Thirty-one adult patients with asthma caused by house-dust mites (HDM) were included in this placebo-controlled, double-blind study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of specific immunotherapy (SIT) with biologically standardized extracts of HDM. The specific diagnosis was confirmed by skin prick tests, specific IgE, and bronchial provocation tests with HDM allergens. The patients were randomized to receive active treatment with extracts of either Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Dpt) or D. farinae (Dfa) (Alutard SQ, ALK, Denmark) or placebo injections. Twenty-three patients completed the study. After 1 year of treatment, we found a clinically important and significant reduction in both asthma medicine consumption (inhaled steroids 38% and beta 2-agonists 46%) and symptom score (57%) in the actively treated group, but not the placebo group. These findings were confirmed by a significant decrease in skin and bronchial sensitivity to HDM in the active group. Additionally, there was a significant difference in the patients' scores for effect in favor of the actively treated group. Total IgE and specific IgE to HDM showed no significant changes before and after treatment for either group. Spirometric lung-function measurements showed a significant increase in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) from 85% before to 89% of predicted values after treatment for the actively treated group. Peak-flow measurements at home showed no significant changes during the study. It is concluded that allergen SIT is an effective treatment in adult patients suffering from asthma due to HDM.
Insulin-dependent (type 1) diabetes is a prototypic organ-specific autoimmune disease resulting from the selective destruction of insulin-secreting beta cells within pancreatic islets of Langerhans by an immune-mediated inflammation involving autoreactive CD4(+) and CD8(+) T lymphocytes which infiltrate pancreatic islets. Current treatment is substitutive, i.e. chronic use of exogenous insulin which, in spite of significant advances, is still associated with major constraints (multiple daily injections, risks of hypoglycaemia) and lack of effectiveness over the long term in preventing severe degenerative complications. Finding a cure for autoimmune diabetes by establishing effective immune-based therapies is a real medical health challenge, as the disease incidence increases steadily in industrialized countries. As the disease affects mainly children and young adults, any candidate immune therapy must therefore be safe and avoid a sustained depression of immune responses with the attendant problems of recurrent infection and drug toxicity. Thus, inducing or restoring immune tolerance to target autoantigens, controlling the pathogenic response while preserving the host reactivity to exogenous/unrelated antigens, appears to be the ideal approach. Our objective is to review the major progress accomplished over the last 20 years towards that aim. In addition, we would like to present another interesting possibility to access new preventive strategies based on the 'hygiene hypothesis', which proposes a causal link between the increasing incidence of autoimmune diseases, including diabetes, and the decrease of the infectious burden. The underlying rationale is to identify microbial-derived compounds mediating the protective activity of infections which could be developed therapeutically.
Cites: J Immunol. 2000 Jun 1;164(11):5683-810820244
The efficacy of two acellular pertussis vaccines was estimated for various clinical case definitions, with and without the requirement of culture confirmation, from a randomized trial in Sweden. Efficacy increased with duration of coughing spasms and when the case definition included whoops or whoops plus at least nine coughing spasms a day. After deletion of clinical cases not believed to be caused by pertussis, efficacies were closer to the higher values for culture-confirmed disease. Nonspecificity of the clinical criterion "21 days of coughing spasms with whoops" resulted in estimates of predictive value for pertussis of 85% for placebo recipients and 56% for vaccinees. We conclude that laboratory confirmation of suspected cases is needed in pertussis vaccine trials. A suggested case definition is 21 days or more of coughing spasms with confirmation by culture, serologic study, or household exposure to culture-confirmed pertussis.
To evaluate the role of lymphocytes in the pathogenesis of allergic bronchoconstriction, we investigated whether allergic airway responses are adoptively transferred by antigen-primed lymphocytes in Brown Norway (BN) rats. Animals were actively sensitized to ovalbumin (OA) or sham sensitized, and 14 d later mononuclear cells (MNCs) were isolated from intrathoracic lymph nodes, passed through a nylon wool column, and transferred to naive syngeneic rats. Recipients were challenged with aerosolized OA or bovine serum albumin (BSA) (5% wt/vol) and analyzed for changes in lung resistance (RL), airway responsiveness to inhaled methacholine (MCh), and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells. Recipients of MNCs from sensitized rats responded to OA inhalation and exhibited sustained increases in RL throughout the 8-h observation period, but without usual early airway responses. Recipients of sham-sensitized MNCs or BSA-challenged recipients failed to respond to antigen challenge. At 32 h after OA exposure, airway responsiveness to MCh was increased in four of seven rats that had received sensitized MNCs (p = 0.035). BAL eosinophils increased at 32 h in the recipients of both sensitized and sham-sensitized MNCs. However, eosinophil numbers in BAL were inversely correlated with airway responsiveness in the recipients of sensitized MNCs (r = -0.788, p = 0.036). OA-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) was undetectable by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or passive cutaneous anaphylaxis (PCA) in recipient rats following adoptive transfer. In conclusion, allergic late airway responses (LAR) and cholinergic airway hyperresponsiveness, but not antigen-specific IgE and early responses, were adoptively transferred by antigen-primed lymphocytes in BN rats.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
We previously demonstrated that mercuric chloride (HgCl2) injected-(Lewis x Brown-Norway) F1 rats are protected against experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU) induced by active immunization with the retinal S-antigen (S-Ag). To better understand the mechanisms of the protection promoted by HgCl2, we studied the effect of HgCl2-induced autoimmune disease on transferred EAU. We demonstrate herein that HgCl2 has no effect on adoptively transferred EAU. Therefore, the HgCl2-induced autoimmune disease does not affect effector S-Ag specific T cells activated in vitro but acts at an earlier stage.
Conventional anticancer drugs, cytotoxic agents, function by killing all rapidly dividing cells without distinguishing between cancer cells and normal cells of the body. Understanding of the regulatory mechanisms of the immune system has enabled the development of immunotherapeutic drugs and, through them, liberation of the immune response for the management of cancer. In Finland, interferons and antibody therapies represent the clinically applied immunotherapy of melanoma. While most antibody therapies are fairly harmless, the new drugs enhancing T cell defense are associated with a significant risk of autoimmune adverse effects. Immediate recognition and treatment of adverse effects are essential for the survival of the patients.
Several laboratories have reported that new plasma membrane peptides appear in rodent and human cells after induction of in-vitro resistance to vinca alkaloids, anthracyclines and other anti-neoplastic drugs. Recently, murine monoclonal antibodies have been produced that recognize surface components of such drug-resistant cells. The work presented here describes the development of an in-vivo animal model of this phenomenon using a rat myeloid leukemia. Brown Norway rats were made leukemic with promyelocytes of the BNML line and subsequently were treated with 7.7 mg kg-1 of daunorubicin. After eight cycles of passage-treatment-regrowth, the resulting cells reacted with this antibody in immunofluorescence and cytotoxicity assays. Animals injected with cells that had been pre-incubated with antibody in the absence of complement survived significantly longer than did the controls. Further prolongation of survival occurred when the cells were treated with a second antibody of a different specificity. These results demonstrate that some of the changes associated with in-vitro drug resistance occur also in vivo and potentially may be exploited as a focus for immunotherapy.
Glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) is a major target of the autoimmune response that occurs in type 1 diabetes mellitus. In animal models of autoimmunity, treatment with a target antigen can modulate aggressive autoimmunity. We aimed to assess whether immunisation with GAD formulated with aluminum hydroxide (GAD-alum) would preserve insulin production in recent-onset type 1 diabetes.
Patients aged 3-45 years who had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes for less than 100 days were enrolled from 15 sites in the USA and Canada, and randomly assigned to receive one of three treatments: three injections of 20 Âµg GAD-alum, two injections of 20 Âµg GAD-alum and one of alum, or 3 injections of alum. Injections were given subcutaneously at baseline, 4 weeks later, and 8 weeks after the second injection. The randomisation sequence was computer generated at the TrialNet coordinating centre. Patients and study personnel were masked to treatment assignment. The primary outcome was the baseline-adjusted geometric mean area under the curve (AUC) of serum C-peptide during the first 2 h of a 4-h mixed meal tolerance test at 1 year. Secondary outcomes included changes in glycated haemoglobin A(1c) (HbA(1c)) and insulin dose, and safety. Analysis included all randomised patients with known measurements. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00529399.
145 patients were enrolled and treated with GAD-alum (n=48), GAD-alum plus alum (n=49), or alum (n=48). At 1 year, the 2-h AUC of C-peptide, adjusted for age, sex, and baseline C-peptide value, was 0
412 nmol/L (95% CI 0
478) in the GAD-alum group, 0
382 nmol/L (0
446) in the GAD-alum plus alum group, and 0
413 nmol/L (0
477) in the alum group. The ratio of the population mean of the adjusted geometric mean 2-h AUC of C-peptide was 0
998 (95% CI 0
98) for GAD-alum versus alum, and 0
50) for GAD-alum plus alum versus alum. HbA(1c), insulin use, and the occurrence and severity of adverse events did not differ between groups.
Antigen-based immunotherapy therapy with two or three doses of subcutaneous GAD-alum across 4-12 weeks does not alter the course of loss of insulin secretion during 1 year in patients with recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes. Although antigen-based therapy is a highly desirable treatment and is effective in animal models, translation to human autoimmune disease remains a challenge.
US National Institutes of Health.
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Child death due to asthma is a rare and potentially preventable event. We investigated possible risk factors for death due to asthma in children and adolescents, as a step towards preventing or minimizing asthma death in this age group, and improving asthma management and care. We reviewed all 108 cases of asthma death in 1-19-year-olds in Denmark, 1973-1994. Copies of death certificates, hospital records, information from general practitioners, and autopsy records were obtained. The information was assessed with particular reference to: features and duration of asthma before death; severity of asthma; time and place of death; long-term and ongoing medical treatment; quality of medical care; circumstances of final illness; and medical treatment during the final episode of asthma. Age groups of 1-4 years, 5-14 years, and 15-19 years were analyzed separately and in aggregate. Death occurred predominantly in the 15-19-year age group. Generally, significantly more patients died in the summer. These patients were more atopic, had fewer asthma symptoms, and did not have regular asthma consultations. Nearly all patients had early-onset asthma. The 1-4-year age group was characterized by severe asthma. Major risk factors (all age groups) were: gradual deterioration during the last month; length of final attack (>3 hr); and delay in seeking medical help during the final attack. None of the children died during their first attack. Nonadherence was most frequent among the 15-19-year-olds. All asthmatic children and young adults should regularly receive medical care and assessment, even if they suffer only a few symptoms. This study underlines the need for ongoing education of the patient's family, the patient, and doctors on long-term management and management of acute attacks. Copies of clearly written individual plans for periods with increasing symptoms should be supplied to the patient/family and, where appropriate, to their general practitioners. The object of these measures is that the patient and parents/family learn to recognize the signs of deterioration and to act on them.