Abstract On May 23 and 24, 2013, the First PANS Consensus Conference was convened at Stanford University, calling together a geographically diverse group of clinicians and researchers from complementary fields of pediatrics: General and developmental pediatrics, infectious diseases, immunology, rheumatology, neurology, and child psychiatry. Participants were academicians with clinical and research interests in pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcus (PANDAS) in youth, and the larger category of pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS). The goals were to clarify the diagnostic boundaries of PANS, to develop systematic strategies for evaluation of suspected PANS cases, and to set forth the most urgently needed studies in this field. Presented here is a consensus statement proposing recommendations for the diagnostic evaluation of youth presenting with PANS.
The group A streptococcus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and its link to autoimmune sequelae, has acquired a new level of understanding. Studies support the hypothesis that molecular mimicry between the group A streptococcus and heart or brain are important in directing immune responses in rheumatic fever. Rheumatic carditis, Sydenham chorea and a new group of behavioral disorders called pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections are reviewed with consideration of autoantibody and T cell responses and the role of molecular mimicry between the heart, brain and group A streptococcus as well as how immune responses contribute to pathogenic mechanisms in disease. In rheumatic carditis, studies have investigated human monoclonal autoantibodies and T cell clones for their crossreactivity and their mechanisms leading to valve damage in rheumatic heart disease. Although studies of human and animal sera from group A streptococcal diseases or immunization models have been crucial in providing clues to molecular mimicry and its role in the pathogenesis of rheumatic fever, study of human monoclonal autoantibodies have provided important insights into how antibodies against the valve may activate the valve endothelium and lead to T cell infiltration. Passive transfer of anti-streptococcal T cell lines in a rat model of rheumatic carditis illustrates effects of CD4+ T cells on the valve. Although Sydenham chorea has been known as the neurological manifestation of rheumatic fever for decades, the combination of autoimmunity and behavior is a relatively new concept linking brain, behavior and neuropsychiatric disorders with streptococcal infections. In Sydenham chorea, human mAbs and their expression in transgenic mice have linked autoimmunity to central dopamine pathways as well as dopamine receptors and dopaminergic neurons in basal ganglia. Taken together, the studies reviewed provide a basis for understanding streptococcal sequelae and how immune responses against group A streptococci influence autoimmunity and inflammatory responses in the heart and brain.
Activating autoantibodies (AAb) to ?-adrenergic receptors (?AR) are associated with atrial fibrillation in patients with Graves' disease. In the present study, we examined the interaction of thyroid hormone with ?1/2AR-AAb in inducing atrial tachyarrhythmias in the rabbit. Immunization of rabbits with a ?1AR or ?2AR second extracellular loop peptide produced high titers of ?1AR-AAb or ?2AR-AAb. Thyroid hormone in combination with ?1AR-AAb or ?2AR-AAb induced a significant number of sustained sinus tachycardia and atrial tachycardia, respectively. Both combinations resulted in significantly increased inductions of sustained arrhythmias compared to AAb alone. Thyroid hormone alone induced sustained sinus and junctional tachycardia. Sera from immunized rabbits specifically bound to and activated ?1AR or ?2AR in transfected cells in vitro. This study demonstrates thyroid hormone qualitatively accentuates the specific arrhythmogenic action of these AAb and quantitatively enhances their rate. Our data support a dual role of AAb and thyroid hormone in Graves'-associated tachyarrhythmias.
Group A Streptococcus (GAS) is a leading cause of infection-related mortality in humans. All GAS serotypes express the Lancefield group A carbohydrate (GAC), comprising a polyrhamnose backbone with an immunodominant N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) side chain, which is the basis of rapid diagnostic tests. No biological function has been attributed to this conserved antigen. Here we identify and characterize the GAC biosynthesis genes, gacA through gacL. An isogenic mutant of the glycosyltransferase gacI, which is defective for GlcNAc side-chain addition, is attenuated for virulence in two infection models, in association with increased sensitivity to neutrophil killing, platelet-derived antimicrobials in serum, and the cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide LL-37. Antibodies to GAC lacking the GlcNAc side chain and containing only polyrhamnose promoted opsonophagocytic killing of multiple GAS serotypes and protected against systemic GAS challenge after passive immunization. Thus, the Lancefield antigen plays a functional role in GAS pathogenesis, and a deeper understanding of this unique polysaccharide has implications for vaccine development.
Structural congenital heart disease (CHD) has not previously been linked to autoimmunity. In our study, we developed an autoimmune model of structural CHD that resembles hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a life-threatening CHD primarily affecting the left ventricle. Because cardiac myosin (CM) is a dominant autoantigen in autoimmune heart disease, we hypothesized that immunization with CM might lead to transplacental passage of maternal autoantibodies and a prenatal HLHS phenotype in exposed fetuses. Elevated anti-CM autoantibodies in maternal and fetal sera, as well as IgG reactivity in fetal myocardium, were correlated with structural CHD that included diminished left ventricular cavity dimensions in the affected progeny. Further, fetuses that developed a marked HLHS phenotype had elevated serum titers of anti-?-adrenergic receptor Abs, as well as increased protein kinase A activity, suggesting a potential mechanism for the observed pathological changes. Our maternal-fetal model presents a new concept linking autoimmunity against CM and cardiomyocyte proliferation with cardinal features of HLHS. To our knowledge, this report shows the first evidence in support of a novel immune-mediated mechanism for pathogenesis of structural CHD that may have implications in its future diagnosis and treatment.
Patients with postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS) have exaggerated orthostatic tachycardia often following a viral illness, suggesting autoimmunity may play a pathophysiological role in POTS. We tested the hypothesis that they harbor functional autoantibodies to adrenergic receptors (AR).
The mechanisms causing excessive aldosterone production and hypertension in primary aldosteronism (PA) are complex and often incompletely recognized. Autoantibodies to the angiotensin AT1 receptor (AT1R) have been reported in some PA patients with an aldosterone-producing adenoma but not with idiopathic adrenal hyperplasia.
Group A ?-hemolytic streptococcal (GAS) infection is associated with a spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders. The leading hypothesis regarding this association proposes that a GAS infection induces the production of auto-antibodies, which cross-react with neuronal determinants in the brain through the process of molecular mimicry. We have recently shown that exposure of rats to GAS antigen leads to the production of anti-neuronal antibodies concomitant with the development of behavioral alterations. The present study tested the causal role of the antibodies by assessing the behavior of naïve rats following passive transfer of purified antibodies from GAS-exposed rats. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) purified from the sera of GAS-exposed rats was infused directly into the striatum of naïve rats over a 21-day period. Their behavior in the induced-grooming, marble burying, food manipulation and beam walking assays was compared to that of naïve rats infused with IgG purified from adjuvant-exposed rats as well as of naïve rats. The pattern of in vivo antibody deposition in rat brain was evaluated using immunofluorescence and colocalization. Infusion of IgG from GAS-exposed rats to naïve rats led to behavioral and motor alterations partially mimicking those seen in GAS-exposed rats. IgG from GAS-exposed rats reacted with D1 and D2 dopamine receptors and 5HT-2A and 5HT-2C serotonin receptors in vitro. In vivo, IgG deposits in the striatum of infused rats colocalized with specific brain proteins such as dopamine receptors, the serotonin transporter and other neuronal proteins. Our results demonstrate the potential pathogenic role of autoantibodies produced following exposure to GAS in the induction of behavioral and motor alterations, and support a causal role for autoantibodies in GAS-related neuropsychiatric disorders.
Gangliosides are widely expressed sialylated glycosphingolipids with multifunctional properties in different cell types and organs. In the nervous system, they are highly enriched in both glial and neuronal membranes. Mice lacking complex gangliosides attributable to targeted ablation of the B4galnt1 gene that encodes ?-1,4-N-acetylegalactosaminyltransferase 1 (GalNAc-transferase; GalNAcT(-/-)) develop normally before exhibiting an age-dependent neurodegenerative phenotype characterized by marked behavioral abnormalities, central and peripheral axonal degeneration, reduced myelin volume, and loss of axo-glial junction integrity. The cell biological substrates underlying this neurodegeneration and the relative contribution of either glial or neuronal gangliosides to the process are unknown. To address this, we generated neuron-specific and glial-specific GalNAcT rescue mice crossed on the global GalNAcT(-/-) background [GalNAcT(-/-)-Tg(neuronal) and GalNAcT(-/-)-Tg(glial)] and analyzed their behavioral, morphological, and electrophysiological phenotype. Complex gangliosides, as assessed by thin-layer chromatography, mass spectrometry, GalNAcT enzyme activity, and anti-ganglioside antibody (AgAb) immunohistology, were restored in both neuronal and glial GalNAcT rescue mice. Behaviorally, GalNAcT(-/-)-Tg(neuronal) retained a normal "wild-type" (WT) phenotype throughout life, whereas GalNAcT(-/-)-Tg(glial) resembled GalNAcT(-/-) mice, exhibiting progressive tremor, weakness, and ataxia with aging. Quantitative electron microscopy demonstrated that GalNAcT(-/-) and GalNAcT(-/-)-Tg(glial) nerves had significantly increased rates of axon degeneration and reduced myelin volume, whereas GalNAcT(-/-)-Tg(neuronal) and WT appeared normal. The increased invasion of the paranode with juxtaparanodal Kv1.1, characteristically seen in GalNAcT(-/-) and attributed to a breakdown of the axo-glial junction, was normalized in GalNAcT(-/-)-Tg(neuronal) but remained present in GalNAcT(-/-)-Tg(glial) mice. These results indicate that neuronal rather than glial gangliosides are critical to the age-related maintenance of nervous system integrity.
Post-streptococcal A (GAS) sequelae including movement and neuropsychiatric disorders have been associated with improvement in response to antibiotic therapy. Besides eradication of infection, the underlying basis of attenuation of neuropsychiatric symptoms following antibiotic treatment is not known. The aim of the present study was to test the efficacy of antibiotic treatment in a rat model of GAS-related neuropsychiatric disorders. In the model, rats were not infected but were exposed to GAS-antigen or to adjuvants only (Control rats) and treated continuously with the antibiotic ampicillin in their drinking water from the first day of GAS-antigen exposure. Two additional groups of rats (GAS and Control) did not receive ampicillin in their drinking water. Behavior of the four groups was assessed in the forced swim, marble burying and food manipulation assays. We assessed levels of D1 and D2 dopamine receptors and tyrosine hydroxylase in the prefrontal cortex and striatum, and IgG deposition in the prefrontal cortex, striatum and thalamus. Ampicillin treatment prevented emergence of the motor and some of the behavioral alterations induced by GAS-antigen exposure, reduced IgG deposition in the thalamus of GAS-exposed rats, and tended to attenuate the increase in the level of TH and D1 and D2 receptors in their striatum, without concomitantly reducing the level of sera anti-GAS antibodies. Our results reinforce the link between exposure to GAS antigen, dysfunction of central dopaminergic pathways and motor and behavioral alterations. Our data further show that some of these deleterious effects can be attenuated by antibiotic treatment, and supports the latter's possible efficacy as a prophylactic treatment in GAS-related neuropsychiatric disorders.
Previous studies demonstrated burst pacing and intravenous infusion of acetylcholine (ACh) induced sustained atrial tachycardia when rabbits were immunized to produce ?2-adrenergic receptor (?2AR)-activating autoantibodies. The objective of this study was to examine the arrhythmogenic effect of ?1-adrenergic receptor (?1AR)-activating autoantibodies in the rabbit. Eight New Zealand white rabbits were immunized with a ?1AR second extracellular loop peptide to raise ?1AR antibody titers. A catheter-based electrophysiological study was performed on anesthetized rabbits before and after immunization. Arrhythmia occurrence was determined in response to burst pacing before and after ACh infusion in incremental concentrations of 10 ?M, 100 ?M and 1 mM. The baseline sinus heart rate before and after immunization averaged 149±17/min and 169±16/min, respectively (P<0.05). In the pre-immune studies, there were 5 sustained (?10 sec) arrhythmias in 32 induction attempts which occurred in only 4 of 8 rabbits. In the post-immune studies, there were 22 sustained arrhythmias in 32 induction attempts which occurred in all 8 rabbits (P<0.0001 for the independent effect of immunization). Of the 22 sustained arrhythmias post immunization, 15 were sinus tachycardia compared with only 2 before immunization (P<0.01 for the independent effect of immunization). Post-immune (but not pre-immune) rabbit sera demonstrated specific binding to ?1AR and induced significant ?1AR activation in transfected cells in vitro. No cross-reactivity with ?2AR was observed. In conclusion, in contrast to rabbits with ?2AR-activating autoantibodies who demonstrate predominantly atrial tachycardias, enhanced autoantibody activation of ?1AR in the rabbit leads to tachyarrhythmias mainly in the form of sustained sinus tachycardia.
How autoantibodies target the brain and lead to disease in disorders such as Sydenham chorea (SC) is not known. SC is characterized by autoantibodies against the brain and is the main neurologic manifestation of streptococcal-induced rheumatic fever. Previously, our novel SC-derived mAb 24.3.1 was found to recognize streptococcal and brain Ags. To investigate in vivo targets of human mAb 24.3.1, VH/VL genes were expressed in B cells of transgenic (Tg) mice as functional chimeric human VH 24.3.1-mouse C-region IgG1(a) autoantibody. Chimeric human-mouse IgG1(a) autoantibody colocalized with tyrosine hydroxylase in the basal ganglia within dopaminergic neurons in vivo in VH 24.3.1 Tg mice. Both human mAb 24.3.1 and IgG1(a) in Tg sera were found to react with human dopamine D2 receptor (D2R). Reactivity of chorea-derived mAb 24.3.1 or SC IgG with D2R was confirmed by dose-dependent inhibitory signaling of D2R as a potential consequence of targeting dopaminergic neurons, reaction with surface-exposed FLAG epitope-tagged D2R, and blocking of Ab reactivity by an extracellular D2R peptide. IgG from SC and a related subset of streptococcal-associated behavioral disorders called "pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococci" (PANDAS) with small choreiform movements reacted in ELISA with D2R. Reaction with FLAG-tagged D2R distinguished SC from PANDAS, whereas sera from both SC and PANDAS induced inhibitory signaling of D2R on transfected cells comparably to dopamine. In this study, we define a mechanism by which the brain may be altered by Ab in movement and behavioral disorders.
The M protein of rheumatogenic group A streptococci induces carditis and valvulitis in Lewis rats and may play a role in pathogenesis of rheumatic heart disease. To identify the epitopes of M5 protein that produce valvulitis, synthetic peptides spanning A, B, and C repeat regions contained within the extracellular domain of the streptococcal M5 protein were investigated. A repeat region peptides NT4, NT5/6, and NT7 induced valvulitis similar to the intact pepsin fragment of M5 protein. T cell lines from rats with valvulitis recognized M5 peptides NT5/6 and NT6. Passive transfer of an NT5/6-specific T cell line into naïve rats produced valvulitis characterized by infiltration of CD4+ cells and upregulation of VCAM-1, while an NT6-specific T cell line did not target the valve. Our new data suggests that M protein-specific T cells may be important mediators of valvulitis in the Lewis rat model of rheumatic carditis.
Functional autoantibodies to the autonomic receptors are increasingly recognized in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases. To date, no human activating monoclonal autoantibodies to these receptors have been available. In this study, we describe for the first time a ?2-adrenergic receptor (?2AR)-activating monoclonal autoantibody (C5F2) produced from the lymphocytes of a patient with idiopathic postural hypotension. C5F2, an IgG3 isotype, recognizes an epitope in the N terminus of the second extracellular loop (ECL2) of ?2AR. Surface plasmon resonance analysis revealed high binding affinity for the ?2AR ECL2 peptide. Immunoblotting and immunofluorescence demonstrated specific binding to ?2AR in H9c2 cardiomyocytes, CHO cells expressing human ?2AR, and rat aorta. C5F2 stimulated cyclic AMP production in ?2AR-transfected CHO cells and induced potent dilation of isolated rat cremaster arterioles, both of which were specifically blocked by the ?2AR-selective antagonist ICI-118551 and by the ?2AR ECL2 peptide. This monoclonal antibody demonstrated sufficient activity to produce postural hypotension in its host. Its availability provides a unique opportunity to identify previously unrecognized causes and new pharmacological management of postural hypotension and other cardiovascular diseases.
Heart disease, the leading cause of death in humans, is estimated to affect one in four American adults in some form. One predominant cause of heart failure in young adults is myocarditis, which can lead to the development of dilated cardiomyopathy, a major indication for heart transplantation. Environmental microbes, including viruses, bacteria, and fungi that are otherwise innocuous, have the potential to induce inflammatory heart disease. As the list is growing, it is critical to determine the mechanisms by which microbes can trigger heart autoimmunity and, importantly, to identify their target antigens. This is especially true as microbes showing structural similarities with the cardiac antigens can predispose to heart autoimmunity by generating cross-reactive immune responses. In this review, we discuss the relevance of molecular mimicry in the mediation of infectious myocarditis.
Myocarditis and valvulitis are inflammatory diseases affecting myocardium and valve. Myocarditis, a viral-induced disease of myocardium, may lead to dilated cardiomyopathy and loss of heart function. Valvulitis leads to deformed heart valves and altered blood flow in rheumatic heart disease. Animal models recapitulating these diseases are important in understanding the human condition. Cardiac myosin is a major autoantigen in heart, and antibodies and T cells to cardiac myosin are evident in inflammatory heart diseases. This unit is a practical guide to induction and evaluation of experimental autoimmune myocarditis (EAM) in several mouse strains and the Lewis rat. Purification protocols for cardiac myosin and protocols for induction of EAM by cardiac myosin and its myocarditis-producing peptides, and coxsackievirus CVB3, are defined. Protocols for assessment of myocarditis and valvulitis in humans and animal models provide methods to define functional autoantibodies targeting cardiac myosin, ?-adrenergic, and muscarinic receptors, and their deposition in tissues.
Gangliosides are glycosphingolipids highly enriched in neural plasma membranes, where they mediate a diverse range of functions and can act as targets for auto-antibodies present in human immune-mediated neuropathy sera. The ensuing autoimmune injury results in axonal and motor nerve terminal (mNT) degeneration. Both aging and ganglioside-deficiency have been linked to impaired axonal regeneration. To assess the effects of age and ganglioside expression on mNT regeneration in an autoimmune injury paradigm, anti-ganglioside antibodies and complement were applied to young adult and aged mice wildtype (WT) mice, mice deficient in either b- and c-series (GD3sKO) or mice deficient in all complex gangliosides (GM2sKO). The extent of mNT injury and regeneration was assessed immediately or after 5 days, respectively. Depending on ganglioside expression and antibody-specificity, either a selective mNT injury or a combined injury of mNTs and neuromuscular glial cells was elicited. Immediately after induction of the injury, between 1.5% and 11.8% of neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) in the young adult groups exhibited healthy mNTs. Five days later, most NMJs, regardless of age and strain, had recovered their mNTs. No significant differences could be observed between young and aged WT and GM2sKO mice; aged GD3sKO showed a mildly impaired rate of mNT regeneration when compared with their younger counterparts. Comparable rates were observed between all strains in the young and the aged mice. In summary, the rate of mNT regeneration following anti-ganglioside antibody and complement-mediated injury does not differ majorly between young adult and aged mice irrespective of the expression of particular gangliosides.
Sydenham chorea (SC), a neuropsychiatric sequela of group-A streptococcal infection, is associated with basal ganglia autoantibodies. Although autoantibodies have been proposed in neuropsychiatric disorders, little evidence has been shown to link autoimmunity and clinical symptoms. We hypothesized that dopamine receptor-autoantibody interactions may be the basis of neuropsychiatric symptoms in SC.
Orthostatic hypotension (OH) is characterized by an abnormal autonomic response to upright posture. Activating autoantibodies to ?1/2-adrenergic (AA?1/2AR) and M2/3 muscarinic receptors (AAM2/3R) produce vasodilative changes in the vasculature that may contribute to OH.
Myocarditis is one of the most common causes of a pediatric dilated cardiomyopathy phenotype. While pediatric myocarditis is generally associated with resolution of myocardial dysfunction, approximately 30% of pediatric myocarditis patients will die or undergo heart transplantation. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging is increasingly being utilized as the primary diagnositic modality in adult myocarditis. Animal studies and adult experience suggest that autoimmunity may contribute to cardiac dysfunction in myocarditis. These adult findings have yet to be evaluated fully in children, but may have an impact on the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric myocarditis in the future. The recent availability of pediatric specific ventricular assist devices may offer the potential for long-term support to allow for a greater chance for myocardial recovery.
Chronic allograft vasculopathy (CAV) contributes to heart transplant failure, yet its pathogenesis is incompletely understood. Although cellular and humoral alloimmunity are accepted pathogenic mediators, animal models suggest that T cells and Abs reactive to graft-expressed autoantigens, including cardiac myosin (CM), could participate. To test the relationship between CAV and anti-CM autoimmunity in humans, we performed a cross-sectional study of 72 heart transplant recipients: 40 with CAV and 32 without. Sera from 65% of patients with CAV contained anti-CM Abs, whereas <10% contained Abs to other autoantigens (p < 0.05), and only 18% contained anti-HLA Abs (p < 0.05 versus anti-CM). In contrast, 13% of sera from patients without CAV contained anti-CM Abs (p < 0.05; odds ratio [OR], associating CAV with anti-CM Ab = 13, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.79-44.6). Multivariable analysis confirmed the association to be independent of time posttransplant and the presence of anti-HLA Abs (OR = 28, 95% CI 5.77-133.56). PBMCs from patients with CAV responded more frequently to, and to a broader array of, CM-derived peptides than those without CAV (p = 0.01). Detection of either CM-peptide-reactive T cells or anti-CM Abs was highly and independently indicative of CAV (OR = 45, 95% CI 4.04-500.69). Our data suggest detection of anti-CM immunity could be used as a biomarker for outcome in heart transplantation recipients and support the need for further studies to assess whether anti-CM immunity is a pathogenic mediator of CAV.
Although immune responses against group A streptococci and the heart have been correlated with antibodies and T cell responses against cardiac myosin, there is no unifying hypothesis about carditis caused globally by many different serotypes. Our study identified disease-specific epitopes of human cardiac myosin in the development of rheumatic carditis in humans. We found that immune responses to cardiac myosin were similar in rheumatic carditis among a small sample of worldwide populations, in which immunoglobulin G targeted human cardiac myosin epitopes in the S2 subfragment hinge region within S2 peptides containing amino acid residues 842-992 and 1164-1272. An analysis of rheumatic carditis in a Pacific Islander family confirmed the presence of potential rheumatogenic epitopes in the S2 region of human cardiac myosin. Our report suggests that cardiac myosin epitopes in rheumatic carditis target the S2 region of cardiac myosin and are similar among populations with rheumatic carditis worldwide, regardless of the infecting group A streptococcal M serotype.
Activating autoantibodies to ?-adrenergic receptors (AA?1/2AR) and M2 muscarinic receptors (AAM2R) have been reported in several cardiac diseases and may have pathophysiologic relevance. However, the interactions and relative effects of AA?1AR, AA?2AR and AAM2R on contractile function have not been characterized.
Autoimmune attack on the heart is linked to host immune responses against cardiac myosin, the most abundant protein in the heart. Although adaptive immunity is required for disease, little is known about innate immune mechanisms. In this study we report that human cardiac myosin (HCM) acted as an endogenous ligand to directly stimulate human TLRs 2 and 8 and to activate human monocytes to release proinflammatory cytokines. In addition, pathogenic epitopes of human cardiac myosin, the S2 fragment peptides S2-16 and S2-28, stimulated TLRs directly and activated human monocytes. Our data suggest that cardiac myosin and its pathogenic T cell epitopes may link innate and adaptive immunity in a novel mechanism that could promote chronic inflammation in the myocardium.
We studied activating autoantibodies to beta-1 adrenergic receptors (AAbeta1AR) and activating autoantibodies to M2 muscarinic receptors (AAM2R) in the genesis of atrial fibrillation (AF) in Graves hyperthyroidism.
A 71-year-old male with well-controlled hypertension developed atrial tachyarrhythmias in 2002 and a restrictive cardiomyopathy in 2006 to 2007. Sera from 1992, 2001, and 2006 to 2008 demonstrated activating autoantibodies against beta-adrenergic (AAbetaAR) and M2 muscarinic receptors (AAM2R). These sera have been characterized for bioactivity using in vitro assays of cardiac contractility and automaticity using a canine cardiac Purkinje fiber assay as well as protein kinase assay activation in H9c2 cells. These assays demonstrated concurrent positive betaAR and inhibitory M2R effects that were blocked by nadolol and atropine, respectively. In a canine pulmonary vein atrial sleeve preparation, sera diluted 1:100 produced atrial hyperpolarization that was blocked by atropine. Atrial tachyarrhythmias developed in 2002 in the presence of a persistent bradycardia. Serial echocardiograms demonstrated progressive diastolic dysfunction in the absence of cardiac hypertrophy between 2006 and 2007. A dual-chamber pacemaker was installed with combined betaAR (nadolol) and M2<3R (oxybutynin) blockade, resulting in marked suppression of atrial ectopy and improved diastolic function. The estimated pulmonary artery pressure decreased and exercise tolerance returned. Blood pressure has remained normal with beta-blockade. AAbetaAR and AAM2R prospectively influenced atrial and ventricular function in this patient, and specific receptor blockade was associated with improved cardiac function.
Group A streptococcal (GAS) infections and autoimmunity are associated with the onset of a spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders in children, with the prototypical disorder being Sydenham chorea (SC). Our aim was to develop an animal model that resembled the behavioral, pharmacological, and immunological abnormalities of SC and other streptococcal-related neuropsychiatric disorders. Male Lewis rats exposed to GAS antigen exhibited motor symptoms (impaired food manipulation and beam walking) and compulsive behavior (increased induced-grooming). These symptoms were alleviated by the D2 blocker haloperidol and the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor paroxetine, respectively, drugs that are used to treat motor symptoms and compulsions in streptococcal-related neuropsychiatric disorders. Streptococcal exposure resulted in antibody deposition in the striatum, thalamus, and frontal cortex, and concomitant alterations in dopamine and glutamate levels in cortex and basal ganglia, consistent with the known pathophysiology of SC and related neuropsychiatric disorders. Autoantibodies (IgG) of GAS rats reacted with tubulin and caused elevated calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II signaling in SK-N-SH neuronal cells, as previously found with sera from SC and related neuropsychiatric disorders. Our new animal model translates directly to human disease and led us to discover autoantibodies targeted against dopamine D1 and D2 receptors in the rat model as well as in SC and other streptococcal-related neuropsychiatric disorders.
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