Immunology of pregnancy and reproductive health in autoimmune rheumatic diseases. Update from the 11th International Conference on Reproduction, Pregnancy and Rheumatic Diseases
Autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARD) can affect women and men during fertile age, therefore reproductive health is a priority issue in rheumatology. Many topics need to be considered during preconception counselling: fertility, the impact of disease-related factors on pregnancy outcomes, the influence of pregnancy on disease activity, the compatibility of medications with pregnancy and breastfeeding. Risk stratification and individualized treatment approach elaborated by a multidisciplinary team minimize the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes (APO). Research has been focused on identifying biomarkers that can be predictive of APO. Specifically, preeclampsia and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy tend to develop more frequently in women with ARD. Placental insufficiency can lead to intrauterine growth restriction and small-for-gestational age newborns. Such APO have been shown to be associated with maternal disease activity in different ARD. Therefore, a key message to be addressed to the woman wishing for a pregnancy and to her family is that treatment with compatible drugs is the best way to ensure maternal and fetal wellbeing. An increasing number of medications have entered the management of ARD, but data about their use in pregnancy and lactation are scarce. More information is needed for most biologic drugs and their biosimilars, and for the so-called small molecules, while there is sufficient evidence to recommend the use of TNF inhibitors if needed for keeping maternal disease under control. Other issues related to the reproductive journey have emerged as "unmet needs", such as sexual dysfunction, contraception, medically assisted reproduction techniques, long-term outcome of children, and they will be addressed in this review paper. Collaborative research has been instrumental to reach current knowledge and the future will bring novel insights thanks to pregnancy registries and prospective studies that have been established in several Countries and to their joint efforts in merging data.
High incidence of proliferative and membranous nephritis in SLE patients with low proteinuria in the Accelerating Medicines Partnership
OBJECTIVE:Delayed detection of lupus nephritis associates with worse outcomes. There are conflicting recommendations regarding a threshold level of proteinuria at which biopsy will likely yield actionable management. This study addressed the association of urine protein creatinine ratios (UPCR) with clinical characteristics and investigated the incidence of proliferative and membranous histology in patients with a UPCR between 0.5 and 1. METHODS:275 SLE patients (113 first biopsy, 162 repeat) were enrolled in the multicentre multi-ethnic/racial Accelerating Medicines Partnership across 15â€‰U.S. sites at the time of a clinically indicated renal biopsy. Patients were followed for 1â€‰year. RESULTS:At biopsy, 54 patients had UPCR <1 and 221 had UPCR >1. Independent of UPCR or biopsy number, a majority (92%) of patients had class III, IV, V or mixed histology. Moreover, patients with UPCR <1 and class III, IV, V, or mixed had a median activity index of 4.5 and chronicity index of 3, yet 39% of these patients had an inactive sediment. Neither anti-dsDNA nor low complement distinguished class I or II from III, IV, V, or mixed in patients with UPCR <1. Of 29 patients with baseline UPCR <1 and class III, IV, V or mixed, 23 (79%) had a UPCR <0.5 at one year. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:In this prospective study three quarters of patients with UPCR <1 had histology showing class III, IV, V or mixed with accompanying activity and chronicity despite an inactive sediment or normal serologies. These data support renal biopsy at thresholds lower than a UPCR of 1.
Platelet LGALS3BP Induces Myeloid Inflammation In Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
OBJECTIVE:Platelets are mediators of inflammation with immune effector cell properties, and have been implicated in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This study investigated the role of platelet associated lectin galactoside-binding soluble 3 binding protein (LGALS3BP) as a mediator of inflammation in SLE, and a potential biomarker associated with clinical phenotypes. METHODS:We performed RNA sequencing on platelets of patients with SLE (n=54) and age, sex, and race-matched controls (n=18) and measured LGALS3BP in platelet releasate and in circulating serum. We investigated the association between levels of LGALS3BP with the prevalence, disease severity, and clinical phenotpyes of SLE, and studied platelet-mediated effects on myeloid inflammation. RESULTS:). Platelet-released LGALS3BP was highly correlated with circulating LGALS3BP (RÂ =Â 0.69, p <â€‰0.0001). Circulating LGALS3BP correlated with the SLE disease activity index (RÂ =Â 0.32, p =â€‰0.0006). Specifically, circulating LGALS3BP was higher in SLE patients with lupus nephritis than those with inactive disease (4.0 Î¼g/mL vs 2.3 Î¼g/mL, P <â€‰0.001). IFN-Î± induced LGALS3BP transcription and translation in a megakaryoblastic cell line (MEG-01) cells in a dose-dependent manner. Recombinant LGALS3BP and platelet releasates from SLE patients enhanced pro-inflammatory cytokine production by macrophages. CONCLUSIONS:These data support that platelets act as potent effector cells contributing to the pathogenesis of SLE by secreting proinflammatory LGALS3BP, which also represents a novel biomarker of SLE clinical activity.
Erythrocyte complement receptor 1 (ECR1) and erythrocyte-bound C4d (EC4d) in the prediction of poor pregnancy outcomes in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
Background Complement activation has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes (APO) in SLE. Pregnant women with SLE were studied to evaluate whether complement dysregulation within the first two pregnancy trimesters predicts APO. Methods Pregnant women fulfilled classification criteria for SLE. APO included neonatal death, preterm delivery before 36 weeks and small for gestational age newborn. Pre-eclampsia was also evaluated. Erythrocyte complement receptor 1 (ECR1) and erythrocyte-bound C4d (EC4d) were measured by flow cytometry. Complement proteins C3 and C4 were measured by immunoturbidimetry and anti-double-stranded DNA by ELISA in serum. Statistical analysis consisted of t-Test, confusion matrix-derived diagnostic analysis, and multivariate logistic regression. Results Fifty-one women had 57 pregnancies and 169 visits during the study. Baseline visits occurred mainly in the first (n=32) and second trimester (n=21). Fourteen (24.6%) pregnancies resulted in 21 APO with preterm delivery being the most common (n=10). ECR1 <5.5 net mean fluorescence intensity in the first trimester predicted APO with a diagnostic OR (DOR) of 18.33 (95% CI: 2.39 to 140.4; t-Test p=0.04). Other individual biomarkers did not reach statistical significance. To estimate the likelihood of APO, we developed an algorithm that included the week of pregnancy, ECR1 and EC4d. From this algorithm, a Pregnancy Adversity Index (PAI) was calculated, and a PAI >0 indicated an elevated likelihood of pregnancy complications (DOR: 20.0 (95% CI: 3.64 to 109.97)). Conclusions Low levels of ECR1 in early or mid-pregnancy are predictive of an APO. Incorporating the weeks of gestation and both ECR1 and EC4d generated a PAI, which further predicted serious pregnancy complications.
Breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infections, morbidity, and seroreactivity following initial COVID-19 vaccination series and additional dose in patients with SLE in New York City
Longitudinal analysis of ANA in the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics (SLICC) Inception Cohort
OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:A perception derived from cross-sectional studies of small systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) cohorts is that there is a marked discrepancy between antinuclear antibody (ANA) assays, which impacts on clinicians' approach to diagnosis and follow-up. We compared three ANA assays in a longitudinal analysis of a large international incident SLE cohort retested regularly and followed for 5 years. METHODS:Demographic, clinical and serological data was from 805 SLE patients at enrolment, year 3 and 5. Two HEp-2 indirect immunofluorescence assays (IFA1, IFA2), an ANA ELISA, and SLE-related autoantibodies were performed in one laboratory. Frequencies of positivity, titres or absorbance units (AU), and IFA patterns were compared using McNemar, Wilcoxon and kappa statistics, respectively. RESULTS:At enrolment, ANA positivity (â‰¥1:80) was 96.1% by IFA1 (median titre 1:1280 (IQR 1:640-1:5120)), 98.3% by IFA2 (1:2560 (IQR 1:640-1:5120)) and 96.6% by ELISA (176.3 AU (IQR 106.4 AU-203.5 AU)). At least one ANA assay was positive for 99.6% of patients at enrolment. At year 5, ANA positivity by IFAs (IFA1 95.2%; IFA2 98.9%) remained high, while there was a decrease in ELISA positivity (91.3%, p<0.001). Overall, there was >91% agreement in ANA positivity at all time points and â‰¥71% agreement in IFA patterns between IFA1 and IFA2. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:In recent-onset SLE, three ANA assays demonstrated commutability with a high proportion of positivity and titres or AU. However, over 5 years follow-up, there was modest variation in ANA assay performance. In clinical situations where the SLE diagnosis is being considered, a negative test by either the ELISA or HEp-2 IFA may require reflex testing.
Short- and Long-Term Progression of Kidney Involvement in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Patients with Low-Grade Proteinuria
To Be or Not to Be Treated: That Is the Question in Managing a Fetus With Cardiac Injury Exposed to Anti-SSA/Ro [Letter]
Reducing the burden of surveillance in pregnant womenÂ with no history of fetal atrioventricular block using the negative predictive value of anti-Ro/SSA antibody titers
BACKGROUND:The risk of fetal atrioventricular block in anti-Ro/SSA antibody-exposed pregnancies with no previous affected offspring is approximately 2%. A high antibody titer is necessary but not sufficient for atrioventricular block, and specific antibody titers do not predict risk. However, there are no data on the negative predictive value of antibody titer to identify pregnancies at low risk of fetal atrioventricular block, and may not require surveillance. OBJECTIVE:This study aimed to define anti-Ro52 and anti-Ro60 antibody thresholds for the identification of fetuses unlikely to develop atrioventricular block using clinically validated and research laboratory tests. STUDY DESIGN/METHODS:This study performed a multicenter review of pregnant subjects who tested positive in their local commercial laboratories for anti-Ro/SSA antibodies at the University of Colorado Children's Hospital (2014-2021) and Phoenix Children's Hospital (2014-2021) and enrolled in the Research Registry for Neonatal Lupus (RRNL) at New York University Langone Medical Center (2002-2021). The subjects were referred on the basis of rheumatologic symptoms or history of atrioventricular block in a previous pregnancy and were retrospectively grouped on the basis of pregnancy outcome. Group 1 indicated no fetal atrioventricular block in current or past pregnancies; group 2 indicated fetal atrioventricular block in the current pregnancy; and group 3 indicated normal current pregnancy but with fetal atrioventricular block in a previous pregnancy. Maternal sera were analyzed for anti-Ro52 and anti-Ro60 antibodies using a clinically validated multiplex bead assay (Associated Regional and University Pathologists Laboratories, Salt Lake City, UT) and a research enzyme-linked immunosorbent immunoassay (New York University). This study calculated the negative predictive value separately for anti-Ro52 and anti-Ro60 antibodies and for the 2 combined using a logistic regression model and a parallel testing strategy. RESULTS:This study recruited 270 subjects (141 in group 1, 66 in group 2, and 63 in group 3). Of note, 89 subjects in group 1 had data on hydroxychloroquine treatment: anti-Ro/SSA antibody titers were no different between those treated (n=46) and untreated (n=43). Mean anti-Ro52 and anti-Ro60 titers were the lowest in group 1 and not different between groups 2 and 3. No case of fetal atrioventricular block developed among subjects with anti-Ro52 and anti-Ro60 titers of <110 arbitrary units per milliliter using the multiplex bead assay of the Associated Regional and University Pathologists Laboratories (n=141). No case of fetal atrioventricular block developed among subjects with research laboratory anti-Ro52 titers of <650 and anti-Ro60 of <4060 enzyme-linked immunosorbent immunoassay units (n=94). Using these 100% negative predictive value thresholds, more than 50% of the anti-Ro/SSA antibody pregnancies that ultimately had no fetal atrioventricular block could be excluded from surveillance based on clinical and research titers, respectively. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Study data suggested that there is a clinical immunoassay level of maternal anti-Ro/SSA antibodies below which the pregnancy is at low risk of fetal atrioventricular block. This study speculated that prospectively applying these data may avert the costly serial echocardiograms currently recommended for all anti-Ro/SSA-antibody positive pregnancies and guide future management.
Evaluation of the European League Against Rheumatism/American College of Rheumatology Classification Criteria for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in a Population Based Registry
OBJECTIVE:Using the Manhattan Lupus Surveillance Program (MLSP), a multi-racial/ethnic population-based registry, we compared three commonly used classification criteria for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) to identify unique cases and determine the incidence and prevalence of SLE using the EULAR/ACR criteria. METHODS:SLE cases were defined as fulfilling 1997 ACR, SLICC, or EULAR/ACR classification criteria. We quantified the number of cases uniquely associated with each and the number fulfilling all three. Prevalence and incidence using the EULAR/ACR classification criteria and associated 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated. RESULTS:1,497 cases fulfilled at least one of the three classification criteria, with 1,008 (67.3%) meeting all three classifications, 138 (9.2%) fulfilling only SLICC criteria, 35 (2.3%) fulfilling only ACR criteria and 34 (2.3%) uniquely fulfilling EULAR/ACR criteria. Patients solely satisfying EULAR/ACR criteria had fewer than four manifestations. The majority classified only by the ACR criteria did not meet any of the defined immunologic criteria. Patients fulfilling only SLICC criteria did so based on the presence of features unique to this system. Using the EULAR/ACR classification criteria, age-adjusted overall prevalence and incidence rates of SLE in Manhattan were 59.6 (95%CI:55.9-63.4) and 4.9 (95%CI 4.3-5.5) per 100,000 population, with age-adjusted prevalence and incidence rates highest among non-Hispanic Black females. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Applying the three commonly used classification criteria to a population-based registry identified patients with SLE fulfilling only one validated definition. The most recently developed EULAR/ACR classification criteria revealed similar prevalence and incidence estimates to those previously established for the ACR and SLICC classification schemes.