Th1/Th2 balance of peripheral T helper cells in systemic lupus erythematosus




To analyze the Th1/Th2 balance of peripheral Th cells in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).


The Th1:Th2 ratio was analyzed in 3 groups: SLE without proteinuria (group I; n = 23), SLE with proteinuria (group II; n = 31), and normal controls (group III; n = 24). Group II patients who had undergone renal biopsy were classified into 3 subgroups based on their renal histopathologic findings. The intracellular cytokine detection method with flow cytometry was used to quantitate Th1 and Th2 cells.


There was no difference in the mean Th1:Th2 ratio between SLE patients (groups I and II) and healthy controls (group III). However, the mean value in group II was significantly higher than those in groups I and III. Moreover, within group II, the mean value in SLE patients who had diffuse proliferative lupus nephritis (World Health Organization class IV) was especially high.


Although SLE has been considered to be a disease in which Th2 cells predominate, the Th1/Th2 balance of peripheral Th cells in SLE patients in the present study did not show a predominance of these cells. In contrast, among SLE patients with WHO class IV lupus nephritis, there was a strong predominance of Th1.