The Relation of Interleukin 17 (IL-17) and IL-23 to Th1/Th2 Cytokines and Disease Activity in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong.
The Journal of Rheumatology (Impact Factor: 3.17). 10/2010; 37(10):2046-52. DOI: 10.3899/jrheum.100293
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Interleukin 17 (IL-17) was recently linked to pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), but its relation to disease activity has not been well characterized. We examined the relation between serum levels of Th17 (IL-17, IL-23), Th1 (IL-12, interferon-γ), Th2 (IL-10, IL-6, IL-4) cytokines and disease activity in patients with SLE.
Serum cytokines were measured by enzyme linked immunosorbent assays. Disease activity was determined by SLE disease activity index (SLEDAI), anti-dsDNA antibody, and C3 and C4 levels.
Serum levels of IL-17 (p < 0.001), IL-6 (p = 0.006) and IL-10 (p < 0.001) were higher in SLE patients (n = 70) compared to healthy controls (n = 36). Higher serum IL-23 level was found in patients with active disease with cutaneous manifestations (p = 0.004) and serositis (p = 0.04) compared to those without. Serum IL-17 level above the detection limit was more frequently found in patients who had active lupus nephritis (11/23, 47.8%) (p = 0.002), nonrenal active disease (9/15, 60%) (p = 0.001), and inactive lupus (21/32, 65.6%) (p < 0.001) compared to healthy controls (0%). Serum IL-17 levels were otherwise comparable between these 3 groups of patients and were not related to SLEDAI, glomerular filtration rate, activity or chronicity score and ISN/RPS criteria class among patients with active lupus nephritis. There was no significant correlation between serum IL-17/IL-23 and Th1 or Th2 cytokine levels.
SLE patients had higher serum IL-17 levels than healthy controls. Elevated serum IL-23 was found in patients with inflammatory manifestations including cutaneous involvement and serositis. The lack of correlation between Th17, Th1, and Th2 cytokines suggested independent regulatory mechanisms for these cytokines.

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