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1.  Eosinophils in the blood of hematopoietic stem cell transplanted patients are activated and have different molecular marker profiles in acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease 
While increased numbers of eosinophils may be detected in patients with graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, it is not known if eosinophils play a role in GVHD. The aims of this study were to determine: whether eosinophils are activated during GVHD; whether the patterns of activation are similar in acute and chronic GVHD; and the ways in which systemic corticosteroids affect eosinophils. Transplanted patients (n = 35) were investigated for eosinophil numbers and the expression levels of 16 eosinophilic cell surface markers using flow cytometry; all the eosinophil data were analyzed by the multivariate method OPLS-DA. Different patterns of molecule expression were observed on the eosinophils from patients with acute, chronic, and no GVHD, respectively. The molecules that provided the best discrimination between acute and chronic GVHD were: the activation marker CD9; adhesion molecules CD11c and CD18; chemokine receptor CCR3; and prostaglandin receptor CRTH2. Patients with acute or chronic GVHD who received systemic corticosteroid treatment showed down-regulation of the cell surface markers on their eosinophils, whereas corticosteroid treatment had no effect on the eosinophil phenotype in the patients without GVHD. In summary, eosinophils are activated in GVHD, display different activation profiles in acute and chronic GVHD, and are highly responsive to systemic corticosteroids.
PMCID: PMC4217552  PMID: 25400930
Corticosteroids; eosinophils; flow cytometry; graft-versus-host disease; hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
2.  Distinct Inflammatory Mediator Patterns Characterize Infectious and Sterile Systemic Inflammation in Febrile Neutropenic Hematology Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92319.
Invasive infections and sterile tissue damage can both give rise to systemic inflammation with fever and production of inflammatory mediators. This makes it difficult to diagnose infections in patients who are already inflamed, e.g. due to cell and tissue damage. For example, fever in patients with hematological malignancies may depend on infection, lysis of malignant cells, and/or chemotherapy-induced mucosal damage. We hypothesized that it would be possible to distinguish patterns of inflammatory mediators characterizing infectious and non-infectious causes of inflammation, respectively. Analysis of a broad range of parameters using a multivariate method of pattern recognition was done for this purpose.
In this prospective study, febrile (>38°C) neutropenic patients (n = 42) with hematologic malignancies were classified as having or not having a microbiologically defined infection by an infectious disease specialist. In parallel, blood was analyzed for 116 biomarkers, and 23 clinical variables were recorded for each patient. Using O-PLS (orthogonal projection to latent structures), a model was constructed based on these 139 variables that could separate the infected from the non-infected patients. Non-discriminatory variables were discarded until a final model was reached. Finally, the capacity of this model to accurately classify a validation set of febrile neutropenic patients (n = 10) as infected or non-infected was tested.
A model that could segregate infected from non-infected patients was achieved based on discrete differences in the levels of 40 variables. These variables included acute phase proteins, cytokines, measures of coagulation, metabolism, organ stress and iron turn-over. The model correctly identified the infectious status of nine out of ten subsequently recruited febrile neutropenic hematology patients.
It is possible to separate patients with infectious inflammation from those with sterile inflammation based on inflammatory mediator patterns. This strategy could be developed into a decision-making tool for diverse clinical applications.
PMCID: PMC3958530  PMID: 24642872
3.  Comparative Study of Immune Status to Infectious Agents in Elderly Patients with Multiple Myeloma, Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia, and Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance ▿ 
Whereas patients with multiple myeloma (MM) have a well-documented susceptibility to infections, this has been less studied in other B-cell disorders, such as Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia (WM) and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS). We investigated the humoral immunity to 24 different pathogens in elderly patients with MM (n = 25), WM (n = 16), and MGUS (n = 18) and in age-matched controls (n = 20). Antibody titers against pneumococci, staphylococcal alpha-toxin, tetanus and diphtheria toxoids, and varicella, mumps, and rubella viruses were most depressed in MM patients, next to lowest in WM and MGUS patients, and highest in the controls. In contrast, levels of antibodies specific for staphylococcal teichoic acid, Moraxella catarrhalis, candida, aspergillus, and measles virus were similarly decreased in MM and MGUS patients. Comparable titers in all study groups were seen against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), borrelia, toxoplasma, and members of the herpesvirus family. Finally, a uniform lack of antibodies was noted against Streptococcus pyogenes, salmonella, yersinia, brucella, francisella, and herpes simplex virus type 2. To conclude, although MM patients displayed the most depressed humoral immunity, significantly decreased antibody levels were also evident in patients with WM and MGUS, particularly against Staphylococcus aureus, pneumococci, and varicella. Conversely, immunity was retained for Hib and certain herpesviruses in all study groups.
PMCID: PMC3122605  PMID: 21508164
4.  High Rate of Exophiala dermatitidis Recovery in the Airways of Patients with Cystic Fibrosis Is Associated with Pancreatic Insufficiency▿ 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(3):1004-1009.
The black-pigmented fungus Exophiala dermatitidis is considered to be a harmless colonizer of the airways of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. The aim of this study was to establish the recovery rate of E. dermatitidis in respiratory specimens from CF patients, transplant recipients, and subjects with other respiratory disorders in Sweden. Second, we wished to determine if particular clinical traits were associated with E. dermatitidis colonization of the airways and the antifungal susceptibility profiles of Exophiala strains. Sputum and bronchoalveolar lavage samples (n = 492) derived from 275 patients were investigated. E. dermatitidis was isolated in respiratory specimens from 19% (18/97) of the CF patients but in none of the other patient categories. All isolates were recovered after 6 to 25 days of incubation on erythritol-chloramphenicol agar (ECA) medium. Morphological and genetic analyses confirmed species identity. Pancreatic insufficiency was positively associated with the presence of E. dermatitidis in sputum samples (P = 0.0198). Antifungal susceptibility tests demonstrated that voriconazole and posaconazole had the lowest MICs against E. dermatitidis. In conclusion, E. dermatitidis is a frequent colonizer of the respiratory tract in CF patients in Sweden and appears to be associated with more advanced disease. Whether E. dermatitidis is pathogenic remains to be elucidated.
PMCID: PMC3067733  PMID: 21209163
5.  First Case of Human “Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis” Infection in a Febrile Patient with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(5):1956-1959.
An immunocompromised patient presented with febrile episodes, an erysipelas-like rash, and thromboembolic complications. Amplification of 16S rRNA gene sequences from blood and sequence analysis revealed “Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis.” We report the first case of human disease caused by “Ca. Neoehrlichia mikurensis.”
PMCID: PMC2863919  PMID: 20220155
6.  Enterotoxin-Specific Immunoglobulin E Responses in Humans after Infection or Vaccination with Diarrhea-Causing Enteropathogens 
Infection and Immunity  2000;68(10):6077-6081.
Cholera toxin (CT)-specific antibody responses of the immunoglobulin E (IgE) isotype in the sera of adult patients suffering from infection with either Vibrio cholerae O1, V. cholerae O139, or enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) were analyzed and compared with those in the sera of volunteers immunized with a bivalent B subunit O1/O139 whole-cell cholera vaccine. A significant IgE response to CT was observed in 90% of the patients with V. cholerae O1 infection (18 of 20; P = <0.001) and 95% of the patients with V. cholerae O139 infection (19 of 20; P = <0.001). Similarly, the majority of the patients with ETEC diarrhea (83%; 13 of 15) showed a positive IgE response to CT. Eight of 10 North American volunteers (80%) orally challenged with V. cholerae O1 showed CT-specific IgE responses (P = 0.004). In contrast, Swedish volunteers immunized with the oral cholera vaccine showed no IgE responses to CT (P value not significant). During the study period, total IgE levels in the sera of the diarrheal patients, the North American volunteers, and the Swedish cholera vaccinees alike remained unchanged. However, the total IgE levels in the sera of patients and healthy Bangladeshi controls were on average 89-fold higher than those in the sera of the healthy Swedish volunteers and 34-fold higher than those in the sera of the North American volunteers.
PMCID: PMC101579  PMID: 10992527
7.  Intestinal Immune Responses in Patients Infected with Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli and in Vaccinees 
Infection and Immunity  1999;67(12):6234-6241.
Immune responses against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) were examined in Bangladeshi adults with naturally acquired disease and compared to responses in age-matched Bangladeshi volunteers who had been orally immunized with a vaccine consisting of inactivated ETEC bacteria expressing different colonization factor antigens (CFs) and the B subunit of cholera toxin. B-cell responses in duodenal biopsy samples, feces, intestinal washings, and blood were determined. Because most of the patients included in the study were infected with ETEC expressing CS5, immune responses to this CF were studied most extensively. Vaccinees and patients had comparable B-cell responses against this antigen in the duodenum: the median numbers of antibody-secreting cells (ASC) were 3,300 immunoglobulin A (IgA) ASC/107 mononuclear cells (MNC) in the patient group (n = 8) and 1,200 IgA ASC/107 MNC in the vaccinees (n = 13) (not a significant difference). Similarly, no statistically significant differences were seen in the levels of duodenal B cells directed against enterotoxin among vaccinees and patients. A comparison of the capacities of the various methods used to assess mucosal immune responses revealed a correlation between numbers of circulating B cells and antibody levels in saponin extracts of duodenal biopsy samples (r = 0.58; n = 13; P = 0.04) after vaccination. However, no correlation was seen between blood IgA ASC and duodenal IgA ASC after two doses of vaccine. Still, a correlation between numbers of CF-specific B cells in blood sampled from patients early during infection and numbers of duodenal B cells collected 1 week later was apparent (r = 0.70; n = 10; P = 0.03).
PMCID: PMC97024  PMID: 10569732
8.  Antibody Responses in Humans against Coli Surface Antigen 6 of Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli 
Infection and Immunity  1998;66(9):4507-4510.
Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) strains expressing only coli surface antigen 6 (CS6) have previously been isolated from patients with diarrhea, but the immunogenicity of CS6 has not been established in humans. We have detected CS6-specific immunoglobulin A responses in the feces and blood of patients convalescing from natural ETEC disease and of volunteers given an oral ETEC vaccine.
PMCID: PMC108547  PMID: 9712809

Results 1-8 (8)