Methotrexate hampers immunogenicity to BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in immune-mediated inflammatory disease
Evaluation of Immune Response and Disease Status in SLE Patients Following SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination
OBJECTIVE:To evaluate seroreactivity and disease flares after COVID-19 vaccination in a multi-ethnic/racial cohort of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). METHODS:90 SLE patients and 20 healthy controls receiving a complete COVID-19 vaccine regimen were included. IgG seroreactivity to the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain (RBD) and SARS-CoV-2 microneutralization were used to evaluate B cell responses; IFN-Î³ production to assess T cell responses was measured by ELISpot. Disease activity was measured by the hybrid SLE disease activity index (SLEDAI) and flares were assigned by the SELENA/SLEDAI flare index. RESULTS:Overall, fully vaccinated SLE patients produced significantly lower IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 spike RBD than controls. Twenty-six SLE patients (28.8%) generated an IgG response below that of the lowest control (<100 units/ml). In logistic regression analyses, the use of any immunosuppressant or prednisone and a normal anti-dsDNA level prior to vaccination associated with decreased vaccine responses. IgG seroreactivity to the SARS-CoV-2 Spike RBD strongly correlated with the SARS-CoV-2 microneutralization titers and antigen-specific IFN-Î³ production determined by ELISpot. In a subset of patients with poor antibody responses, IFN-Î³ production was likewise diminished. Pre-/post-vaccination SLEDAI scores were similar. Only 11.4% of patients had a post-vaccination flare; 1.3% were severe. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:In a multi-ethnic/racial study of SLE patients 29% had a low response to the COVID-19 vaccine which was associated with being on immunosuppression. Reassuringly, disease flares were rare. While minimal protective levels remain unknown, these data suggest protocol development is needed to assess efficacy of booster vaccination.
C3 glomerulonephritis and systemic lupus erythematosus: A report of a patient treated with eculizumab and review of the literature
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:Activation of the complement pathway by immune complexes is a key feature of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and SLE glomerulonephritis, which translates into low levels of C3 and C4 during active disease. C3 glomerulonephritis (C3GN) is part of a broader group of rare renal diseases, the C3 glomerulopathies, characterized by prominent C3 accumulation in the glomeruli with minimal to no immunoglobulin (Ig) deposition secondary to dysregulation of the alternative pathway of the complement system. Distinguishing lupus nephritis from other complement-mediated kidney disorders, including C3GN, represents a diagnostic challenge with potential therapeutic implications. METHODS:We report an unusual case of a 55-year-old woman with SLE and previous biopsy-proven class IV lupus nephritis, subsequently diagnosed with C3GN. Furthermore, we review the available literature published from January 2010-March 2021 on the clinical features and management of C3GN in the setting of SLE. RESULTS:In addition to our case, very few reports exist in the literature regarding C3GN in association with SLE. The underlying pathogenic mechanism of C3GN consists of dysregulation of the alternative pathway of the complement system, either due to genetic variation in complement-related genes or to acquired autoantibodies targeting C3 or C5 convertases; the latter mechanism could explain the occurrence of C3GN in the setting of autoimmune diseases, although it was not definitively identified in our patient or others with SLE. Similar to some of the previous reports, after suboptimal renal response on mycophenolate mofetil and rituximab, our patient has been successfully treated with eculizumab, thus far with >50% improvement in proteinuria. CONCLUSIONS:C3GN represents an additional mechanism of renal injury in SLE mediated by alternative complement pathway dysregulation. Although rare, patients with SLE and persistent proteinuria with very low C3 would benefit from expedited renal biopsy to evaluate for C3GN as well as genetic testing, since this entity could require a different therapeutic approach.
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.
COVID-19 in Patients with Inflammatory Arthritis: A Prospective Study on the Effects of Comorbidities and DMARDs on Clinical Outcomes
OBJECTIVE:To characterize the hospitalization and death rates among patients with inflammatory arthritis affected by COVID-19 and to analyze the associations between comorbidities and immunomodulatory medications and infection outcomes. METHODS:Clinical, demographic, maintenance treatment, and disease course data and outcomes of individuals with inflammatory arthritis (IA; rheumatoid arthritis and spondylarthritis) with symptomatic COVID-19 infection were prospectively assessed via web-based questionnaire followed by individual phone calls and electronic medical record review. Baseline characteristics and medication use were summarized for hospitalized and ambulatory patients, and outcomes were compared for each medication class using multivariable logistic regression. RESULTS:A total of 103 patients with IA were included in the study (n=80 confirmed and n=23 highly suspicious for COVID-19). Twenty-six percent of participants required hospitalization, and 4% died. Patients who warranted hospitalization were significantly more likely to be older (P<0.001) and have comorbid hypertension (P=0.001) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (P=0.022). IA patients taking oral glucocorticoids had a higher likelihood of being admitted for COVID-19 (P<0.001) while those on maintenance anti-cytokine biologic therapies did not. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:In patients with underlying IA, COVID-19 outcomes were worse in those receiving glucocorticoids but not in patients on maintenance anti-cytokine therapy. Further work is needed to understand whether immunomodulatory therapies affect COVID-19 incidence.
Response to: 'Microbiome in SjÃ¶gren's syndrome: here we are' by van der Meulen et al
The microbiome in rheumatology: Where are we and where should we go?
From birth, humans coexist and coevolve with trillions of micro-organisms inhabiting most body surfaces and cavities, referred to as the human microbiome. Advances in sequencing technologies and computational methods have propelled the exploration of the microbiome's contribution to human health and disease, spearheaded by massive efforts such as the Human Microbiome Project and the Europe-based MetaHit Consortium. Yet, despite the accumulated body of literature and a growing awareness among patients, microbiome research in rheumatology has not had a key impact on clinical practice. Herein, we describe some of the landmark microbiome studies in autoimmunity and rheumatology, the challenges and opportunities of microbiome research and how to navigate them, advances in related fields that have overcome these pitfalls, and future directions of harnessing the microbiome for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.
Inflammatory arthritis in systemic sclerosis: What to do? [Review]
Current Management of Early Diffuse Cutaneous Systemic Sclerosis in US Scleroderma Centers [Meeting Abstract]
The MAL-ED Study: A Multinational and Multidisciplinary Approach to Understand the Relationship Between Enteric Pathogens, Malnutrition, Gut Physiology, Physical Growth, Cognitive Development, and Immune Responses in Infants and Children Up to 2 Years of Age in Resource-Poor Environments