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Ann Rheum Dis. 2005 Jun; 64(6): 854–858.
Published online 2004 Nov 25. doi:  10.1136/ard.2004.029058
PMCID: PMC1755511

Soluble TRAIL concentrations are raised in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus


Background: Increased apoptosis may induce autoimmune conditions. Apoptosis is induced by binding of death receptor ligands, members of the tumour necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily, to their cognate receptors. The Fas–Fas ligand pathway has been studied extensively in relation to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, other death pathways are also considered important. TNF related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL), another ligand of the TNF superfamily, induces apoptosis in sensitive cells.

Objective: To assess soluble (s) TRAIL concentrations in sera of SLE patients.

Methods: 40 SLE patients were studied (20 with active and 20 with inactive disease). Serum sTRAIL concentrations were measured by a solid phase sandwich enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Levels in SLE patients were compared with those in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (n = 20), Wegener's granulomatosis (n = 20), and healthy controls (n = 20).

Results: Mean (SEM) serum sTRAIL concentration in SLE patients (936.0 (108.2) pg/ml) was higher than in healthy controls (509.4 (33.8) pg/ml; p<0.01) or in disease control patients with rheumatoid arthritis (443.8 (36.1) pg/ml, p<0.001) or Wegener's granulomatosis (357.1 (32.2) pg/ml; p<0.001). The mean serum sTRAIL concentration was 1010.2 (168.0) pg/ml for patients with inactive disease and 861.8 (138.7) pg/ml for those with active disease. sTRAIL values were not correlated with specific manifestations of the disease, such as leucopenia or lymphopenia, or with SLE disease activity index.

Conclusions: Serum sTRAIL concentrations are increased SLE patients. This seems to be disease specific and could indicate a role for TRAIL in SLE pathophysiology.

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Selected References

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Figures and Tables

Figure 1
 Serum soluble TNF related apoptosis inducing ligand (sTRAIL) concentrations (pg/ml) in SLE patients with inactive disease (n = 20), SLE patients with active disease (n = 20), disease control patients with rheumatoid arthritis (n = 20), disease ...
Figure 2
 Serum soluble TNF related apoptosis inducing ligand (sTRAIL) concentrations (pg/ml) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who had active disease (n = 20) divided by clinical disease manifestation (n = 35). One patient could have ...

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