Th17 cells and CD4 + multifunctional T cells in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus

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Introduction/Objective: Recent evidence suggests that abnormalities involving Th17 lymphocytes are associated with the pathophysiology of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Inaddition, multifunctional T cells (MFT), i.e., those producing multiple cytokines simultaneously, are present in the inflammatory milieu and may be implicated in the autoimmuneprocess observed in SLE. In the present study, we aimed to characterize the functional statusof CD4 + T cells in SLE by simultaneously determining the concentration of IL-2, IFN-γ andIL-17 in lymphocyte cultures under exogenous and selfantigenic stimuli. Patients and methods: Eighteen patients with active disease, 18 with inactive disease, and 14healthy controls had functional status of CD4 + T cells analyzed. Results: We found that SLE patients presented a decreased number of total CD4 + cells, anincreased number of activated T cells, and an increased frequency of Th17 cells comparedto healthy controls (HC). MFT cells had increased frequency in SLE patients and there was anincreased frequency of tri-functional MFT in patients with active SLE compared with thosewith inactive SLE. Interestingly, MTF cells produced larger amounts of IFNγ than mono-functional T cells in patients and controls. Conclusion: Taken together these data indicate the participation of recently activated Th17cells and MTF cells in the SLE pathophysiology.




Araújo, J. A. P., Mesquita, D., Cruvinel, W. de M., Salmazi, K. I., Kallás, E. G., & Andrade, L. E. C. (2016). Th17 cells and CD4 + multifunctional T cells in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Revista Brasileira de Reumatologia, 56(1), 28–36.

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