Hungarian Immunology

[Changes of immune system in the elderly]

MEKKEL Gabriella, BARTA Zsolt, BAKÓ Gyula

MAY 10, 2004

Hungarian Immunology - 2004;3(04)

[”Immunosenescence” means the change of the immune system with ageing. Ageing of the immun system is a physiological process, based on complex immunregulatory alterations, which make the elderly more susceptible for infections, malignant and autoimmun diseases. It’s important to differentiate the primary (physiological) and secondory (caused by diseases) modifications of immunregulatory system. After reviewing the strict Senieur protocoll, which makes a basis for gerontological/geriatry studies, the authors survey in details the changes of the each cell types of the immune system. The impaired functions of the NK (natural killer) and PMN (polymorphonuclear) cells and macrophags (as the parts of innate immunity), the decreased numbers of T lymphocyts, and the less specific antibodies produced by B lymphocyts (as the part of the acquired immunity) together are responsible for the increased susceptibility of the elderly to infections, and for the higher prevalence of malignancies in elderly patients. The imbalance of pro- and anti-inflammatoric cytokines and the TH1- TH2 shift also play role in this process. Appearance of autoantigens and the increased autoreactivity are in the background of the frequency autoimmun diseases in the elderly. The development of malignant diseases is a complex process, caused by on the one hand the changes in innate immunity, on the other the decreased activity of suppressor mechanisms. These changes are not correctly known, but the literature grows increasingly. The good command of the molecular mechanisms provides the facilities to improve remedial interventions in the future.]



Further articles in this publication

Hungarian Immunology

[Immunology of Felty’s syndrome]


[Felty’s syndrome can be regarded as “super-rheumatoid” disease. Immungenetically the syndrome is much more homogenous, than rheumatoid arthritis. HLA-DRB1*0401 antigen is present in 83% of the patients. Felty’s syndrome develops usually after a longer course of rheumatoid arthritis, in 1% of rheumatoid patients. Rheumatoid arthritis patients with long lasting unexplained neutropenia can be diagnosed having Felty’s syndrome, even without detectable splenomegaly. On the contrary, rheumatoid arthritis with splenomegaly, but without present or previous neutropenia with unexplained origin cannot be regarded as having Felty’s syndrome. Inspite of the fact, that the arthritis of Felty’s syndrome can be inactive, because of the neutropenia and increased risk of recurrent infections, the patients should be kept under tight supervision, and should be properly treated, if required. Immunologically Felty’s syndrome is characterized by rheumatoid factor positivity in 95-100%, ANA positivity in 50-100%, antihistone positivity in 63-83%. Antibodies against dsDNA rarely, but against ssDNA frequently occur. No anti Sm and interestingly no anti Ro and anti La antibodies can be detected inspite of the high incidence of associated Sjögren’s syndrome. Immunoglobulin levels are higher and complement levels are lower, than in rheumatoid arthritis. Circulating immuncomplex level is usually high. Non-specific antineutrophil anticitoplasmatic antibodies can be found in high percentage. The neutropenia of Felty’s syndrome can be either caused by increased IgG neutrophilic binding activity or by inhibition of the granulocytes colony growing in the bone marrow, by peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Expansion of large granular lymphocytes can be seen in 30-40% of patients with Felty’s syndrome. Large granular lymphocyte syndrome is not rarely associated with rheumatoid arthritis. The neutrophil account is normal or elevated in this syndrome, but splenomegaly occurs. These cases are called as pseudo Felty’s syndrome. The patients with Felty's syndrome suffering from recurrent infections required treatment even if the arthritis is inactive. Methotrexate treatment should be started first, if this treatment fails, other disease modifying drugs or colony stimulating factor can be given. There is no experience with other biological treatments. In treatment of resistant cases splenectomy is indicated. Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs should be better avoided.]

Hungarian Immunology

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Hungarian Immunology

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Hungarian Immunology

[Investigation of activated T-cells by non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients]


[BACKGROUND - The immune system has several mechanisms to fight against developing malignant cell clones in the host, one of them is the activated T-cell response. Both CD4+ helper and CD8+ cytotoxic T-cells bear CD69 and HLA-DR molecules as important surface activation markers. AIM - Our aim was to determine, how the ratio of activated T-cells change in the peripheral blood of non-Hodgkin-lymphoma patients during the periods of polychemotherapy. PATIENTS AND METHODS - We used the peripheral blood samples of 43 non-Hodgkin-lymphoma’s patients (20 females, 23 males, mean age 52.4 years). We determined the level of CD3+/HLADR+ and CD3+/CD69+ T-cell subsets before, during and after the periods of polychemotherapy, using the methods of immunofluorescence stain and flow cytometry. RESULTS - We found the ratio of CD3+/HLA-DR+ cells significantly higher in non-Hodgkin-lymphoma’s patients before treatment compared to healthy controls (10.63% vs. 2.97%, p<0.001). During the period of polychemotherapy, this ratio began to increase significantly (16.94% vs. 10.63%, p=0.006). The level of CD3+/CD69+ cells did not change significantly. After treatment, the ratio of activated T-cells decreased, however, we detected significantly higher rate of CD3+/HLA-DR+ lymphocytes in patients who relapsed within one year than in those who stayed in remission (9.55% vs. 20.62%, p<0.001). CONCLUSION - Investigation of CD3+/HLA-DR+ activated T-cells might be a promising method to determine the immune defence and this way the prognostics of lymphoma patients.]

Hungarian Immunology

[Therapeutic treatment of rheumatoid arthritis by gene therapy-induced apoptosis]

WOODS M. James, VOLIN V. Michael

[Gene therapy was initially conceptualized as a treatment for individuals with genetic disorders, where defective genes would be replaced with functional ones. This concept was eventually broadened to include the use of gene therapy as a delivery mechanism for gene products effective in the treatment of diseases. The latter use of gene therapy, essentially as a drug delivery mechanism, was recognized to be particularly useful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis because it may have many advantages over traditional therapies. Two groups of target genes that are potentially useful for gene transfer include soluble inflammatory mediators that in theory could suppress the inflammatory process, and apoptotic mediators that may induce cell death, thereby suppressing the accumulation of inflammatory cells in the joint. To date the former group of target genes has received most of the attention, but it is the latter group of apoptosis-inducing targets that will be discussed in this review. We will focus our discussion on target genes that have shown success at inducing apoptosis in animal models of arthritis and will also include discussion of the apoptotic pathways that are altered in the attempts to reduce inflamed synovial tissue.]

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Clinical Neuroscience

Late simultaneous carcinomatous meningitis, temporal bone infiltrating macro-metastasis and disseminated multi-organ micro-metastases presenting with mono-symptomatic vertigo – a clinico-pathological case reporT

JARABIN András János, KLIVÉNYI Péter, TISZLAVICZ László, MOLNÁR Anna Fiona, GION Katalin, FÖLDESI Imre, KISS Geza Jozsef, ROVÓ László, BELLA Zsolt

Although vertigo is one of the most common complaints, intracranial malignant tumors rarely cause sudden asymmetry between the tone of the vestibular peripheries masquerading as a peripheral-like disorder. Here we report a case of simultaneous temporal bone infiltrating macro-metastasis and disseminated multi-organ micro-metastases presenting as acute unilateral vestibular syndrome, due to the reawakening of a primary gastric signet ring cell carcinoma. Purpose – Our objective was to identify those pathophysiological steps that may explain the complex process of tumor reawakening, dissemination. The possible causes of vestibular asymmetry were also traced. A 56-year-old male patient’s interdisciplinary medical data had been retrospectively analyzed. Original clinical and pathological results have been collected and thoroughly reevaluated, then new histological staining and immunohistochemistry methods have been added to the diagnostic pool. During the autopsy the cerebrum and cerebellum was edematous. The apex of the left petrous bone was infiltrated and destructed by a tumor mass of 2x2 cm in size. Histological reexamination of the original gastric resection specimen slides revealed focal submucosal tumorous infiltration with a vascular invasion. By immunohistochemistry mainly single infiltrating tumor cells were observed with Cytokeratin 7 and Vimentin positivity and partial loss of E-cadherin staining. The subsequent histological examination of necropsy tissue specimens confirmed the disseminated, multi-organ microscopic tumorous invasion. Discussion – It has been recently reported that the expression of Vimentin and the loss of E-cadherin is significantly associated with advanced stage, lymph node metastasis, vascular and neural invasion and undifferentiated type with p<0.05 significance. As our patient was middle aged and had no immune-deficiency, the promoting factor of the reawakening of the primary GC malignant disease after a 9-year-long period of dormancy remained undiscovered. The organ-specific tropism explained by the “seed and soil” theory was unexpected, due to rare occurrence of gastric cancer to metastasize in the meninges given that only a minority of these cells would be capable of crossing the blood brain barrier. Patients with past malignancies and new onset of neurological symptoms should alert the physician to central nervous system involvement, and the appropriate, targeted diagnostic and therapeutic work-up should be established immediately. Targeted staining with specific antibodies is recommended. Recent studies on cell lines indicate that metformin strongly inhibits epithelial-mesenchymal transition of gastric cancer cells. Therefore, further studies need to be performed on cases positive for epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

Hypertension and nephrology

[Association between cyclothymic affective temperament and hypertension]


[Affective temperaments (cyclothymic, hypertymic, depressive, anxious, irritable) are stable parts of personality and after adolescent only their minor changes are detectable. Their connections with psychopathology is well-described; depressive temperament plays role in major depression, cyclothymic temperament in bipolar II disorder, while hyperthymic temperament in bipolar I disorder. Moreover, scientific data of the last decade suggest, that affective temperaments are also associated with somatic diseases. Cyclothymic temperament is supposed to have the closest connection with hypertension. The prevalence of hypertension is higher parallel with the presence of dominant cyclothymic affective temperament and in this condition the frequency of cardiovascular complications in hypertensive patients was also described to be higher. In chronic hypertensive patients cyclothymic temperament score is positively associated with systolic blood pressure and in women with the earlier development of hypertension. The background of these associations is probably based on the more prevalent presence of common risk factors (smoking, obesity, alcoholism) with more pronounced cyclothymic temperament. The scientific importance of the research of the associations of personality traits including affective temperaments with somatic disorders can help in the identification of higher risk patient subgroups.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

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[Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are among the most frequently used pharmaceuticals. Nevertheless, a number of studies emphasized that NSAIDs were damaging not only the gastrointestinal (GI), but also the cardiovascular (CV) system, could increase the blood pressure, the frequency of coronary events (angina, myocardial infarction) and stroke incidence, as well as they might deterio­rate renal functions. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) did not find evidence that administering NSAIDs could increase the risk of developing COVID-19 or worsened the condition of COVID-19 patients. However, unwanted effects of specific drugs differ substantially in their occurrence and seriousness as well. It seemed to be for a long time that the NSAIDs provoked higher GI-risk was closely related to the COX1/COX2 selectivity, like the cardiovascular (CV) risk to the COX2/COX1 selectivity, however, the recent data did not prove it clearly. Based on the available literature while pondering the gastrointestinal and cardiovascular adverse events, among all NSAIDs the aceclofenac profile seemed to be the most favourable.]

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[LAM 30: 1990–2020. Facing the mirror: Three decades of LAM, the Hungarian medicine and health care system]


Clinical Neuroscience

Neuroscience highlights: Main cell types underlying memory and spatial navigation

KRABOTH Zoltán, KÁLMÁN Bernadette

Interest in the hippocampal formation and its role in navigation and memory arose in the second part of the 20th century, at least in part due to the curious case of Henry G. Molaison, who underwent brain surgery for intractable epilepsy. The temporal association observed between the removal of his entorhinal cortex along with a significant part of hippocampus and the developing severe memory deficit inspired scientists to focus on these regions. The subsequent discovery of the so-called place cells in the hippocampus launched the description of many other functional cell types and neuronal networks throughout the Papez-circuit that has a key role in memory processes and spatial information coding (speed, head direction, border, grid, object-vector etc). Each of these cell types has its own unique characteristics, and together they form the so-called “Brain GPS”. The aim of this short survey is to highlight for practicing neurologists the types of cells and neuronal networks that represent the anatomical substrates and physiological correlates of pathological entities affecting the limbic system, especially in the temporal lobe. For that purpose, we survey early discoveries along with the most relevant neuroscience observations from the recent literature. By this brief survey, we highlight main cell types in the hippocampal formation, and describe their roles in spatial navigation and memory processes. In recent decades, an array of new and functionally unique neuron types has been recognized in the hippocampal formation, but likely more remain to be discovered. For a better understanding of the heterogeneous presentations of neurological disorders affecting this anatomical region, insights into the constantly evolving neuroscience behind may be helpful. The public health consequences of diseases that affect memory and spatial navigation are high, and grow as the population ages, prompting scientist to focus on further exploring this brain region.