Publications by authors named "A Fierabracci"

100 Publications

Report of two siblings with APECED in Serbia: is there a founder effect of c.769C>T AIRE genotype?

Ital J Pediatr 2021 Jun 2;47(1):126. Epub 2021 Jun 2.

Endocrine Unit, Department of Medicine (DIMED), University of Padua, Padua, Italy.

Background: Autoimmune polyendocrinopathy-candidiasis-ectodermal-dystrophy (APECED) or autoimmune polyglandular syndrome Type 1 is a rare autosomal recessive syndrome. The disorder is caused by mutations in the AIRE (AutoImmune Regulator) gene. According to the classic criteria, clinical diagnosis requires the presence of at least two of three main components: chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis, hypoparathyroidism and primary adrenal insufficiency. Furthermore, patients are often affected by other endocrine or non-endocrine associated autoimmune conditions. The enrichment of the non-classical triad seems to occur differently in different cohorts. Screenings of the population revealed that homozygous AIRE mutations c.769C > T, c.415C > T and c.254A > G have a founder effect in Finnish, Sardinian and Iranian Jew populations respectively.

Case Presentation: We report here the clinical and genetic characteristics of two new Serbian APECED siblings, one male and one female, actual age of 27 and 24 respectively, born from non-consanguineous parents. Addison's disease was diagnosed in the male at the age of 3.5 and hypoparathyroidism at the age of 4. The female developed hypoparathyroidism at 4 years of age. She presented diffuse alopecia, madarosis, onychomycosis, teeth enamel dysplasia. She further developed Addison's disease at the age of 11 and Hashimoto's thyroiditis at the age of 13.5. She had menarche at the age of 14 but developed autoimmune oophoritis and premature ovarian failure at the age of 16. A treatment with hydrocortisone, fludrocortisone and alfacalcidiol was established for both siblings; L-T4 (levo-thyroxine) for thyroid dysfunction and levonorgestrel and etinilestradiol for POF were also administered to the female. Genetic screening revealed a homozygous c.769C > T (R257X (p.Arg257X)) AIRE mutation. We additionally reviewed the literature on 11 previously published Serbian patients and evaluated the frequency of their main diseases in comparison to Finnish, Sardinian, Turkish, Indian and North/South American cohorts.

Conclusion: A founder effect was discovered for the R257X genotype detected in the DNA of 10 homozygous and 2 heterozygous patients. Of note, all Serbian APECED patients were affected by adrenal insufficiency and 10 out of 13 patients presented CMC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13052-021-01075-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8173724PMC
June 2021

Sialic Acid-Siglec Axis in Human Immune Regulation, Involvement in Autoimmunity and Cancer and Potential Therapeutic Treatments.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 May 28;22(11). Epub 2021 May 28.

Infectivology and Clinical Trials Research Area, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Viale San Paolo 15, 00146 Rome, Italy.

Siglecs are sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectins. Most Siglecs function as transmembrane receptors mainly expressed on blood cells in a cell type-specific manner. They recognize and bind sialic acids in specific linkages on glycoproteins and glycolipids. Since Sia is a self-molecule, Siglecs play a role in innate immune responses by distinguishing molecules as self or non-self. Increasing evidence supports the involvement of Siglecs in immune signaling representing immune checkpoints able to regulate immune responses in inflammatory diseases as well as cancer. Although further studies are necessary to fully understand the involvement of Siglecs in pathological conditions as well as their interactions with other immune regulators, the development of therapeutic approaches that exploit these molecules represents a tremendous opportunity for future treatments of several human diseases, as demonstrated by their application in several clinical trials. In the present review, we discuss the involvement of Siglecs in the regulation of immune responses, with particular focus on autoimmunity and cancer and the chance to target the sialic acid-Siglec axis as novel treatment strategy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22115774DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8198044PMC
May 2021

Autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 1: an Italian survey on 158 patients.

J Endocrinol Invest 2021 May 18. Epub 2021 May 18.

FIRS Laboratories RSR Ltd, Cardiff, UK.

Background: Autoimmune Polyglandular Syndrome type 1 (APS-1) is a rare recessive inherited disease, caused by AutoImmune Regulator (AIRE) gene mutations and characterized by three major manifestations: chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis (CMC), chronic hypoparathyroidism (CH) and Addison's disease (AD).

Methods: Autoimmune conditions and associated autoantibodies (Abs) were analyzed in 158 Italian patients (103 females and 55 males; F/M 1.9/1) at the onset and during a follow-up of 23.7 ± 15.1 years. AIRE mutations were determined.

Results: The prevalence of APS-1 was 2.6 cases/million (range 0.5-17 in different regions). At the onset 93% of patients presented with one or more components of the classical triad and 7% with other components. At the end of follow-up, 86.1% had CH, 77.2% AD, 74.7% CMC, 49.5% premature menopause, 29.7% autoimmune intestinal dysfunction, 27.8% autoimmune thyroid diseases, 25.9% autoimmune gastritis/pernicious anemia, 25.3% ectodermal dystrophy, 24% alopecia, 21.5% autoimmune hepatitis, 17% vitiligo, 13.3% cholelithiasis, 5.7% connective diseases, 4.4% asplenia, 2.5% celiac disease and 13.9% cancer. Overall, 991 diseases (6.3 diseases/patient) were found. Interferon-ω Abs (IFNωAbs) were positive in 91.1% of patients. Overall mortality was 14.6%. The AIRE mutation R139X was found in 21.3% of tested alleles, R257X in 11.8%, W78R in 11.4%, C322fsX372 in 8.8%, T16M in 6.2%, R203X in 4%, and A21V in 2.9%. Less frequent mutations were present in 12.9%, very rare in 9.6% while no mutations in 11% of the cases.

Conclusions: In Italy, APS-1 is a rare disorder presenting with the three major manifestations and associated with different AIRE gene mutations. IFNωAbs are markers of APS-1 and other organ-specific autoantibodies are markers of clinical, subclinical or potential autoimmune conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40618-021-01585-6DOI Listing
May 2021

Autoimmune Addison's Disease as Part of the Autoimmune Polyglandular Syndrome Type 1: Historical Overview and Current Evidence.

Front Immunol 2021 26;12:606860. Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Section of Internal Medicine and Endocrinological and Metabolic Sciences, Department of Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

The autoimmune polyglandular syndrome type 1 (APS1) is caused by pathogenic variants of the autoimmune regulator () gene, located in the chromosomal region 21q22.3. The related protein, AIRE, enhances thymic self-representation and immune self-tolerance by localization to chromatin and anchorage to multimolecular complexes involved in the initiation and post-initiation events of tissue-specific antigen-encoding gene transcription. Once synthesized, the self-antigens are presented to, and cause deletion of, the self-reactive thymocyte clones. The clinical diagnosis of APS1 is based on the classic triad idiopathic hypoparathyroidism (HPT)-chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis-autoimmune Addison's disease (AAD), though new criteria based on early non-endocrine manifestations have been proposed. HPT is in most cases the first endocrine component of the syndrome; however, APS1-associated AAD has received the most accurate biochemical, clinical, and immunological characterization. Here is a comprehensive review of the studies on APS1-associated AAD from initial case reports to the most recent scientific findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.606860DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7953157PMC
July 2021

Natural Killer Cells: Potential Biomarkers and Therapeutic Target in Autoimmune Diseases?

Front Immunol 2021 19;12:616853. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Infectivology and Clinical Trials Research Area, Primary Immunodeficiencies Research Unit, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Rome, Italy.

Autoimmune diseases recognize a multifactorial pathogenesis, although the exact mechanism responsible for their onset remains to be fully elucidated. Over the past few years, the role of natural killer (NK) cells in shaping immune responses has been highlighted even though their involvement is profoundly linked to the subpopulation involved and to the site where such interaction takes place. The aberrant number and functionality of NK cells have been reported in several different autoimmune disorders. In the present review, we report the most recent findings regarding the involvement of NK cells in both systemic and organ-specific autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes (T1D), primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), systemic sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), primary Sjögren syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. In T1D, innate inflammation induces NK cell activation, disrupting the Treg function. In addition, certain genetic variants identified as risk factors for T1D influenced the activation of NK cells promoting their cytotoxic activity. The role of NK cells has also been demonstrated in the pathogenesis of PBC mediating direct or indirect biliary epithelial cell destruction. NK cell frequency and number were enhanced in both the peripheral blood and the liver of patients and associated with increased NK cell cytotoxic activity and perforin expression levels. NK cells were also involved in the perpetuation of disease through autoreactive CD4 T cell activation in the presence of antigen-presenting cells. In systemic sclerosis (SSc), in addition to phenotypic abnormalities, patients presented a reduction in CD56 NK-cells. Moreover, NK cells presented a deficient killing activity. The influence of the activating and inhibitory killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) has been investigated in SSc and SLE susceptibility. Furthermore, autoantibodies to KIRs have been identified in different systemic autoimmune conditions. Because of its role in modulating the immune-mediated pathology, NK subpopulation could represent a potential marker for disease activity and target for therapeutic intervention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.616853DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7933577PMC
June 2021
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