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Clin Exp Immunol. 2011 Aug;165(2):163-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2011.04424.x. Epub 2011 Jun 2.

Interleukin-10 receptor expression and signalling were down-regulated in CD4⁺ T cells of lupus nephritis patients.

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Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, Shengjing Hospital, Shenyang, China.


Studies have indicated that interleukin (IL)-10 has a pathogenic role in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); however, a protective effect of IL-10 in SLE was also observed. Because the exact mechanism of IL-10 signalling in the pathogenesis of SLE is unclear, this study sought to assess the expression and signalling of interleukin-10 receptor (IL-10R) in peripheral leucocytes from patients with SLE. We used flow cytometry to examine the expression of IL-10R1 on different peripheral leucocytes from 28 SLE patients, of whom 14 had lupus nephritis (LN) and 14 were healthy controls. We also examined the effects of IL-10 on phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-3 and STAT-1 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) obtained from 13 SLE patients and seven healthy controls. Plasma cytokines were detected by flow cytometric bead array (CBA) techniques. Although IL-10R1 expression levels on each peripheral leucocyte subset from 28 SLE patients and 14 healthy controls were similar, the expression levels on CD4(+) T cells from LN patients were significantly lower than on CD4(+) T cells from controls and SLE patients without nephritis (P < 0·01). IL-10R1 expression levels on CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells were correlated negatively with the SLE disease activity index (P < 0·01). Additionally, the phosphorylation of STAT-3 was delayed and reduced in PBMCs from LN patients and active SLE patients. Plasma IL-10 levels were significantly higher in LN patients than controls. IL-10R1 expression on CD4(+) T cells and signalling in PBMCs were down-regulated in LN patients, indicating that IL-10 and its receptor may have a special role in LN pathogenesis.

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