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Abstract

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune systemic disease caused as a result of an imbalance of Th1-/Th2-type cytokines. The soluble form of CD30 (CD30s) released from peripheral blood cells has been described as a marker of active disease in Th2-type immune response as in SLE. However, the expression of CD30 on CD3 T lymphocytes from patients with SLE has not been studied yet. Therefore, we have addressed our study to attempt this issue, studying CD30 expression by flow cytometry on CD3 T lymphocytes and CD4/CD8 subsets in samples from SLE patients mainly with lupus nephritis. In parallel, we have determined the production of the cytokines IL-4 (Th2), IFNγ (Th1), IL-10 and TGFβ by intracellular staining. Differences between positive CD30 T cells in healthy controls and patients with SLE were found, with a higher percentage of CD30-expressing T cells in patients with SLE (= 0.001). In contrast to healthy controls, CD30 was mainly expressed on CD8 T cells from patients with SLE. The intracellular cytokine staining showed that TGFβ is the main cytokine expressed in CD3 T cells from patients with SLE. In addition to this, we have found a positive correlation between CD30-expressing T cells and IL-4, IFNγ, and immunosuppressive cytokines (IL-10 and TGFβ) (< 0.05). These results suggest that CD30 could play a role in the pathogenesis of SLE and its expression on CD3 T lymphocytes is not restricted only to Th2-type response.