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High occurrence of in vitro apoptosis of lymphocytes induced by serum from systemic lupus erythematosus patients is associated with increased serum levels of anti-C1q autoantibodies

Authors

  • Siti Idayu Hasan,

    1. Department of Immunology, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Health Campus, Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia
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  • Noor Suryani Mohd Ashari,

    1. Department of Immunology, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Health Campus, Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia
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  • Kamaliah Mohd Daud,

    1. Department of Medicine, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Health Campus, Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia
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  • Che Maraina Che Husin

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Immunology, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Health Campus, Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia
    • Correspondence: Dr Che Hussin Che Maraina, MD, Department of Immunology, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Health Campus, 16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia.

      Email: maraina@kck.usm.my

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Abstract

Background

The ethiopathogenesis of increased apoptosis of lymphocytes in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is still incompletely understood but anti-C1q autoantibodies have been shown to induce apoptosis in lymphocytes from healthy donors and certain cell lines.

Aim

This study was undertaken to investigate the relationship between peripheral lymphocyte apoptosis and serum levels of anti-C1q autoantibodies in SLE patients.

Methods

The sera of 124 patients with SLE involving 62 active SLE and 62 inactive SLE, fulfilling America College of Rheumatology (ACR) classification criteria for SLE (1997) were incubated with peripheral blood lymphocytes of healthy donors. The results were compared with 124 sex- and age-matched normal controls. Apoptotic lymphocytes (AL) were detected by flow cytometry using annexin V and propidium iodide binding. Anti-C1q autoantibodies were detected by an enzyme-linked immunoassay kit for all SLE patients.

Results

Results demonstrated that the percentage of AL in the peripheral blood of active SLE patients was significantly higher (n = 62, 34.95 ± 12.78%) than that of the inactive SLE patients (n = 62, 30.69 ± 10.13%, = 0.042, 95%CI = 0.16–8.36) and normal controls (n = 124, 27.92 ± 10.22%, = 0.001, 95%CI = 3.33–10.73). The percentage of AL significantly correlated with serum levels of anti-C1q autoantibodies in the active SLE patients (= 0.263, = 0.039) but not in the inactive SLE patients (= 0.170, P = 0.185).

Conclusion

The results of this study suggest that increased serum levels of anti-C1q autoantibodies are responsible for apoptosis and may play a pathogenic role in SLE patients, especially in active disease.

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