Proteome study of cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) and dermatomyositis skin lesions reveals IL-16 is differentially upregulated in CLE

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Abstract

Background: The objective of the study was to explore the disease pathways activated in the inflammatory foci of skin lesions in cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) and dermatomyositis (DM). Methods: Skin biopsies acquired from active CLE and DM lesions, patient (PC), and also healthy controls (HC) were investigated. Biopsy sections were examined by a pathologist, inflammatory foci were laser micro-dissected and captured, and proteins within captured tissue were detected in an unbiased manner by mass spectrometry. Protein pathway analysis was performed by the string-db.org platform. Findings of interest were confirmed by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Results: Proteome investigation identified abundant expression of interferon-regulated proteins (IRP) as a common feature of CLE and DM. Interleukin (IL)-16 was the only abundant cytokine differentially expressed in CLE compared to DM. Caspase-3, an enzyme that cleaves IL-16 into its active form, was detected in low levels. Significantly higher proportion of IL-16- and caspase-3-positive cells was identified in CLE lesions in comparison with DM, PC, and HC. Proteomic results indicate more abundant complement deposition in CLE skin lesions. Conclusions: Using unbiased mass spectrometry investigation of CLE and DM inflammatory infiltrates, we confirmed that high IRP expression is a common feature of both CLE and DM, while IL-16 is the only differentially expressed cytokine in CLE. IHC confirmed high expression of IL-16 and caspase-3 in CLE. Our novel molecular findings indicate that IL-16 detection could be useful in differential diagnostics between the two conditions that can display similar histopathological appearance. IL-16 could be of interest as a future therapeutic target for CLE.

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Niewold, T. B., Meves, A., Lehman, J. S., Popovic-Silwerfeldt, K., Häyry, A., Söderlund-Matell, T., … Oke, V. (2021). Proteome study of cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) and dermatomyositis skin lesions reveals IL-16 is differentially upregulated in CLE. Arthritis Research and Therapy, 23(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13075-021-02511-0

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