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  • Kaartinen, Kati; Safa, Adrian; Kotha, Soumya; Ratti, Giorgio; Meri, Seppo (2019)
    Glomerulonephritis (GN) refers to a group of renal diseases affecting the glomeruli due to the damage mediated by immunological mechanisms. A large proportion of the disease manifestations are caused by disturbances in the complement system. They can be due to genetic errors, autoimmunity, microbes or abnormal immunoglobulins, like modified IgA or paraproteins. The common denominator in most of the problems is an overactive or misdirected alternative pathway complement activation. An assessment of kidney function, amount of proteinuria and hematuria are crucial elements to evaluate, when glomerulonephritis is suspected. However, the cornerstones of the diagnoses are renal biopsy and careful examination of the complement abnormality. Differential diagnostics between the various forms of GN is not possible based on clinical features, as they may vary greatly. This review describes the known mechanisms of complement dysfunction leading to different forms of primary GN (like IgA glomerulonephritis, dense deposit disease, C3 glomerulonephritis, post-infectious GN, membranous GN) and differences to atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome. It also covers the basic elements of etiology-directed therapy and prognosis of the most common forms of GN. Common principles in the management of GN include treatment of hypertension and reduction of proteinuria, some require immunomodulating treatment. Complement inhibition is an emerging treatment option. A thorough understanding of the basic disease mechanism and a careful follow-up are needed for optimal therapy.
  • Nissilä, Eija; Hakala, Pipsa; Leskinen, Katarzyna; Roig, Angela; Syed, Shahan; Van Kessel, Kok P. M.; Metso, Jari; De Haas, Carla J. C.; Saavalainen, Päivi; Meri, Seppo; Chroni, Angeliki; Van Strijp, Jos A. G.; Öörni, Katariina; Jauhiainen, Matti; Jokiranta, T. Sakari; Haapasalo, Karita (2018)
    The alternative pathway (AP) of complement is constantly active in plasma and can easily be activated on self surfaces and trigger local inflammation. Host cells are protected from AP attack by Factor H (FH), the main AP regulator in plasma. Although complement is known to play a role in atherosclerosis, the mechanisms of its contribution are not fully understood. Since FH via its domains 5-7 binds apoliporotein E (apoE) and macrophages produce apoE we examined how FH could be involved in the antiatherogenic effects of apoE. We used blood peripheral monocytes and THP-1 monocyte/macrophage cells which were also loaded with acetylated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) to form foam cells. Binding of FH and apoE on these cells was analyzed by flow cytometry. High-density lipoprotein (HDL)-mediated cholesterol efflux of activated THP-1 cells was measured and transcriptomes of THP-1 cells using mRNA sequencing were determined. We found that binding of FH to human blood monocytes and cholesterol-loaded THP-1 macrophages increased apoE binding to these cells. Preincubation of fluorescent cholesterol labeled THP-1 macrophages in the presence of FH increased cholesterol efflux and cholesterol-loaded macrophages displayed reduced transcription of proinflammatory/proatherogenic factors and increased transcription of anti-inflammatory/anti-atherogenic factors. Further incubation of THP-1 cells with serum reduced C3b/iC3b deposition. Overall, our data indicate that apoE and FH interact with monocytic cells in a concerted action and this interaction reduces complement activation and inflammation in the atherosclerotic lesions. By this way FH may participate in mediating the beneficial effects of apoE in suppressing atherosclerotic lesion progression.
  • Jokiranta, T. Sakari; Viklicky, Ondrej; Al Shorafa, Saleh; Coppo, Rosanna; Gasteyger, Christoph; Macia, Manuel; Pankratenko, Tatiana; Shenoy, Mohan; Soylemezoglu, Oguz; Tsimaratos, Michel; Wetzels, Jack; Haller, Hermann (2017)
    Background: The differential diagnosis of thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) is complex however the rapid diagnosis of the underlying condition is vital to inform urgent treatment decisions. A survey was devised with the objective of understanding current practices across Europe and the Middle East, and of challenges when diagnosing the cause of TMA. Methods: Over 450 clinicians, from 16 countries were invited to complete an online survey. Results: Of 254 respondents, the majority were nephrologists, had > 10 years' experience in their specialty, and had diagnosed a patient with TMA. The triad of thrombocytopenia, haemolytic anaemia and acute kidney injury are the main diagnostic criteria used. Responses indicate that a differential diagnosis of TMA is usually made within 1-2 (53%) or 3-4 days (26%) of presentation. Similarly, therapy is usually initiated within the first 4 days (74%), however 13% report treatment initiation > 1-week post-presentation. Extrarenal symptoms and a panoply of other conditions are considered when assessing the differential diagnosis of TMA. While 70 and 78% of respondents stated they always request complement protein levels and ADAMTS13 activity, respectively. Diagnostic considerations of paediatric and adult nephrologists varied. A greater proportion of paediatric than adult nephrologists consider extrarenal manifestations clinically related to a diagnosis of TMA; pulmonary (45% vs. 18%), gastrointestinal (67% vs. 50%), CNS (96% vs. 84%) and cardiovascular (54% vs. 42%), respectively. Variability in the availability of guidelines and extent of family history taken was also evident. Conclusions: This survey reveals the variability of current practices and the need for increased urgency among physicians in the differential diagnosis of TMA, despite their experience. Above all, the survey highlights the need for international clinical guidelines to provide systematically developed recommendations for understanding the relevance of complement protein levels, complement abnormalities and ADAMTS13 testing, in making a differential diagnosis of TMA. Such clinical guidelines would enable physicians to make a more rapid and informed diagnosis of TMA, therefore initiate effective treatment earlier, with a consequent improvement in patient outcomes.
  • Brodszki, Nicholas; Frazer-Abel, Ashley; Grumach, Anete S.; Kirschfink, Michael; Litzman, Jiri; Perez, Elena; Seppänen, Mikko R. J.; Sullivan, Kathleen E.; Jolles, Stephen (2020)
    This guideline aims to describe the complement system and the functions of the constituent pathways, with particular focus on primary immunodeficiencies (PIDs) and their diagnosis and management. The complement system is a crucial part of the innate immune system, with multiple membrane-bound and soluble components. There are three distinct enzymatic cascade pathways within the complement system, the classical, alternative and lectin pathways, which converge with the cleavage of central C3. Complement deficiencies account for similar to 5% of PIDs. The clinical consequences of inherited defects in the complement system are protean and include increased susceptibility to infection, autoimmune diseases (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus), age-related macular degeneration, renal disorders (e.g., atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome) and angioedema. Modern complement analysis allows an in-depth insight into the functional and molecular basis of nearly all complement deficiencies. However, therapeutic options remain relatively limited for the majority of complement deficiencies with the exception of hereditary angioedema and inhibition of an overactivated complement system in regulation defects. Current management strategies for complement disorders associated with infection include education, family testing, vaccinations, antibiotics and emergency planning.
  • Lokki, A. Inkeri; Aalto-Viljakainen, Tia; Meri, Seppo; Laivuori, Hannele; FINNPEC; Kere, Juha Kalervo (2015)
  • Jokiranta, T. Sakari (2017)
    Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a thrombotic microangiopathy characterized by intravascular hemolysis, thrombocytopenia, and acute kidney failure. HUS is usually categorized as typical, caused by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infection, as atypical HUS (aHUS), usually caused by uncontrolled complement activation, or as secondary HUS with a coexisting disease. In recent years, a general understanding of the pathogenetic mechanisms driving HUS has increased. Typical HUS (ie, STEC-HUS) follows a gastrointestinal infection with STEC, whereas aHUS is associated primarily with mutations or autoantibodies leading to dysregulated complement activation. Among the 30% to 50% of patients with HUS who have no detectable complement defect, some have either impaired diacylglycerol kinase epsilon (DGK epsilon) activity, cobalamin C deficiency, or plasminogen deficiency. Some have secondary HUS with a coexisting disease or trigger such as autoimmunity, transplantation, cancer, infection, certain cytotoxic drugs, or pregnancy. The common pathogenetic features in STEC-HUS, aHUS, and secondary HUS are simultaneous damage to endothelial cells, intravascular hemolysis, and activation of platelets leading to a procoagulative state, formation of microthrombi, and tissue damage. In this review, the differences and similarities in the pathogenesis of STEC-HUS, aHUS, and secondaryHUSare discussed. Commonfor the pathogenesis seems to be the vicious cycle of complement activation, endothelial cell damage, platelet activation, and thrombosis. This process can be stopped by therapeutic complement inhibition in most patients with aHUS, but usually not those with a DGK epsilon mutation, and some patients with STEC-HUS or secondary HUS. Therefore, understanding the pathogenesis of the different forms of HUS may prove helpful in clinical practice.
  • Hyvarinen, Satu; Jokiranta, T. Sakari (2015)
    Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) is a rare, but severe thrombotic microangiopathy. In roughly two thirds of the patients, mutations in complement genes lead to uncontrolled activation of the complement system against self cells. Recently, aHUS patients were described with deficiency of the fibrinolytic protein plasminogen. This zymogen and its protease form plasmin have both been shown to interact with complement proteins in the fluid phase. In this work we studied the potential of plasminogen to restrict complement propagation. In hemolytic assays, plasminogen inhibited complement activation, but only when it had been exogenously activated to plasmin and when it was used at disproportionately high concentrations compared to serum. Addition of only the zymogen plasminogen into serum did not hinder complement-mediated lysis of erythrocytes. Plasminogen could not restrict deposition of complement activation products on endothelial cells either, as was shown with flow cytometry. With platelets, a very weak inhibitory effect on deposition of C3 fragments was observed, but it was considered too weak to be significant for disease pathogenesis. Thus it was concluded that plasminogen is not an important regulator of complement on self cells. Instead, addition of plasminogen was shown to clearly hinder platelet aggregation in serum. This was attributed to plasmin causing disintegration of formed platelet aggregates. We propose that reduced proteolytic activity of plasmin on structures of growing thrombi, rather than on complement activation fragments, explains the association of plasminogen deficiency with aHUS. This adds to the emerging view that factors unrelated to the complement system can also be central to aHUS pathogenesis and suggests that future research on the mechanism of the disease should expand beyond complement dysregulation.
  • Loeven, Markus A.; Rops, Angelique L.; Lehtinen, Markus J.; van Kuppevelt, Toin H.; Daha, Mohamed R.; Smith, Richard J.; Bakker, Marinka; Berden, Jo H.; Rabelink, Ton J.; Jokiranta, T. Sakari; van der Vlag, Johan (2016)
    Complement factor H (FH) inhibits complement activation and interacts with glomerular endothelium via its complement control protein domains 19 and 20, which also recognize heparan sulfate (HS). Abnormalities in FH are associated with the renal diseases atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome and dense deposit disease and the ocular disease age-related macular degeneration. Although FH systemically controls complement activation, clinical phenotypes selectively manifest in kidneys and eyes, suggesting the presence of tissue-specific determinants of disease development. Recent results imply the importance of tissue-specifically expressed, sulfated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), like HS, in determining FH binding to and activity on host tissues. Therefore, we investigated which GAGs mediate human FH and recombinant human FH complement control proteins domains 19 and 20 (FH19-20) binding to mouse glomerular endothelial cells (mGEnCs) in ELISA. Furthermore, we evaluated the functional defects of FH19-20 mutants during complement activation by measuring C3b deposition on mGEnCs using flow cytometry. FH and FH19-20 bound dose-dependently to mGEnCs and TNF- treatment increased binding of both proteins, whereas heparinase digestion and competition with heparin/HS inhibited binding. Furthermore, 2-O-, and 6-O-, but not N-desulfation of heparin, significantly increased the inhibitory effect on FH19-20 binding to mGEnCs. Compared with wild type FH19-20, atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome-associated mutants were less able to compete with FH in normal human serum during complement activation on mGEnCs, confirming their potential glomerular pathogenicity. In conclusion, our study shows that FH and FH19-20 binding to glomerular endothelial cells is differentially mediated by HS but not other GAGs. Furthermore, we describe a novel, patient serum-independent competition assay for pathogenicity screening of FH19-20 mutants.
  • Haapasalo, Karita; Meri, Seppo (2019)
    The functions of pentraxins, like C-reactive protein (CRP), serum amyloid protein P (SAP) and pentraxin-3 (PTX3), are to coordinate spatially and temporally targeted clearance of injured tissue components, to protect against infections and to regulate related inflammation together with the complement system. For this, pentraxins have a dual relationship with the complement system. Initially, after a focused binding to their targets, e.g., exposed phospholipids or cholesterol in the injured tissue area, or microbial components, the pentraxins activate complement by binding its first component C1q. However, the emerging inflammation needs to be limited to the target area. Therefore, pentraxins inhibit complement at the C3b stage to prevent excessive damage. The complement inhibitory functions of pentraxins are based on their ability to interact with complement inhibitors C4bp or factor H (FH). C4bp binds to SAP, while FH binds to both CRP and PTX3. FH promotes opsonophagocytosis through inactivation of C3b to iC3b, and inhibits AP activity thus preventing formation of the C5a anaphylatoxin and the complement membrane attack complex (MAC). Monitoring CRP levels gives important clinical information about the extent of tissue damage and severity of infections. CRP is a valuable marker for distinguishing bacterial infections from viral infections. Disturbances in the functions and interactions of pentraxins and complement are also involved in a number of human diseases. This review will summarize what is currently known about the FH family proteins and pentraxins that interact with FH. Furthermore, we will discuss diseases, where interactions between these molecules may play a role.
  • Syed, Shahan; Hakala, Pipsa; Singh, Anirudh K.; Lapatto, Helena A. K.; King, Samantha J.; Meri, Seppo; Jokiranta, T. Sakari; Haapasalo, Karita (2019)
    The most frequent form of hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) is associated with infections caused by Shiga-like toxin-producing Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (STEC). In rarer cases HUS can be triggered by Streptococcus pneumoniae. While production of Shiga-like toxins explains STEC-HUS, the mechanisms of pneumococcal HUS are less well known. S. pneumoniae produces neuraminidases with activity against cell surface sialic acids that are critical for factor H-mediated complement regulation on cells and platelets. The aim of this study was to find out whether S. pneumoniae neuraminidase NanA could trigger complement activation and hemolysis in whole blood. We studied clinical S. pneumoniae isolates and two laboratory strains, a wild-type strain expressing NanA, and a NanA deletion mutant for their ability to remove sialic acids from various human cells and platelets. Red blood cell lysis and activation of complement was measured ex vivo by incubating whole blood with bacterial culture supernatants. We show here that NanA expressing S. pneumoniae strains and isolates are able to remove sialic acids from cells, and platelets. Removal of sialic acids by NanA increased complement activity in whole blood, while absence of NanA blocked complement triggering and hemolytic activity indicating that removal of sialic acids by NanA could potentially trigger pHUS.
  • Amdahl, Hanne; Haapasalo, Karita; Tan, Lydia; Meri, Taru; Kuusela, Pentti I.; van Strijp, Jos A.; Rooijakkers, Suzan; Jokiranta, T. Sakari (2017)
    Staphyloccus aureus is a major human pathogen leading frequently to sepsis and soft tissue infections with abscesses. Multiple virulence factors including several immune modulating molecules contribute to its survival in the host. When S. aureus invades the human body, one of the first line defenses is the complement system, which opsonizes the bacteria with C3b and attract neutrophils by release of chemotactic peptides. Neutrophils express Complement receptor-1 [CR1, CD35) that interacts with the C3b-opsonized particles and thereby plays an important role in pathogen recognition by phagocytic cells. In this study we observed that a fraction of S. aureus culture supernatant prevented binding of C3b to neutrophils. This fraction consisted of S. aureus leukocidins and Efb. The C-terminus of Efb is known to bind C3b and shares significant sequence homology to the extracellular complement binding protein [Ecb). Here we show that S. aureus Ecb displays various mechanisms to block bacterial recognition by neutrophils. The presence of Ecb blocked direct interaction between soluble CR1 and C3b and reduced the cofactor activity of CR1 in proteolytic inactivation of C3b. Furthermore, Ecb could dose-dependently prevent recognition of C3b by cell-bound CR1 that lead to impaired phagocytosis of NHS-opsonized S. aureus. Phagocytosis was furthermore reduced in the presence of soluble CR1 [sCR1). These data indicate that the staphylococcal protein Ecb prevents recognition of C3b opsonized bacteria by neutrophil CR1 leading to impaired killing by phagocytosis and thereby contribute to immune evasion of S. aureus.
  • Stefanovic, Vedran (2019)
    Excessive complement activation is involved in the pathogenesis of many diseases and the kidney is an organ with particular susceptibility to complement-mediated injury. Apart from paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), there are several other diseases with clear evidence of complement activation affecting both maternal and fetal kidneys during pregnancy and causing long-term adverse outcomes. Several novel drugs have been recently developed for blocking the complement cascade, including purified plasma proteins, new monoclonal antibodies, recombinant proteins, small molecules, and small interfering RNA agents. Eculizumab, the humanized monoclonal IgG2/4-antibody targeting C5 was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for treatment of two rare diseases: PNH in 2007 and aHUS in 2011. There is an increasing number of publications of successful use of eculizumab for off-label indications, e.g., in pregnant women with antiphospholipid syndrome, sickle-cell anemia, and HELLP syndrome. These severe diseases are associated with both high maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality rate and substantial prematurity. Eculizumab has considerably improved overall outcome of patients with PNH and aHUS, enabling safe pregnancy for many women. Prolongation of pregnancy and the use of eculizumab, even for only a few weeks, may protect not only maternal renal function, but also alleviate acute and long-term renal consequences of prematurity in offspring.
  • Lokki, A. Inkeri; Heikkinen-Eloranta, Jenni K.; Laivuori, Hannele (2018)
    Pregnancy is an immunological challenge to the mother. The fetal tissues including the placenta must be protected from activation of the maternal immune system. On the other hand, the placental tissue sheds into the maternal circulation and must be adequately identified and phagocytized by the maternal immune system. During a healthy pregnancy, numerous immunosuppressive processes take place that allow the allograft fetus to thrive under exposure to humoral and cellular components of the maternal immune system. Breakdown of immune tolerance may result in sterile inflammation and cause adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preeclampsia, a vascular disease of the pregnancy with unpredictable course and symptoms from several organs. Immunological incompatibility between mother and fetus is strongly indicated in preeclampsia. Recently, genetic factors linking immunological pathways to predisposition to preeclampsia have been identified. In this mini-review genetic variation in immunological factors are discussed in the context of preeclampsia. Specifically, we explore immunogenetic and immunomodulary mechanisms contributing to loss of tolerance, inflammation, and autoimmunity in preeclampsia.
  • Scambi, Cinzia; Ugolini, Sara; Jokiranta, T. Sakari; De Franceschi, Lucia; Bortolami, Oscar; La Verde, Valentina; Guarini, Patrizia; Caramaschi, Paola; Ravagnani, Viviana; Martignoni, Guido; Colato, Chiara; Pedron, Serena; Benedetti, Fabio; Sorio, Marco; Poli, Fabio; Biasi, Domenico (2015)
  • Sarno, Laura; Stefanovic, Vedran; Maruotti, Giuseppe M.; Zullo, Fulvio; Martinelli, Pasquale (2019)
    Thrombotic Microangiopathies during pregnancy and puerperium are very rare and, if undiagnosed, can be lifethreating. Pregnancy and postpartum can represent a trigger in predisposed patients. Therefore, obstetricians are usually the first to observe clinical symptoms and laboratory abnormalities suggestive of Thrombotic Microangiopathies. The aim of this review is to briefly describe the obstetrical and perinatal outcome of these entities and highlight the clues for a correct diagnosis of pregnancy-related Thrombotic Microangiopathies. (C) 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.