Abstract in English:Autoimmune diseases constitute a heterogeneous group of conditions commonly treated with anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressant and immunomodulating drugs, with satisfactory results in most cases. Nevertheless, some patients become resistant to conventional therapy. The use of high doses of drugs in such cases results in the need for bone marrow reconstitution, a situation which has stimulated research into the use of hematopoietic stem cells in autoimmune disease therapy. Stem cell transplantation in such diseases aims to destroy the self-reacting immune cells and produce a new functional immune system, as well as substitute cells for tissue damaged in the course of the disease. Significant results, such as the reestablishment of tolerance and a decrease in the recurrence of autoimmune disease, have been reported following stem cell transplantation in patients with autoimmune disease in Brazil and throughout the world. These results suggest that stem cell transplantation has the potential to become an important therapeutic approach to the treatment of various autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, systemic sclerosis, Crohn's disease, autoimmune blood cytopenias, and type I diabetes mellitus.
Abstract in English:Fabry disease is an X-linked lysosomal disorder due to a-galactosidase A deficiency that causes storage of globotriaosylceramide. The gene coding for this lysosomal enzyme is located on the long arm of the X chromosome, in region Xq21.33-Xq22. Disease progression leads to vascular disease secondary to involvement of kidney, heart and the central nervous system. Detection of female carriers based solely on enzyme assays is often inconclusive. Therefore, mutation analysis is a valuable tool for diagnosis and genetic counseling. Many mutations of the a-galactosidase A gene have been reported with high genetic heterogeneity, being most mutations private found in only one family. The disease is panethnic, and estimates of incidence range from about 1 in 40,000 to 60,000 males. Our objective was to describe the analysis of 6 male and 7 female individuals belonging to 4 different Fabry disease families by automated sequencing of the seven exons of the a-galactosidase gene. Sequencing was performed using PCR fragments for each exon amplified from DNA extracted from peripheral blood. Three known mutations and one previously described in another Brazilian family were detected. Of 7 female relatives studied, 4 were carriers. Although the present study confirms the heterogeneity of mutations in Fabry disease, the finding of the same mutation previously detected in another Fabry family from our region raises the possibility of some founder effect, or genetic drift. Finally, the present study highlights the importance of molecular analysis for carrier detection and genetic counseling.
Abstract in English:Given the loss of therapeutic efficacy associated with the development of resistance to lamivudine (LMV) and the availability of new alternative treatments for chronic hepatitis B patients, early detection of viral genotypic resistance could allow the clinician to consider therapy modification before viral breakthrough and biochemical relapse occur. To this end, 28 LMV-treated patients (44 ± 12 years; 24 men), on their first therapy schedule, were monitored monthly at four Brazilian centers for the emergence of drug resistance using the reverse hybridization-based INNO-LiPA HBV DR assay and occasionally sequencing (two cases). Positive viral responses (HBV DNA clearance) after 6, 12, and 18 months of therapy were achieved by 57, 68, and 53% of patients, while biochemical responses (serum alanine aminotransferase normalization) were observed in 82, 82, and 53% of cases. All viral breakthrough cases (N = 8) were related to the emergence of YMDD variants observed in 7, 21, and 35% of patients at 6, 12, and 18 months, respectively. The emergence of these variants was not associated with viral genotype, HBeAg expression status, or pretreatment serum alanine aminotransferase levels. The detection of resistance-associated mutations was observed before the corresponding biochemical flare (41 ± 14 and 60 ± 15 weeks) in the same individuals. Then, if highly sensitive LMV drug resistance testing is carried out at frequent and regular intervals, the relatively long period (19 ± 2 weeks) between the emergence of viral resistance and the onset of biochemical relapse can provide clinicians with ample time to re-evaluate drug therapy.
Abstract in English:The present cross-sectional, population-based study was designed to evaluate the performance of the FEV1/FEV6 ratio for the detection of airway-obstructed subjects compared to the FEV1/FVC <0.70 fixed ratio test, as well as the lower limit of normality (LLN) for 1000 subjects ³40 years of age in the metropolitan area of São Paulo, SP, Brazil. After the exclusion of 37 (3.7%) spirometries, a total of 963 pre-bronchodilator (BD) and 918 post-BD curves were constructed. The majority of the post-BD curves (93.1%) were of very good quality and achieved grade A (762 curves) or B (93 curves). The FEV1/FEV6 and FEV1/FVC ratios were highly correlated (r² = 0.92, P < 0.000). Two receiver operator characteristic curves were constructed in order to express the imbalance between the sensitivity and specificity of the FEV1/FEV6 ratio compared to two FEV1/FVC cut-off points for airway obstruction: equal to 70 (area under the curve = 0.98, P < 0.0001) and the LLN (area under the curve = 0.97, P < 0.0001), in the post-BD curves. According to an FEV1/FVC <0.70, the cut-off point for the FEV1/FEV6 ratio with the highest sum for sensitivity and specificity was 0.75. The FEV1/FEV6 ratio can be considered to be a good alternative to the FEV1/FVC ratio for the diagnosis of airway obstruction, both using a fixed cut-off point or below the LLN as reference. The FEV1/FEV6 ratio has the additional advantage of being an easier maneuver for the subjects and for the lung function technicians, providing a higher reproducibility than traditional spirometry maneuvers.
Abstract in English:Allogeneic stem cell transplantation has been increasingly performed for a variety of hematologic diseases. Clinically significant acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) occurs in 9 to 50% of patients who receive allogeneic grafts, resulting in high morbidity and mortality. There is no standard therapy for patients with acute GVHD who do not respond to steroids. Studies have shown a possible benefit of anti-TNF-a (infliximab)for the treatment of acute GVHD. We report here on the outcomes of 10 recipients of related or unrelated stem cell transplants who received 10 mg/kg infliximab, iv, once weekly for a median of 3.5 doses (range: 1-6) for the treatment of severe acute GVHD and who were not responsive to standard therapy. All patients had acute GVHD grades II to IV (II = 2, III = 3, IV = 5). Overall, 9 patients responded and 1 patient had progressive disease. Among the responders, 3 had complete responses and 6 partial responses. All patients with cutaneous or gastrointestinal involvement responded, while only 2 of 6 patients with liver disease showed any response. None of the 10 patients had any kind of immediate toxicity. Four patients died, all of them with sepsis. Six patients are still alive after a median follow-up time of 544 days (92-600) after transplantation. Considering the severity of the cases and the bad prognosis associated with advanced acute GVHD, we find our results encouraging. Anti-TNF-a seems to be a useful agent for the treatment of acute GVHD.
Abstract in English:Leptin is produced primarily by adipocytes. Although originally associated with the central regulation of satiety and energy metabolism, increasing evidence indicates that leptin may be an important mediator in cardiovascular pathophysiology. The aim of the present study was to investigate plasma leptin levels in patient with Chagas' heart disease and their relation to different forms of the disease. We studied 52 chagasic patients and 30 controls matched for age and body mass index. All subjects underwent anthropometric, leptin and N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) measurements and were evaluated by echocardiography, 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG), and chest X-ray. All patients had fasting blood samples taken between 8:00 and 9:00 am. Chagasic patients were divided into 3 groups: group I (indeterminate form, IF group) consisted of 24 subjects with 2 positive serologic reactions for Chagas' disease and no cardiac involvement as evaluated by chest X-rays, ECG and two-dimensional echocardiography; group II (showing ECG abnormalities and normal left ventricular systolic function, ECG group) consisted of 14 patients; group III consisted of 14 patients with congestive heart failure (CHF group) and left ventricular dysfunction. Serum leptin levels were significantly lower (P < 0.001) in the CHF group (1.4 ± 0.8 ng/mL) when compared to the IF group (5.3 ± 5.3 ng/mL), ECG group (9.7 ± 10.7 ng/mL), and control group (8.1 ± 7.8 ng/mL). NT-proBNP levels were significantly higher (P < 0.001) in the CHF group (831.8 ± 800.1 pg/mL) when compared to the IF group (53.2 ± 33.3 pg/mL), ECG group (83.3 ± 57.4 pg/mL), and control group (32 ± 22.7 pg/mL). Patients with Chagas' disease and an advanced stage of CHF have high levels of NT-ProBNP andlow plasma levels of leptin. One or more leptin-suppressing mechanisms may operate in chagasic patients.
Abstract in English:Massive hepatectomy associated with infection induces liver dysfunction, or even multiple organ failure and death. Glycyrrhizin has been shown to exhibit anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether glycyrrhizin could attenuate endotoxin-induced acute liver injury after partial hepatectomy. Male Wistar rats (6 to 8 weeks old, weighing 200-250 g) were randomly assigned to three groups of 24 rats each: sham, saline and glycyrrhizin. Rats were injected intravenously with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) 24 h after 70% hepatectomy. Glycyrrhizin, pre-administered three times with 24 h intervals 48 h before hepatectomy, prolonged the survival of rats submitted to partial hepatectomy and LPS injection, compared with saline controls. Glycyrrhizin was shown to attenuate histological hepatic changes and significantly reduced serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, and lactic dehydrogenase, at all the indicated times (6 rats from each were sacrificed 1, 3, 6, and 9 h after LPS injection), compared with saline controls. Glycyrrhizin also significantly inhibited hepatocyte apoptosis by down-regulating the expression of caspase-3 and inhibiting the release of cytochrome C from mitochondria into the cytoplasm. The anti-inflammatory activity of glycyrrhizin may rely on the inhibition of release of tumor necrosis factor-a, myeloperoxidase activity, and translocation of nuclear factor-kappa B into the nuclei. Glycyrrhizin also up-regulated the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen, implying that it might be able to promote regeneration of livers harmed by LPS. In summary, glycyrrhizin may represent a potent drug protecting the liver against endotoxin-induced injury, especially after massive hepatectomy.
Abstract in English:Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is often accompanied by tachycardia which is known to be an important pathogenic factor in the development of myocardial ischemia. The pathogenesis of tachycardia is unknown but the condition is thought to be due to the endocrine response to endoscopy. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of sedation on the endocrine response and cardiorespiratory function. Forty patients scheduled for diagnostic upper gastrointestinal endoscopy were randomized into 2 groups. While the patients in the first group did not receive sedation during upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, the patients in the second group were sedated with intravenous midazolam at the dose of 5 mg for those under 65 years or 2.5 mg for those aged 65 years or more. Midazolam was administered by slow infusion. In both groups, blood pressure, ECG tracing, heart rate, and peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2) were monitored during endoscopy. In addition, blood samples for the determination of cortisol, glucose and C-reactive protein levels were obtained from patients in both groups prior to and following endoscopy. Heart rate and systolic arterial pressure changes were within normal limits in both groups. Comparison of the two groups regarding the values of these two parameters did not reveal a significant difference, while a statistically significant reduction in SpO2 was found in the sedation group. No significant differences in serum cortisol, glucose or C-reactive protein levels were observed between the sedated and non-sedated group. Sedation with midazolam did not reduce the endocrine response and the tachycardia developing during upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, but increased the reduction in SpO2.
Abstract in English:The range of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) concentration was determined in a young healthy population based on bone metabolism parameters and environmental and behavioral aspects. We studied 121 healthy young volunteers (49 men, 72 women) living in São Paulo (23º 34' south latitude) belonging to three occupational categories: indoor workers (N = 28), medical school students (N = 44), and resident physicians (N = 49). Fasting morning blood samples were collected once from each volunteer from August 2002 to February 2004, and 25OHD, total calcium, albumin, alkaline phosphatase, phosphorus, creatinine, intact parathyroid hormone, osteocalcin, and type I collagen carboxyterminal telopeptide were measured. Data are reported as means ± SD. Mean subject age was 24.7 ± 2.68 years and mean 25OHD level for the entire group was 78.7 ± 33.1 nM. 25OHD levels were lower (P < 0.05) among resident physicians (67.1 ± 27.0 nM) than among students (81.5 ± 35.8 nM) and workers (94.0 ± 32.6 nM), with the last two categories displaying no difference. Parathyroid hormone was higher (P < 0.05) and osteocalcin was lower (P < 0.05) among resident physicians compared to non-physicians. Solar exposure and frequency of beach outings showed a positive association with 25OHD (P < 0.001), and summer samples presented higher results than winter ones (97.8 ± 33.5 and 62.9 ± 23.5 nM, respectively). To define normal levels, parameters such as occupational activity, seasonality and habits related to solar exposure should be taken into account. Based on these data, we considered concentrations above 74.5 nM to be desired optimal 25OHD levels, which were obtained during the summer for 75% of the non-physicians.
Abstract in English:Recombinant human thyroid-stimulating hormone (rhTSH) enhances 131I uptake, permitting a decrease in radiation for the treatment of multinodular goiter (MNG). Our objective was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a single 0.1-mg dose of rhTSH, followed by 30 mCi 131I, in patients with MNG. Seventeen patients (15 females, 59.0 ± 13.1 years), who had never been submitted to 131I therapy, received a single 0.1-mg injection of rhTSH followed by 30 mCi 131I on the next day. Mean basal thyroid volume measured by computed tomography was 106.1 ± 64.4 mL. 131I 24-h uptake, TSH, free-T4, T3, thyroglobulin, anti-thyroid antibodies, and thyroid volume were evaluated at regular intervals of 12 months. Mean 131I 24-h uptake increased from 18.1 ± 9.7 to 49.6 ± 13.4% (P < 0.001), a median 2.6-fold increase (1.2 to 9.2). Peak hormonal levels were 10.86 ± 5.44 mU/L for TSH (a median 15.5-fold increase), 1.80 ± 0.48 ng/dL for free-T4, 204.61 ± 58.37 ng/dL for T3, and a median of 557.0 ng/mL for thyroglobulin. The adverse effects observed were hyperthyroidism (17.6%), painful thyroiditis (29.4%) and hypothyroidism (52.9%). Thyroid volume was reduced by 34.3 ± 14.3% after 6 months (P < 0.001) and by 46.0 ± 14.6% after 1 year (P < 0.001). Treatment of MNG with a single 0.1-mg dose of rhTSH, followed by a fixed amount of radioactivity of 131I, leads to an efficacious decrease in thyroid volume for the majority of the patients, with a moderate incidence of non-serious and readily treatable adverse effects.
Abstract in English:Costimulatory and antigen-presenting molecules are essential to the initiation of T cell immunity to mycobacteria. The present study analyzed by immunocytochemistry, using monoclonal antibodies and alkaline phosphatase-anti-alkaline phosphatase method, the frequency of costimulatory (CD86, CD40, CD40L, CD28, and CD152) and antigen-presenting (MHC class II and CD1) molecules expression on human lung cells recovered by sputum induction from tuberculosis (TB) patients (N = 22) and non-TB controls (N = 17). TB cases showed a statistically significant lower percentage of HLA-DR+ cells than control subjects (21.9 ± 4.2 vs 50.0 ± 7.2%, P < 0.001), even though similar proportions of TB cases (18/22) and control subjects (16/17, P = 0.36) had HLA-DR-positive-stained cells. In addition, fewer TB cases (10/22) compared to control subjects (16/17) possessed CD86-expressing cells (P = 0.04; OR: 0.05; 95%CI = 0.00-0.51), and TB cases expressed a lower percentage of CD86+ cells (P = 0.04). Moreover, TB patients with clinically limited disease (£1 lobe) on chest X-ray exhibited a lower percentage of CD86-bearing cells compared to patients with more extensive lung disease (>1 lobe) (P = 0.02). The lower expression by lung cells from TB patients of HLA-DR and CD86, molecules involved in antigen presentation and activation of T cells, may minimize T cell recognition of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, fostering an immune dysfunctional state and active TB.
Abstract in English:The introduction of routine vaccination against tetanus and diphtheria in Brazil has decreased the incidence and changed the epidemiology of both diseases. We then investigated the prevalence of Corynebacterium diphtheriae carrier status and diphtheria and tetanus immunity in São Paulo, Brazil. From November 2001 to March 2003, 374 individuals were tested for the presence of C. diphtheriae in the naso-oropharynx and of serum diphtheria and tetanus antibodies. Participants were all healthy individuals without acute or chronic pathologies and they were stratified by age as follows: 0-12 months and 1-4, 5-9, 10-14, 15-24, 25-39, 40-59, and ³60 years. Antibodies were assessed using a double-antigen ELISA. C. diphtheriae species were identified by biochemical analysis and toxigenicity was assessed by the Elek test. For diphtheria, full protection (antibodies ³0.1 IU/mL) was present in 84% of the individuals, 15% had basic protection (antibodies ³0.01 and <0.1 IU/mL) and 1% were susceptible (antibodies <0.01 IU/mL). Full tetanus protection (antibodies ³0.1 IU/mL) was present in 79% of the participants, 18% had basic protection (antibodies ³0.01 and <0.1 IU/mL) and 3% were susceptible (antibodies <0.01 IU/mL). The geometric mean of diphtheria and tetanus antibodies reached the highest values at 5-9 years and decreased until the 40-59-year age range, increasing again in individuals over 60 years. Three participants (0.8%) were carriers of C. diphtheriae, all non-toxigenic strains. The present results demonstrate the clear need of periodic booster for tetanus and diphtheria vaccine in adolescents and adults after primary immunization in childhood.
Abstract in English:Genotype E of hepatitis B virus (HBV) has not been described in Brazil and is found mainly in Africa. Genotype A is the most prevalent in Brazil, and genotypes B, C, D, and F have already been reported. We report here an HBV genotype E-infected patient and some characterization of surface (S) protein, DNA polymerase (P) and precore/core (preC/C) coding regions based on the viral genome. The patient is a 31-year-old black man with chronic hepatitis B who was born and raised in Angola. He has been followed by a hepatologist in São Paulo, Brazil, since November 2003, and he is a frequent traveler to Latin America, Africa, and Europe. In 2003, he was diagnosed with HBV infection and started treatment with lamivudine with the later addition of adefovir dipivoxil. No known risk factor was identified. Serologically, he is HBsAg and anti-HBe positive, but HBeAg and anti-HBs negative. DNA sequence analysis of the S/P region confirmed that this patient is infected with genotype E, subtype ayw4. The preC/C region showed G1896A and G1899A mutations but no mutations in the basal core promoter. Nucleotide substitutions common in genotype E were also observed (C1772, T1858 and A1757). Although this is not an autochthonous case and there is no evidence of further spread, the description of this case in Brazil highlights the current risk of viral genotypes spreading with unprecedented speed due to constant travel around the world.