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Mol Immunol 2014 Sep;61(1):38-43

Increased expression of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) 7 and 9 and other cytokines in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients: Ethnic differences and potential new targets for therapeutic drugs.

Lyn-Cook BD, Xie C, Oates J, Treadwell E, Word B, Hammons G, Wiley K


Increased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interferon, tumor necrosis factors (TNFs) and specific interleukins (ILs) has been found in a number of autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematous (SLE). These cytokines are induced by toll-like receptors (TLRs). Toll-like receptors are activated in response to accumulation of apoptotic bodies. These receptors play critical roles in innate immune systems. Increased levels of interferon-alpha (INF-alpha) have also been found in many SLE patients and often correlate with disease severity. The objectives of this study were to examine the expression of selected TLRs and cytokines that have been identified in animal models and some limited human studies in a group of African Americans (AA) and European Americans (EA) women with lupus in comparison to age-matched non-lupus women. Blood samples were consecutively obtained by informed consent from 286 patients, 153 lupus and 136 non-lupus, seen in the rheumatology clinics at East Carolina University. Cytokines were analyzed from blood serum using enzyme linked immunoassay (ELISA) for IL-6 and INF-alpha. Total RNA was isolated, using a Paxgene kit, from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of African American and European American women blood samples. Quantitative real-time PCR using the CFX real-time system was conducted on all samples to determine TLRs 7 and 9, as well as INF-alpha expression. Toll-like receptor 7 (p<0.01) and 9 (p=0.001) expression levels were significantly increased in lupus patients compared to age-matched controls. African American women with lupus had a 2-fold increase in TLR-9 expression level when compared to their healthy controls or European American lupus patients. However, there was no ethnic difference in expression of TLR-7 in lupus patients. INF-alpha expression was significantly higher in lupus patients (p<0.0001) and also showed ethnic difference in expression. Serum levels revealed significant increases in expression of IL-6, IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha in lupus patients compared to non-lupus patients. African American women with lupus had significantly higher serum levels of IL-6 and TNF-alpha. African American women with lupus demonstrated increased levels of specific pro-inflammatory cytokines and Toll-like receptors when compared to EA women. Increased expression in these lupus patients provides an opportunity for targeting with antagonist as a new therapy for systemic lupus erythematous.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #24865418 DOI: 10.1016/j.molimm.2014.05.001
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Toxicological Research
Entry Created: 2014-05-29 Entry Last Modified: 2014-08-16