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Mathematical modeling in autoimmune diseases: from theory to clinical application

Yaroslav Ugolkov, Antonina Nikitich, Cristina Leon,Gabriel Helmlinger, Kirill Peskov, Victor Sokolov, Alina Volkova, Front. Immunol. 2024, 15:1371620.doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2024.1371620

The research & development (R&D) of novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of autoimmune diseases is challenged by highly complex pathogenesis and multiple etiologies of these conditions. The number of targeted therapies available on the market is limited, whereas the prevalence of autoimmune conditions in the global population continues to rise. Mathematical modeling of biological systems is an essential tool which may be applied in support of decision-making across R&D drug programs to improve the probability of success in the development of novel medicines. Over the past decades, multiple models of autoimmune diseases have been developed. Models differ in the spectra of quantitative data used in their development and mathematical methods, as well as in the level of “mechanistic granularity” chosen to describe the underlying biology. Yet, all models strive towards the same goal: to quantitatively describe various aspects of the immune response. The aim of this review was to conduct a systematic review and analysis of mathematical models of autoimmune diseases focused on the mechanistic description of the immune system, to consolidate existing quantitative knowledge on autoimmune processes, and to outline potential directions of interest for future model-based analyses. Following a systematic literature review, 38 models describing the onset, progression, and/or the effect of treatment in 13 systemic and organ-specific autoimmune conditions were identified, most models developed for inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and lupus (5 models each). ≥70% of the models were developed as nonlinear systems of ordinary differential equations, others – as partial differential equations, integro-differential equations, Boolean networks, or probabilistic models. Despite covering a relatively wide range of diseases, most models described the same components of the immune system, such as T-cell response, cytokine influence, or the involvement of macrophages in autoimmune processes. All models were thoroughly analyzed with an emphasis on assumptions, limitations, and their potential applications in the development of novel medicines.

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P511 Short-term real-world effectiveness and safety of granulocyte and monocyte adsorptive apheresis (GMA) in patients with inflammatory bowel disease: GRACE Study

I Rodríguez-Lago, D Ginard, R J Díaz Molina, M Vicuña, E Domenech, M Abanades, O Moralejo Lozano, G Bastida, A D Sánchez Capilla, E Iglesias, F Rancel-Medina, M D M Blasco, M Bosca-Watts, M Calvo Iñiguez, C Herrera deGuisé, E Leo, A Viejo Almanzor, V Hernández Ramirez, C Suárez Ferrer, L Quilez Pérez, M Muñoz, F Fernández Pérez, J M Huguet, P Fradejas, C López Ramos, A M Fuentes Coronel, C Reygosa Castro, N Rull Murillo, P Zapico, J L Cabriada
Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis, Volume 18, Issue Supplement_1, January 2024, Page i1011,

The clinical efficacy of granulocyte and monocyte adsorptive apheresis (GMA) with Adacolumn in patients (pts) with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been reported in several clinical trials (CT), with significant clinical remission rates. However, evidence on real-world effectiveness of GMA with Adacolumn in ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn’s disease (CD) patients who were underrepresented in CT is still limited.

GRACE is a multicentric, prospective observational study conducted at 31 centres in Spain. The study included adults (≥18 years) diagnosed with UC or CD who had been scheduled to receive GMA with Adacolumn in clinical practice. The study consisted of a baseline (GMA initiation) and 3 follow-up visits at 4, 24, and 48 weeks after the last GMA session. The primary endpoint is the steroid-free remission rate at 24 weeks. This interim analysis is focused on clinical characterization of patients and their management and outcome 4 weeks after GMA treatment.

A total of 95 evaluable patients were included at data cut-off date (25 Sept 2023) (median age: 54 years; 50% men: 81% outpatients). Overall, 89.4% (n=84) of patients had UC, being moderate-to-severe in 85.5%; 57,8% had pancolitis, and the median Mayo score was 5 (interquartile range [IQR], 3-6). Out of the 10 patients (10.6%) with CD, all had B1, and 3 patients had L1, 4 L2 and 3 L3. Overall, 17% had extraintestinal manifestations. Regarding IBD-related therapy, 52.6% of patients had previously received anti-TNF agents, 37.9% thiopurines, and 17.8% JAK inhibitors. Overall, 85.3% of patients received concomitant treatment with GMA, most commonly 5-ASA (60%), corticosteroids (51,6%), ustekinumab (20%), vedolizumab (17.9%), and anti-TNF therapy (11.6%). A total of 71 patients reached the 4-week visit after receiving a median of 10 (IQR, 8-10) GMA sessions (weekly: 26.3%, biweekly: 36.8%, and weekly/biweekly: 31.6%). At week 4, clinical remission was achieved by 50.7% of patients (UC: 49.2%; CD: 66.7%), being 50% and 53.3% in patients concomitantly treated with ustekinumab and vedolizumab. Steroid-free remission rate was 26.1% (UC: 22.2%; CD: 66.7%) at week 4. Overall, 11,2% of patients experienced AEs related to GMA, most of them being mild (73%) or moderate (22.4%). Most common AEs were headache and asthenia. No SAEs were observed.

Preliminary data at 4 weeks show that Adacolumn is a safe and effective treatment in a cohort of IBD refractory patients with previous failure to multiple therapies including thiopurines, biologics and JAK inhibitors. Half of patients were concomitantly treated with biologics, and their clinical remission rate was similar to the overall population. Long-term results of this study (48 weeks) are required to confirm these findings.

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Progress in the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients with Primary Non-Responsiveness

Yixue Liu, Xiaoping Tan

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of chronic, nonspecific intestinal inflammatory disorders characterized by localized and systemic inflammation. The use of biologic agents in the treatment of IBD patients is widespread, and the occurrence of primary non-responsiveness during treatment is also significant. This review briefly summarizes the possible reasons for primary non-responsiveness in IBD patients, as well as predictive markers and current strategies to address it, providing a theoretical reference for early identification and management of IBD patients who do not respond to treatment.

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Dendritic cells: the yin and yang in disease progression

Jiménez-Cortegana Carlos , Palomares Francisca , Alba Gonzalo, Santa-María Consuelo , de la Cruz-Merino Luis , Sánchez-Margalet Victor , López-Enríquez Soledad Frontiers in Immunology 14,2024,

Dendritic cells (DCs) are antigen presenting cells that link innate and adaptive immunity. DCs have been historically considered as the most effective and potent cell population to capture, process and present antigens to activate naïve T cells and originate favorable immune responses in many diseases, such as cancer. However, in the last decades, it has been observed that DCs not only promote beneficial responses, but also drive the initiation and progression of some pathologies, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In line with those notions, different therapeutic approaches have been tested to enhance or impair the concentration and role of the different DC subsets. The blockade of inhibitory pathways to promote DCs or DC-based vaccines have been successfully assessed in cancer, whereas the targeting of DCs to inhibit their functionality has proved to be favorable in IBD. In this review, we (a) described the general role of DCs, (b) explained the DC subsets and their role in immunogenicity, (c) analyzed the role of DCs in cancer and therapeutic approaches to promote immunogenic DCs and (d) analyzed the role of DCs in IBD and therapeutic approaches to reduced DC-induced inflammation. Therefore, we aimed to highlight the “yin-yang” role of DCs to improve the understand of this type of cells in disease progression.

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MicroRNA and granulocyte-monocyte adsorption apheresis combotherapy after inadequate response to anti-TNF agents in ulcerative colitis

Esteban Sáez-González MDInés Moret-Tatay PhDGuillermo Bastida MD, PhDMariam Aguas MD, PhDMarisa Iborra MD, PhDPilar Nos MD, PhDBelén Beltrán MD, PhD  J Clin Apher. 2023 38(6); 1-10. doi:10.1002/jca.22101


Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, affecting millions of individuals throughout the world, and producing an impaired health-related quality of life. Granulocyte and monocyte apheresis (GMA) is a therapeutic option for UC management to induce remission by selective removal of activated leukocytes from bloodstream. Despite the knowledge of the important role of epigenetics in UC pathogenesis, and in the response to different treatments, nothing is known about the role of microRNAs in GMA therapy in UC patients.


7 consecutively UC patients who started GMA in combo therapy with infliximab were recruited. Peripheral blood samples were taken before the apheresis session, at the start of the induction (S0) and at the end (S10). They were follow-up during the induction phase (10 sessions: 2 sessions for a week during 3 wk and 1 session for a week during 4 wk) of the treatment at a tertiary hospital (Hospital la Fe) and 6 mo after finishing the GMA induction therapy. MiRNA was extracted and analyzed by RT-PCR. R software and GraphPad were used.


Clinical disease activity significantly decreased after induction therapy with GMA (median partial Mayo score 2 (IQR, 1-6) (P < .05). Fecal calprotectin value and CRP value significantly decreased after induction therapy. Five microRNAs modified their expression during GMA (unsupervised analysis): miR-342-3p, miR-215-5p, miR-376c-3p, miR-139-5p, and miR-150-5p. When a sub-analysis was performed in those patients who showed good response to apheresis treatment (n = 5), two microRNAs showed to be implicated: miR-215-5p and miR-365a-3p. These are preliminary but promising and novel results, as it is the first time, to our knowledge that microRNA profiles have been studied in the context of GMA treatment for IBD.

MicroRNA and granulocyte-monocyte adsorption apheresis combotherapy after inadequate response to anti-TNF agents in ulcerative colitis – PubMed (

MicroRNA and granulocyte‐monocyte adsorption apheresis combotherapy after inadequate response to anti‐TNF agents in ulcerative colitis – Sáez‐González – Journal of Clinical Apheresis – Wiley Online Library

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Therapeutic Granulomonocytapheresis as a Non-pharmacologic Treatment Option for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Efficacy Reports on a Wide Age Range and Disease Profile

Tomotaka Tanaka

Cureus 2023 Nov 16;15(11):e48913. doi: 10.7759/cureus.48913. eCollection 2023 Nov.

The major phenotypes of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) include ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD), which cause debilitating symptoms, including bloody diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, and fever. Patients require life-long immunosuppressive medications, which cause adverse side effects as additional morbidity factors. However, IBD is initiated and perpetuated by inflammatory cytokines, and given that in patients with IBD myeloid lineage leukocytes are elevated with activation behavior and release inflammatory cytokines, selective depletion of elevated granulocytes and monocytes by granulomonocytapheresis is a relevant therapeutic option for IBD patients. Therefore, a column filled with specially designed beads as granulomonocytapheresis carriers for selective adsorption of myeloid lineage leukocytes (Adacolumn) has been applied to treat patients with active IBD. Patients receive up to 10 granulomonocytapheresis sessions at one or two sessions per week. During each session, the carriers adsorb up to 60% of the myeloid leukocytes from the blood that passes through the granulomonocytapheresis column. Efficacy rates in the UC setting have been as high as 85% in steroid-naïve patients, and 100% in drug-naïve, first-episode cases, but patients with a long duration of active IBD and extensive colonic lesions that have become refractory to pharmacological treatment have not responded well. However, granulomonocytapheresis has a favorable safety profile. Given that immunosuppressive medications used to treat IBD potentially may increase the risk of severe viral infection, non-drug granulomonocytapheresis should be a favorable treatment strategy. Further, by targeting granulomonocytapheresis to patients with background features and identifying a patient as a likely responder, futile use of medical resources is avoided.

Therapeutic Granulomonocytapheresis as a Non-pharmacologic Treatment Option for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Efficacy Reports on a Wide Age Range and Disease Profile – PubMed (

Therapeutic Granulomonocytapheresis as a Non-pharmacologic Treatment Option for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Efficacy Reports on a Wide Age Range and Disease Profile – PMC (

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Innovative, complementary and alternative therapy in inflammatory bowel diseases: A broad 2020s update

Masi L, Ciuffini C, Petito V, Pisani LF, Lopetuso LR, Graziani C, Pugliese D, Laterza L, Puca P, Di Vincenzo F, Pizzoferrato M, Napolitano D, Turchini L, Amatucci V, Schiavoni E, Privitera G, Minordi LM, Mentella MC, Papa A, Armuzzi A, Gasbarrini A and Scaldaferri F Front. Gastroenterol. 1:1022530. doi: 10.3389/fgstr.2022.1022530

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are chronic disabling conditions with a complex and multifactorial etiology, which is still not completely understood. In the last 20 years, anti-TNF-α antagonists have revolutionized the treatment of IBD, but many patients still do not respond or experience adverse events. Therefore, new biological therapies and small molecules, targeting several different pathways of gut inflammation, have been developed of which some have already been introduced in clinical practice while many others are currently investigated. Moreover, therapeutic procedures such as leukocytapheresis, fecal microbiota transplant and stem cell transplantation are currently being investigated for treating IBD. Lastly, complementary and alternative medicine has become a field of interest for gastroenterologist to reduce symptom burden in IBD patients. In this comprehensive and updated review, a novel classification of current and developing drugs is provided.

Frontiers | Innovative, complementary and alternative therapy in inflammatory bowel diseases: A broad 2020s update (

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Sarcopenia and treatment failure in inflammatory bowel disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Yue Feng, Weihua Feng, Mei Xu, Chaoping Wu, Huanhuan Yang, Yu Wang, Huatian Gan, Rev Esp Enferm Dig 2023. doi:

Background: the association between sarcopenia and treatment outcomes in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is currently a subject of controversy.
Methods: a systematic search was performed of PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library for studies published until April 2023. The quality assessment of each included study was performed using the Newcastle-Ottawa
Results: seventeen studies were included with 2,895 IBD patients. Sarcopenia exhibited an increased risk of treatment failure (OR = 2.00, 95 % CI: 1.43-2.79) and notably increased the need for surgery (OR = 1.54, 95 % CI: 1.06-2.23) as opposed to a pharmacologic treatment plan change (OR = 1.19, 95 % CI: 0.71-2.01) among IBD patients. However, no significant association was found between sarcopenia and treatment failure in corticosteroid (OR = 1.21, 95 % CI: 0.55-2.64) or biologic agent (OR = 1.65, 95 % CI: 0.93-2.92) cohorts. Sarcopenia was also linked to elevated treatment failure risks in patients with Crohn’s disease (OR = 1.82, 95 % CI:1.15-2.90) and those diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (OR = 2.55, 95 % CI: 1.05-6.21), spanning both Asian (OR = 1.88, 95 % CI: 1.29-2.74) and non-Asian regions (OR = 2.17, 95 % CI: 1.48-3.18).
Conclusions: sarcopenia was considered as a novel marker for use in clinical practice to predict treatment failure, specifically, the need for surgery in IBD patients. This distinct cohort necessitates clinical attention and tailored care strategies.

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Role of neutrophil interleukin-23 in spondyloarthropathy spectrum disorders

Tom Macleod, Charles Bridgewood, Dennis McGonagle, The Lancet Rheumatology Volume 5, Issue 1, January 2023, Pages e47-e57

Neutrophilic inflammation is a pervasive characteristic common to spondyloarthropathies and related disorders. This inflammation manifests as Munro’s microabscesses of the skin and osteoarticular neutrophilic inflammation in patients with psoriatic arthritis, intestinal crypt abscesses in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, ocular hypopyon in anterior uveitis, and neutrophilic macroscopic and microscopic inflammation in patients with Behçet’s disease. Strong MHC class I associations are seen in these diseases, which represent so-called MHC-I-opathies, and these associations indicate an involvement of CD8 T-cell immunopathology that is not yet well understood. In this Personal View, we highlight emerging data suggesting that the T-cell-neutrophil axis involves both a T-cell-mediated and interleukin (IL)-17-mediated (type 17) recruitment and activation of neutrophils, and also a sequestration of activated neutrophils at disease sites that might directly amplify type 17 T-cell responses. This amplification likely involves neutrophilic production of IL-23 and proteases as well as other feedback mechanisms that could be regulated by local microbiota, pathogens, or tissue damage. This crosstalk between innate and adaptive immunity offers a novel explanation for how bacterial and fungal microbes at barrier sites could innately control type 17 T-cell development, with the aim of restoring tissue homoeostasis, and could potentially explain features of clinical disease and treatment response, such as the fast-onset action of the IL-23 pathway blockade in certain patients. This axis could be crucial to understanding non-response to IL-23 inhibitors among patients with ankylosing spondylitis, as the axial skeleton is a site rich in neutrophils and a site of haematopoiesis with myelopoiesis in adults.

Role of neutrophil interleukin-23 in spondyloarthropathy spectrum disorders – ScienceDirect

Role of neutrophil interleukin-23 in spondyloarthropathy spectrum disorders – The Lancet Rheumatology

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Apheresis: A cell-based therapeutic tool for the inflammatory bowel disease

Farah Yasmin 1Hala Najeeb 1Unaiza Naeem 1Abdul Moeed 1Thoyaja Koritala 2Salim Surani 3 4

World J Clin Cases  2022 Jul 26;10(21):7195-7208. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v10.i21.7195.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a hallmark of leukocyte infiltration, followed by the release of cytokines and interleukins. Disease progression to Ulcerative Colitis (UC) or Crohn’s Disease (CD) remained largely incurable. The genetic and environmental factors disrupt enteral bacteria in the gut, which hampers the intestinal repairing capability of damaged mucosa. Commonly practiced pharmacological therapies include 5-aminosalicylic acid with corticosteroids and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. New interventions such as CDP571 and TNF-blocking RDP58 report the loss of patient response. This review discusses the non-pharmacologic selective granulocyte-monocyte-apheresis (GMA) and leukocytapheresis (LCAP) that have been proposed as treatment modalities that reduce mortality. GMA, an extracorporeal vein-to-vein technique, presents a strong safety profile case for its use as a viable therapeutic option compared to GMA’s conventional medication safety profile. GMA reported minimal to no side effects in the pediatric population and pregnant women. Numerous studies report the efficacious nature of GMA in UC patients, whereas data on CD patients is insufficient. Its benefits outweigh the risks and are emerging as a favored non-pharmacological treatment option. On the contrary, LCAP uses a general extracorporeal treatment that entraps leukocytes and suppresses cytokine release. It has been deemed more efficacious than conventional drug treatments, the former causing better disease remission, and maintenance. Patients with UC/CD secondary to complications have responded well to the treatment. Side effects of the procedure have remained mild to moderate, and there is little evidence of any severe adverse event occurring in most age groups. LCAP decreases the dependence on steroids and immunosuppressive therapies for IBD. The review will discuss the role of GMA and LCAP.

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