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      Soluble Adhesion Molecules and Cytokines in Patients with Myasthenia Gravis Treated by Plasma Exchange

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          Plasma exchange (PE) is an effective therapeutic method used in patients with myasthenia gravis (MG) refractory to common therapy and/or with life-threatening respiratory complications. Except for acetylcholine receptor antibodies (AChRAbs), some other inflammatory mediators possibly activated in MG may also be removed during PE. Serum levels of soluble adhesion molecules (sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1), IL-6 and soluble receptors for IL-2 (sIL-2R), IL-6 (sIL-6R) and TNFα (sTNF-R II) were measured in 20 MG patients assigned to treatment with PE. On the basis of the serum levels of AChRAb the patients were subdivided into 2 groups (8 patients with low AChRAb, 12 patients with high AChRAb). Soluble adhesion molecules and cytokines were measured before the first and last PE, at the end of the first PE and in the samples of plasma filtrate obtained during the first PE. Before the first PE patients with MG had higher serum levels of sICAM-1, sVCAM-1, sIL-2R and sTNF-R II than controls. Both after the first PE and during the course of PE, a substantial decrease in serum levels of AChRAb, sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 was recorded. However, serum levels of sIL-2R and sTNF-R II were not significantly influenced by either a single treatment or during the course of PE. There were high levels of AChRAb, soluble adhesion molecules and soluble cytokine receptors in plasma filtrates too. Patients with high circulating AChRAb had higher serum levels of sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 than patients with low AChRAb. Increased serum levels of soluble adhesion molecules and soluble cytokine receptors in patients with MG suggest some systemic activation of the immune response which is more pronounced in patients with high circulating AChRAb. PE led to the decrease in serum AChRAb and soluble adhesion molecules due to their effective filtration but, on the other hand, serum levels of soluble cytokine receptors were not influenced by PE, in spite of their effective filtration which is probably counteracted by their increased production, possibly stimulated by the contact of the blood with the synthetic membrane.

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          Most cited references 8

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          Myasthenia gravis.

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            The potential biological and clinical significance of the soluble tumor necrosis factor receptors.

             Dan Aderka (1996)
            The role of TNF receptors (TNF-Rs) is not limited to signal transduction but includes extracellular regulatory functions affecting systemic TNF bioavailability. This review summarizes the regulation of TNF-R shedding and its kinetics, the complex interaction between the soluble receptors and their ligand in vitro and in vivo, and the potential diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic value of the soluble receptors in malignant, inflammatory, infectious and autoimmune disorders.
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              Influence of Plasma Exchange on Serum Levels of Cytokines and Adhesion Molecules in ANCA-Positive Renal Vasculitis

              Background: Increased serum levels of proinflammatory cytokines may contribute to the organ damage in active antineutrophil cytoplasmic antigen (ANCA)-positive renal vasculitis. Plasma exchange (PE) may influence the activity of vasculitis not only by removing pathogenic autoantibodies, but also by lowering the serum levels of circulating cytokines. Methods: Serum levels of IL-1β, IL-1ra, IL-6, IL-8, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 were measured using ELISA in 10 patients with active ANCA-positive renal vasculitis (5 patients with Wegener’s granulomatosis, WG, and 5 patients with microscopic polyangiitis, MPA) during the course of therapeutic PE. Cytokines and adhesion molecules were measured in samples of serum obtained at the beginning and at the end of the 1st, 3rd and 5th PE and in samples of filtrate obtained during the same PE. Results: In comparison with controls, patients with ANCA had higher serum levels of IL-1ra, IL-8, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 before the 1st PE. Serum levels of IL-6, IL-8, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 were increased in patients with MPA, and the serum levels of all the cytokines and adhesion molecules measured in patients with WG were increased. At the end of the PE course there were decreases in the serum levels of IL-1ra and VCAM-1 in ANCA patients and IL-1ra and ICAM-1 in WG patients. Single PE in ANCA patients led only to a decrease in serum levels of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1. On the other hand, there was no change in serum levels of IL-1β and IL-8, and the serum levels of IL-1ra and IL-6 even increased at the end of a single PE, in spite of high levels of all cytokines and adhesion molecules in the plasma filtrate. Conclusion: Serum levels of soluble adhesion molecules decrease after PE, but serum levels of proinflammatory cytokines are not reduced even by a PE course. Removal of these substances by PE is obviously counteracted by their increased production, possibly further stimulated by the contact of blood with the synthetic membrane. The insufficient influence of PE on the elimination of proinflammatory cytokines may partially explain its limited effect in some patients with ANCA-positive renal vasculitis.

                Author and article information

                Blood Purif
                Blood Purification
                S. Karger AG
                03 August 2000
                : 18
                : 2
                : 115-120
                a1st Department of Medicine, 1st School of Medicine, and bCenter for Myasthenia, 3rd School of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
                14434 Blood Purif 2000;18:115–120
                © 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 2, References: 27, Pages: 6
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                Original Paper

                Cardiovascular Medicine, Nephrology

                Plasma exchange, Myasthenia gravis, Cytokines, Adhesion molecules


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