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The Iranian Journal of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (IJAAI), a scientific and research journal, seeks to publish original papers, selected review articles, case reports, and other articles of special interest related to the fields of asthma, allergy and immunology. The Journal is an official publication of the Iranian Society of Asthma and Allergy (ISAA), which is supported by Immunology, Asthma and Allergy Research Institute (IAARI) and published by Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS). The Journal seeks to provide its readers with the highest quality materials published through a process of careful peer reviews and editorial comments. All papers are published in English.

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Current Issue

Vol 20 No 4 (2021)
Published: 2021-08-22

Review Article(s)

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 120 | views: 328 | pages: 384-393

    Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an emerging worldwide issue, that has affected a large number of people around the world. So far, many studies have aimed to develop a therapeutic approach against COVID-19. Montelukast (MK) is a safe asthma controller drug, which is considered as a potential antiviral drug for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This review has a systematic approach to investigate the reports on the use of MK as a part of treatment or a prophylactic agent in COVID-19. The search was conducted in PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus databases and yielded 35 studies containing the influence of MK on SARS-CoV-2. Ultimately, MK appears to be worth being used as an adjuvant therapeutic and prophylactic drug against SARS-CoV-2. Nevertheless, more clinical trials are required to accurately investigate its effectiveness.

Original Article(s)

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 69 | views: 230 | pages: 394-401

    Considering the increasing prevalence and burden of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) disease and false-negative results in routine reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, additional diagnostic methods are needed to diagnose active cases of this disease.
    This prospective study was conducted on patients, in whom clinical and radiological symptoms/signs were in favor of COVID-19 while their first PCR test was negative. Later on, a second RT-PCR was performed and serological evaluation was carried out and results were compared with each other.
    Out of 707 patients who had been referred to the hospital and were clinically and radiologically suspicious of disease, 137 patients with negative RT-PCR tests entered the study. RT-PCR assay became positive for the second time in 45 (32.8%). Anti-COVID-19 IgM and IgG antibodies were positive in 83 (60.6%) and 86 (62.8%) patients, respectively. Finally, it was determined that serological test was diagnostic in 73% of patients and the diagnostic yield of serology was significantly higher after the first week of illness (54.8% in the first week and 88% after that). Taking advantage of both serological tests and RT-PCR helps in diagnosing 83.9% of cases.
    Based on the present study, the serology may be useful as a complementary test and in parallel to RT-PCR assay for diagnosis of COVID-19 among admitted symptomatic cases.

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 89 | views: 240 | pages: 402-412

    T-cell receptor excision circles (TREC)/Kappa-deleting recombination excision circles (KREC) assay has been recently recognized for detecting patients with primary (T- and/or B-cell) immunodeficiency (PID). We aimed to investigate the alterations of these biomarkers in some combined immunodeficiency patients compared to the healthy controls in different age groups.
    TREC and KREC were assessed in a total of 82 PID patients, most of them with exact genetic diagnosis (3 months to 42 years); using quantitative real-time-polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Patients had a final diagnosis of common variable immunodeficiency (n=23), ataxia-telangiectasia (AT) (n=17), hyper-IgE syndrome (HIES) (7 with DOCK8 deficiency, 4 with signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) deficiency, and 8 children with unknown genetic defects), Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS) (n=20), purine nucleoside phosphorylase (PNP)deficiency(n=1), dedicator of cytokinesis2 (DOCK2) deficiency (n=1), recombinase activating gene1 (RAG1) deficiency (n=1).
    Very low to zero amounts of TREC and/or KREC were detected in 14 out of 23 cases of common variable immunodeficiency (CVID), 14 out of 17 cases of AT, 8 out of 20 cases of WAS, 6 out of 7 cases of DOCK8-deficiency patients, 4 out of 8 cases of HIES with unknown genetic defects and all patients with defects in DOCK2, PNP, and RAG1. STAT3-deficient patients were normal for both biomarkers. All patients showed a significant difference in both markers compared to age-matched healthy controls.
    Our findings highlight that apart from severe types of T/B cell defects, this assay can also be used for early diagnosis the patients with late-onset of disease and even PIDs without a positive family history.

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 53 | views: 130 | pages: 413-422

    Adults with systemic anaphylactic reactions (SAR) to insect sting show often multiple-positivity of serum-specific IgE (sIgE) to Hymenoptera venoms. Unnecessary long-lasting venom-specific immunotherapies (VIT) in false-positive patients increase the risk of recurrent SAR. This report aims to analyze the diagnostic importance of recombinant allergen IgE testing in patients with SAR to Hymenoptera sting.
    In 82 patients we measured sIgE to honeybee venom (HBV), wasp venom (WV) and hornet venom (HV) extracts, recombinant phospholipase A2 from HBV (sIgE-rApi m1), recombinant antigen 5 from WV (sIgE-rVes v5), and cross-reactive carbohydrate determinants-CCD-bromelain by ImmunoCAP. We analyzed the correlation of ImmunoCAP and Immunoblot for HBV and WV extracts, rApi m1, and rVes v5 in 39/82 patients. According to the history of the culprit insect, we compared sensitivity and specificity between the two methods.
    The severity of the SAR does not depend on the sIgE level to venom extracts and recombinant allergens. Fifty-one percent of the patients had a multiple-positivity to HBV/WV or HBV/WV/HV extracts. Severe SAR and CCD-sIgE were more frequent in multiple-positive than single-positive patients. CCD-sIgE were more frequent in HBV allergic patients than WV and HV allergic patients. There was a significant correlation between levels of sIgE to venom extracts and recombinant allergens measured by ImmunoCAP and Immunoblot. ImmunoCAP has higher sensitivity and specificity than Immunoblot for diagnosis of SAR to Hymenoptera venoms.
    IgE testing to recombinant CCD-free allergens is necessary for the adequate selection of long-lasting VIT, especially in patients with multiple sensitivities to venom extracts.

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 34 | views: 138 | pages: 423-431

    The urticaria control test (UCT) is a patient-reported outcome measure (PROM) for chronic urticaria (CU) patients. As a Persian version of the UCT was not available, the present research aimed to develop such a version, to test its reliability and validity as well as to evaluate urticaria control among Persian-speaking patients.
    This research was conducted at the Urticaria Centre of Reference and Excellence (UCARE) of Ghaem Hospital, Mashhad, Iran. In a first step, a linguistically validated Persian version of the UCT was developed through a structured forward and backward translation process and subsequent cognitive debriefing interviews. In a second step, the Persian version of the UCT was completed by 100 well-characterized CU patients together with two anchor instruments, the Chronic Urticaria Quality of life Questionnaire (CU-Q2oL) and the urticaria activity score (UAS), to obtain information on its internal consistency reliability and convergent validity.
    The Persian version of the UCT was found to have acceptable internal consistency reliability with a Cronbach's alpha coefficient of 0.68. In addition, the results obtained with the Persian UCT correlated with the CU-Q2oL total score (-0.48, p<0.001) and the UAS (-0.404, p˂0.001), suggesting convergent validity. Virtually all patients had poorly controlled CU (UCT<12).
    A Persian version of the UCT is now available and may help to improve the assessment and monitoring of disease control in Persian-speaking CU patients and to optimize treatment decisions.

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 48 | views: 178 | pages: 432-440

    Patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) and allergic rhinitis (AR) (CRSwAR) have a more severe condition with a higher rate of recurrence after endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS). This study aimed to explore the effect of specific subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) and nasal irrigation on CRSwAR after ESS.
    Sixty-four patients who were diagnosed as CRSwAR and received ESS were enrolled and divided into groups A, B, and C to receive different postoperative treatment strategies (conventional medication, medication with nasal irrigation, and medication with nasal irrigation and SCIT), and their prognosis was evaluated by scoring, electron microscopy, and inflammatory factors.
    One year after ESS, the recurrence rate of group C was significantly reduced; and the scoring from baseline was significantly different among the three groups, which of group C were the best. The epithelium arrangement, cilia morphology, and inflammation of nasal mucosa in each group were better than those in the preoperative state; and those in group C were the best. After one year, the expression levels of eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), interleukin (IL)-8, and IL-17 in group B were lower than those of group A; and the expression levels of ECP, IL-8, IL-25, IL-33, IL-17 in group C were lower than those in group A.
    SCIT combined with nasal irrigation can improve the patients' symptoms and quality of life, promote the epithelialization of the mucosa in the surgical cavity, regulate the local immune response of the nasal cavity; thus improve the prognosis of patients with ESS after 1 year.

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 99 | views: 284 | pages: 441-452

    Some antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), microRNAs (miRs), and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR-4) are involved in autoimmune diseases, which may be affected by exercise training. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of an eight-week combined exercise training (aerobic and resistance) on the expression of inflammatory factors, including, human beta-defensin-2 (hBD-2), cathelicidin (LL-37), TLR-4, miR-23b, miR-155, and miR-326 in women with relapsing and remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), which has not been investigated yet.
    Twenty-three women (20-40 years) with RRMS were randomized into the combined training (CT) and control (CON) groups. The CT group subjects completed eight weeks of supervised CT using a treadmill and stationary bicycle for aerobic exercise and weight machines for resistance exercise. The expression levels of hBD-2, LL-37, TLR-4, miR-23b, miR-155, and miR-326 were measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) at the baseline and end of the study.
    Although the expression of hBD-2 and miR-23b decreased in both CT and CON groups, the reduction was lower in the CT group than in the CON group (p=0.001). The expression of LL-37 in the CT group remained unchanged, but that of the CON group increased; thus, the between-group difference was significant. Although the TLR-4, miR-155, and miR-326 expression increased in both groups compared to the baseline, the increase in the CT group was lower than the CON group.
    Our results showed that the combined training might improve inflammatory symptoms by affecting the expression of some AMPs, miRs, and TLR-4 in patients with relapsing and remitting multiple sclerosis.

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 50 | views: 165 | pages: 453-464

    Fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) produce lots of inflammatory molecules that trigger immune responses and intensification the inflammation and thereby play important roles in Rheumatoid Arthritis )RA( pathogenesis. Due to the important roles of toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in cytokine production and inflammation, we aimed to evaluate the effects of TAK-242 (Resatorvid) on interleukin (IL)1-β, IL-6, TNF-α, and TLR4 expression and two important proteins of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling pathway (Ikβα and pIkβα) in RA and trauma FLSs.
    FLSs were isolated from synovial tissues of trauma (n=10) and RA (n=10) patients and cultured in Dulbecco's Modified Eagle Medium (DMEM). 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazole-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) was performed to evaluate the cytotoxicity effects of TAK-242 on the RA FLSs. Real-time PCR was performed to measure the expression level of IL1-β, IL-6, TNF-α, and TLR4 genes in Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and TAK-242 treated FLSs. Furthermore, the treated FLSs were evaluated for protein levels of Ikβα and pIkβα by western blot.
    The baseline expression of IL1-β, IL-6, TNF-α, and TLR4 showed no significant differences between healthy and RA FLSs. LPS stimulated FLSs significantly increased mRNA levels of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, and TLR4 genes in both the healthy and RA FLSs compared with that of their control groups, and pretreatment with TAK-242 reversed the effect. Furthermore, LPS-stimulated FLSs significantly increased the level of pIkβα in both the healthy and RA FLSs compared with that of their control groups, and pretreatment with TAK-242 reversed the effect.
    We provide the data that TAK-242 through inhibiting the NF-κB signaling pathway may modulate TLR4-mediated inflammatory responses and could be considered as a potential therapeutic agent for RA patients.

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 37 | views: 166 | pages: 465-472

    Diagnosis of unexplained infertility (UEI) is made by exclusion and a relatively common problem that affects couples worldwide. Unfortunately, it is a not uncommon for females to suffer from Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT). Interferon-gamma (IFN- γ) has a central key role in HT and in the ability to conceive. We aimed to estimate serum IFN- γ level and its expression profile in Egyptian women with HT and assess their possible association with UEI.
    In this study, we examined 120 women with HT. We evaluated fertility in all patients; female patients who suffer from UEI were detected. Diagnosis of HT was based on the clinical data and the laboratory measures, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to measure serum IFN- γ, and the expression of IFN-γ messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) was assayed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
    According to the results of this study, 37.5 % of the studied females who suffered from HT were diagnosed with UEI. The serum level of IFN-γ and its gene expression showed a significant positive correlation with thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid autoantibodies. However, a negative correlation was found with anti-müllerian hormone (AMH), free T4 (FT3), and free T4 (FT4). Analysis by linear regression revealed that TSH and FT3 were associated with serum level of IFN-γ; while FT3 was associated with IFN-γ gene expression.
    We concluded that both are valued markers in diagnosing UEI in female patients suffering from HT.

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 23 | views: 143 | pages: 473-483

     Osteoprotegerin (OPG), receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B (RANK) and receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B ligand (RANKL), the members of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family, have multiple effects on bone metabolism, endocrine functions and, as an inflammatory pathway, in the immune system. This study tried to determine the association of the OPG/RANKL/RANK axis with the severity of unstable angina (UA) as an inflammatory condition.
    Our study involved 50 patients with UA and 50 healthy people. Serum and peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated from all participants. Serum levels and gene expression of OPG, RANKL, and RANK in mononuclear cells were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), respectively. For each patient with UA, the thrombolysis in myocardial infarction (TIMI) and the global registry of acute coronary events (GRACE) scores were determined to evaluate the severity of the disease. Then we analyzed the relation of OPG, RANKL, and RANK levels with TIMI and GRACE scores in patients with UA. Discriminate analysis was used to predict the combinational models of such factors on the prediction of UA.
    Serum levels of OPG and RANKL (p<0.001) and gene expression of RANKL (p<0.001) were significantly more in patients than those in healthy ones. No relation was seen between the OPG/RANKL/RANK axis and the severity of UA according to TIMI and GRACE scores.
    Our study shows that serum level, as well as gene expression of OPG/RANKL/RANK axis neither, predicts the occurrence of UA nor shows any relationship with its severity.

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 35 | views: 169 | pages: 484-493

    Shigella and Salmonella cause serious problems in many subjects, including young children and the elderly, especially in developing countries. Chimeric proteins carrying immunogens increase immune response. In-silico tools are applied to design vaccine candidates. Invasion plasmid antigens D (ipaD) gene is one of the Shigella virulence factors. The N-terminal region of the IpaD plays a significant role in invading the host cell. Invasion protein H (invH) gene plays important role in bacterial adherence and entry into epithelial cells. A recombinant chimeric construct, containing IpaD and InvH was designed and used as a vaccine candidate against Shigella and Salmonella enteritidis.
    After bioinformatics assessments, the construct was designed, synthesized, and expressed in E.coli. Chimeric protein, IpaD, and InvH were purified with Ni-NTA chromatography. Purified proteins were confirmed with western blotting and then were injected into separate mice groups. The antibody titer was estimated with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Mice were challenged with 10, 100, and 1000 LD50 of Salmonella, and the sereny test was performed for Shigella.
    The Codon adaptation index of the chimeric gene was increased to 0.84. Validation results showed that 97.9% of residues lie in the favored or additional allowed region of the Ramachandran plot. A significant antibody rise was observed in all test groups. The immunized mice with chimer and InvH could tolerate 100 LD50 of Salmonella. In the sereny test, the application of bacteria treated with immunized mice sera of both antigens showed no infection in Guinea pigs' eyes.
    The recombinant protein could protect animal models against Salmonella and Shigella and therefore can be considered as a suitable vaccine candidate against these two pathogens.

Brief Communication

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 348 | views: 681 | pages: 494-499

    No effective antiviral drugs and vaccines are available for the treatment of patients with severe coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). Therefore, available, safe, and inexpensive drugs and supplements such as melatonin are among the proposed options for controlling inflammation.
    We did a randomized, single-blind study in Imam Khomeini Hospital between June 30, 2020, and August 5, 2020. Mild to moderate COVID-19 patients aged 25-65 years were eligible to enter the study based on chest CT scan, clinical symptoms, and physician diagnosis. The intervention group was prescribed 6 mg of oral melatonin for 2 weeks, which consumed half an hour before bedtime every night in low light conditions. Clinical symptoms and C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured before and after treatment in the melatonin received and control (regular medications) groups. Among screened patients with COVID-19, 14 patients were assigned to receive melatonin, and 17 patients were considered as controls.
    A significant difference (p=0.005) between CRP 1 and CRP 2 levels (before and after using melatonin) was found in the melatonin group while this difference (p=0.069) was not significant in the control group. Also, the percentage of recovery (based on symptoms) in patients who took melatonin was higher than that of patients in the control group (85.7% VS 47.1%).
    The result of this study confirmed the effectiveness of melatonin in mild to moderate outpatients with COVID-19. More clinical trials on elderly, diabetic, obese patients and severe cases are suggested in future studies.   

Case Series

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 62 | views: 240 | pages: 500-504

    Omalizumab (humanized anti-immunoglobulin IgE) is currently the first choice of treatment for chronic urticaria refractory to high-dose second-generation antihistamines (sgAH). Despite its high safety profile, response to omalizumab is insufficient in one-third of patients. Some studies have suggested that methotrexate is effective in antihistamine-refractory chronic urticaria, but there are no studies on its efficacy and safety in patients unresponsive to omalizumab. This retrospective study aimed to investigate the clinical effectiveness and adverse effects of methotrexate in patients with chronic urticaria unresponsive to omalizumab + high-dose sgAH. The patients were evaluated in terms of age at disease onset, duration of the urticaria episode before methotrexate therapy, treatment before methotrexate therapy, final treatment, treatment responses, 7-day urticaria activity score (UAS7) before and after treatment, and total IgE levels. Methotrexate was administered subcutaneously at a dose of 15 mg once weekly as monotherapy or in combination with other drugs to 10 chronic urticaria patients with a history of nonresponse to omalizumab + high-dose sgAH. The mean age of the patients was 44.6±11.5 (31-65) years, and 9 (90%) of the patients were female. The mean duration of methotrexate therapy was 5.1±2.4 months (1.5-9 months). Complete response or well-controlled response was observed in 70% of the patients and partial response was observed in 1 patient (10%). Methotrexate was well tolerated by 80% of the patients. Methotrexate seems to be a useful treatment option both as monotherapy or combined therapy in patients resistant to omalizumab + sgAH. 

Case Report(s)

  • XML | PDF | downloads: 64 | views: 239 | pages: 505-508

    Corneal shield ulcer is an uncommon but serious complication of vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC) that can threaten visual acuity. We present a 12-year-old case with a corneal shield ulcer on the superior part of the cornea in the right eye. We learned from his history that he was treated with topical cyclosporine A (CsA) and corneal debridement was performed for the same complaints six months ago. His complaints recurred six months after ceasing topical CsA voluntarily. Topical anti-allergic and CsA treatments were commenced, we also performed corneal debridement. During his follow-ups, the corneal ulcer healed leaving a scar as opacity and neovascularization. This case highlights the role of the anti-inflammatory effect of CsA in preventing the recurrence of shield ulcers.

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