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The severity of systemic lupus erythematosus negatively correlates with the increasing number of CD4(+)CD25(high)FoxP3(+) regulatory T cells during repeated plasmapheresis treatments of patients

3rd Department of Internal Medicine, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary.
Autoimmunity (Impact Factor: 2.75). 12/2007; 40(7):521-8. DOI: 10.1080/08916930701610028
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disease characterized by increased pathologic autoantibody production. A decrease in the number of CD4+CD25(high)FoxP3+ regulatory T cells can play a key role in the loss of tolerance to self antigens. Our aim was to determine the absolute number of peripheral CD4+CD25(high)FoxP3+ T cells in 44 patients with SLE, furthermore, to measure the changes in the number of CD+CD25(high)FoxP3+ T cells in 5 patients with severe SLE treated with repeated plasmapheresis for 4-6 days in comparison to the changes in the activity of disease (SLEDAI). Percent of CD4+CD25(high)FoxP3+ T cells were measured by flow cytometry. The absolute number of peripheral CD4+CD25(high)FoxP3+ T cells was significantly decreased in the 44 patients with SLE compared to the healthy controls n = 32 (0.012 +/- 0.006 vs. 0.038 +/- 0.017 G/L, p < 0.05). In the 5 patients with severe SLE the repeated plasmapheresis treatments increased the peripheral number of CD4+CD25(high)FoxP3+ T cells. As the number of CD4+CD25(high)FoxP3+ T cells increased during the treatment, the activity of disease (the value of SLE activity index) decreased. In the peripheral blood of SLE patients not only the ratio was decreased (as it was published earlier) but also the absolute number of these regulatory T cells. The repeated plasmapheresis treatments of SLE patients induced a significant increase in the number of peripheral CD4+CD25(high)FoxP3+ T cells in parallel to the decrease in the values of SLEDAI (the activity of disease). This phenomenon is, among others, possibly due to the elimination of interpheron-alpha and lymphocytotoxic antibodies during plasmapheresis.

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