Hungarian Immunology

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


MARCH 20, 2006

Hungarian Immunology - 2006;5(02)

[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.]



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

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


[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.]

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.]

All articles in the issue

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Hungarian Immunology

[On the role of aging in etiology of autoimmunity]

SEMSEI Imre, ZEHER Margit, BAKÓ Gyula

[Several types of diseases, among others autoimmune illnesses, could be coupled with the general processes of aging. The two-edged sword of the immune defense is directed once against environmental attacks and on the other side against the self. However, one has to make a difference between normal (physiological) clearance and autoimmune diseases, although both sides of autoimmunity are influenced by the general processes of senescence. Aging of the thymus seems to be one of the key elements of the etiology of autoimmunity, although other cell types and their aging also play a substantial role in this process. The spontaneous genetic instability, the acquired genetic mutations due to aging and the age-related alterations of the information level of the body together may be important elements of the patomechanism of both the physiological autoimmunity and the autoimmune diseases. Nevertheless, physiological autoimmunity seems to be directed mostly by natural factors (such as aging and apoptosis) but primary autoimmune diseases may be caused by genetic instability that is enhanced by aging as well.]

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.]

Clinical Neuroscience



[The main challenge is the investigation of mechanism for apoptosis research and the drug development. Mitochondria have a key position in the production of reactive oxygen species and in the evolution of apoptosis. More possible pathway will be known with the apoptosis investigation. For development of neuroprotective molecules could give strategies the investigation of apoptosis. Exact knowledge of apoptosis provides possibility to screen new neuroprotective molecules. We elaborate a research assay, which could provide quantitative and qualitative data about the free radical production and the mitochondrial transmembrane potential using confocal microscope. So thus we could screen drug candidate, neuroprotective molecules.]

Lege Artis Medicinae


KISS Emese, SOLTÉSZ Pál, RÉTI Katalin, POÓR Gyula, SZEGEDI Gyula

[Systemic autoimmune diseases characteristically show multiple organ involvements. Hence, Clinical manifestations and the outcome are quite variable. The survival has continuously been improving due to more sophisticated diagnostic tools and therapeutic possibilities. Despite the technical development, complications and organ manifestations may lead to emergency or often provoke permanent functional or morphologic deterioration of the affected organs. Critical situations can be directly attributed to the manifestations of the underlying disease, deterioration of the affected organs, side effects of immune suppressive therapy complications of Intercurrent or co-incidental diseases also may induce the occurrence of critical complications. The Authors describe all conditions that may lead to the development of critical situations at systemic autoimmune disease regarding different organ and organ systems. The symptoms and diagnostic possibilities are also analysed. A checklist is given about those systemic autoimmune disorders where particular critical events can be present. Medication in general and other possible immune modulator managements with beneficial effects are discussed.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Apoptosis in focal brain ischaemia]


[Ischaemic stroke is one of the major causes of death and disability in the developed world. It is caused by focal impairment of cerebral blood flow. The subsequent ischaemic cell death is predominantly necrotic in nature. However, a therapeutically important characteristic is the delayed apoptotic cell demise in the border zone of the primary lesion core. Apoptosis is one of the most intensively studied field of current medical and biological research. The better understanding of its mechanism may provide novel and more effective ways of therapy in a wide range of diseases including ischemic stroke. The salient neurological features of focal brain ischaemia and the morphological signs of apoptotic and necrotic cell death are summarized. The mechanism of apoptosis is discussed. It is divided into an early genetic phase of decisionmaking followed by a cellular execution phase. The characteristics of the early shift in the finely tuned balance of proand antiapoptotic genes and their protein products, which is preceded by an inbalance in intracellular ionized calcium homeostasis, energy depletion and mitochondrial dysfunction is discussed. The crucial role of caspases in apoptosis is emphasized. The three possible pathways during the execution phase is described: the intrinsic- and extrinsic caspase activation cascade and the caspase-independent intracellular signal transduction route. The molecular mechanism of neural cell membrane damage in the execution phase is discussed and some examples of altered protein synthesis also known as message-selection are given. The important role of late reperfusion in the execution phase is emphasized. The possible targets of antiapoptotic therapeutic approaches and the results of experimental studies are presented as well as the perspectives of their use in human clinical care.]