Low incidence and transient elevation of autoantibodies post mRNA COVID-19 vaccination in inflammatory arthritis
OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:Autoantibody seroconversion has been extensively studied in the context of COVID-19 infection but data regarding post-vaccination autoantibody production is lacking. Here we aimed to determine the incidence of common autoantibody formation following mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in patients with inflammatory arthritis (IA) and in healthy controls. METHODS:Autoantibody seroconversion was measured by serum ELISA in a longitudinal cohort of IA participants and healthy controls before and after COVID-19 mRNA-based immunization. RESULTS:Overall, there was a significantly lower incidence of ANA seroconversion in participants who did not contract COVID-19 prior to vaccination compared with those who been previously infected (7.4% vs 24.1%, p= 0.014). Incidence of de novo anti-cyclic citrullinated protein (CCP) seroconversion in all participants was low at 4.9%. Autoantibody levels were typically of low titer, transient, and not associated with increase in IA flares. CONCLUSIONS:In both health and inflammatory arthritis, the risk of autoantibody seroconversion is lower following mRNA-based immunization than following natural SARS-CoV-2 infection. Importantly, seroconversion does not correlate with self-reported IA disease flare risk, further supporting the encouragement of mRNA-based COVID-19 immunization in the IA population.
Methotrexate and TNF inhibitors affect long-term immunogenicity to COVID-19 vaccination in patients with immune-mediated inflammatory disease
Methotrexate hampers immunogenicity to BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in immune-mediated inflammatory disease
Methotrexate hampers immunogenicity to BNT162B2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in immune-mediated inflammatory disease [Meeting Abstract]
Background/Purpose: Patients with immune mediated inflammatory disorders (IMIDs) have an inherently heightened susceptibility to infection and may be considered high risk for developing COVID-19. While data regarding the COVID-19 vaccine's immunogenicity in an immunocompetent adult population is rapidly emerging, the ability of IMID patients to adequately respond to these vaccines is not known. Here, we investigate the humoral and cellular immune response to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in patients with IMIDs on immunomodulatory treatment Methods: Patients with immune mediated inflammatory disorders (IMIDs) have an inherently heightened susceptibility to infection and may be considered high risk for developing COVID-19. While data regarding the COVID-19 vaccine's immunogenicity in an immunocompetent adult population is rapidly emerging, the ability of IMID patients to adequately respond to these vaccines is not known. Here, we investigate the humoral and cellular immune response to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in patients with IMIDs on immunomodulatory treatment.
Result(s): The NY cohort baseline characteristics are found in Table 1. The Erlangen cohort consisted of 182 healthy subjects, 11 subjects with IMID receiving TNFi monotherapy, and 20 subjects with IMID on MTX monotherapy. In both cohorts, healthy individuals and those with IMID not on MTX were similar in age, while those IMID patients receiving MTX were generally older. In the NY cohort, of the healthy participants, 96.3% demonstrated adequate humoral immune response. Patients with IMID not on MTX achieved a similar rate of high antibody response rate (91.8%), while those on MTX had a lower rate of adequate humoral response (75.0%) (Figure 1A). This remains true even after the exclusion of patients who had evidence of prior COVID-19 infection (P= 0.014). Of note, 3 out of the 4 IMID patients receiving rituximab did not produce an adequate response. Similarly, in the Erlangen validation cohort, 98.3% of healthy controls, 90.9% of patients with IMID receiving TNFi monotherapy, and 50.0% receiving MTX monotherapy achieved adequate immunogenicity (Figure 1B). These differences remain significant when combining the cohorts, using a stricter definition of adequate response, and in a subgroup analysis by age. Cellular response was also analyzed in a subgroup of the NY cohort before and after second vaccination. Activated CD8+ T cells (CD8+ T cells expressing Ki67 and CD38) and the granzyme B-producing subset of these activated CD8+ T cells, were induced in immunocompetent adults and those with IMID not on MTX, but not induced in patients receiving MTX (Figure 2).
Conclusion(s): In two independent cohorts of IMID patients, MTX, a widely used immunomodulator for the treatment of several IMIDs, adversely affected humoral and cellular immune response to COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. Although precise cut offs for immunogenicity that correlate with vaccine efficacy are yet to be established, our findings suggest that different strategies may need to be explored in patients with IMID taking MTX to increase the chances of immunization efficacy against SARS-CoV-2, as has been demonstrated for other viral vaccines
Methotrexate Hampers Immunogenicity to BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine in Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Disease
Objective/UNASSIGNED:To investigate the humoral and cellular immune response to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in patients with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) on immunomodulatory treatment. Methods/UNASSIGNED:Established patients at NYU Langone Health with IMID (n=51) receiving the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination were assessed at baseline and after second immunization. Healthy subjects served as controls (n=26). IgG antibody responses to the spike protein were analyzed for humoral response. Cellular immune response to SARS-CoV-2 was further analyzed using high-parameter spectral flow cytometry. A second independent, validation cohort of controls (n=182) and patients with IMID (n=31) from Erlangen, Germany were also analyzed for humoral immune response. Results/UNASSIGNED:Although healthy subjects (n=208) and IMID patients on biologic treatments (mostly on TNF blockers, n=37) demonstrate robust antibody responses (over 90%), those patients with IMID on background methotrexate (n=45) achieve an adequate response in only 62.2% of cases. Similarly, IMID patients do not demonstrate an increase in CD8+ T cell activation after vaccination. Conclusions/UNASSIGNED:In two independent cohorts of IMID patients, methotrexate, a widely used immunomodulator for the treatment of several IMIDs, adversely affected humoral and cellular immune response to COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. Although precise cut offs for immunogenicity that correlate with vaccine efficacy are yet to be established, our findings suggest that different strategies may need to be explored in patients with IMID taking methotrexate to increase the chances of immunization efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 as has been demonstrated for augmenting immunogenicity to other viral vaccines. KEY MESSAGES/UNASSIGNED:These results suggest that patients on methotrexate may need alternate vaccination strategies such as additional doses of vaccine, dose modification of methotrexate, or even a temporary discontinuation of this drug. Further studies will be required to explore the effect of these approaches on mRNA vaccine immunogenicity.
Relapsing oligoarticular septic arthritis during etanercept treatment of rheumatoid arthritis [Case Report]
Septic arthritis is a commonly reported complication of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) plays an important role in host defense against infection. Inhibition of its activity could therefore be anticipated to augment the risk of infection. Both opportunistic and bacterial infections have been described in patients with RA treated with anti-TNF-alpha therapy. We describe a patient who experienced 2 episodes of septic arthritis. Both occurred while the patient was on etanercept. Recurrence developed despite prolonged parenteral antibiotic. To our knowledge, this is the first report of relapsing oligoarticular methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus septic arthritis despite prolonged antibiotic treatment in a patient receiving etanercept therapy. Our case underscores the advisability of discontinuing TNF-alpha blockade in patients with septic arthritis during prolonged antimicrobial therapy
The second annual New York rheumatology objective structured clinical examination (ROSCE): Successful expansion demonstrates feasibility as a large scale rating tool [Meeting Abstract]
Transdifferentiation of cardiac fibroblasts, a fetal factor in anti-SSA/Ro-SSB/La antibody-mediated congenital heart block
The signature lesion of autoantibody-associated congenital heart block (CHB) is fibrosis of the conducting tissue. To date, participation of myofibroblasts in the cascade to injury has been unexplored. The importance of myofibroblast/macrophage cross-talk is demonstrated by the novel finding of these cell types in the heart of a neonate dying of CHB. This clue to pathogenesis prompted consideration of the mechanism by which maternal anti-SSA/Ro-SSB/La Abs initiate an inflammatory response and promote fibrosis. Isolated cardiocytes from 16-24 wk abortuses were rendered apoptotic by exposure to poly (2-) hydroxyethylmethacrylate; flow cytometry confirmed surface expression of Ro/La. Apoptotic cardiocytes were incubated with affinity-purified Abs to 52 and 60 kDa Ro from CHB mothers (opsonized) or IgG fractions from healthy donors (nonopsonized). Macrophages cultured with opsonized apoptotic cardiocytes expressed proinflammatory markers, supported by a three-fold increase in active alpha(V)beta(3) integrin. Fetal cardiac fibroblasts exposed to supernatants obtained from macrophages incubated with opsonized apoptotic cardiocytes (but not nonopsonized) dramatically increased expression of the myofibroblast marker alpha-smooth muscle actin (SMAc). The 'opsonized' supernatant reversed an inhibitory effect of the 'nonopsonized' supernatant on proliferation of fibroblasts (120 vs 69%, p < 0.05). Parallel experiments examined the effects of two cytokines and their neutralizing Abs on fibroblasts. TGFbeta1 increased SMAc staining but decreased proliferation. TNF-alpha did not affect either readout. Addition of anti-TGFbeta1 Abs to the 'opsonized' supernatant blocked SMAc expression but increased proliferation, while anti-TNF-alpha blocking Abs had no effects. These data suggest that transdifferentiation of cardiac fibroblasts to a scarring phenotype is a pathologic process initiated by maternal Abs