Publications by authors named "Antonio Di Sabatino"

230 Publications

Liver-spleen axis dysfunction in COVID-19.

World J Gastroenterol 2021 Sep;27(35):5919-5931

First Department of Internal Medicine, San Matteo Hospital Foundation, University of Pavia, Pavia 27100, Italy.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is an acute infectious disease that spreads mainly through the respiratory route. Besides interstitial pneumonia, a number of other clinical manifestations were noticed in COVID-19 patients. In particular, liver and spleen dysfunctions have been described both as complications of COVID-19 and as potential predisposing factors for severe COVID-19. Liver damage is rather common in COVID-19 patients, and it is most likely multifactorial, caused by the direct insult of SARS-CoV-2 to the liver by the cytokine storm triggered by the virus, by the use of hepatotoxic drugs, and as a consequence of hypoxia. Although generally mild, liver impairment has been found to be associated with a higher rate of intensive care unit admission. A higher mortality rate was reported among chronic liver disease patients. Instead, spleen impairment in patients with COVID-19 has been poorly described. The main anatomical changes are the architectural derangement of the B cell compartment, white pulp atrophy, and reduction or absence of lymphoid follicles, while, from a functional point of view, the IgM memory B cell pool is markedly depleted. The outcome of COVID-19 in asplenic or hyposplenic patients is yet to be defined. In this review, we will summarise the current knowledge regarding the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on the liver and spleen function, as well as the outcome of patients with a pre-existent liver disease or defective spleen function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v27.i35.5919DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8475007PMC
September 2021

Poorly Cohesive Carcinoma of the Nonampullary Small Intestine: A Distinct Histologic Subtype With Prognostic Significance.

Am J Surg Pathol 2021 Oct 11. Epub 2021 Oct 11.

Anatomic Pathology Unit, Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Pavia Anatomic Pathology, Fondazione IRCCS San Matteo Hospital Clinical Epidemiology & Biometry Unit, Fondazione IRCCS San Matteo Hospital Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pavia and Fondazione IRCCS San Matteo Hospital Medical Oncology Unit, ICS Maugeri-IRCCS SpA SB, Pavia Pathology Unit, Department of Surgical and Diagnostic Sciences (DISC), University of Genoa and Ospedale Policlinico San Martino IRCCS, Genoa Surgical Pathology Unit, Department of Medicine (DIMED), University of Padua Veneto Institute of Oncology, IOV-IRCCS, Padua Biosciences Laboratory, IRCCS Istituto Romagnolo per lo Studio dei Tumori (IRST) "Dino Amadori," Meldola Pathology Unit, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Insubria, Varese Gatroenterology Unit, ASST Fatebenefratelli-Sacco, L. Sacco University Hospital Department of Biochemical and Clinical Sciences, University of Milan, Milan Division of General and HPB Surgery, ASST Rhodense, Rho Gatroenterology Unit, Department of Systems Medicine, University of Rome "Tor Vergata," Rome, Italy Department of Pathology, Koç University Hospital and Koç University Research Center for Translational Medicine (KUTTAM), Istanbul, Turkey.

Poorly cohesive carcinomas (PCCs) are neoplasms characterized by a dyshesive cell invasion pattern featuring single-cell or cord-like stromal infiltration. Although they have been extensively studied in the stomach and other digestive system organs, limited data regarding nonampullary small bowel poorly cohesive carcinomas (SB-PCCs) are hitherto available. The aims of our study were to analyze the clinicopathologic and immunophenotypical features of SB-PCCs (PCC pattern accounting for >50% of the neoplasm) and to compare them with small bowel adenocarcinomas (SBAs), not otherwise specified (SBAs-NOS) and with cancers with a histologically distinct PCC component accounting for 10% to 50% of the neoplasm (mixed-poorly-cohesive-glandular-SBAs). Fifteen SB-PCCs were identified and compared with 95 SBAs-NOS and 27 mixed-poorly-cohesive-glandular-SBAs. Most SB-PCCs (67%) were composed of <10% of signet-ring cells, and all but 1 SB-PCCs exhibited loss of membranous expression of E-cadherin. Compared with SBAs-NOS, SB-PCCs showed a significantly younger patient age at diagnosis, and a stronger association with Crohn disease, and both SB-PCCs and mixed-poorly-cohesive-glandular-SBAs featured a higher rate of lymphovascular and perineural invasion and a lower percentage of mismatch repair-deficient cases. Importantly, the cancer-specific survival of SB-PCC (hazard ratio: 3.81; 95% confidence interval: 1.90-7.64; P<0.001) and mixed-poorly-cohesive-glandular-SBA (4.12; 2.20-7.71; P<0.001) patients was significantly worse compared with SBAs-NOS cases. This study provides objective evidence to the World Health Organization (WHO) 2019 introduction of SB-PCC as a distinctive subtype of nonampullary SBA, by virtue of its unique clinical and histologic features, and suggests that both SB-PCCs and mixed-poorly-cohesive-glandular-SBAs should be separated from SBAs-NOS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PAS.0000000000001821DOI Listing
October 2021

A Serological Biomarker of Laminin Gamma 1 Chain Degradation Reflects Altered Basement Membrane Remodeling in Crohn's Disease and DSS Colitis.

Dig Dis Sci 2021 Sep 24. Epub 2021 Sep 24.

Biomarkers and Research, Nordic Bioscience, Herlev hovedgade 205-207, 2730, Herlev, Denmark.

Background: The laminin gamma 1 chain (LMγ1) is abundant along the crypt-villus axis in the intestinal basement membrane.

Aims: We investigated whether a serological biomarker of laminin degradation was associated with disease activity in patients with Crohn's disease (CD) and in rats with dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis.

Methods: Serum samples from CD patients (n = 43), healthy subjects (n = 19), and Sprague Dawley rats receiving 5-6% DSS water for five days and regular drinking water for 11 days were included in this study. The LG1M biomarker, a neo-epitope degradation fragment of the LMγ1 chain generated by matrix metalloproteinases-9 (MMP-9), was measured in serum to estimate the level of laminin degradation.

Results: Serum LG1M was elevated in CD patients with active and inactive disease compared to healthy subjects (p < 0.0001). LG1M distinguished CD patients from healthy subjects, with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.81 (p < 0.0001). Serum LG1M was decreased in DSS rats compared to controls 2 days after DSS withdrawal, and increased upon reversal of the disease.

Conclusions: Increased serum LG1M in active and inactive CD patients supports the evidence of altered LM expression in both inflamed and non-inflamed tissue. Moreover, lower LG1M levels in the early healing phase of DSS-induced colitis may reflect ongoing mucosal repair.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10620-021-07252-3DOI Listing
September 2021

Allergic manifestations in autoimmune gastrointestinal disorders.

Autoimmun Rev 2021 Sep 21:102958. Epub 2021 Sep 21.

Department of Internal Medicine, IRCCS San Matteo Hospital Foundation, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy. Electronic address:

Allergic disorders target a young population, are increasing in both incidence and prevalence and are associated with significant disease burden. They result from the complex interplay between (epi)genetic and environmental factors, resulting in a Th2 inflammatory process targeting the epithelium of the respiratory tract (allergic rhinitis and asthma), skin (atopic dermatitis), and gastrointestinal tract (food allergy). Although the exact pathogenic mechanisms remain elusive, an altered immune system response in the gut is increasingly recognized as a relevant step. Allergic and gastrointestinal autoimmune disorders share several epidemiological, pathogenic and risk factors and several treatment modalities. Here we revise the current literature and show that allergic disorders are highly prevalent in gastrointestinal autoimmune diseases, including celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune pancreatitis, and autoimmune cholangiopathies. No data are available for some autoimmune diseases, such as autoimmune gastritis and autoimmune enteropathy. To ensure the comprehensive care of patients with autoimmune gastrointestinal disorders, along with disease-specific factors, the presence of allergic disorders should be evaluated and treated when present, possibly targeting shared molecular pathways. Future studies are needed to define the exact pathogenic mechanisms underpinning the association between allergic and autoimmune diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.autrev.2021.102958DOI Listing
September 2021

Prevalence of Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Symptoms, Dysphonia, and Vocal Tract Discomfort in Amateur Choir Singers.

J Voice 2021 Aug 14. Epub 2021 Aug 14.

Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy; Department of Otorhinolaryngology, IRCCS Multimedica, Milan, Italy. Electronic address:

Introduction: Vocal tract discomfort (VTD), dysphonia, and laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) symptoms are complaints frequently reported by amateur singers. There are two aims of this study. The first is to evaluate the prevalence of these symptoms using validated questionnaires. The second is to correlate singing-related variables with the questionnaire responses.

Methods: A total of 392 amateur choir singers (ACS) and 514 control subjects completed an online survey divided into four parts: (1) clinical and demographic characteristics, (2) training in singing and singing experience, (3) history of gastroesophageal reflux disease and LPR symptoms, (4) validated questionnaires. Specifically, the reflux symptom index (RSI), the vocal tract discomfort scale (VTDS), and the voice symptom scale (VoiSS) were included to analyze the actual burden related to LPR symptoms, VTD, and dysphonia.

Results: ACS demonstrated a healthier lifestyle and a lower prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms in comparison with control subjects. ACS scored significantly higher in VTDS and VoiSS than control subjects, while no differences in the RSI results were found. Significant correlations among the questionnaires' results were demonstrated. Occasional professional singing was the variable influencing VTDS and VoiSS results the most.

Conclusion: ACS do not evidently manifest a higher impairment connected to LPR (RSI score), while they do report higher levels of voice (VoiSS score) and vocal tract (VTDS score) impairments, in comparison with control subjects. The relevant correlations among the PRO measures suggest that LPR symptoms, VTD, and dysphonia are related to each other. Given the relevant repercussion on the severity of VTD and dysphonia, providers should specifically ask about occasional professional singing when treating amateur singers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2021.06.024DOI Listing
August 2021

Red flags for the diagnosis of autoimmune gastritis.

Clin Res Hepatol Gastroenterol 2021 Jul 28:101780. Epub 2021 Jul 28.

Department of Internal Medicine, San Matteo Hospital Foundation, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinre.2021.101780DOI Listing
July 2021

Clinical and gastro-duodenal histopathological features of enteropathy due to angiotensin II receptor blockers.

Dig Liver Dis 2021 Oct 27;53(10):1262-1267. Epub 2021 Jul 27.

Gastroenterology Unit of Pavia Institute, IRCCS Pavia, Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri, University of Pavia, Via Salvatore Maugeri 10, Pavia 27100, Italy.

Background: Clinical elements differentiating enteropathy due to angiotensin II-receptor-blockers (ARBs-E) from coeliac disease (CD) are poorly defined. The histopathological features on duodenal and gastric biopsies in these patients still need to be investigated.

Aims: To describe the clinical phenotype of ARBs-E in comparison to CD, and the histological findings of gastric and duodenal biopsies in ARBs-E.

Methods: Clinical data of patients with ARBs-E and CD diagnosed between 2013 and 2020 were retrospectively reviewed. Baseline presenting symptoms and demographics were compared (Fisher's exact test and t-test). Gastric and duodenal histology in ARBs-E were revised by two independent pathologists.

Results: 14 ARBs-E and 112 CD patients were enroled. Weight loss (p < 0.01), acute onset of diarrhoea (p < 0.01), hospitalization (p < 0.01), and older age at diagnosis (p < 0.01) were more common in ARBs-E. Duodenal histology in ARBs-E showed intraepithelial lymphocytosis in 71%, increased mucosal eosinophilic count in 57%, with preserved neuroendocrine, Paneth and goblet cells in all patients. Gastric histologic lesions at baseline, including lymphocytic gastritis, eosinophilic gastritis, chronic active gastritis, and metaplastic atrophic gastritis patterns were observed in 73% of patients, without Helicobacter pylori infection.

Conclusions: ARBs-E showed a severe clinical phenotype, often requiring hospital admission. Gastric involvement at diagnosis is very common, and this could further support this diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dld.2021.07.002DOI Listing
October 2021

Lower incidence of COVID-19 in patients with inflammatory bowel disease treated with non-gut selective biologic therapy.

J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 Jun 23. Epub 2021 Jun 23.

Gastroenterology Unit, ASST Fatebenefratelli-Sacco, L. Sacco University Hospital, Department of Biochemical and Clinical Sciences, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Background And Aim: Since the outbreak of COVID-19, concerns have been raised as to whether inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients under biologic therapy may be more susceptible to the disease. This study aimed to determine the incidence and outcomes of COVID-19 in a large cohort of IBD patients on biologic therapy.

Methods: This observational retrospective multicenter study collected data about COVID-19 in IBD patients on biologic therapy in Italy, between February and May 2020. The main end-points were (i) to assess both the cumulative incidence and clinical outcome of COVID-19, according to different biologic agents and (ii) to compare them with the general population and a cohort IBD patients undergoing non-biologic therapies.

Results: Among 1816 IBD patients, the cumulative incidence of COVID-19 was 3.9 per 1000 (7/1816) with a 57% hospitalization rate and a 29% case-fatality rate. The class of biologic agents was the only risk factor of developing COVID-19 (P = 0.01). Non-gut selective agents were associated with a lower incidence of COVID-19 cases, related symptoms, and hospitalization (P < 0.05). Compared with the general population of Lombardy, an overall lower incidence of COVID-19 was observed (3.9 vs 8.5 per 1000, P = 0.03). Compared with 565 IBD patients on non-biologic therapies, a lower rate of COVID-19 symptoms was observed in our cohort (7.5% vs 18%, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Compared with the general population, IBD patients on biologic therapy are not exposed to a higher risk of COVID-19. Non-gut selective agents are associated with a lower incidence of symptomatic disease, supporting the decision of maintaining the ongoing treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jgh.15591DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8447454PMC
June 2021

COVID-19 and asplenia: a Janus-faced issue.

Intern Emerg Med 2021 Jun 22. Epub 2021 Jun 22.

Department of Internal Medicine, Clinica Medica, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, University of Pavia, Viale Golgi 19, 27100, Pavia, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11739-021-02761-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8217775PMC
June 2021

Diagnostic delay and misdiagnosis in eosinophilic oesophagitis.

Dig Liver Dis 2021 Jun 8. Epub 2021 Jun 8.

Department of Internal Medicine, IRCCS San Matteo Hospital Foundation, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: Eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE) may lead to severe complications if not promptly recognised.

Aims: To assess the diagnostic delay in patients with EoE and to explore its risk factors.

Methods: EoE patients followed-up at eight clinics were included via retrospective chart review. Diagnostic delay was estimated as the time lapse occurring between the appearance of the first likely symptoms indicative of EoE and the final diagnosis. Patient-dependent and physician-dependent diagnostic delays were assessed. Multivariable regression models were computed.

Results: 261 patients with EoE (mean age 34±14 years; M:F ratio=3:1) were included. The median overall diagnostic delay was 36 months (IQR 12-88), while patient- and physician-dependent diagnostic delays were 18 months (IQR 5-49) and 6 months (IQR 1-24). Patient-dependent delay was greater compared to physician-dependent delay (95% CI 5.1-19.3, p<0.001). A previous misdiagnosis was formulated in 109 cases (41.8%; gastro-oesophageal reflux disease in 67 patients, 25.7%). The variables significantly associated with greater overall diagnostic delay were being a non-smoker, >1 episode of food impaction, previous endoscopy with no biopsies, regurgitation, and ≥2 assessing physicians. Being single was significantly associated with lower overall and patient-dependent diagnostic delay.

Conclusion: EoE is burdened by substantial diagnostic delay, depending on both patient-related and physician-related factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dld.2021.05.017DOI Listing
June 2021

Serum Markers of Refractoriness and Enteropathy-Associated T-Cell Lymphoma in Coeliac Disease.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 May 11;13(10). Epub 2021 May 11.

Department of Internal Medicine, IRCCS San Matteo Hospital Foundation, University of Pavia, 27100 Pavia, Italy.

The persistence or recurrence of symptoms in patients with coeliac disease (CD), despite a gluten-free diet (GFD), must prompt further work-up for excluding refractory CD (RCD). The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy of serum markers in predicting refractoriness in CD patients. This study included 72 patients affected by CD followed-up at our center, namely 49 uncomplicated CD before and after GFD and 23 RCD. Serum levels of chromogranin A (CgA) and β2-microglobuline were measured at baseline and at follow-up (median time of 13 months) in each group of patients. Cut-off points for each marker were estimated to differentiate RCD from uncomplicated CD patients. Serum levels of CgA and β2-microglobuline were significantly higher in patients with RCD compared to uncomplicated CD ( < 0.001), both at baseline and at follow-up, with no significant difference between RCD type 1 and type 2. The estimated cut-off point for CgA was 90.2 ng/mL (sensitivity 83%, specificity 100%), while for β2-microglobuline it was 696 mcg/L (sensitivity 100%, specificity of 100%). To conclude, CgA and β2-microglobuline could be useful serological markers of refractoriness in CD, with the ability to discriminate those patients who should undergo upper gastrointestinal endoscopy for making a definite diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13102289DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8151476PMC
May 2021

Diagnostic Delay of Pulmonary Embolism in COVID-19 Patients.

Front Med (Lausanne) 2021 30;8:637375. Epub 2021 Apr 30.

Department of Internal Medicine, San Matteo Hospital Foundation, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a frequent, life-threatening COVID-19 complication, whose diagnosis can be challenging because of its non-specific symptoms. There are no studies assessing the impact of diagnostic delay on COVID-19 related PE. The aim of our exploratory study was to assess the diagnostic delay of PE in COVID-19 patients, and to identify potential associations between patient- or physician-related variables and the delay. This is a single-center observational retrospective study that included 29 consecutive COVID-19 patients admitted to the San Matteo Hospital Foundation between February and May 2020, with a diagnosis of PE, and a control population of 23 non-COVID-19 patients admitted at our hospital during the same time lapse in 2019. We calculated the patient-related delay (i.e., the time between the onset of the symptoms and the first medical examination), and the physician-related delay (i.e., the time between the first medical examination and the diagnosis of PE). The overall diagnostic delay significantly correlated with the physician-related delay ( < 0.0001), with the tendency to a worse outcome in long physician-related diagnostic delay ( = 0.04). The delay was related to the presence of fever, respiratory symptoms and high levels of lactate dehydrogenase. It is important to rule out PE as soon as possible, in order to start the right therapy, to improve patient's outcome and to shorten the hospitalization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2021.637375DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8119630PMC
April 2021

Spatiotemporal regulation of galectin-1-induced T-cell death in lamina propria from Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis patients.

Apoptosis 2021 06 12;26(5-6):323-337. Epub 2021 May 12.

Instituto de Estudios Inmunológicos y Fisiopatológicos-IIFP, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), La Plata, Argentina.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), is characterized by chronic, relapsing intestinal inflammation. Galectin-1 (Gal-1) is an endogenous lectin with key pro-resolving roles, including induction of T-cell apoptosis and secretion of immunosuppressive cytokines. Despite considerable progress, the relevance of Gal-1-induced T-cell death in inflamed tissue from human IBD patients has not been ascertained. Intestinal biopsies and surgical specimens from control patients (n = 52) and patients with active or inactive IBD (n = 97) were studied. Gal-1 expression was studied by RT-qPCR, immunoblotting, ELISA and immunohistochemistry. Gal-1-specific ligands and Gal-1-induced apoptosis of lamina propria (LP) T-cells were determined by TUNEL and flow cytometry. We found a transient expression of asialo core 1-O-glycans in LP T-cells from inflamed areas (p < 0.05) as revealed by flow cytometry using peanut agglutinin (PNA) binding and assessing dysregulation of the core-2 β 1-6-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase 1 (C2GNT1), an enzyme responsible for elongation of core 2 O-glycans. Consequently, Gal-1 binding was attenuated in CD3CD4 and CD3CD8 LP T-cells isolated from inflamed sites (p < 0.05). Incubation with recombinant Gal-1 induced apoptosis of LP CD3 T-cells isolated from control subjects and non-inflamed areas of IBD patients (p < 0.05), but not from inflamed areas. In conclusion, our findings showed that transient regulation of the O-glycan profile during inflammation modulates Gal-1 binding and LP T-cell survival in IBD patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10495-021-01675-zDOI Listing
June 2021

Prognostic relevance and putative histogenetic role of cytokeratin 7 and MUC5AC expression in Crohn's disease-associated small bowel carcinoma.

Virchows Arch 2021 Oct 8;479(4):667-678. Epub 2021 May 8.

Unit of Anatomic Pathology, Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Pavia and Fondazione IRCCS San Matteo Hospital, Via Carlo Forlanini 16 -, 27100, Pavia, Italy.

Most Crohn's disease-associated small bowel carcinomas (CrD-SBCs) are diagnosed in advanced stage and have poor prognosis. To improve diagnosis and therapy, a better knowledge of tumour precancerous lesions, histotypes and prognostic factors is needed. We investigated histologically and immunohistochemically 52 CrD-SBCs and 51 small bowel carcinomas unrelated to inflammatory disease, together with their tumour-associated mucosa, looking for Crohn-selective changes. Histologic patterns and phenotypic markers potentially predictive of CrD-SBC histogenesis and prognosis were analysed. Cytokeratin 7 or MUC5AC-positive metaplastic changes were found in about half of investigated CrD-SBCs, significantly more frequently than in CrD-unrelated SBCs. They correlated with metaplastic changes of their associated mucosa, while being absent in normal ileal mucosa. Histologic patterns suggestive for progression of some cytokeratin 7 and/or MUC5AC-positive metaplastic lesions into cancer of the same phenotype were also observed. Patient survival analyses showed that tumour cytokeratin 7 or MUC5AC expression and non-cohesive histotype were adverse prognostic factors at univariable analysis, while cytokeratin 7 and non-cohesive histotype were also found to predict worse survival in stage- and age-inclusive multivariable analyses. Besides conventional dysplasia, hyperplasia-like non-conventional lesions were observed in CrD-SBC-associated mucosa, with patterns suggestive for a histogenetic link with adjacent cancer. In conclusion the cytokeratin 7 and/or MUC5AC-positive metaplastic foci and the non-conventional growths may have a role in cancer histogenesis, while tumour cytokeratin 7 and non-cohesive histotype may also predict poor patient survival. Present findings are worth being considered in future prospective histogenetic and clinical studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00428-021-03109-2DOI Listing
October 2021

Small Bowel Epithelial Precursor Lesions: A Focus on Molecular Alterations.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Apr 22;22(9). Epub 2021 Apr 22.

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pavia and Fondazione IRCCS San Matteo Hospital, 27100 Pavia, Lombardy, Italy.

The wider use of gastrointestinal endoscopic procedures has led to an increased detection of small intestinal preneoplastic and neoplastic epithelial lesions, most of which are identified in the duodenum and ampullary region. Like their malignant counterparts, small intestinal glandular precursor lesions, which include adenomas and hamartomas, may arise sporadically or be associated with hereditary tumor syndromes, such as familial adenomatous polyposis, -associated polyposis, Lynch syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, juvenile polyposis syndrome, and Cowden syndrome. In addition, dysplastic, preinvasive lesions have been observed adjacent to small bowel adenocarcinomas complicating immune-related disorders, such as celiac or Crohn's disease. Adenomatous lesions may exhibit an intestinal-type, gastric-type, or, very rarely, serrated differentiation, related to different molecular pathogenetic mechanisms. Finally, in the background of multiple endocrine neoplasia 1 syndrome, precursor neuroendocrine growths have been described. In this review we offer a comprehensive description on the histo-molecular features of the main histotypes of small bowel epithelial precursors lesions, including: (i) sporadic adenomas (intestinal-type and gastric-type; non-ampullary and ampullary); (ii) syndromic adenomas; (iii) small bowel dysplasia in celiac and Crohn's disease; (iv) serrated lesions; (v) hamartomatous lesions; and (vi) neuroendocrine precursor lesions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22094388DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8122855PMC
April 2021

A Pharmacological Batch of Mongersen that Downregulates Smad7 is Effective as Induction Therapy in Active Crohn's Disease: A Phase II, Open-Label Study.

BioDrugs 2021 May 19;35(3):325-336. Epub 2021 Apr 19.

Dipartimento di Medicina dei Sistemi, Università di Roma "Tor Vergata", Via Montpellier, 1, 00133, Rome, Italy.

Background: A recent phase III trial did not confirm the previous clinical and endoscopic improvements seen in patients with Crohn's disease (CD) receiving Mongersen, an oral Smad7 antisense oligonucleotide. Factors accounting for such a discrepancy are unknown.

Objective: Our objective was to further assess whether Mongersen was effective as induction therapy in active CD and evaluate the in vitro inhibitory effect of various batches of Mongersen used in the previous and present trials on Smad7 expression.

Methods: In a phase II, open-label study, 18 patients with active CD (Crohn's Disease Activity Index [CDAI] score > 220 and evidence of endoscopic lesions) received Mongersen 160 mg/day for 12 weeks. The rates of clinical remission, defined as CDAI < 150, and clinical response, defined as a CDAI score decrease ≥ 100, were evaluated at week 4, 8, and 12. The fraction of circulating CCR9-expressing leukocytes was assessed by flow cytometry. Smad7 expression was evaluated in the human colorectal cancer cell line HCT-116 transfected with different batches of Mongersen using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Western blotting, RESULTS: The proportions of patients experiencing clinical remission were 38.9%, 55.6%, and 50.0% at week 4, 8, and 12, respectively. At the same time points, the rates of clinical response were 72.2%, 77.8%, and 77.8%, respectively. Mongersen reduced the percentages of CCR9-expressing CD45+ cells. The batch of Mongersen used in this study, but not two batches used in the phase III study, inhibited Smad7 expression in HCT-116 cells.

Conclusions: The present findings support the clinical benefit of Mongersen in active CD and show that various batches manufactured during the GED0301 program differ in their ability to inhibit in vitro Smad7.

Trial Registration Number: NCT02685683; EudraCT 2015-001693-18.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40259-021-00482-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8084825PMC
May 2021

Multidimensional Prognostic Index Predicts Clinical Outcome and Mortality in Hospitalised Older Patients with Diverticular Disease.

Gerontology 2021 Apr 13:1-9. Epub 2021 Apr 13.

Department of Internal Medicine, IRCCS San Matteo Hospital Foundation, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.

Introduction: The Multidimensional Prognostic Index (MPI) is a validated tool for assessing mortality risk in hospitalised patients. We aimed to evaluate whether the MPI predicted mortality and the risk of developing diverticular disease (DD) complications in older patients.

Methods: This is a multicentre study conducted in January 2016-March 2018. All patients with DD aged 65 years and older were included. Patients were stratified into three groups according to MPI groups (1, low risk; 2, moderate risk; 3, high risk). Risk of developing DD complications and mortality rate were assessed. Bivariate models were fitted.

Results: One hundred hospitalised patients with DD (mean age 77.9 ± 10.6 years, 53 female patients) were included. Patients with higher MPI groups were more likely to develop DD complications. In particular, 12 (46.2%), 21 (52.5%), and 28 (82.4%) patients with complicated DD were distributed to the MPI 1, MPI 2, and MPI 3 groups (p = 0.0063), respectively. Two patients died in the MPI 1, 4 in the MPI 2, and 29 in the MPI 3 group, with mortality rates of 4.0 per 100 person-year (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0-15.9), 5.6 (95% CI 2.1-15.0), and 89.2 (95% CI 62-130), respectively (log-rank test p < 0.001). In bivariate analysis, after adjustment for age >80 years, Charlson Comorbidity Index >4, DD complications, and the presence of thromboembolism, higher MPI group was independently associated with higher mortality. Those in the MPI 3 group experienced a greater risk of 1-year hospital readmission (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: MPI predicted mortality in patients with DD and also correlated with the risk of developing DD complications. Studies focussing on possible pathophysiological mechanisms between DD complications and MPI are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000515161DOI Listing
April 2021

Histologic heterogeneity and syndromic associations of non-ampullary duodenal polyps and superficial mucosal lesions.

Dig Liver Dis 2021 Apr 1. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

First Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pavia, IRCCS San Matteo Hospital Foundation, Viale Golgi 19, 27100, Italy.

Background: Duodenal polyps and superficial mucosal lesions (DP/SMLs) are poorly characterised.

Aims: To describe a series of endoscopically-diagnosed extra-ampullary DPs/SMLs.

Methods: This is a retrospective study conducted in a tertiary referral Endoscopy Unit, including patients who had DPs or SMLs that were biopsied or removed in 2010-2019. Age, gender, history of familial polyposis syndromes, DP/SML characteristics were recorded. Histopathological, immunohistochemical and molecular analyses were performed.

Results: 399 non-ampullary DP/SMLs from 345 patients (60.6% males; median age 67 years) were identified. Gastric foveolar metaplasia represented the most frequent histotype (193 cases, 48.4%), followed by duodenal adenomas (DAs; 77 cases, 19.3%). Most DAs (median size 6 mm) were sessile (Paris Is; 48%), intestinal-type (96.1%) with low-grade dysplasia (93.5%). Among syndromic DAs (23%), 15 lesions occurred in familial adenomatous polyposis 1, two were in MUTYH-associated polyposis and one was in Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (foveolar-type, p53-positive, low-grade dysplasia). Only one (3.3%) tubular, low-grade DA showed mismatch repair deficiency (combined loss of MLH1 and PMS2, heterogeneous MSH6 expression), and it was associated with a MLH1 gene germline mutation (Lynch syndrome).

Conclusion: DPs/SMLs are heterogeneous lesions, most of which showing foveolar metaplasia, followed by low-grade, intestinal-type, non-syndromic DAs. MMR-d testing may identify cases associated with Lynch syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dld.2021.03.011DOI Listing
April 2021

Rectal neuroendocrine cell proliferation in a patient with ulcerative colitis treated with adalimumab.

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 05;33(5):766-768

Department of Internal Medicine, San Matteo Hospital Foundation, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MEG.0000000000002089DOI Listing
May 2021

Human Cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus specific immunity in patients with ulcerative colitis.

Clin Exp Med 2021 Aug 26;21(3):379-388. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

Molecular Virology Unit, Microbiology and Virology Department, San Matteo Hospital Foundation, Pavia, Italy.

Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) are endowed with the ability of establishing lifelong latency in human hosts and reactivating in immunocompromised subjects, including patients suffering from ulcerative colitis (UC). We, therefore, aimed to investigate virus-specific immunity in UC patients. A cohort of 24 UC patients (14 responders and 10 refractory to therapy) and 26 control subjects was prospectively enrolled to undergo virus-specific serology (by ELISA assay) and assessment of both CD4 and CD8 virus-specific T-cell response (by interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospotanalysis). In parallel, mucosal viral load was determined by quantitative real-time PCR and the values were correlated with both clinical and endoscopic indexes of activity. For statistics, the t-test, Mann-Withney test, Fisher's exact test and Spearman rank correlation test were applied; p < 0.05 was considered significant. EBV-specific CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses were significantly lower in UC patients compared to controls (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.0006, respectively), whereas no difference was found for HCMV-specific T-cell response. When dividing the UC group according to response to therapy, both responders and refractory UC patients showed a deficient EBV-specific CD4 T-cell response with respect to controls (p < 0.04 and p = 0.0003, respectively). Moreover, both EBV and HCMV mucosal loads were significantly higher in refractory UC than in responders and controls (p = 0.007 and 0.003; and p = 0.02 and 0.001, respectively), and correlated with activity indexes. Steroid therapy seemed the main risk factor for triggering EBV colitis. Finally, no cases of IgM positivity were found in the study population. An impaired EBV-specific immunity was clearly evident in UC patients, mostly in those refractory to therapy. The ELISPOT assay may serve as new tool for quantifying and monitoring virus-specific T-cell immunity in UC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10238-021-00702-2DOI Listing
August 2021

Gastrointestinal mucosal damage in patients with COVID-19 undergoing endoscopy: an international multicentre study.

BMJ Open Gastroenterol 2021 02;8(1)

Department of Gastroenterology, Newcastle upon Tyne hospitals NHS Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Background: Although evidence suggests frequent gastrointestinal (GI) involvement during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), endoscopic findings are scarcely reported.

Aims: We aimed at registering endoscopic abnormalities and potentially associated risk factors among patients with COVID-19.

Methods: All consecutive patients with COVID-19 undergoing endoscopy in 16 institutions from high-prevalence regions were enrolled. Mann-Whitney U, χ or Fisher's exact test were used to compare patients with major abnormalities to those with negative procedures, and multivariate logistic regression to identify independent predictors.

Results: Between February and May 2020, during the first pandemic outbreak with severely restricted endoscopy activity, 114 endoscopies on 106 patients with COVID-19 were performed in 16 institutions (men=70.8%, median age=68 (58-74); 33% admitted in intensive care unit; 44.4% reporting GI symptoms). 66.7% endoscopies were urgent, mainly for overt GI bleeding. 52 (45.6%) patients had major abnormalities, whereas 13 bled from previous conditions. The most prevalent upper GI abnormalities were ulcers (25.3%), erosive/ulcerative gastro-duodenopathy (16.1%) and petechial/haemorrhagic gastropathy (9.2%). Among lower GI endoscopies, 33.3% showed an ischaemic-like colitis.Receiver operating curve analysis identified D-dimers >1850 ng/mL as predicting major abnormalities. Only D-dimers >1850 ng/mL (OR=12.12 (1.69-86.87)) and presence of GI symptoms (OR=6.17 (1.13-33.67)) were independently associated with major abnormalities at multivariate analysis.

Conclusion: In this highly selected cohort of hospitalised patients with COVID-19 requiring endoscopy, almost half showed acute mucosal injuries and more than one-third of lower GI endoscopies had features of ischaemic colitis. Among the hospitalisation-related and patient-related variables evaluated in this study, D-dimers above 1850 ng/mL was the most useful at predicting major mucosal abnormalities at endoscopy.

Trial Registration Number: ClinicalTrial.gov (ID: NCT04318366).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgast-2020-000578DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7907837PMC
February 2021

Proteomics signature of autoimmune atrophic gastritis: towards a link with gastric cancer.

Gastric Cancer 2021 May 23;24(3):666-679. Epub 2021 Feb 23.

Gastroenterology, Centro di Riferimento Oncologico di Aviano (CRO) IRCCS, Aviano, PN, Italy.

Background: Autoimmune atrophic gastritis (AAG) is a chronic disease that can progress to gastric cancer (GC). To better understand AAG pathology, this proteomics study investigated gastric proteins whose expression levels are altered in this disease and also in GC.

Methods: Using two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE), we compared protein maps of gastric corpus biopsies from AAG patients and controls. Differentially abundant spots (|fold change|≥ 1.5, P < 0.01) were selected and identified by LC-MS/MS. The spots were further assessed in gastric antrum biopsies from AAG patients (without and with Helicobacter pylori infection) and from GC patients and unaffected first-degree relatives of GC patients.

Results: 2D-DIGE identified 67 differentially abundant spots, with 28 more and 39 less abundant in AAG-corpus than controls. LC-MS/MS identified these as 53 distinct proteins. The most significant (adjusted P < 0.01) biological process associated with the less abundant proteins was "tricarboxylic acid cycle". Of the 67 spots, 57 were similarly differentially abundant in AAG-antrum biopsies irrespective of H. pylori infection status. The differential abundance was also observed in GC biopsies for 14 of 28 more abundant and 35 of 39 less abundant spots, and in normal gastric biopsies of relatives of GC patients for 6 and 25 spots, respectively. Immunoblotting confirmed the different expression levels of two more abundant proteins (PDIA3, GSTP gene products) and four less abundant proteins (ATP5F1A, PGA3, SDHB, PGC).

Conclusion: This study identified a proteomics signature of AAG. Many differential proteins were shared by GC and may be involved in the progression of AAG to GC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10120-020-01148-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8064991PMC
May 2021

Incidence and risk factors for preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions of the colon and rectum in patients under 50 referred for colonoscopy.

Eur J Intern Med 2021 May 17;87:36-43. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

First Department of Internal Medicine, Endoscopy Unit, IRCCS San Matteo Hospital Foundation, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.

Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) diagnosed before the age of 50, known as early-onset CRC (eoCRC), is considered uncommon. We aimed at analysing the incidence of preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions of the colon and rectum in patients under 50 years old and to identify possible predictors Methods: We retrospectively collected data from 1778 patients under 50 years old (mean age 39.9±7.8) referred for colonoscopy between 2015-2018. Cumulative incidence of adenomas and eoCRC was assessed. Multivariable regression models were fitted Results: The cumulative incidence for adenomas was 11.0% (95% CI 9-12), while it was 1.5% (95% CI 1-2) for eoCRC (metastatic disease in 13/27 patients). Age as a continuous variable was associated with the presence of adenomas (incidence rate ratio 1.06; 95% CI 1.03-1.09; p<0.001). EoCRC arose in most cases in the rectum (13/27, 48.1%). Age ≥40 was the main risk factor (OR 2.25; 95% CI 1.35-3.73; p=0.002) for both adenomas (160/196 patients, 81.6%) and eoCRC (20/27 patients, 74.1%), while smoking seemed to have no role (p=0.772). The presence of alarm symptoms was statistically significant at bivariable analysis for eoCRC only (OR 3.70; 95% CI 1.49-9.22; p=0.005), as well as having multiple gastrointestinal symptoms (OR 19.85; 95% CI 2.64-149.42; p=0.004). Only 3/27 (11.1%) patients with eoCRC had a family history for CRC Conclusions: A high cumulative incidence rate of both adenomas and eoCRC was found, this latter occurring more common in patients aged 40-49, without apparent risk factors. The presence of alarm symptoms or multiple gastrointestinal symptoms led to a late diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejim.2021.02.008DOI Listing
May 2021

Implications of SARS-CoV-2 infection for neurogastroenterology.

Neurogastroenterol Motil 2021 03 16;33(3):e14104. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is associated with gastrointestinal and hepatic manifestation in up to one fifth of patients. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiologic agent of COVID-19, infects gastrointestinal epithelial cells expressing angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors triggering a cascade of events leading to mucosal and systemic inflammation. Symptomatic patients display changes in gut microbiota composition and function which may contribute to intestinal barrier dysfunction and immune activation. Evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 infection and related mucosal inflammation impact on the function of the enteric nervous system and the activation of sensory fibers conveying information to the central nervous system, which, may at least in part, contribute symptom generation such as vomiting and diarrhea described in COVID-19. Liver and pancreas dysfunctions have also been described as non-respiratory complications of COVID-19 and add further emphasis to the common view of SARS-CoV-2 infection as a systemic disease with multiorgan involvement.

Purpose: The aim of this review was to highlight the current knowledge on the pathophysiology of gastrointestinal SARS-CoV-2 infection, including the crosstalk with the gut microbiota, the fecal-oral route of virus transmission, and the potential interaction of the virus with the enteric nervous system. We also review the current available data on gastrointestinal and liver manifestations, management, and outcomes of patients with COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nmo.14104DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995160PMC
March 2021

Primary appendiceal-type goblet cell adenocarcinoma of the ileum mimicking an inflammatory stricture in a woman with Crohn's disease.

Dig Liver Dis 2021 04 23;53(4):506-508. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

Anatomic Pathology Unit, IRCCS San Matteo Hospital Foundation, Pavia, Italy; Unit of Anatomic Pathology, Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dld.2021.01.005DOI Listing
April 2021

Risk of COVID 19 in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases compared to a control population.

Dig Liver Dis 2021 03 26;53(3):263-270. Epub 2020 Dec 26.

Gastroenterology Unit, ASST Fatebenefratelli Sacco, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences "L.Sacco" University of Milan, Italy.

Background: It is unclear whether patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at increased risk of COVID-19.

Objectives: This observational study compared the prevalence of COVID-19 symptoms, diagnosis and hospitalization in IBD patients with a control population with non-inflammatory bowel disorders.

Methods: This multicentre study, included 2733 outpatients (1397 IBD patients and 1336 controls), from eight major gastrointestinal centres in Lombardy, Italy. Patients were invited to complete a web-based questionnaire regarding demographic, historical and clinical features over the previous 6 weeks. The prevalence of COVID-19 symptoms, diagnosis and hospitalization for COVID-19 was assessed.

Results: 1810 patients (64%) responded to the questionnaire (941 IBD patients and 869 controls). IBD patients were significantly younger and of male sex than controls. NSAID use and smoking were more frequent in controls. IBD patients were more likely treated with vitamin-D and vaccinated for influenza. Highly probable COVID-19 on the basis of symptoms and signs was less frequent in the IBD group (3.8% vs 6.3%; OR:0.45, 95%CI:0.28-0.75). IBD patients had a lower rate of nasopharyngeal swab-PCR confirmed diagnosis (0.2% vs 1.2%; OR:0.14, 95%CI:0.03-0.67). There was no difference in hospitalization between the groups (0.1% vs 0.6%; OR:0.14, 95%CI:0.02-1.17).

Conclusion: IBD patients do not have an increased risk of COVID-19 specific symptoms or more severe disease compared with a control group of gastroenterology patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dld.2020.12.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7762705PMC
March 2021
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