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Reticulocytes Bearing C4d as Biomarkers of Disease Activity for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Ahearn, Joseph, MD

University of Pittsburgh

October 1, 2005

There is an urgent need for biomarkers with which to monitor disease activity in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We recently showed that abnormal levels of C4d, an activation-derived fragment of complement component C4, are deposited on the surface of erythrocytes from patients with SLE. This study focused on reticulocytes, the youngest and shortest-lived erythrocytes (lifespan 24-48 hours), with the objective of testing our hypothesis that when reticulocytes emerge from the bone marrow, they are immediately exposed to and acquire C4d at levels proportionate to the extent of complement activation at that time, thereby reflecting disease activity in SLE.

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