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Posted by Claire Dwoskin on Aug 25, 2016 8:00:00 AM

On April 6, 2016, CMSRI sponsored the 4th International Vaccine Symposium in Leipzig, Germany, bringing together leaders in autoimmune disease research to present and discuss their conclusive findings on the relationship between vaccines and autoimmunity in prone individuals. Below are summaries of some of the research presented at the symposium. Additionally, you can find videos of all the presentations here.

Vaccines and Autoimmunity

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Following Human Papillomavirus Vaccination: Is Latent Epipharyngitis to Blame? - Osamu Hotta, MD, PhD (Sendai Shakaihoken Hospital, Japan)

The epipharynx is an immunologically active site even under normal conditions, and enhanced immunologic activation is prone to occur in response to an upper respiratory infection, air pollution, and possibly to vaccine adjuvants. Chronic epipharyngitis is not a widely understood condition. However, due to the potential link with the central nervous system and immune function, it has been suggested that there may be a relationship between epipharyngitis and autonomic nervous disturbance as well as between epipharyngitis and autoimmune disease.

Various functional somatic symptoms have been described after human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, although a causal relationship has not been established. We examined the epipharynx in young women showing functional somatic symptoms following HPV vaccination. Surprisingly, despite having minimal symptoms involving the pharynx, all patients were found to have severe epipharyngitis. In addition, significant improvement in symptoms was seen in most patients who underwent epipharyngeal treatment. Thus, we speculate that the chronic epipharyngitis potentially caused by the vaccine adjuvant may be involved in the pathogenesis of functional somatic symptoms post HPV vaccination. Further, we suggest that epipharyngeal treatment may be effective for various types of functional somatic syndrome regardless of the initial cause, as well as for some autoimmune diseases, and that this may be an important direction in future research. 

Molecular Mechanisms in Vaccine Induced Autoimmunity - Darja Kanduc, PhD (University of Bari, Italy)

Kanduc, a biochemist from University of Bari in Italy, talked about cross-reactivity as a potential molecular mechanism in vaccine induced autoimmunity.  She called attention to the fact that there is a vast peptide commonality between infectious agents and human proteins. Because of this peptide sharing, anti-pathogen vaccine-induced immune reactions may cross-react with human proteins. Remarkably, the peptide sharing may involve crucial human proteins such as contactin, bassoon, protein-arginine deiminase, dorfin, cardiomyopathy-associated protein 5, titin, and insulin isoform 2, inter alia. Hence, altering these proteins by immune cross-reactions may lead to the development of neurological diseases, cardiovascular disorders, and altered metabolic conditions.  

She concluded her talk by stressing the concept that only vaccines based on sequences unique to the infectious pathogens and absent in the human proteins may nullify potential cross-reactivity risks, thus offering the till now unthinkable possibility of eradicating infectious diseases by safe, efficacious, and repeated vaccination campaigns worldwide.

Severe Cases of ASIA Syndrome – Luis Javier Jara, MD (Hospital de Especialidades La Raza, Mexico)

Autoimmune Inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (ASIA), also known as Shoenfeld’s Syndrome, encompasses five conditions linked to previous exposure to an adjuvant substance. The syndrome is characterized by nonspecific and specific manifestations of autoimmune disease including muscle, joint, nervous system involvement, fever, etc.

From 2011 to 2016, 4,479 ASIA cases were identified, of them 305 fulfilled arbitrary criteria of severe ASIA, and 11 deaths. Severe manifestations of ASIA were present in a small percentage of patients after exposure to an adjuvant with an important increase due to the HPV vaccine in 2015, which included 7 deaths. Influenza vaccines and other vaccines and injections were included in the study and found to be correlated with increases in the presence of AISA.

Other Presentations:

  • The Toxicity of Aluminum Adjuvants – Prof. Christopher Exley (Keele University, UK)
  • Physico-Chemical Properties of Aluminum Adjuvants – Dr. Emma Shardlow (Keele University, UK)
  • Cellular Uptake of Aluminum Adjuvants – Dr. Matthew Mold (Keele University, UK)
  • Positron Emission Tomography of the Brain in Patients with Lum-Induced Macrophagic Myofascitis – Prof. Jerome Authier, PhD (Univerite Paris-Est Creteil, France)
  • Aluminum Adjuvant Neurotoxicity and Brain Translocation in Mouse Model – Prof. Josette Cadusseau, PhD (Univerite Paris-Est Creteil, France)
  • Is There Objective Evidence that the Current HPV Vaccination Programs are not Justified? – Lucija Tomljenovic, PhD (University of British Columbia, Canada)
  • New Insights in Ovine ASIA Syndrome: Clinicpathological Changes in Experimentally Induced Animals – Lluis Lujan, DVM, PhD, Dipl, ECVP (University of Zaragoza, Spain)
  • Severe Somatoform and Dysautomatic Syndromes after HPC Vaccination; Case Series and Review of the Literature – Dr. Beniamino Palmieri (University of Modena, Italy)
  • Primary Ovarian Failure and HPV Vaccine – Dr. Orit Hamiel, MD (Sheba Medical Center, Israel)
  • Vaccines, Adujaunts, and Autoimmunity – Luisa Eca Guimarares (Centro Hospitalar, Portugal)

You can find all of these Symposium presentations and other videos on our Video Resources page.

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