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Aberrant Phenotype and Function of Myeloid Dendritic Cells in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Kaplan, Mariana, MD

November 1, 2006

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is characterized by a systemic autoimmune response with profound and diverse T cell changes. Dendritic cells (DCs) are important orchestrators of immune responses and have an important role in the regulation of T cell function. The objective of this study was to determine whether myeloid DCs from individuals with SLE display abnormalities in phenotype and promote abnormal T cell function. Monocyte-derived DCs and freshly isolated peripheral blood myeloid DCs from lupus patients displayed an abnormal phenotype characterized by accelerated differentiation, maturation, and secretion of proinflammatory ctyokines. These abnormalities were characterized by higher expression of the DC differentiation marker CD1a, the maturation markers CD86, CD80, and HLA-DR, and the proinflammatory cytokine IL-8. In addition, SLE patients displayed selective down-regulation of the maturation marker CD83 and had abnormal responses to maturation stimuli. These abnormalities have functional relevance, as SLE DCs were able to significantly increase proliferation and activation of allogeneic T cells when compared with control DCs. We conclude that myeloid DCs from SLE patients display significant changes in phenotype which promote aberrant T cell function and could contribute to the pathogenesis of SLE and organ damage.

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