Even mild renal impairment is associated with increased atherosclerosis and cardiovascular mortality. Cystatin C, a novel measure of renal function, is more sensitive than conventional creatinine-based measures for the detection of subtle renal impairment. Increased cystatin concentrations are also associated with cardiovascular risk, independent of conventional measures of renal function. We examined the hypothesis that cystatin C is elevated in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and is associated with coronary atherosclerosis.
We measured serum cystatin C, creatinine, TNF-α, IL-6, coronary artery calcium score (CACS), Framingham risk score (FRS), Modified Diet in Renal Disease estimated glomerular filtration rate (MDRD-eGFR) and other clinical parameters in 118 patients with SLE and 83 control subjects. The independent association between concentrations of cystatin C and SLE was evaluated using multivariable linear regression models, and the relationship between renal measures and coronary calcium was assessed with multivariable proportional odds logistic regression models.
Cystatin C, but not other measures of renal function, was significantly higher in patients with SLE than controls (1.09[Interquartile range, IQR: 0.85–1.28]mg/L vs. 0.89 [IQR: 0.76–0.99]mg/L; P<0.001 after adjusting for age, race and sex and MDRD-eGFR). Cystatin C was significantly associated with SLICC (P=0.04), ESR (P<0.001), CRP (P=0.04), TNF-α (P=0.008) and IL-6 (P=0.01) after adjustment for age, race and sex. Cystatin C was not significantly correlated with coronary calcium score in SLE (rho=0.096, P= 0.31) and the association remained non-significant after adjustment for age, race, sex and Framingham risk score (P=0.99).
Cystatin C was higher in patients with SLE than control subjects even after adjustment for conventional measures of renal function. Cystatin C was significantly correlated with several markers of inflammation in SLE but was not associated with coronary atherosclerosis. Subtle renal dysfunction does not appear to be directly associated with accelerated atherosclerosis in SLE.
cystatin C; systemic lupus erythematosus; renal function; atherosclerosis; Inflammation
To assess aortic stiffness by transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) and to determine its clinical predictors and relation to age, blood pressure, renal function, and atherosclerosis, 50 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), 94% women, with a mean age of 38 ± 12 years and 22 age and gender matched healthy controls underwent clinical and laboratory evaluations and multiplane TEE to assess stiffness, intima-media thickness (IMT), and plaques of the proximal, mid, and distal descending thoracic aorta. At each level and overall aortic stiffness by the pressure-strain elastic modulus was higher in patients than in controls after adjusting for age (overall, 8.25 ± 4.13 versus 6.1 ± 2.5 Pascal units, p = 0.01). Patients had higher aortic stiffness than controls after adjusting both groups to the same mean age, blood pressure, creatinine, and aortic IMT (p = 0.005). Neither IMT nor plaques were predictors of aortic stiffness. Moreover, normotensive patients, those without aortic plaques, and non-smokers had higher stiffness than controls (all p <0.05). Age of SLE diagnosis, non-neurologic damage score, and mean arterial pressure during TEE were the only independent predictors of aortic stiffness (all p ≤0.02). Thus, aortic stiffness may be a primary form of premature functional vasculopathy in SLE.
aortic stiffness; systemic lupus erythematosus; transesophageal echocardiography; atherosclerosis
Antiphospholipid syndrome is characterized by autoantibodies against cardiolipins (aCL), lupus anticoagulant, and independent β2-glycoprotein (β2GPI). Controversy exists as to whether vaccination triggers the development of anti-phospholipid antibodies (aPL) in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients.
SLE patients (101) and matched controls (101) were enrolled from 2005 to 2009 and received seasonal influenza vaccinations. Sera were tested by ELISA for aCL at baseline, 2, 6, and 12 weeks after vaccination. Vaccine responses were ranked according to an overall anti-influenza antibody response index. Individuals with positive aCL were further tested for β2GPI antibodies.
SLE patients and healthy controls developed new onset aCL post-vaccination (12/101 cases and 7/101 controls, OR 1.81, p=0.34). New onset moderate aCL are slightly enriched in African American SLE patients (5/36 cases; p=0.094). The optical density (OD) measurements for aCL reactivity in patients were significantly higher than baseline at 2 weeks (p<0.05), 6 weeks (p<0.05), and 12 weeks (p<0.05) post vaccination. No new β2GPI antibodies were detected among patients with new aCL reactivity. Vaccine response was not different between patients with and without new onset aCL reactivity (p=0.43).
This study shows transient increases in aCL, but not anti-β2GPI responses, after influenza vaccination.
Influenza; vaccine; antiphospholipid antibodies; systemic lupus erythematosus
The patient’s perspective of how their health affects their function is health-related quality of life (HRQOL). HRQOL is poorer in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Few HRQOL studies in SLE patients have focused on African Americans despite an increased disease burden compared with Caucasians. The African American Gullah population of South Carolina has a homogeneous genetic and environmental background and a high prevalence of multi-patient families with SLE. Demographics, medical history, and Short-Form 36 (SF-36) were measured within a cohort of Gullah SLE cases and related controls. Compared with related controls (n = 37), cases (n = 89) had a lower Physical Component Summary (PCS, 41.8 vs. 52.3, p < 0.01), but not Mental Component Summary (MCS, 55.0 vs. 56.0, p = 0.70). The difference in PCS was no longer significant upon adjustment for working status, disability, and medical conditions. None of the 11 SLE American College of Rheumatology criteria, disease duration, or Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics Damage Index were associated with either PCS or MCS. Cases and controls had similar MCS scores. We hypothesize that this lack of effect of SLE on MCS may be due to disease-coping mechanisms interplaying with cultural factors unique to the Gullah.
quality of life; SLE; systemic lupus erythematosus
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disease that has a significantly higher prevalence, morbidity and mortality in African Americans compared with Americans of European descent. The pathogenesis of lupus is unclear but appears to be a result of environmental factors interacting with a genetically susceptible host. Despite the high disease load of SLE in African Americans, there is the perception that lupus is relatively rare in Africa. This prevalence gradient suggests that comparative studies of related cohorts from the two continents may provide insight into the genetic/environmental interactions that result in the development of lupus. To define if a lupus gradient exists, we began a study of autoimmunity prevalence utilizing two unique cohorts. The first is the Gullah population of the Sea Islands of South Carolina, who are unique in their low genetic admixture and their known ancestral heritage. The second is the population of young women served by the West Africa Fistula Foundation in Bo, Sierra Leone. Anthropologic studies indicate a direct ancestral link between the Gullah population and Sierra Leoneans. Since it is impossible to perform an epidemiologic study of lupus in Sierra Leone at this time, we assessed the prevalence of lupus serum autoantibodies, serologic evidence of specific infections and levels of serum 25-OH vitamin D in young women in the two cohorts who have no known relatives with lupus. Our results indicate similar prevalence of serum antinuclear antibodies in the two cohorts, though there was a significantly increased prevalence of antiphospholipid and anti-Sm antibodies in the Sierra Leone cohort. Seropositivity to common viral infections was significantly higher in women from Sierra Leone, while serum 25-OH vitamin D levels were markedly lower in the Gullah population. These data suggest that the prevalence of autoimmunity is similar in the two populations, but that there are significant environmental differences that may impact progression to autoimmune disease. Further studies comparing these two cohorts is likely to provide important insight into the impact of environmental factors on development of lupus.
African American; lupus; prevalence gradient; vitamin D
Women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) which is underestimated by the Framingham risk score (FRS). We hypothesized that new risk scores that include inflammation or vascular age in the risk calculation would better identify women with SLE at risk for CHD, particularly in those with subclinical coronary atherosclerosis. We calculated the FRS and Reynolds risk score (RRS) in 121 women with SLE and 65 age-matched female controls; coronary age-modified risk scores (camFRS, camRRS) were calculated using coronary age derived from the coronary artery calcium (CAC) score. Risk scores were compared in SLE and controls, and in SLE patients with and without CAC. Although CAC was present in 21 SLE patients (17%) and 4 controls (6%) (P=0.033); the FRS, camFRS, RRS, and camRRS, did not differ significantly among SLE and controls (P>0.05), but were all significantly higher in SLE patients with CAC compared to those without (P< 0.001 for all). The cam-FRS (8%, P=0.016) but not cam-RRS (5%, P=0.221) assigned significantly more SLE patients to a category of ≥10% risk than conventional FRS (1%) and RRS (2%). The RRS was of limited use but coronary age may improve CHD risk prediction in SLE.
SLE; cardiovascular risk; atherosclerosis
Homozygous C1q deficiency is an extremely rare condition and strongly associated with systemic lupus erythematosus. To assess and characterize C1q deficiency in an African-American lupus pedigree, C1q genomic region was evaluated in the lupus cases and family members.
Genomic DNA from patient was obtained and C1q A, B and C gene cluster was sequenced using next generation sequencing method. The identified mutation was further confirmed by direct Sanger sequencing method in the patient and all blood relatives. C1q levels in serum were measured using sandwich ELISA method.
In an African-American patient with lupus and C1q deficiency, we identified and confirmed a novel homozygote start codon mutation in C1qA gene that changes amino acid Methionine to Arginine at position 1. The Met1Arg mutation prevents protein translation (Met1Arg). Mutation analyses of the patient’s family members also revealed the Met1Arg homozygote mutation in her deceased brother who also had lupus with absence of total complement activity consistent with a recessive pattern of inheritance.
The identification of new mutation in C1qA gene that disrupts the start codon (ATG to AGG (Met1Arg)), has not been reported previously and it expands the knowledge and importance of the C1q gene in the pathogenesis of lupus especially in high risk African-American population.
The antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), as both a primary syndrome and a syndrome in association with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), can be a devastating disease. It is unclear what factors (genetic and/or environmental) lead to the generation of antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL). It is equally unclear why only certain individuals with aPL develop clinical events. We hypothesize that innate immune activation plays a critical role at two distinct stages of APS, namely, the initiation phase, in which aPL first appear, and the effector phase, in which aPL precipitate a thrombotic event. According to the model we propose, aPL alone are insufficient to cause thrombosis and a concomitant trigger of innate immunity, e.g. a toll-like receptor (TLR) ligand, must be present for thrombosis to occur. Here, we discuss our findings that mice immunized with β2-glycoprotein I (β2GPI) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a TLR ligand, produce high levels of aPL and other SLE-associated autoantibodies, and develop lupus-like glomerulonephritis. We also discuss our data showing that autoantibodies to heat shock protein 60 (HSP60), an ‘endogenous TLR ligand’, promote thrombus generation in a murine model of arterial injury. Thus, both pathogen-derived TLR ligands (e.g. LPS) and endogenous TLR ligands (e.g. HSP60) may contribute to the pathogenesis of APS. This putative dual role of innate immunity provides new insight into the generation of aPL as well as the enigma of why some individuals with aPL develop APS, while others do not.
PMID: 20353968 CAMSID: cams2352
antiphospholipid syndrome; β2-glycoprotein I; heat shock protein 60; innate immunity; lipopolysaccharide; toll-like receptor ligands
Antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL), the majority of which are directed against β2-glycoprotein I (β2GPI), are associated with an increased incidence of venous and arterial thrombosis. The pathogenesis of antiphospholipid/anti-β2GPI-associated thrombosis has not been defined, and is likely multifactorial. However, accumulating evidence suggests an important role for endothelial cell activation with the acquisition of a procoagulant phenotype by the activated endothelial cell. Previous work demonstrated that endothelial activation by antiphospholipid/anti-β2GPI antibodies is β2GPI-dependent. We extended these observations by defining annexin A2 as an endothelial β2GPI binding site. We also observed that annexin A2 plays a critical role in endothelial cell activation induced by anti-β2GPI antibodies, and others have described direct endothelial activation by anti-annexin A2 antibodies in patients with aPL. Similar findings have been reported using human monocytes, which also express annexin A2. Because annexin A2 is not a transmembrane protein, how binding of β2GPI/anti-β2GPI antibodies, or anti-annexin A2 antibodies, to endothelial annexin A2 causes cellular activation is unknown. Recent studies, however, suggest an important role for the Toll-like receptor family, particularly TLR4. In this article, we review the role of these interactions in the activation of endothelial cells by aPL. The influence of these antibodies on the ability of annexin A2 to enhance t-PA-mediated plasminogen activation is also discussed.
annexin; antiphospholipid; β2-glycoprotein I; endothelial; thrombosis
Some T cells react with lipid antigens bound to antigen-presenting molecule CD1d. Numbers and functions of a subset of such lipid-reactive T cells are reduced in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and their relatives, as well as in genetically susceptible and chemically induced animal models of lupus-like disease. We have reported that the germline deletion of CD1d exacerbates lupus, suggesting a protective role of these cells in the development of lupus. The use of a knockout mouse model in this study, however, did not allow examination of the role of these cells at different stages of disease. Here, we describe an approach to deplete CD1d-dependent T cells, which allowed us to investigate the role of these cells at different stages of disease in genetically lupus-prone NZB/NZW F1 (BWF1) mice. Repeated intravenous injections of large numbers of CD1d-transfected cells resulted in ~50–75% reduction in these cells, as defined by the expression of CD4, NK1.1 and CD122, and lack of expression of CD62 ligand. TCR γδ +NK1.1+ cells were also reduced in the recipients of CD1d-transfected cells as compared with control recipients. Such depletion of CD1d-reactive T cells in preclinical BWF1 mice resulted in disease acceleration with a significant increase in proteinuria and mortality. In older BWF1 mice having advanced nephritis, however, such depletion of CD1d-reactive T cells resulted in some disease improvement. Taken together, these data as well as our published studies suggest that CD1d-reactive T cells protect against the development of lupus in animal models. However, these cells appear to be unable to suppress established lupus nephritis in these animals, and might even play a disease aggravating role in late stages of disease.
animal models; antigen-presenting molecule; autoantibody; lupus nephritis
Autoimmune diseases affect approximately 5% of the population, but much work remains to define the genetic risk factors and pathogenic mechanisms underlying these conditions. There is accumulating evidence that common genetic factors might predispose to multiple autoimmune disorders. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are complex autoimmune disorders with multiple susceptibility genes. The functional R620W (C1858T) polymorphism of the protein tyrosine phosphatase non-receptor type 22 (PTPN22) gene, a member of the PTPs that negatively regulate T-cell activation, has been recently associated with susceptibility to various autoimmune diseases. The aim of this study was to assess whether the C1858T polymorphism of PTPN22 also confers increased risk for SLE and RA in the genetically homogeneous population of Crete. It was found that the minor T allele of the PTPN22 C1858T SNP was more common in SLE patients than in control individuals (odds ratio [OR] = 1.91, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.11 to 3.9, p = 0.017). No significant difference was observed in the frequency of this allele when RA patients were compared with controls (OR = 1.14, 95% CI = 0.65 to 1.9, p = 0.64). Although the PTPN22 1858T allele is found at decreased frequency in Southern Europe, including Crete, an association was found between this allele and SLE in the population studied.
polymorphism; PTPN22 gene; rheumatoid arthritis; systemic lupus erythematosus
Fatigue and physical deconditioning are common, difficult to treat conditions among patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The aim of this pilot study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a home-based exercise program using the Wii Fit system in patients with SLE. Fifteen sedentary African American women with SLE experiencing moderate to severe fatigue participated in a home exercise program using the Wii Fit 3 days a week for 30 minutes each for 10 weeks. A one-group pretest-posttest design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of this program. Primary outcome measure was severity of fatigue. Secondary outcome measures were body weight, waist circumference, fatigue-related symptoms of distress, activity level and physical fitness. At the completion of the 10-week Wii Fit exercise program, participants perceived fatigue severity as measured by the Fatigue Severity Scale to be significantly decreased (P=0.002), body weight and waist circumference were significantly reduced (Ps=0.01). In addition, anxiety level as measured by Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and overall intensity of total pain experience as measured by Short-form of the McGill Pain Questionnaire were also significantly reduced (Ps<0.05). Findings provide preliminary support that the Wii Fit motivates this population to exercise which leads to alleviation of fatigue and reduced body weight, waist circumference, anxiety level, and overall intensity of total pain experience.
systemic lupus; games activities; exercise; fatigue
Atherosclerosis is accelerated in people with systemic lupus erythematosus, and the presence of dysfunctional, pro-inflammatory high-density lipoproteins is a marker of increased risk. We developed a mouse model of multigenic lupus exposed to environmental factors known to accelerate atherosclerosis in humans – high-fat diet with or without injections of the adipokine leptin. BWF1 mice were the lupus-prone model; BALB/c were non-autoimmune controls. High-fat diet increased total serum cholesterol in both strains. In BALB/c mice, non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels increased; they did not develop atherosclerosis. In contrast, BWF1 mice on high-fat diets developed increased quantities of high-density lipoproteins as well as elevated high-density lipoprotein scores, indicating pro-inflammatory high-density lipoproteins; they also developed atherosclerosis. In the lupus-prone strain, addition of leptin increased pro-inflammatory high-density lipoprotein scores and atherosclerosis, and accelerated proteinuria. These data suggest that environmental factors associated with obesity and metabolic syndrome can accelerate atherosclerosis and disease in a lupus-prone background.
atherosclerosis; murine lupus; pro-inflammatory high-density lipoproteins (piHDL)
Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have an impairment in phenotype and function of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) which is mediated by interferon α (IFN-α). We assessed whether murine lupus models also exhibit vasculogenesis abnormalities and their potential association with endothelial dysfunction. Phenotype and function of EPCs and type I IFN gene signatures in EPC compartments were assessed in female New Zealand Black/New Zealand White F1 (NZB/W), B6.MRL-Faslpr/J (B6/lpr) and control mice. Thoracic aorta endothelial and smooth muscle function were measured in response to acetylcholine or sodium nitropruside, respectively. NZB/W mice displayed reduced numbers, increased apoptosis and impaired function of EPCs. These abnormalities correlated with significant decreases in endolthelium-dependent vasomotor responses and with increased type I IFN signature in EPC compartments. In contrast, B6/lpr mice showed improvement in endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent responses, no abnormalities in EPC phenotype or function and downregulation of type I IFN signatures in EPC compartments. These results indicate that NZB/W mice represent a good model to study the mechanisms leading to endothelial dysfunction and abnormal vasculogenesis in lupus. These results further support the hypothesis that type I IFNs may play an important role in premature vascular damage and, potentially, atherosclerosis development in SLE.
endothelial progenitor cells; endothelium; interferon-alpha; systemic lupus erythematosus
Cutaneous lupus erythematosus is a clinically heterogeneous group of rare skin diseases that only rarely have been subjected to controlled clinical trials. This may be have been partly due to a lack of suitable validated outcome instruments. Recently the FDA mandated that organ specific trials for lupus erythematosus need to use a combination of different outcome measures. The patient’s condition needs to be assessed in terms of quality of life, the patient’s global response and organ specific instruments that measure activity of the disease as well as damage due to the disease. For the skin the only formally validated and published instrument is currently the Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosis Disease Area and Severity Index (CLASI). This paper discusses the background of the development of the CLASI as well as issues related to its use and interpretation in the context of clinical research of CLE.
One’s own cigarette smoking is a risk factor for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and recent work has demonstrated that early-life smoke exposure was related to the risk of related rheumatic conditions in female children. Therefore, we sought to investigate whether early-life cigarette smoke exposure might be associated with incidence of SLE in adult women.
We studied 93,054 NHS and 95,554 NHSII participants free of SLE at baseline who provided information on perinatal exposures. By medical record review 236 incident SLE cases were confirmed (142 NHS and 94 NHSII) among these women using American College of Rheumatology criteria. We used stratified Cox models to estimate the association of smoke exposure with SLE adjusting for race, birth weight, preterm birth, and parents’ occupation. Combined estimates were computed using random effects meta-analytic techniques..
Maternal cigarette smoking did not increase the risk of SLE (RR=0.9, 95%CI: 0.6 to 1.4) nor did paternal smoking during the participant’s childhood (RR=1.0, 95% CI: 0.8 to 1.3) in combined analyses.
Early-life exposure to cigarette smoke due to mothers’ or fathers’ smoking does not increase the risk of adult-onset SLE in women.
To assess the relationship between serum C3 or C4 levels and lupus renal flare, C3 and C4 levels were measured bimonthly in 71 lupus nephritis patients for a mean of 35 months, during which time 70 renal flares were identified. Comparing baseline, pre-flare, and at-flare values indicated that neither C3 nor C4 levels decreased pre-flare, but both decreased on average significantly at flare. However, sensitivity/specificity for C3 (75%/71%) and C4 (48%/71%) were low. To account for other influencing factors, multiple regression was performed that included bimonthly values of C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and genotype data on C3 (S/F), CRP (1846G > A), and the complement regulator factor H (Y402H). This analysis revealed that reduced levels of C4, but not C3, were independently associated with the two-month pre-flare period. Conversely, reduced levels of C3, but not C4, were independently associated with the flare visit. Significant pro-flare interactions included low C3 levels with the factor H 402HH-encoding genotype, and low CRP levels with the C3 F allele. Together these data suggest that C4 activation is critical for initiating renal flare while C3 activation is involved in the actual tissue damage, and that these effects are influenced by genetic variability in complement activation and regulation.
C3; C4; lupus nephritis; renal flare
The most common neurological manifestations of APS in all age-groups include stroke and transient ischemic attacks due to arterial thromboses and cerebral ischemia. Antiphospholipid antibodies may cause additional non-criteria neurological impairments through vascular, neuroinflammatory and direct neuronal effects. Anti-aggregant or anti-coagulant therapies are indicated for APS related ischemic strokes. Treatment regimens for asymptomatic antibody positive patients and those with refractory or recurrent disease remain controversial. There is scant literature on the epidemiology and therapy of neurological APS manifestations in pediatric patients. Assessments of modifiable cardiovascular and inherited thrombophila risk factors are essential in patients with APS. There may be a role for novel neuroimaging modalities in quantifying APS related micro-structural brain damage. The clinical utility of statins, anti-malarials, ACE inhibitors and thrombin inhibitors warrant further research.
antiphospholipid syndrome; cerebrovascular disease; anticardiolipin antibody; β2 glycoprotein –I; lupus anticoagulant; thrombosis
Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is an acquired autoimmune disorder defined by the presence of an antiphospholipid antibody (aPL) and the occurrence of at least one associated clinical condition that includes venous thrombosis, arterial thrombosis or pregnancy morbidity. The aPL detected in APS have long been thought to have a direct prothrombotic effect in vivo. However, the pathophysiology underlying their coagulopathic effect has not been defined. Emerging data suggest a role for the procoagulant protein tissue factor (TF). In this review we provide an overview of TF, describe mouse models used in the evaluation of the role of TF in thrombosis, as well as summarize recent work on TF and APS.
antiphospholipid syndrome; thrombosis; coagulation; tissue factor; DIC
Neurocognitive impairments and neuroimaging abnormalities are frequently observed in adults with SLE. There is a paucity of similar data in childhood-onset disease. We hypothesized that neurocognitive and neuroimaging abnormalities would be prevalent in children undergoing neuropsychological evaluations. We reviewed patient neurocognitive evaluations performed at a large US pediatric institution during 2001-2008. Records were retrieved from 24 children referred to neuropsychology due to clinical indications. Data from 15 children enrolled in a prospective structure-function association study was also analyzed. Subjects were predominantly African-American and Hispanic adolescent girls of average intelligence. aPL positivity and aspirin use was prevalent. Neurocognitive impairment was designated in 70.8% of retrospective, and 46.7% of prospective cohort patients. Deficits were seen at times of wellness, without previous NPSLE, and early in disease courses. Scores > 1.5 SD below published age-matched norms were common in tests of executive functioning, visual memory and visual-spatial planning. Features of depression were seen in 33.3% of the children in the retrospective cohort (clinical referrals). Cerebral and cerebellar volume loss was observed in a majority of blinded prospective cohort research MRIs (73.3% and 67.7% respectively). White matter hyperintensities were observed in retrospective and prospective cohort MRIs (36.6% and 46.7% respectively). Larger prospective studies that elucidate structure-function associations in children with SLE are planned.
systemic lupus erythematosus; neuropsychiatric lupus; cognitive impairment; brain imaging
Cardiovascular disease risk is increased in individuals suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Understanding the mechanism(s) of SLE-accelerated atherosclerosis is critical for the development of effective therapies. Our laboratory previously demonstrated that radiation chimeras of SLE-susceptible B6.Sle1.2.3 and low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLr)−/−mice have augmented atherosclerosis which is associated with increased T cell burden and activation in the lesion. The goals of this study were to further define specific immune mechanisms mediating accelerated atherosclerosis and to determine whether the gene interval Sle3, which is linked to lupus-associated T cell dysregulation, was sufficient to modulate atherogenesis. We transferred B6.Sle3 or C57Bl/6-derived bone marrow cells into lethally irradiated LDLr−/− mice (hereafter referred to as LDLr.Sle3 and LDLr.B6, respectively). Sixteen weeks after transplantation, the mice were placed on a Western-type diet for 8 weeks. Our analyses revealed that LDLr.Sle3 mice had increased auto-antibody production against dsDNA and cardiolipin compared to LDLr.B6 controls. We also found an increase in atherosclerosis associated oxLDL antibodies. Antibody isotypes and serum cytokine analysis suggested that the humoral immune response in LDLr.Sle mice was skewed toward a Th2 phenotype. This is consistent with lupus-associated immune dysregulation. Additionally, LDLr.Sle3 mice had decreased serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, there was no difference in lesion area or cellular composition of lesions between the two groups. These data demonstrate that, despite no changes in lesion area, transfer of Sle3-associated T cell dysregulation alone to LDLr-deficient mice is sufficient to decrease serum cholesterol and to exacerbate humoral immune responses that are frequently associated with atherosclerosis.
systemic lupus erythematosus; atherosclerosis; autoimmunity; T cell; oxidized LDL
Genetic complete deficiency of the early complement components such as C1, C2 and C4 commonly results in a monogenetic form of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, previous studies have examined groups of complete complement deficient subjects for SLE, while a familial SLE cohort has not been studied for deficiencies of complement. Thus, we undertook the present study to determine the frequency of hereditary complete complement deficiencies among families with two or more SLE patients. All SLE patients from 544 such families had CH50 determined. Medical records were examined for past CH50 values. There were 66 individuals in whom all available CH50 values were zero. All but four of these had an SLE-affected relative with a non-zero CH50; thus, these families did not have monogenic complement deficient related SLE. The four remaining SLE-affected subjects were in fact two sets of siblings in which 3 of the 4 SLE patients had onset of disease at <18 years of age. Both patients in one of these families had been determined to have C4 deficiency, while the other family had no clinical diagnosis of complement deficiency. In this second family, one of the SLE patients had had normal C4 and C3 values, indicating that either C1q or C2 deficiency was possible. Thus, only 2 of 544 SLE families had definite or possible complement deficiency; however, 1 of 7 families in which all SLE patients had pediatric onset and 2 of 85 families with at least 1 pediatric-onset SLE patent had complete complement deficiency. SLE is found commonly among families with hereditary complement deficiency but the reverse is not true. Complete complement deficiency is rare among families with two or more SLE patients, but is concentrated among families with onset of SLE prior to age 18.
To investigate the role of HLA-DQ2 in the pathogenesis of associated immune disorders, we generated transgenic mice that expressed HLA-DQ2 in the absence of endogenous murine class II molecules (AE°DQ2). These AE°DQ2 mice with a mixed genetic background spontaneously developed skin lesions on their ears, whereas control AE°DQ6 genotype control mice (also with a mixed genetic background) did not. The skin lesions were characterized by deep subepidermal blistering with hydropic degeneration and lymphoid infiltration in the subepidermal area as determined by histopathology. Immunofluorescence analysis revealed thick band-like granular deposition of IgG, IgM, and a thin band of IgA deposition along the basement membrane. AE°DQ2 mice also developed significant and progressive hematuria and proteinuria as compared to the AE°DQ6 mice (P<0.05). Histopathology showed immune complex deposits in the glomeruli of AE°DQ2 mice. Immunofluorescence analysis showed progressive mesangial and capillary wall deposition of IgA, IgM, IgG and C1q in the kidney. With electron microscopy, the deposits showed a “fingerprint” substructure; and tubuloreticular structures were identified within endothelial cells. Conversely, these changes were not observed in AE°DQ6 mice. Serum anti-dsDNA IgM and IgG levels were also significantly elevated among AE°DQ2 mice compared to AE°DQ6 mice (P<0.001). In conclusion, AE°DQ2 mice spontaneously develop an autoimmune lupus-like syndrome and are useful model for this disease. It remains to be determined whether genetic admixture played a role in the development of this SLE-like syndrome in HLA-DQ2 transgenic mice.
Autoimmune; DQ2; Glomerulonephritis; Lupus; MHC class II; Mice; Transgenic
Nearly every drug may cause changes to ocular tissues through a variety of mechanisms. Medication overdoses, drug–drug interactions but also chronic administration of medications at the recommended doses may lead to ocular toxicity. The ocular side effects, screening for eye toxicity and treatment guidelines for anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs commonly used by rheumatologists are reviewed herein.
drugs; eye; hydroxychloroquine; lupus
Complement activation is an important aspect of systemic lupus erythematosus. In this study we investigated the role of C3a/C3a receptor (R) signaling in brains of the lupus model, MRL/lpr mice, by treating the mice with C3aR antagonist (a) from 13 to 19 weeks of age. C3aR mRNA (0.2 ± 0.027 versus 0.56 ± 0.19) and protein (0.16 ± 0.09 versus 0.63 ± 0.19) expression was increased in MRL/lpr brains compared with MRL+/+ controls. Apoptosis, a key feature in lupus brain, was significantly reduced by C3aRa treatment, as assessed by DNA laddering, TUNEL staining and caspase3 activity (48% of MRL/lpr mice). mRNA expression of proinflammatory molecules that cause apoptosis, TNFα (0.33 ± 0.07 versus 0.15 ± 0.1), MIP2 (3.8 ± 1.3 versus 1.7 ± 0.6), and INFγ (4.8 ± 1.0 versus 2.07 ± 1.28) are reduced in MRL/lpr brains with C3aRa treatment. In line with these results, Western blotting demonstrates the significant increase in phosphorylation of survival molecules Akt and Erk, decrease in PTEN and reduced iNOS expression. INFγ receptor (R) and AMPA-GluR1 co-localized, and concomitant with reduced INFγR expression, AMPA-GluR1 expression was also decreased by C3aR antagonist. All of these variables that modulate neuronal excitability and regulate synaptic plasticity are C3aR dependent in the MRL/lpr brains and suggest a potential therapeutic role for C3aR inhibition in CNS lupus.
anaphylatoxins; brain; complement; inflammation; systemic lupus erythematosus