Publications by authors named "Alessandra Santisi"

6 Publications

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Pregnancy and viral infections: Mechanisms of fetal damage, diagnosis and prevention of neonatal adverse outcomes from cytomegalovirus to SARS-CoV-2 and Zika virus.

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis 2021 Jun 10;1867(10):166198. Epub 2021 Jun 10.

Fetal and Perinatal Medicine and Surgery Unit, Medical and Surgical Department of Fetus, Newborn and Infant - "Bambino Gesù" Children's Hospital IRCCS, Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

Some maternal infections, contracted before or during pregnancy, can be transmitted to the fetus, during gestation (congenital infection), during labor and childbirth (perinatal infection) and through breastfeeding (postnatal infection). The agents responsible for these infections can be viruses, bacteria, protozoa, fungi. Among the viruses most frequently responsible for congenital infections are Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Herpes simplex 1-2, Herpes virus 6, Varicella zoster. Moreover Hepatitis B and C virus, HIV, Parvovirus B19 and non-polio Enteroviruses when contracted during pregnancy may involve the fetus or newborn at birth. Recently, new viruses have emerged, SARS-Cov-2 and Zika virus, of which we do not yet fully know the characteristics and pathogenic power when contracted during pregnancy. Viral infections in pregnancy can damage the fetus (spontaneous abortion, fetal death, intrauterine growth retardation) or the newborn (congenital anomalies, organ diseases with sequelae of different severity). Some risk factors specifically influence the incidence of transmission to the fetus: the timing of the infection in pregnancy, the order of the infection, primary or reinfection or chronic, the duration of membrane rupture, type of delivery, socio-economic conditions and breastfeeding. Frequently infected neonates, symptomatic at birth, have worse outcomes than asymptomatic. Many asymptomatic babies develop long term neurosensory outcomes. The way in which the virus interacts with the maternal immune system, the maternal-fetal interface and the placenta explain these results and also the differences that are observed from time to time in the fetal‑neonatal outcomes of maternal infections. The maternal immune system undergoes functional adaptation during pregnancy, once thought as physiological immunosuppression. This adaptation, crucial for generating a balance between maternal immunity and fetus, is necessary to promote and support the pregnancy itself and the growth of the fetus. When this adaptation is upset by the viral infection, the balance is broken, and the infection can spread and lead to the adverse outcomes previously described. In this review we will describe the main viral harmful infections in pregnancy and the potential mechanisms of the damages on the fetus and newborn.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbadis.2021.166198DOI Listing
June 2021

Invasive Infections in Neonates after Major Surgery: Current Evidence and New Directions.

Pathogens 2021 Mar 9;10(3). Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Medical and Surgical Department of Fetus, Newborn and Infant, "Bambino Gesù" Children's Hospital IRCCS, 00165 Rome, Italy.

Infections represent a serious health problem in neonates. Invasive infections (ICIs) are still a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Infants hospitalized in NICUs are at high risk of ICIs, because of several risk factors: broad spectrum antibiotic treatments, central catheters and other invasive devices, fungal colonization, and impaired immune responses. In this review we summarize 19 published studies which provide the prevalence of previous surgery in neonates with invasive infections. We also provide an overview of risk factors for ICIs after major surgery, fungal colonization, and innate defense mechanisms against fungi, as well as the roles of different spp., the epidemiology and costs of ICIs, diagnosis of ICIs, and antifungal prophylaxis and treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10030319DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7999498PMC
March 2021

Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Is a Feasible Tool to Personalize Drug Administration in Neonates Using New Techniques: An Overview on the Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics in Neonatal Age.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Aug 17;21(16). Epub 2020 Aug 17.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Department of Medical and Surgical Neonatology, "Bambino Gesù" Children's Hospital IRCCS, 00165 Rome, Italy.

Therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) should be adopted in all neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), where the most preterm and fragile babies are hospitalized and treated with many drugs, considering that organs and metabolic pathways undergo deep and progressive maturation processes after birth. Different developmental changes are involved in interindividual variability in response to drugs. A crucial point of TDM is the choice of the bioanalytical method and of the sample to use. TDM in neonates is primarily used for antibiotics, antifungals, and antiepileptic drugs in clinical practice. TDM appears to be particularly promising in specific populations: neonates who undergo therapeutic hypothermia or extracorporeal life support, preterm infants, infants who need a tailored dose of anticancer drugs. This review provides an overview of the latest advances in this field, showing options for a personalized therapy in newborns and infants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21165898DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7460644PMC
August 2020

Novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in newborns and infants: what we know so far.

Ital J Pediatr 2020 Apr 29;46(1):56. Epub 2020 Apr 29.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Department of Neonatology, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Piazza S. Onofrio 4, 00165, Rome, Italy.

Recently, an outbreak of viral pneumonitis in Wuhan, Hubei, China successively spread as a global pandemia, led to the identification of a novel betacoronavirus species, the 2019 novel coronavirus, successively designated 2019-nCoV then SARS-CoV-2). The SARS-CoV-2 causes a clinical syndrome designated coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID19) with a spectrum of manifestations ranging from mild upper respiratory tract infection to severe pneumonitis, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and death. Few cases have been observed in children and adolescents who seem to have a more favorable clinical course than other age groups, and even fewer in newborn babies. This review provides an overview of the knowledge on SARS-CoV-2 epidemiology, transmission, the associated clinical presentation and outcomes in newborns and infants up to 6 months of life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13052-020-0820-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7190200PMC
April 2020

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis in infants with Harlequin Ichthyosis: two cases report and literature review.

Ital J Pediatr 2020 Apr 15;46(1):44. Epub 2020 Apr 15.

Pediatric Dermatology Unit, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Background: Harlequin Ichthyosis is the most severe variant of congenital autosomal recessive ichthyosis, associated with severe morbidity and potentially lethal in early life. At birth, patients present thick and plaque-like scales all over the body, with consequent cutaneous and extra-cutaneous complications, such as poor thermoregulation, recurrent infections, pain, electrolytes imbalance and joint contractures. Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis usually manifests before the age of 16 years and persists for more than 6 weeks. The association between these two pathologies has been described in the literature as a very rare event, which creates diagnostic and therapeutic challenge.

Case Presentation: We describe two patients affected by Harlequin Ichthyosis who early developed Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Both patients were treated with retinoids, ibuprofen and long-acting intra-articular glucocorticoids; due to polyarticular involvement, one child was also treated with weekly oral methotrexate.

Conclusions: The association between Harlequin Ichthyosis and Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is rare and the pathophysiological mechanism that binds them is still unknown. Nonetheless caregivers should be aware of the possible occurrence of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis at very early ages in children affected by Harlequin Ichthyosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13052-020-0817-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7158043PMC
April 2020

Antifungal Drugs for Invasive Candida Infections (ICI) in Neonates: Future Perspectives.

Front Pediatr 2019 20;7:375. Epub 2019 Sep 20.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Department of Neonatology, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, Rome, Italy.

Fungal infections may complicate the neonatal clinical course, and the spectrum of therapies for their treatment in the perinatal period is limited. Polyenes, Azoles and Echinocandins represent the three classes of antifungal drugs commonly used in the neonatal period. The present review provides an overview about the most recent therapeutic strategies for the treatment of fungal infections in neonates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fped.2019.00375DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6764087PMC
September 2019