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THU0532 Estrogen Upregulates Interleukin-21 Production of Clusters of Differentiation 4 Positive T Lymphocytes in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  1. J. Lee1,
  2. J.H. Koh1,
  3. H.K. Min1,
  4. J.Y. Kang1,
  5. Y.S. Suh1,
  6. J.-H. Lee1,
  7. S.-M. Jung1,
  8. J.Y. Lee1,
  9. J.-M. Kim2,
  10. S.-K. Kwok1,
  11. J.H. Ju1,
  12. K.-S. Park1,
  13. H.-Y. Kim3,
  14. S.-H. Park1
  1. 1Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul St. Mary's hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul
  2. 2Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Keimyung University School of Medicine, Dongsan Medical Center, Daegu
  3. 3Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Konkuk University Hospital, School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea, Republic Of


Background Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease in which various organs and tissues are damaged through abnormal immune responses mediated by tissue-binding autoantibodies and immune complex deposition. As the majority of SLE patients are women of child-bearing age, estrogen has been suggested to play an important role in the pathogenesis of SLE. One of the proposed roles of estrogen is to increase autoantibody production. IL-21, a common-γ chain cytokine, has been shown to be crucial in the differentiation of activated B cells into plasma cells.

Objectives Based on these concepts, we investigated the effect of estrogen on the production of IL-21 by T cells and subsequent B cell activation in SLE patients.

Methods Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were obtained from peripheral blood of 23 SLE patients and 16 healthy controls. CD4+ T cells, non CD4+ T cells and B cells were isolated using microbeads. Isolated cells were treated with 17-β estradiol at various concentrations for 48hrs. The expression of IL-21 and its receptor was assessed by measuring the level of protein and mRNA using ELISA and RT-PCR, respectively. The level of immunoglobulin G was measured with specific ELISA.

Results The expression of IL-21 and its receptor in serum, PBMCs, and CD4+ T cells were higher in the patients with SLE compared to healthy controls. Exposure of CD4+ T cells from SLE patients to 17-β estradiol leads to a dose-and time-dependent increase in the IL-21 expression. The increase was abolished in the presence of MAP kinase (MEK, p38, JNK) inhibitors. B cells of healthy controls showed an increased antibody production when they were co-cultured with estrogen treated CD4+ T cells of patients with SLE. Treatment with anti-IL-21 antibody abrogated the increased antibody production of the co-culture systems, suggesting the increase was mediated by IL-21 dependent manner.

Conclusions Estrogen upregulates IL-21 expression of CD4+ T cells via MAPK dependent pathways in SLE patients, which in turn induces increased antibody production by B cells.

Disclosure of Interest : None declared

DOI 10.1136/annrheumdis-2014-eular.3160

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