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Arthritis Res Ther. 2012 Mar 14;14(2):R66. doi: 10.1186/ar3782.

Effect of pregnancy on serum cytokines in SLE patients.

Author information

1
Division of Rheumatology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Padova, Via Giustiniani 2, Padova, 35128, Italy. adoria@unipd.it

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

The aim of this study was to evaluate an extensive panel of cytokines involved in immune regulation during pregnancy in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and in healthy women.

METHODS:

A total of 47 consecutive successful pregnancies in 46 SLE patients and 56 pregnancies in 56 matched healthy subjects, as controls, were prospectively studied. Serum interleukin (IL)-1-α, IL-1-β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p70, interferon (INF)-γ and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α were detected in sera obtained at the first and third trimester of pregnancy by a highly sensitive, multiplexed sandwich ELISA.

RESULTS:

Medians (pg/ml) of serum levels of most helper T (Th)1-type cytokines were significantly lower in the third trimester compared with those observed in the first trimester of pregnancy in healthy women: INF-γ 2.0 vs 3.4, TNF-α 10.2 vs 11.5, IL-1-α 0.9 vs 1.1, IL-1-β 0.6 vs 1.0, IL-2 3.0 vs 3.5, and IL-12p70 4.9 vs 5.6 (P-values < 0.02 for all). By contrast, only the IL-1-α serum levels were lower in the third trimester compared with the first trimester in SLE patients (P = 0.006). IFN-γ/IL-6 and IFN-γ/IL-10 ratios were higher in controls than in SLE (P = 0.002, and P = 0.001, respectively); moreover, they were significantly reduced in the third compared to the first trimester of pregnancy in healthy women, but not in SLE.

CONCLUSIONS:

In SLE patients, Th1/Th2 cytokine serum level ratio does not decrease during pregnancy progression as much as in healthy pregnant women. This could account for the observation of a low frequency of disease flares in the third trimester of gestation.

PMID:
22417776
PMCID:
PMC3446434
DOI:
10.1186/ar3782
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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