Abstract: Our aim is to investigate the recent liver biopsy findings of autoimmune liver diseases at a university hospital located in an urban area of Japan. The study included 259 patients (mean age 56.8 ± 12.5; male/female, 46/213) who underwent a liver biopsy for primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) or autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). We analyzed their liver biopsy findings according to age and gender. Among 127 PBC patients, Scheuer stages 1, 2, 3, and 4 were 42, 54, 18, and 13, respectively. Among 101 AIH patients, fibrosis stages F1, F2, F3, and F4 were 37, 32, 19, and 13, respectively, and inflammatory activity grades A1, A2, and A3 were 22, 25, and 54, respectively. Among PBC aged ≥65 years, Scheuer stages 1–3 and 4 patients were 27 and 6, respectively. The proportion of Scheuer stage 4 patients in PBC aged ≥65 years tended to be higher than that in PBC aged <65 years (p = 0.0659). Of interest, the proportion of AIH patients with moderate or severe activity (A2 or A3) in males was higher than in females (p = 0.0311). From the point of view of fibrosis stage or inflammatory activity grade of the liver, the proportion of AIH patients aged ≥65 years was similar to that aged <65 years. Although we identified six older cirrhotic patients with AIH, three of them were male. The progression of fibrosis and inflammatory activity of the liver should be noted when we treat older patients suffering from autoimmune liver diseases. Liver biopsy plays an important role in obtaining accurate information on autoimmune liver diseases in older patients.
Abstract: The decrease in the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori (Hp) infection in children in the world gave rise to a new pathological finding termed as Hp-negative gastritis. Unfortunately, the term “Hp-negative gastritis” has not been identified as a pathological process and has the status of a “second cousin”; in most publications it was never mentioned as a subject to be dealt with, but was “left over” data that was never the topic of the manuscripts’ discussions. Only recently has the topic captured the attention of the pathologists who described this phenomenon in adults, yet the pathological and/or clinical spectrum or significance of this phenomenon has not been adequately investigated. In the current manuscript we describe Hp-negative gastritis in children, summarize its clinical prevalence and touch upon the possible etiology, pathology, and/or therapeutic implication. Overall, this review has concluded that Hp-negative gastritis is a pathological phenomenon in children that needs further investigation, and to date, as the title suggests, is a new clinical enigma that needs to be considered.
Abstract: Marfan syndrome is the most common inherited disorder of connective tissue affecting multiple organ systems. Identification of the facial, ocular and skeletal features should prompt referral for aortic imaging since sudden death by aortic dissection and rupture remains a major cause of death in patients with unrecognized Marfan syndrome. Echocardiography is recommended as the initial imaging test, and once a dilated aortic root is identified magnetic resonance or computed tomography should be done to assess the entire aorta. Prophylactic aortic root replacement is safe and has been demonstrated to improve life expectancy in patients with Marfan syndrome. Medical therapy for Marfan syndrome includes the use of beta blockers in older children and adults with an enlarged aorta. Addition of angiotensin receptor antagonists has been shown to slow the progression of aortic root dilation compared to beta blockers alone. Lifelong and regular follow up in a center for specialized care is important for patients with Marfan syndrome. We present a case of a patient with clinical features of Marfan syndrome and discuss possible therapeutic interventions for her dilated aorta.
Abstract: Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a rare disease, which still carries a poor prognosis. PH is characterized by a pressure overload on the right ventricle (RV), which develops hypertrophy, followed by a progressive failure. Accordingly, recent evidence showed that RV function has an important prognostic role in patients with PH. Echocardiography, cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR), computed tomography, and nuclear imaging allow a non-invasive evaluation of the RV size and function, but only the first two are routinely used in the clinical arena. Some conventional echocardiographic parameters, such as TAPSE (tricuspid anular plane systolic excursion), have demonstrated prognostic value in patients with PH. Moreover, there are some new advanced echo techniques, which can provide a more detailed assessment of RV function. Three-dimensional (3D) echocardiography allows measurement of RV volumes and ejection fraction, and two-dimensional (2D) speckle tracking (STE), allows assessment of RV myocardial mechanics. CMR provides accurate measurement of RV volumes, ejection fraction, and mass and allows the characterization of the RV wall composition by identifying the presence of fibrosis by late gadolinium enhancement. Although CMR seems to hold promise for both initial assessment and follow-up of patients with PH, its main role has been restricted to diagnostic work-up only.
Abstract: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive lung disease diagnosed by an increase in pulmonary arterial blood pressure that is driven by a progressive vascular remodelling of small pulmonary arterioles. We have previously reported that tumor necrosis factor apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) protein expression is increased in pulmonary vascular lesions and pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMC) of patients with idiopathic PAH. The addition of recombinant TRAIL induces the proliferation and migration of PASMCs in vitro. TRAIL is required for hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension in mice, and blockade of TRAIL prevents and reduces disease development in other rodent models of PAH. Due to the availability of knockout and transgenic mice, murine models of disease are key to further advances in understanding the complex and heterogeneous pathogenesis of PAH. However, murine models vary in their disease severity, and are often criticized for lacking the proliferative pulmonary vascular lesions characteristic of PAH. The murine Sugen-hypoxic (SuHx) mouse model has recently been reported to have a more severe PAH phenotype consisting advanced pulmonary vascular remodelling. We therefore aimed to determine whether TRAIL was also required for the development of PAH in this model. C57BL/6 and TRAIL−/− mice were exposed to normoxia, Sugen5416 alone, hypoxia or both Sugen5416 and hypoxia (SuHx). We report here that SuHx treated C57BL/6 mice developed more severe PAH than hypoxia alone, and that TRAIL−/− mice were protected from disease development. These data further emphasise the importance of this pathway and support the use of the SuHx mouse model for investigating the importance of potential mediators in PAH pathogenesis.
Abstract: Pulmonary hypertension (PH) has been found to have significant morbidity and mortality. The treatment of PH has advanced considerably with increasingly more effective and safer options. With an increasing effort to diagnose patients early, non-invasive techniques are often used to screen those patients likely to have PH. Computerized tomography (CT) chest scans are increasingly utilized in the evaluation of patients with exertional dyspnea, including those with suspected PH. The main role of the CT scan is to evaluate for any associated underlying diseases. There have been attempts to address the utility of CT to predict the presence of PH. This article reviews previously published investigations to summarize the relationship between pulmonary artery dimensions and PH to determine both the strength of the correlation and its discriminatory ability for use in clinical practice.