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  • Author: Paul Bălănescu x
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T cells (especially T helper cells) seem to be strongly associated with systemic sclerosis pathogenesis. Th17-IL-17 axis was proved to be involved in the pathogenesis of multiple autoimmune diseases. By performing a comprehensive research of the literature indexed in PubMed database, the current review summarizes current knowledge related to Th17 and IL-17 in systemic sclerosis. While there is promising data suggesting inhibition of Tregulatory and Th1 signals on one hand and promotion of Th17 and Th2 signals on the other, studies that include prospective and integrated analysis of Tregulatory, Th17, Th1, Th2 (cells and derived cytokines) on the same cohort of Ssc patients are warranted.


Background: Systemic sclerosis (Ssc) is an autoimmune disease characterized by graduate cutaneous and tissue fibrosis development and irreversible fibroproliferative vascular changes. The aim of the current systematic review was to update the list of proteomic candidate biomarkers identified from Ssc samples with mass spectrometry techniques.

Methods: Medline and Scopus databases were searched on 1st September 2020. Relevant articles were searched from March 2014 until September 2020. Two independent reviewers evaluated the retrieved articles.

Results: From a total of 97 articles, 9 articles were included in the final analysis summarizing 539 candidate proteomic biomarkers from various samples from Ssc patients (a larger number compared to the previous systematic review). Most biomarkers were identified from cutaneous biopsies. Only 5 articles included a validation step of the findings with only 13 biomarkers being validated.

Conclusions: Although many candidate biomarkers were additionally identified, independent validation studies are needed in order to evaluate the importance of these biomarkers for Ssc patients.


Background. Systemic sclerosis (Ssc) is an autoimmune disease characterized by cutaneous and visceral fibrosis and its pathogenesis is incompletely understood. T helper cells are key regulators of the immune response and they seem to be involved in Ssc clinical manifestations. The aim of the study is to determine key cytokines secreted by Th1 (IFN-γ), Th2 (IL-6) and Th17 (IL-17) in Ssc patients and correlate them with specific manifestations of Ssc patients.

Material and methods. 35 consecutive Ssc patients and 20 age and sex matched controls were recruited. Serum IL-17, IFN-γ and IL-6 were determined using ELISA method.

Results. Serum IL-17 and IL-6 levels were not significantly different in Ssc patients and controls. Serum IFN-γ levels were higher in Ssc patients when compared to controls. Higher serum IFN-γ levels associated with pulmonary hypertension. After adjusting for gender and age, IL-17 levels remained independently associated with some clinical manifestations of Ssc patients (telangiectasia and high activity score of Ssc).

Conclusion. Th17 and Th1 cell responses are active in Ssc patients as their cytokines associated with higher disease activity scores and pulmonary manifestations. Th17 and Th1 specific activity and homing within Ssc patients still needs to be defined and determined in order to target them as potential future therapeutic targets in Ssc patients.


Background and aims. The aim of this study is to assess the lipid profile pattern of pediatric overweight and/or obese patients with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) in relation to IDF Consensus Criteria for Metabolic Syndrome (MetS).

Material and Methods. We conducted a cross-sectional preliminary study on 45 consecutive pediatric patients. Overweight or obese children aged from 3 to 18 years were included. Standardized measurement of blood pressure and anthropometric parameters were performed. Biological evaluation included inflammatory status, lipid profile, glycemic profile, full blood count and liver function tests. Abdominal ultrasound was performed in all patients.

Results. Prevalence of MetS was 44.4%. A number of 21 patients (46.7%) had NAFLD. MetS patients had higher risk for NAFLD (OR = 9.5, 95% CI = 2.42-37.24). Also patients with positive familial history of type 2 diabetes had a 6.61 fold higher risk for NAFLD (OR = 6.61, 95% CI = 1.74-25.1). We performed a subgroup analysis in patients under ten years old. Patients under the age of ten which had both NAFLD and MetS met more frequently the hypertriglyceride criterion. After adjusting for age and MetS presence, triglyceride levels independently associated with NAFLD (adjusted R square = 0.46, unstandardized B coefficient = 34.51, 95% CI = 4.01-65.02, p = 0.02).

Conclusion. NAFLD obese patients had higher prevalence of MetS, higher BMI and particular lipid profile pattern. Triglyceride levels independently associated with NAFLD after adjusting for age and MetS presence. According to our findings we suggest early triglyceride testing (even below the age of ten) in selected patients.


Background. Sjogren’s syndrome (SS) is among the most frequent autoimmune diseases and one of its most severe extraglandular manifestations is peripheral neuropathy. There is no consensus about peripheral neuropathy treatment in SS. Our aim is to identify studies proving the efficiency of immunosuppressive treatment on peripheral neuropathies in SS.

Methods. The search was conducted on the PubMed (MEDLINE) database. Studies with patients diagnosed with SS and peripheral neuropathy were included. Treatment with one of the following was among inclusion criteria: glucocorticoids (GC), rituximab (RTX), azathioprine (AZA), mycophenolic acid (MMF), cyclophosphamide (CP), methotrexate (MTX), plasmapheresis or iv immunoglobulins (IV IG).

Results. A total of 116 results were found and abstracts were examined. 103 papers were excluded, and the remaining 13 papers were analyzed. They were 3 case series and 10 case reports, retrospective, totalizing 62 patients of which 22 (35.5%) received IV IG, 8 (13%) received RTX, 7 (11%) CP, and 5 (8%) received only GC. Drug associations containing corticosteroids were frequent. Of those 22 treated with IV IG, 18 patients improved (82%), and 4 stabilized (18%).

IV IG was useful in sensory, motor and sensorimotor neuropathies. CP had good results in mononeuritis multiplex, while autonomic neuropathies responded well to GC or RTX. AZA, RTX, MTX, MMF or plasmapheresis were not used alone. Follow-up periods were heterogenous and the evaluation of the neuropathy was not systematic.

Conclusion. There is only low level evidence (retrospective case reports and case series). In most cases, IV IG treatment in patients with peripheral neuropathies and SS resulted in clinical improvement, while other therapies, such as RTX, corticosteroids and CP proved to be useful in a handful of cases.


Background. We aimed to determine the relationship between endocan and cirrhotic cardiomyopathy.

Materials and methods. Patients with liver cirrhosis and no heart disease were included in a prospective observational study with liver disease decompensation and death as primary outcomes.

Results. 83 cirrhotic patients were included and 32 had cirrhotic cardiomyopathy. Endocan levels were significantly lower in patients with cirrhotic cardiomyopathy (5.6 vs. 7 ng/mL, p = 0.034). Endocan correlated with severity of cirrhosis, time to decompensation or death from liver disease (OR 4.5 95% CI 1.06-31.1).

Conclusion. Endocan is a promising biomarker of severity of cirrhosis and may help in the diagnosis of cardiac dysfunction in this population.


Background. Shared decision making (SDM) is becoming more and more important for the patient-physician interaction. There has not been a study in Romania evaluating patients’ point of view in the SDM process yet. Therefore, the present study aims to evaluate the psychometric parameters of the translated Romanian version of SDM-Q-9.

Material and methods. A multicentric cross-sectional study was performed comprising eight recruitment centers. The sample consisted of in- and outpatients who referred to Hospital Units for treatment for atrial fibrillation or collagen diseases. Furthermore, patients who were members of Autoimmune Disease Patient Society were able to participate via an online survey. All participants completed the Romanian translated SDM-Q-9.

Results. Altogether, 665 questionnaires were filled in within the hospital setting (n = 324; 48.7%) and online (n = 341; 51.3%). The Romanian version had good internal consistency (Cronbach α coefficient of 0.96.) Corrected item correlations were good ranging from 0.64 to 0.89 with low corrected item correlations for item 1 and item 7. PCA found a one-factorial solution (similar with previous reports) but the first item had the lowest loading.

Conclusion. SDM-Q-9 is a useful tool for evaluation and improvement in health care that was validated in Romania and can be used in clinical setting in this country.