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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2001 Aug;40(8):868-75.

Systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis patients differ from healthy controls in their cytokine pattern after stress exposure.

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  • 1Division of Clinical Immunology, Hannover Medical School, 30623 Hannover, Germany.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To study whether patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) differ from healthy individuals in their immune responses to acute psychological stress.

METHODS:

The phenotype and function of peripheral blood lymphocytes were analysed before and after stress exposure in patients and healthy subjects.

RESULTS:

Natural killer (NK) cell numbers increased transiently in all groups under stress. NK activity, however, increased in healthy controls only. We observed a stress-induced increase in interleukin (IL)-4-producing (IL-4(+)) cells in SLE patients only, whereas interferon (IFN) gamma(+) cell numbers increased due to stress in all three groups. An analysis of supernatants from phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) cultures revealed increased IFN gamma and IL-10 levels in healthy subjects but not in SLE or RA patients after stress exposure.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data demonstrate that RA and SLE patients differ in their immune response to stress from healthy controls. Changes in cytokine patterns might be responsible for stress-induced exacerbation of disease activity in RA and SLE patients.

PMID:
11511755
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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