69 research outputs found

    A systematic review of overlapping microRNA patterns in systemic sclerosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

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    Lung fibrosis can be observed in systemic sclerosis and in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, two disorders where lung involvement carries a poor prognosis. Although much has been learned about the pathogenesis of these conditions, interventions capable of reversing or, at the very least, halting disease progression are not available. Recent studies point to the potential role of micro messenger RNAs (microRNAs) in cancer and tissue fibrogenesis. MicroRNAs are short non-coding RNA sequences (20–23 nucleotides) that are endogenous, evolutionarily conserved and encoded in the genome. By acting on several genes, microRNAs control protein expression. Considering the above, we engaged in a systematic review of the literature in search of overlapping observations implicating microRNAs in the pathogenesis of both idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and systemic sclerosis (SSc). Our objective was to uncover top microRNA candidates for further investigation based on their mechanisms of action and their potential for serving as targets for intervention against lung fibrosis. Our review points to microRNAs of the -29 family, -21-5p and -92a-3p, -26a-5p and let-7d-5p as having distinct and counter-balancing actions related to lung fibrosis. Based on this, we speculate that readjusting the disrupted balance between these microRNAs in lung fibrosis related to SSc and IPF may have therapeutic potential

    Genome-wide association study between CNVs and milk production traits in Valle del Belice sheep

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    Copy number variation (CNV) is a major source of genomic structural variation. The aim of this study was to detect genomic CNV regions (CNVR) in Valle del Belice dairy sheep population and to identify those affecting milk production traits. The GO analysis identified possible candidate genes and pathways related to the selected traits. We identified CNVs in 416 individuals genotyped using the Illumina OvineSNP50 BeadChip array. The CNV association using a correlation-trend test model was examined with the Golden Helix SVS 8.7.0 tool. Significant CNVs were detected when their adjusted p-value was <0.01 after false discovery rate (FDR) correction. We identified 7,208 CNVs, which gave 365 CNVRs after aggregating overlapping CNVs. Thirty-one CNVRs were significantly associated with one or more traits included in the analysis. All CNVRs, except those on OAR19, overlapped with quantitative trait loci (QTL), even if they were not directly related to the traits of interest. A total of 222 genes were annotated within the significantly associated CNVRs, most of which played important roles in biological processes related to milk production and health-related traits. Identification of the genes in the CNVRs associated with the studied traits will provide the basis for further investigation of their role in the metabolic pathways related to milk production and health traits

    Robust infants face tracking using active appearance models: a mixed-state CONDENSATION approach

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    In this paper a new extension of the CONDENSATION algorithm, with application to infants face tracking, will be introduced. In this work we address the problem of tracking a face and its features in baby video sequences. A mixed state particle filtering scheme is proposed, where the distribution of observations is derived from an active appearance model. The mixed state approach combines several dynamic models in order to account for different occlusion situations. Experiments on real video show that the proposed approach augments the tracker robustness to occlusions while maintaining the computational time competitive

    The Efficacy of Sequential Biologic Agents in Refractory Rheumatoid Arthritis After Failure of Initial DMARD and Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Therapy

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    Introduction/Objective: The efficacy of biologic therapy in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been well-established but, in practice, a quarter of patients will either not respond to the first biologic agent or will suffer an adverse event requiring a switch to a different drug. While clinical guidelines exist to help guide therapy and previous studies have examined sequential use of anti-TNF agents, there is little data to inform a multiple switch strategy. Our aim was to measure the efficacy of multiple switches of biologic in severe refractory RA. Methods: We enrolled 111 patients whose therapy with one anti-TNF agent had failed in this open-label observational study. These patients were all treated with a second biologic agent and 27 ultimately required treatment with a third. The response to the therapy and disease activity were assessed at 6 and 12 months after each switch. Results: The remission rates at 6 months were lower than previously reported and the initiation of a second biologic agent resulted in significant improvement at 12 months, including DAS remission in 36% of patients. The response in those receiving a third biologic was less pronounced, as might be expected in this relatively treatment-refractory population. In this group, only patients treated with tocilizumab had maintained remission at one year. Conclusion: Patients who do not respond to an anti-TNF agent often benefit from being switched to a second, or even third, biologic. Importantly, it may take longer than expected to fully assess the effectiveness of a second or third agent in patients with refractory disease

    Emerging Evidence and Treatment Perspectives from Randomized Clinical Trials in Systemic Sclerosis: Focus on Interstitial Lung Disease

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    Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a complex rare autoimmune disease with heterogeneous clinical manifestations. Currently, interstitial lung disease (ILD) and cardiac involvement (including pulmonary arterial hypertension) are recognized as the leading causes of SSc-associated mortality. New molecular targets have been discovered and phase II and phase III clinical trials published in the last 5 years on SSc-ILD will be discussed in this review. Details on the study design; the drug tested and its dose; the inclusion and exclusion criteria of the study; the concomitant immunosuppression; the outcomes and the duration of the study were reviewed. The two most common drugs used for the treatment of SSc-ILD are cyclophosphamide and mycophenolate mofetil, both supported by randomized controlled trials. Additional drugs, such as nintedanib and tocilizumab, have been approved to slow pulmonary function decline in SSc-ILD. In this review, we discuss the therapeutic alternatives for SSc management, offering the option to customize the design of future studies to stratify SSc patients and provide a patient-specific treatment according to the new emerging pathogenic features of SSc-ILD

    Autologous Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation and Systemic Sclerosis: Focus on Interstitial Lung Disease

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    Autologous hematopoietic stem cells transplantation (AHSCT) has been employed as treatment for severe systemic sclerosis (SSc) with high risk of organ failure. In the last 25 years overall survival and treatment-related mortality have improved, in accordance with a better patient selection and mobilization and conditioning protocols. This review analyzes the evidence from the last 5 years for AHSCT-treated SSc patients, considering in particular the outcomes related to interstitial lung disease. There are increasing data supporting the use of AHSCT in selected patients with rapidly progressive SSc. However, some unmet needs remain, such as an accurate patient selection, pre-transplantation analysis to identify subclinical conditions precluding the transplantation, and the alternatives for post-transplant ILD recurrence

    The PREdictor of MAlnutrition in Systemic Sclerosis (PREMASS) Score:A Combined Index to Predict 12 Months Onset of Malnutrition in Systemic Sclerosis

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    Objective: Malnutrition is a severe complication in Systemic Sclerosis (SSc) and it is associated with significant mortality. Notwithstanding, there is no defined screening or clinical pathway for patients, which is hampering effective management and limiting the opportunity for early intervention. Here we aim to identify a combined index predictive of malnutrition at 12 months using clinical data and specific serum adipokines. Methods: This was an international, multicentre observational study involving 159 SSc patients in two independent discovery (n = 98) and validation (n = 61) cohorts. Besides routine clinical and serum data at baseline and 12 months, Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST) score and serum concentration of leptin and adiponectin were measured for each participant at baseline. The endpoint of malnutrition was defined according to European Society of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN) recommendation. Significant parameters from univariate analysis were tested in logistic regression analysis to identify the predictive index of malnutrition in the derivation cohort. Results: The onset of malnutrition at 12 months correlated with adiponectin, leptin and their ratio (A/L), MUST, clinical subset, disease duration, Scl70 and Forced Vital Capaciy (FVC). Logistic regression analysis defined the formula: −2.13 + (A/L*0.45) + (Scl70*0.28) as the best PREdictor of MAlnutrition in SSc (PREMASS) (AUC = 0.96; 95% CI 0.93, 0.99). PREMASS 62% and negative predictive value (NPV) > 97% for malnutrition at 12 months. Conclusion: PREMASS is a feasible index which has shown very good performance in two independent cohorts for predicting malnutrition at 12 months in SSc. The implementation of PREMASS could aid both in clinical management and clinical trial stratification/enrichment to target malnutrition in SSc

    The COVID-19 Assessment for Survival at Admission (CASA) Index: A 12 Months Observational Study

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    Objective: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a disease with a high rate of progression to critical illness. However, the stratification of patients at risk of mortality is not well defined. In this study, we aimed to define a mortality risk index to allocate patients to the appropriate intensity of care. Methods: This is a 12 months observational longitudinal study designed to develop and validate a pragmatic mortality risk score to stratify COVID-19 patients aged ≥18 years and admitted to hospital between March 2020 and March 2021. Main outcome was in-hospital mortality. Results: 244 patients were included in the study (mortality rate 29.9%). The Covid-19 Assessment for Survival at Admission (CASA) index included seven variables readily available at admission: respiratory rate, troponin, albumin, CKD-EPI, white blood cell count, D-dimer, Pa02/Fi02. The CASA index showed high discrimination for mortality with an AUC of 0.91 (sensitivity 98.6%; specificity 69%) and a better performance compared to SOFA (AUC = 0.76), age (AUC = 0.76) and 4C mortality (AUC = 0.82). The cut-off identified (11.994) for CASA index showed a negative predictive value of 99.16% and a positive predictive value of 57.58%. Conclusions: A quick and readily available index has been identified to help clinicians stratify COVID-19 patients according to the appropriate intensity of care and minimize hospital admission to patients at high risk of mortality
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