Background In systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), disease severity may be related to factors such as endothelial cell damage.
Objectives We tested the hypothesis that anti-endothelial cell antibodies (AECA) and plasma markers of endothelial cell dysfunction would be related to disease severity in SLE.
Methods Accordingly we measured AECA by human umbilical vein endothelial cell binding, endothelial markers von Willebrand factor, soluble thrombomodulin, soluble E-selectin by ELISA, and disease severity by SLEDAI and SLICC/ACR in 35 patients with SLE.
Results Despite high levels of IgG AECA (p < 0.001), compared to 21 healthy controls, we found a positive correlation only between IgG AECA and the SLEDAI index (r = 0.393, p = 0.021). We did?t find elevation of soluble markers of endothelial cell dysfunction compared to healthy controls.
Conclusion We conclude that IgG AECA seem to be related to disease activity in SLE, possibly in a pathogenic rôle. Conversely, plasma markers of endothelial cell damage seem to be an epiphenomenon and may only be related to excess inflammation in these patients.
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