Apoptosis is induced by binding of death receptor ligands, members of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily, to their cognate receptors. It is suggested that TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) is involved in pathogenesis of juvenile-onset systemic lupus erythematosus (JSLE). This study aimed to assess TRAIL concentrations in sera of JSLE children and to determine their potential relationship with disease activity, anti-double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) levels, neutropenia and renal involvement.
Circulating levels of TRAIL were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in serum samples obtained from 40 JSLE patients (20 with active and 20 with inactive disease) and 20 controls.
The mean (SEM) serum TRAIL concentration in JSLE was 1750.7 (440.2) pg/mL. Serum TRAIL concentrations in patients were higher than those in controls (P < 0.01). Serum TRAIL concentrations for children with inactive disease (1854.8 [485.4] pg/mL) and those with activity (1646.6 [390.6] pg/mL) were statistically comparable. JSLE children with positive anti-dsDNA antibodies had significantly higher TRAIL levels (mean = 1846  vs. 1455  pg/mL; P < 0.05). Serum TRAIL concentrations were significantly higher in classes III and IV nephritis compared to classes I and II nephritis (1970  vs. 1330  pg/mL; P < 0.01). Serum TRAIL concentrations in patients with neutropenia were higher than those without neutropenia (1805  vs. 1516  pg/mL; P = 0.042) and in controls (P = 0.024).
Our data indicate that an increased level of TRAIL is a feature of JSLE that correlates with disease activity, anti-dsDNA titers neutropenia and lupus nephritis.