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J Autoimmun. 2006 May;26(3):165-71. Epub 2006 Apr 18.

Elevated levels of soluble CD40 ligand (sCD40L) in serum of patients with systemic autoimmune diseases.

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Department of Pathophysiology, School of Medicine, National University of Athens, 75 M. Asias Street, 11527 Athens, Greece.


The CD40-CD40L costimulatory pathway is involved in the evolution of many autoimmune diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Sjögren's syndrome (SS). Increased levels of sCD40L in the serum have been associated with disease activity in SLE. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of sCD40L in the development of lupus nephritis and examine its possible association with cryoglobulinemia in Sjögren's syndrome. We used a 2-site sandwich ELISA to measure the levels of sCD40L in sera, from 64 patients with SLE, RA and SS and 17 healthy blood donors. Biological specimens from the affected tissues such as urine from patients with lupus nephritis and saliva from patients with SS were also tested. In this regard, paired sera and first morning urine samples from 6 SLE patients (3 with active lupus nephritis and 3 with inactive lupus nephritis) were tested with the sCD40L ELISA protocol as well as paired sera and salivary samples from 5 patients with SS and cryoglobulinemia, 5 patients with SS and anti-Ro or anti-La autoantibodies and 5 age-matched healthy control donors. We also examined possible correlations of sCD40L levels with several laboratory and clinical parameters in SS and SLE. We found that sera from SLE and SS patients had significantly higher levels of sCD40L compared to sera from healthy control donors. No sCD40L was detected, in urine samples of patients with either active or inactive nephritis and in salivary samples from SS patients or normal subjects. Soluble CD40L is elevated in sera of SS and SLE patients but further investigation is needed to determine its possible role in SLE nephritis and Sjögren's syndrome.

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