Chemokines are small proteins (8-12 kD polypeptides) secreted by the cells of innate and adaptive immunity that mediate many of the functions of these cells, including recruitment of other cells. They are classified into families: CC, CXC and CX3C. CXC chemoattract mainly on neutrophils and CC act mainly on monocytes, eosinophils and mast cells. Mast cells are important cells in the modulation of allergic and inflammatory diseases. Activation of mast cells with specific IgE antibody and antigens or other active compounds such as Substance P and corticotrophin releasing hormone causes transcription and translation of several different cytokines/chemokines such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), macrophage inflammatory protein-1 (MIP-1) and GM-CSF, RANTES, MCP-1, CXCL8, along with other proinflammatory compounds, proteases (chymase and tryptase), histamine, leukotrienes and prostaglandin D2. Neutralization of chemokines may reduce inflammatory cell accumulation and may protect against allergy, toxic shock syndrome and inflammatory diseases.
The most reliable predictor of treatment efficacy in hepatitis C is HCV viremia decay at week 12 [early virological response (EVR)]. We investigated whether the ability of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) to mount an interferon (IFN) response in vitro could be predictive of EVR. Fifteen patients treated with PEG IFNalpha + RBV, with pre-therapy frozen PBMC, were retrospectively selected. After a 3 hr PBMC exposure to IFNalpha in vitro, up-regulation of mRNA for IFN-stimulated genes (ISG) was measured by membrane super-array. ISG mRNA levels in unstimulated PBMC were low, but beta2M and CASP1 were significantly higher in EVR vs non-EVR. ISG mRNA up-regulation by IFN was more pronounced in EVR vs non-EVR. For 7 genes (IP-10, IFIT1, IFIT2, IFIT3, TRAIL, KIAA1628 and OAS2) cut-off levels were established, by ROC analysis, able to correctly classify all EVR and non-EVR. Early virological response to PEG IFNalpha +RBV is correlated with the pre-therapy ability of PBMC to activate an IFN response in vitro. If validated in a wider cohort of patients, the ability of this set of ISG to discriminate between EVR and non-EVR may be useful for pre-therapy evaluation, particularly in patients with unfavourable combinations of conventional response predictors.
The roughness and the purity of implant surfaces are key points in the osteointegration process. The surfaces obtained by classic methods present irregular non-reproducible patterns and furthermore contaminate the implant surface with materials other than titanium which interfere with the process of osteointegration. The aim of the present study is to evaluate, by SEM/EDX and XPS analyses, the surface microstructure and the purity of new laser-treated implant surfaces. The laser treatment of the surface allows to set parameters to determine the roughness in order to obtain a regular and repeatable surface. Furthermore, there being no contact between the implant and the machine, there is no surface contamination with elements other than titanium. In this study we used a diode-pumped solid state laser (DPSS) with Nd:YAG source operating in Q-Switching mode on titanium samples. The resulting samples were analysed by SEM/EDX and XPS to evaluate morphology and purity of the surface. The results show surfaces with very regular roughness and a total absence of contamination.
Allergic rhinitis (AR) is characterized by Th2 polarized immune response. Allergen-specific subcutaneous immunotherapy may restore a physiologic Th1 profile. However, there are few studies investigating the immunological effects of sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). The aim of this study is to investigate whether a pre-seasonal SLIT course could affect IFN-gamma production. Forty-four AR patients with pollen allergy assumed pre-seasonal SLIT for 3 months. IFN-gamma-specific producing cells were assessed by cytokine ELISPOT before and 3 months after the beginning of SLIT. Visual analogue scale (VAS) for symptoms and medication score was also evaluated. The frequency of IFN-gamma-specific producing cells significantly increased after SLIT (p<0.01), and this increase was significantly associated with improvement of both symptoms (p<0.001) and medication use (p<0.01). In conclusion, these results may be considered clinically relevant as SLIT treatment may induce a quick IFN- gamma response that is related to clinical improvement.
Insufficient bone density of the alveolar crests, caused by loss of the dental elements, sometimes impedes the primary stability of an integrated bone implant. The techniques of bone regeneration allow to obtain a sufficient quantity of alveolar bone to permit the implant rehabilitation of the edentulous crests. Today several grafting materials are available and they have different characteristics, according to their structure, which influence the different behaviour of the grafting materials to the bone and the implant surface. The aim of this study is to evaluate the interaction between a human osteosarcoma MG63 cell line and three different biomaterials: polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLAGA), deproteinized bovine bone and demineralised freeze-dried bone allograft (DFDBA). From this study a different behaviour emerges of the osteoblast-like MG63 cells in relation to the sublayer on which these cells were placed in culture. The results of the study, in fact, demonstrate that the most osteoconductive material of the three analysed is the DFDBA, followed by DPBB. On the contrary, the PLGA, because of its roughness, does not seem to represent a valid support for cell growth, and does not encourage any morphologic modification in tumor cells. Furthermore, deproteinized bovine bone shows a differentiating effect which could lead to hypothesise an osteoconductive capacity of this biomaterial. Further studies should be carried out with the aim of explaining the results obtained.
Efalizumab is an anti-CD11a humanized monoclonal antibody which is safe and effective for the treatment of plaque psoriasis. We performed a retrospective analysis on -high-need- patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis treated with Efalizumab monotherapy for more than 2 years. Chart review of patient records also concerned information about rebound, relapse, and retreatment after temporary interruption, as well as transitioning from Efalizumab to alternative treatments. Of the 52 patients who completed the initial 12 weeks of treatment, 65% attained the PASI-50 response at week 12. A notable improvement of skin lesions on critical sites, such as palmoplantar surfaces or genitals, was also observed. Continuous treatment resulted in a sustained response in the majority of patients, with a PASI-75 response in nearly 88% of those Efalizumab-treated in the long term (week 72 onwards) and a PASI-90 in 77% of patients by weeks 120-132. In general, the treatment was well tolerated, with mild-to-moderate flu-like symptoms as the most frequent adverse events, particularly after the first two doses. Increase of leukocyte and/or lymphocyte counts was the most common laboratory test alteration during treatment, also in the long term. In our case series, Efalizumab was safe and well-tolerated even in patients with relevant comorbidities, including one patient with HBsAg carriage and five patients with latent TB.
The aim of the present study is to evaluate role of plasma antioxidants (albumin, bilirubin and uric acid) in patients suffering from type I Bipolar Disorder (BD-I) during different phases of illness: acute mania, euthymia and bipolar depression. Medical records of consecutive 110 BD-I patients (38 patients with acute mania, 35 in euthymic state, full remission, and 37 in depressive phase) were reviewed to evaluate plasma antioxidant levels. Laboratory data of 40 healthy controls were also obtained. The scores of Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS), Bech-Rafaelsen Manic Rating Scale (BRMRS) and Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) were evaluated. Serum uric acid levels were higher in acute mania than other patient subgroups and healthy controls. Serum uric acid levels directly correlated with BRMRS and YMRS scores. No differences were found between clinical groups during different phases and healthy controls concerning albumin and bilirubin. In conclusion, the results of the present study support the notion that serum uric acid levels may be higher in patients with BP-I (especially during manic phases) which may suggest a dysregulation of the purinergic system. However, limitations should be considered and further studies are needed.
A good digestion is essential to maintain a healthy status. It is known that physiological digestive processes could be improved by the ingestion of some medicinal plants, while specific foods can facilitate the occurrence of gastrointestinal symptoms. Moreover, sensory properties of food seem to also influence digestion. We assessed the influence on physiological digestive processes of two Gran Soleil (GS) products containing a mixture of digestive plant extracts, citrus juices and liquors. We evaluated, in 10 healthy volunteers, the eventual occurrence of gastrointestinal symptoms after their ingestion and measured their palatability. Ingestion of GS did not cause significant gastrointestinal symptoms. Moreover, the palatability median score shows a good appreciation of the products. In conclusion, it is possible to suppose that a product with a good palatability, able to support and maintain a good digestive condition, derives from the mixture of digestive herbs, citrus juices, liquor and other ingredients.
Ever increasing evidence supports the association between psoriasis and cardiovascular risk. Antiphospholipid antibodies (APAs), which can occur in many autoimmune diseases, are considered prothrombotic and have been associated with atherosclerosis. The aim of this study is to evaluate the prevalence and levels of APAs in psoriasis patients. Fifty patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and 48 healthy subjects were investigated for lupus anticoagulant (LAC) by screening and confirmatory coagulation tests, as well as for antibodies against cardiolipin or beta2-glycoprotein I. Levels of APAs and LAC-related parameters were similar for patients with psoriasis and normal controls (p>0.05). APAs were found in only one psoriatic patient (2%) and in none of the controls. LAC was detected in 2 patients (4%) and in one subject of the control group (2.1%). These results suggest that the prevalence of APAs is not increased in plaque psoriasis as compared to the control group. The increased cardiovascular risk observed in psoriatic patients is therefore likely to be correlated to factors different from APAs.