Hungarian Immunology

[Molecular mechanisms and clinical importance of the RANK - RANK ligand - osteoprotegerin system]


MARCH 20, 2006

Hungarian Immunology - 2006;5(02)

[The receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL) is an essential cytokine for the formation and activation of osteoclasts. RANK, expressed on osteoclasts, interacts with RANKL, produced by osteoblasts and stromal cells. RANK-RANKL interaction is involved in osteoclastogenesis and bone resorption underlying metabolic bone diseases, arthritis, malignant bone disorders and some vascular diseases. Osteoprotegerin (OPG) physiologically counterbalance the action of RANKL. Several factors including estrogens, citokines and others regulate the RANKL-OPG ratio and thus bone resorption. RANKL blockade using recombinant OPG or anti-RANKL antibody may prevent bone loss in osteoporosis, chronic inflammatory and vascular disorders, as well as tumors. Active vaccination and gene therapy are further future perspectives in therapy. All these treatment modalities may be included in the future management of bone and vascular diseases.]



Further articles in this publication

Hungarian Immunology

[Paraneoplastic diseases of the locomotor system]


[Paraneoplasias in rheumatology can be present in different forms of arthropathies, myopathies. In addition, we often see atypical forms of systemic autoimmune diseases. Vasculitis is mainly associated with lymphoproliferative diseases. The direct invasion of bones and joints is not present in paraneoplasia, as this entity is a collection of symptoms generated by the tumour itself by producing biologic mediators, hormones, peptides, antibodies, cytotoxic lymphocytes, autocrine and paracrine mediators. Recognition of paraneoplasia is of outmost importance because it attires attention to the presence of tumour in the organism and thus enables us for early treatment of the malignancy. Monitoring of the severity of paraneoplastic symptoms serves as a marker for determination of efficacy of the targeted oncological therapy. On the other side, because these severe symptoms affect the patient's quality of life and can lead even to death their in time recognition and treatment is extremely important.]

Hungarian Immunology

[The role of nerve growth (NGF) factor in the immune and inflammatory events and in autoimmune thyroid diseases]


[Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a neurotroph cytokine, and beside its effect on the central and peripheral nervous systems NGF plays an important role in the inflammatory and autoimmune processes. There are two types of NGF receptors, the high-affinity (TrkA) and the low-affinity (p75), which activations via signal transduction could lead to the inhibition or induction of apoptosis. Suppression of apoptosis could be induced by cytokines, hormones, antioxidans and increased intracellular Ca2+-levels. In the pathogenesis of many autoimmune diseases (systemic lupus erythematosus, 1-type diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis) could detect elevated serum levels of NGF associated with the disease activity. Our study demonstrated increased levels of NGF in autoimmune thyroid diseases (Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) in comparison with the controls. Decreased serum levels of NGF were found in Graves’ ophthalmopathy suggesting the role of apoptosis in the development of the eye symptoms. Orbital tissues are characterized with the high expression of TrkA receptors. NGF plays an important role in the pathomechanisms of neuro-immuno-hormonal diseases and its knowledge may be helpful in the diagnosis and therapy.]

Hungarian Immunology

[Familial autoinflammatory syndromes]

ORBÁN Ilonka, BALOGH Zsolt

[A group of rare inherited disorders, the familial autoinflammatory syndromes are characterised by attacks of seemingly unprovoked inflammation without significantly elevated autoantibody and autoreactive T cell levels. The rare diseases are present from infancy to lifelong, with periodic fever attacks and usually are accompanied by recurrent systemic inflammatory symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, rash, arthralgia, polyarthritis, polyserositis, ocular disorders are separated by symptom-free intervals. Referred to as hereditary periodic fever syndromes appear by spontaneous crisis attacks and reveal a severe acute-phase response during the fever. In their pathogenesis there are no evidence neither of infection nor the common characteristics for autoimmune diseases: the production of high-titer auto-antibodies and antigenspecific T cell activation. The basic disease mechanism consists of the recently identified mutations in genes enconding important proteins: pyrin, cryopyrin, tumour necrosis factor (TNF) receptor and other mediators of apoptosis, inflammation and morbid citokine processing. The differential diagnosis of the diseases is not easy, their treatment is not resolved, although in same cases the biological treatment may be efficacious.]

Hungarian Immunology

[Clinical and immunoserological characteristics of mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)]

VÉGH Judit, CSÍPŐ István, UDVARDY Miklós, KAPPELMAYER János, LAKOS Gabriella, ALEKSZA Magdolna, ZEHER Margit, SZEGEDI Gyula, BODOLAY Edit

[INTRODUCTION - The authors investigated the clinical characteristics, survival, accumulated damage index and immunoserological abnormalities in patients with mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). PATIENTS AND METHODS - Anti-U1RNP autoantibodies, anti-endothelial cell antibodies, anti-cardiolipin antibodies and serum trombomodulin as well as von Willebrand factor antigen concentrations were measured in 25 patients with MCTD associated with PAH (11 right heart catheterization and 14 Doppler echocardiography) and in 154 MCTD patients without PAH. Changes in arterial pulmonary pressure were followed up by echocardiography. RESULTS - In the 25 patients PAH followed MCTD diagnosis in the average 11.6±4.5 years of the diseases. The probability of survival was lower in MCTD patients with PAH than in the 154 non-PAH MCTD patients (five years survival rate in MCTD with PAH: 73.39%, vs. 96.43% in non PAH MCTD; p<0.01; 10 years survival rate 86.74% vs. 93.25%; p<0.01). Anti-endothelial cell antibodies were more frequently present in MCTD patients sera with PAH than in non PAH MCTD (p<0.001). Serum trombomodulin and vWFAg levels were higher in MCTDPAH patients than in non PAH MCTD patients (trombomodulin:34.2±15.3 ng/ml vs. 11.8±6.5 ng/ml; p<0.001; vWFAg: 311.1±147% vs. 172.5± 141%. Significant correlations were noticed between the quantity of anti-endothelial cell antibodies and serum trombomodulin level (r=0.466) as well as the quantity of anti-endothelial cell antibodies and vWFAg serum level (r=0.550). CONCLUSION - Survival probability was worse for MCTD patients with PAH than for non PAH MCTD patients. Our results suggest that in MCTD the presence of anti-endothelial cell antibodies and endothelial cell activation may play a role in the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension and in the maintenance of obliterative vascular processes.]

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Related contents


[Evaluation of quality of life following treatment with calcitonin nasal spray in patients with osteoporosis: preliminary results of the MERLIN study]


[INTRODUCTION - MERLIN (Management of Osteoporosis in Elderly with Calcitonin) is an open-label, multicenter, prospective, follow-up study conducted in Hungary, part of which is to assess the impact of treatment with Miacalcic, - an intranasal salmon calcitonin, on the quality of life (QoL) among patients with osteoporosis. In this paper we report the preliminary results of the MERLIN study. PATIENTS - The study initially involved 1949 senior patients (aged >65 years) to whom calcitonin was prescribed for osteoporosis according to the application instructions. Patients presented at outpatient clinics and consisted of two groups; they were either newly diagnosed or they had been receiving a therapy for osteoporosis other than calcitonin. METHODS - This latter group discontinued their previous treatment and all patients received 200 IU intranasal salmon calcitonin (SCT) once daily for three months. Patient and physician questionnaires were used to collect information on the patients' QoL (EQ-5D VAS) and their general well-being at baseline and at follow-up visits at week 4 and week 12. RESULTS - Calcitonin use was associated with improvements in all EQ-5D domains and component scores as well as in VAS. Patients with previously known osteoporosis who, switched to calcitonin therapy achieved better results (0,046 QALY), than the newly diagnosed patients (0,0405 QALY). CONCLUSIONS - We conclude that intranasal SCT 200 IU daily is safe and effective in improving QoL of both, male and female patients with low bone mineral density.The conclusions that can be drawn from this study are limited due to the lack of a control group and to the unblinded design. Further placebo-controlled studies are needed to confirm these results. Nevertheless, our study was the first in Hungary to evaluate the quality of life impact of an osteoporosis treatment, and hopefully it will be followed by more such studies directed to other osteoporosis treatments.]


[Bone metabolism and body mass index in postmenopausal women]

TÁRCZY Csaba, TOLDY Erzsébet, SZERB János, VARGA László

[INTRODUCTION - In addition to several other causes constitutional factors play an important role in the development of osteoporosis.Various aspects of bone metabolism were examined to explain the differences in bone density between women with low and high body mass index (BMI). PATIENTS AND METHOD - One hundred and ninetytwo postmenopausal women were included in the study. Bone density was measured by forearm densitometry.To assess bone formation, serum osteocalcin levels were measured, while the rate of bone absorption was estimated from C-terminal telopeptide levels of collagen type I measured in urine and blood. RESULTS - The prevalence of osteoporosis was higher in women with low BMI than in those with normal or higher BMI. Bone metabolism - both formation and absorption - was increased in both groups, however, in women with low BMI this increase was more pronounced and bone metabolism tended to be shifted to absorption compared to patients with normal or higher BMI. CONCLUSION - Postmenopausal lean women have accelerated bone metabolism compared to obese women. This fact and the shift to absorption may be the main reasons for the higher frequency of osteoporosis found by densitometry in women with low BMI than in those with higher BMI.]


[Bone mineral density and diabetes mellitus - First results]


[INTRODUCTION - Data on bone mineral density (BMD) in diabetes mellitus are contradictory in the literature. Early studies described a decreased bone mineral density in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), but recent studies report no osteopenia in T1DM.The BMD may depend on the quality of treatment for diabetes mellitus and on the presence of chronic complications. In type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) the BMD is not decreased, occasionally it can even be increased. PATIENTS AND METHODS - Bone mineral density was measured in 122 regularly controlled diabetic patients (T1DM: n=73, mean age: 43.6±11.1 years,T2DM: n=49, mean age: 61.8±9.8 years) by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry at the lumbar spine and at the femur. Results were compared to those of 40 metabolically healthy control persons with a mean age of 47.5±11.9 years.The patients’ carbohydrate metabolism was assessed by the average HbA1c level of the last three years.These values were 7.9±1.4 % in T1DM, and 7.5±1.7 % in T2DM. BMDs were classified based on the T-score and Z-score using the WHO criteria. RESULTS - There was no significant difference in T1DM or in T2DM compared to the reference group in the prevalence of either osteoporosis or of osteoporosis and osteopenia combined. CONCLUSION - BMD was not found to be decreased in patients with well-controlled metabolism compared to healthy controls.]


[„HOPE for people with fracture”: Results of the HOPE (Hungarian Osteoporosis Project for Elderly) study]


[We conducted a multicentre, prospective, single cross-sectional, 12-month, open-label study for the assessment of treatment satisfaction using TSQM (Treatment Satisfaction Questionnaire for Medication) for zoledronic acid therapy used in patients with osteoporosis, who suffered minor traumatic fractures. PATIENTS AND METHODS - In total 1736 patients from 94 centers completed the study and filled in the TSQM questionnaire at both visit 1 and visit 2. TSQM is suitable for measuring the patient’s satisfaction with a treatment, by evaluating side-effects, efficacy and convenience of the treatment and the patient’s overall satisfaction rated on a scale of 0 to 100. RESULTS - Patients included in the study previously received a mean of 1.58 other therapies for osteoporosis and their case history included a mean of 1.24 fractures. This real-life study demonstrated that even one year of zoledronate treatment significantly (p<0.0001) improved the satisfaction of patients regarding efficacy (a mean change from a score of 56.15 to 70.89) as well as the occurrence of side-effects on a TSQM score. Regarding the convenience of treatment, the mean score increased from 62.96 to 79.34 (p<0.0001), whereas the overall treatment satisfaction changed from 59.3 to 75.48 by visit 2 (p<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS - Our study demonstrated beneficial TSQM results associated with zoledronic acid treatment, which is a basic requirement for appropriate adherence as well. ]


[Once again on adherence - Is it just fashionable or indeed a timely issue?]

VALKUSZ Zsuzsanna

[Nonadherence to pharmacological treat-ment in osteoporosis is a well-recognised problem not only in Hungary but all over the world. As in other chronic diseases, adherence to osteoporosis treatment is poor, which results in serious problems affecting patients as well as health care resources. Low adherence rates consistent-ly result in increased rates of fractures. Some approaches aimed to improve com-plience and persistence, such as extension of dosing intervals, might improve patients’ adherence to therapy. International clinical studies have demonstrated that the number of fractures cannot be reduced without suf-ficient adherence. Improving patient edu-cation, enhancing interactions between health care providers and patients, taking into account patients’ preferences and involving them in treatment decisions may all improve adherence.]