subjects occupationally exposed or not (10) to PPD were kept in short term cultures in the presence of optimized concentrations of NiSO4 × 6H2O or PPD. The production of IFN-γ and IL-10 elicited by antigens were analyzed by the ELISpot assay.
Results
The presence of IFN-γ responses toward PPD was significantly correlated with a positive patch test (P = 0.002) and allergic symptoms, while IL10 responses were invariably found in PPD-exposed but clinically asymptomatic subjects with negative patch testing. We found concordance between the different cytokine profiles and patch test results. No false-positive results were found for the different cytokine profiles induced by PPD, resulting in 100% specificity. The sensitivity of the test was 87.5% (95% CI 65.9-100.0) with an overall test accuracy of 93.3%. Although larger prospective-retrospective studies are necessary to validate the predictive potential of the test, the negative and positive predicted values for PPD in this study were NPV = 87.5% and PPV = 100%, respectively.
Conclusions
These data indicate that distinct cytokine profiles are associated with different clinical manifestations. The test, which is based on a simple and rapid profiling of cytokine responses by T lymphocytes against allergens, has proven to be a promising laboratory tool, useful for both the identification of previous contact with allergens and the etiologic diagnosis of contact allergies as well as capable of predicting the clinical outcome (development of an allergic or tolerant response).
doi:10.1186/s12865-015-0066-3
PMCID: PMC4335538  PMID: 25651756
Allergic contact dermatitis; Cytokines; ELISpot; Nickel; Occupation; Para-phenylenediamine; Patch test
2.  Analysis of the ORFK1 hypervariable regions reveal distinct HHV-8 clustering in Kaposi’s sarcoma and non-Kaposi’s cases 
Background
Classical Kaposi’s Sarcoma (cKS) is a rare vascular tumor, which develops in subjects infected with Human Herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8). Beside the host predisposing factors, viral genetic variants might possibly be related to disease development. The aim of this study was to identify HHV-8 variants in patients with cKS or in HHV-8 infected subjects either asymptomatic or with cKS-unrelated cutaneous lymphoproliferative disorders.
Methods
The VR1 and VR2 regions of the ORF K1 sequence were analyzed in samples (peripheral blood and/or lesional tissue) collected between 2000 and 2010 from 27 subjects with HHV-8 infection, established by the presence of anti-HHV-8 antibodies. On the basis of viral genotyping, a phylogenetic analysis and a time-scaled evaluation were performed.
Results
Two main clades of HHV-8, corresponding to A and C subtypes, were identified. Moreover, for each subtype, two main clusters were found distinctively associated to cKS or non-cKS subjects. Selective pressure analysis showed twelve sites of the K1 coding gene (VR1 and VR2 regions) under positive selective pressure and one site under negative pressure.
Conclusion
Thus, present data suggest that HHV-8 genetic variants may influence the susceptibility to cKS in individuals with HHV-8 infection.
doi:10.1186/s13046-014-0119-0
PMCID: PMC4311464  PMID: 25592960
HHV-8; Kaposi’s sarcoma; Phylogenesis; HHV-8 variants; Selective pressure
3.  Assessment of T Regulatory Cells and Expanded Profiling of Autoantibodies May Offer Novel Biomarkers for the Clinical Management of Systemic Sclerosis and Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease 
In order to identify disease biomarkers for the clinical and therapeutic management of autoimmune diseases such as systemic sclerosis (SSc) and undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD), we have explored the setting of peripheral T regulatory (T reg) cells and assessed an expanded profile of autoantibodies in patients with SSc, including either limited (lcSSc) or diffuse (dcSSc) disease, and in patients presenting with clinical signs and symptoms of UCTD. A large panel of serum antibodies directed towards nuclear, nucleolar, and cytoplasmic antigens, including well-recognized molecules as well as less frequently tested antigens, was assessed in order to determine whether different antibody profiles might be associated with distinct clinical settings. Beside the well-recognized association between lcSSc and anti-centromeric or dcSSC and anti-topoisomerase-I antibodies, we found a significative association between dcSSc and anti-SRP or anti-PL-7/12 antibodies. In addition, two distinct groups emerged on the basis of anti-RNP or anti-PM-Scl 75/100 antibody production among UCTD patients. The levels of T reg cells were significantly lower in patients with SSc as compared to patients with UCTD or to healthy controls; in patients with lcSSc, T reg cells were inversely correlated to disease duration, suggesting that their levels may represent a marker of disease progression.
doi:10.1155/2013/390563
PMCID: PMC3681301  PMID: 23818915
4.  Evaluation of antigen specific recognition and cell mediated cytotoxicity by a modified lysispot assay in a rat colon carcinoma model 
Background
Antigen-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes represent potent effector cells of the adaptive immune response against viruses as well as tumours. Therefore assays capable at exploring the generation and function of cytotoxic T lymphocytes represent an important objective for both clinical and experimental settings.
Methods
Here we show a simple and reproducible assay for the evaluation of antigen-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes based on a LysiSpot technique for the simultaneous determination of antigen-specific IFN-γ production and assessment of tumor cytolysis. The assay was developed within an experimental model of colorectal carcinoma, induced by the colorectal tumor cell line DHD-K12 that induces tumors in BDIX rats and, in turn, elicits a tumor- specific immune response.
Results
Using DHD-K12 cells transfected to express Escherichia coli β-galactosidase as target cells, and by the fine setting of spot colours detection, we have developed an in vitro assay that allows the recognition of cytotoxic T lymphocytes induced in BDIX rats as well as the assessment of anti-tumour cytotoxicity. The method highlighted that in the present experimental model the tumour antigen-specific immune response was bound to killing target cells in the proportion of 55%, while 45% of activated cells were not cytotoxic but released IFN-γ. Moreover in this model by an ELISPOT assay we demonstrated the specific recognition of a nonapeptide epitope called CSH-275 constitutionally express in DHD-K12 cells.
Conclusions
The assay proved to be highly sensitive and specific, detecting even low frequencies of cytotoxic/activated cells and providing the evaluation of cytokine-expressing T cells as well as the extent of cytotoxicity against the target cells as independent functions. This assay may represent an important tool to be adopted in experimental settings including the development of vaccines or immune therapeutic strategies
doi:10.1186/1756-9966-31-9
PMCID: PMC3395825  PMID: 22296726
LysiSpot; ELISpot; Tumor antigens; CTLs; BDIX rats; Colon cancer
5.  Molecular and Immunological Characterization of Staphylococcus aureus in Pediatric Atopic Dermatitis: Implications for Prophylaxis and Clinical Management 
S. aureus represents a critical cofactor in atopic dermatitis (AD). In this paper, the prevalence of S. aureus infection/colonization was evaluated in 117 children as well as in their cohabitants, in order to assess the value of S. aureus characterization in predicting disease onset and severity and in providing indications for prophylaxis. Results showed that children with AD as well as their cohabitants had a significantly greater incidence of S. aureus infection/colonization as compared to controls. The genetic characterization showed a virtual identity of the bacteria strains collected at different sites of the patients with those found in the cohabitants, suggesting both a direct transmission between the nasal reservoir and the lesions in the same atopic subject and a risk for reinfection within family cohabitants. These data stress the need of preliminary laboratory assessment and posttherapy control in both AD patients and their close contacts for effective S. aureus eradication.
doi:10.1155/2011/718708
PMCID: PMC3205653  PMID: 22110527
6.  AIDS-Kaposi Sarcoma and Classic Kaposi Sarcoma: are different ultrasound patterns related to different variants? 
Background
Kaposi Sarcoma (KS) is a malignancy of endothelial skin cells with multifocal localization on the skin, lymph nodes and visceral organs. Although all clinical variants are associated with HHV-8 infection, specific differences in the clinical onset and in the natural history of AIDS-KS and Classic-KS have been described. The present randomised prospective-observational study aimed to investigate whether the ultrasound pattern and color Doppler flow imaging of vascularisation of skin lesions of patients with Classic KS (CKS) or AIDS-KS could provide useful information to the evaluation of clinical activity of the disease.
Methods
Cutaneous lesions of 24 patients with histologically confirmed KS were investigated using very high frequency ultrasound probes; 16 patients had CKS and 8 had AIDS-KS. HHV-8 infection was confirmed in all patients by investigating the specific humoral response to viral antigens. Immunological and virological parameters were also assessed to monitor HIV or HHV-8 viral infection. For each patient, a target skin lesion was selected on the basis of size (diameter from 0.4 to 2 cm). Each lesion was analyzed in terms of size, depth and color Doppler pattern.
Results
The B-mode ultrasound patterns of skin lesions did not differ when comparing CKS patients to AIDS-KS patients, whereas the color Doppler signal, which is associated with vascular activity, was detected in the KS lesions of 6/8 AIDS-KS patients (75.0%) and in 2/16 CKS (16,7%); the latter two patients showed a clinically progressive and extensive disease stage (IV B).
Conclusions
Our preliminary results suggest that small cutaneous KS lesions - in both CKS and AIDS-KS patients- display similar B-mode ultrasound patterns ( hypoechoic, well defined, superficial lesions). However, the color Doppler signal, which is associated with endothelial activity and angiogenesis, which play a substantial role in KS progression, could constitute a useful tool for evaluating disease activity.
doi:10.1186/1756-9966-30-40
PMCID: PMC3095540  PMID: 21489270
7.  Nickel, palladium and rhodium induced IFN-gamma and IL-10 production as assessed by in vitro ELISpot-analysis in contact dermatitis patients 
BMC Immunology  2008;9:19.
Background
Recent attempts to diminish nickel use in most industrial products have led to an increasing utilization of alternative metal compounds for destinations such as the alloys used in orthopaedics, jewellery and dentistry. The present study was undertaken with the aim to evaluate the potential for an allergic response to nickel, palladium and rhodium on the basis of antigen-specific induction of inflammatory/regulatory cytokines, and to characterize, according to the cytokine profiles, the nature of simultaneous positive patch tests elicited in vivo.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 40 patients with different patch test results were kept in short term cultures in the presence of optimized concentrations of NiSO4 × 6H2O, PdCl2 and Rh(CH3COO)2. The production of IFN-γ and IL-10 elicited by metal compounds were analyzed by the ELISpot assay.
Results
We found a specific IFN-γ response by PBMC upon in vitro stimulation with nickel or palladium in well recognized allergic individuals. All controls with a negative patch test to a metal salt showed an in vitro IL-10 response and not IFN-γ production when challenged with the same compound. Interestingly, all subjects with positive patch test to both nickel and palladium (group 3) showed an in vitro response characterized by the release of IFN-γ after nickel stimulation and production of IL-10 in response to palladium.
Conclusion
These results strongly suggest that the different cytokine profiles elicited in vitro reflect different immune responses which may lead to the control of the allergic responses or to symptomatic allergic contact dermatitis. The development of sensitive and specific in vitro assays based on the determination of the cytokine profiles in response to contact allergens may have important diagnostic and prognostic implications and may prove extremely useful in complementing the diagnostic limits of traditional patch testing.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-9-19
PMCID: PMC2409297  PMID: 18482439
8.  Incidence of Human Herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) infection among HIV-uninfected individuals at high risk for sexually transmitted infections 
Background
The occurrence of, and risk factors for, HHV-8 infection have yet to be definitively determined, particularly among heterosexual individuals with at-risk behavior for sexually transmitted infections (STI). The objective of this study was to estimate the incidence and determinants of HHV-8 infection among HIV-uninfected individuals repeatedly attending an urban STI clinic.
Methods
Sera from consecutive HIV-uninfected individuals repeatedly tested for HIV-1 antibodies were additionally tested for HHV-8 antibodies using an immunofluorescence assay. To identify determinants of HHV-8 infection, a nested case-control study and multivariate logistic regression analysis were performed.
Results
Sera from 456 HIV-uninfected individuals (224 multiple-partner heterosexuals and 232 men who have sex with men (MSM]) were identified for inclusion in the study. The HHV-8 seroprevalence at enrollment was 9.4% (21/224; 95% C.I.: 6.0–14.2%) among heterosexuals with multiple partners and 22.0% (51/232; 95% C.I.: 16.9–28.0%) among MSM. Among the 203 multiple-partner heterosexuals and 181 MSM who were initially HHV-8-negative, 17 (IR = 3.0/100 p-y, 95% C.I.: 1.9 – 4.8) and 21 (IR = 3.3/100 p-y, 95% C.I:.2.1 – 5.1) seroconversions occurred, respectively. HHV-8 seroconversion tended to be associated with a high number of sexual partners during the follow-up among MSM (> 10 partners: AOR = 3.32 95% CI:0.89–12.46) and among the multiple-partner heterosexuals (> 10 partner; AOR = 3.46, 95% CI:0.42–28.2). Moreover, among MSM, HHV-8 seroconversion tended to be associated with STI (AOR = 1.80 95%CI: 0.52–7.96).
During the study period the HIV-1 incidence was lower than that of HHV-8 among both groups (0.89/100 p-y among MSM and 0.95/100 p-y among multiple-partner heterosexuals).
Conclusion
The large difference between the incidence of HHV-8 and the incidence of HIV-1 and other STIs may suggest that the circulation of HHV-8 is sustained by practices other than classical at-risk sexual behavior.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-7-143
PMCID: PMC2231363  PMID: 18053246
9.  Decreased levels of metalloproteinase-9 and angiogenic factors in skin lesions of patients with psoriatic arthritis after therapy with anti-TNF-α 
Background
Inflammation represents an early and key event in the development of both the cutaneous psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Compelling evidences indicate that the production of TNF-α plays a central role in psoriasis by sustaining the inflammatory process in the skin as well as in the joints. Among the multiple effects produced by TNF-α on keratinocytes, the induction of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), a collagenase implicated in joint inflammatory arthritis which acts as an angiogenesis promoting factor, might represent a key mechanism in the pathogenesis of the disease. Aims of the present study were to investigate a) the role of MMP-9 in the development of psoriasis by assessing the presence of MMP-9 in lesional skin and in sera of psoriatic patients; b) the association of MMP-9 with the activity of the disease; c) the relationship between MMP-9 and TNF-α production.
Methods
Eleven psoriatic patients, clinically presenting joint symptoms associated to the cutaneous disease, were included in a therapeutic protocol based on the administration of anti-TNF-α monoclonal antibody (Infliximab). Sera and skin biopsies were collected before treatment and after 6 weeks of therapy. Tissues were kept in short term cultures and production soluble mediators such as TNF-α, MMP-9, MMP-2, VEGF and E-Selectin, which include angiogenic molecules associated to the development of plaque psoriasis, were measured in the culture supernatants by immunoenzymatic assays (ng/ml or pg/ml per mg of tissue). MMP-9 concentrations were also measured in the sera. The cutaneous activity of disease was evaluated by the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI).
Results
Clinical and laboratory assessment indicated that all but one patients had a significant improvement of the PASI score after three months of therapy. The clinical amelioration was associated to a significant decrease of MMP-9 (P = 0.017), TNF-α (P = 0.005) and E-selectin (P = 0.018) levels, spontaneously released by lesional biopsies before and after therapy. In addition, significant correlations were found between the PASI measurements and TNF-α (r2 = 0.33, P = 0.005), MMP-9 (r2 = 0.25, P = 0.017), E-selectin (r2 = 0.24, P = 0.018) production. MMP-9 levels were significantly correlated with those of TNF-α (r2 = 0.30, P = 0.008). A significant decrease of MMP-9 in the sera, associated to the clinical improvement was also found.
Conclusion
Our findings show the existence of a direct relationship between MMP-9 and TNF-α production strongly suggesting that MMP-9 may play a key role in the skin inflammatory process in psoriasis.
doi:10.1186/1740-2557-3-5
PMCID: PMC1601955  PMID: 17022813

Results 1-9 (9)