Maria Francisca Morães-Fontes

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BACKGROUND CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells play an essential role in maintaining immune homeostasis and preventing autoimmunity. Therefore, defects in Treg development, maintenance or function have been associated with several human autoimmune diseases including Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), a systemic autoimmune disease characterized by loss of(More)
Thymocytes differentiate into CD4(+) Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (T(R)) upon interaction between their TCR and peptide-MHC II complexes locally expressed in the thymus. Conversion of naive CD4(+) T cells into T(R) can additionally take place in the periphery under noninflammatory conditions of Ag encounter. In this study, making use of TCR transgenic models(More)
In order to establish if neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus (NPSLE) can be identified by any characteristic other than those used to diagnose the neuropsychiatric (NP) disease itself, we retrospectively reviewed 98 systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients followed over a mean period of 10 years. NPSLE was identified in 22 patients. Stroke and(More)
In human systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), diverse autoantibodies accumulate over years before disease manifestation. Unaffected relatives of SLE patients frequently share a sustained production of autoantibodies with indiscriminable specificity, usually without ever acquiring the disease. We studied relations of IgG autoantibody profiles and peripheral(More)
Intravenous IgG (ivIg) is a therapeutic alternative for lupus erythematosus, the mechanism of which remains to be fully understood. Here we investigated whether ivIg affects two established sub-phenotypes of SLE, namely relative oligoclonality of circulating T-cells and reduced activity of CD4 + Foxp3+ regulatory T-cells (Tregs) reflected by lower CD25(More)
Behçet's disease (BD) is a complex disease with genetic and environmental risk factors implicated in its etiology; however, its pathophysiology is poorly understood. To decipher BD's genetic underpinnings, we combined gene expression profiling with pathway analysis and association studies. We compared the gene expression profiles in peripheral blood(More)
OBJECTIVES To assess the prevalence and severity of ultrasonographic abnormalities of the hand and wrist of asymptomatic patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and compare these findings with those from patients with SLE with musculoskeletal signs or symptoms and healthy controls. METHODS We conducted a prospective cross-sectional study that(More)
In the wake of the Portuguese vaccination program 50th anniversary it seems appropriate to review vaccination in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Controversial issues as regards the association between autoimmune diseases, infections, and vaccines are discussed as well as vaccine safety and efficacy issues as regards chronic immunosuppressant(More)
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) caused by reactivation of the JC virus (JCV), a human polyomavirus, occurs in autoimmune disorders, most frequently in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We describe a HIV-negative 34-year-old female with SLE who had been treated with immunosuppressant therapy (IST; steroids and azathioprine) since 2004. In(More)
Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (anti-NMDAR) encephalitis is a rare condition characterized by emotional and behavioral disturbances, dyskinesias, and extrapyramidal signs. It occurs in young women of reproductive age and is classically described as a paraneoplastic phenomenon. We present a 36-year-old, HIV-positive female who was admitted to the(More)