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Articles by A Fontana
Total Records ( 2 ) for A Fontana
  A Fontana , H Gast , W Reith , M Recher , T Birchler and C. L. Bassetti

Human narcolepsy with cataplexy is a neurological disorder, which develops due to a deficiency in hypocretin producing neurons in the hypothalamus. There is a strong association with human leucocyte antigens HLA-DR2 and HLA-DQB1*0602. The disease typically starts in adolescence. Recent developments in narcolepsy research support the hypothesis of narcolepsy being an immune-mediated disease. Narcolepsy is associated with polymorphisms of the genes encoding T cell receptor alpha chain, tumour necrosis factor alpha and tumour necrosis factor receptor II. Moreover the rate of streptococcal infection is increased at onset of narcolepsy. The hallmarks of anti-self reactions in the tissue—namely upregulation of major histocompatibility antigens and lymphocyte infiltrates—are missing in the hypothalamus. These findings are questionable because they were obtained by analyses performed many years after onset of disease. In some patients with narcolepsy autoantibodies to Tribbles homolog 2, which is expressed by hypocretin neurons, have been detected recently. Immune-mediated destruction of hypocretin producing neurons may be mediated by microglia/macrophages that become activated either by autoantigen specific CD4+ T cells or superantigen stimulated CD8+ T cells, or independent of T cells by activation of DQB1*0602 signalling. Activation of microglia and macrophages may lead to the release of neurotoxic molecules such as quinolinic acid, which has been shown to cause selective destruction of hypocretin neurons in the hypothalamus.

  J. E Walter , F Rucci , L Patrizi , M Recher , S Regenass , T Paganini , M Keszei , I Pessach , P. A Lang , P. L Poliani , S Giliani , W Al Herz , M. J Cowan , J. M Puck , J Bleesing , T Niehues , C Schuetz , H Malech , S. S DeRavin , F Facchetti , A. R Gennery , E Andersson , N. R Kamani , J Sekiguchi , H. M Alenezi , J Chinen , G Dbaibo , G ElGhazali , A Fontana , S Pasic , C Detre , C Terhorst , F. W Alt and L. D. Notarangelo

The contribution of B cells to the pathology of Omenn syndrome and leaky severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) has not been previously investigated. We have studied a mut/mut mouse model of leaky SCID with a homozygous Rag1 S723C mutation that impairs, but does not abrogate, V(D)J recombination activity. In spite of a severe block at the pro–B cell stage and profound B cell lymphopenia, significant serum levels of immunoglobulin (Ig) G, IgM, IgA, and IgE and a high proportion of Ig-secreting cells were detected in mut/mut mice. Antibody responses to trinitrophenyl (TNP)-Ficoll and production of high-affinity antibodies to TNP–keyhole limpet hemocyanin were severely impaired, even after adoptive transfer of wild-type CD4+ T cells. Mut/mut mice produced high amounts of low-affinity self-reactive antibodies and showed significant lymphocytic infiltrates in peripheral tissues. Autoantibody production was associated with impaired receptor editing and increased serum B cell–activating factor (BAFF) concentrations. Autoantibodies and elevated BAFF levels were also identified in patients with Omenn syndrome and leaky SCID as a result of hypomorphic RAG mutations. These data indicate that the stochastic generation of an autoreactive B cell repertoire, which is associated with defects in central and peripheral checkpoints of B cell tolerance, is an important, previously unrecognized, aspect of immunodeficiencies associated with hypomorphic RAG mutations.

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