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J Clin Immunol. 1998 Nov;18(6):392-8.

Expression of CTLA-4 molecule in peripheral blood T lymphocytes from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan, R.O.C.


CTLA-4 is a cell surface molecule expressed on activated T cells that is suggested to deliver a negative signal for T cell activation. Since CTLA-4 might be a negative regulator of autoimmune diseases, we investigated its expression on T cells from 20 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) by flow cytometric analysis and RT-PCR. We found that although CTLA-4 mRNA was readily detected in all patients and controls, only a very minor subset of T cells expressed detectable surface CTLA-4 molecules in both groups. But patients with SLE had significantly increased percentages of CTLA-4-positive T cells compared with normal controls, implying at least that there was no apparent defective expression of CTLA-4 molecule in human lupus. The kinetics of CTLA-4 expression on T cells stimulated in vitro with PMA plus ionomycin were similar in normal controls and patients with SLE. The expression of CTLA-4 molecules after stimulation increased gradually and peaked at 72 hr. However, the induction of CTLA-4 expression on patients' T cells appeared to be weaker than that of normal individuals. Whether this reflects impaired downregulation by CTLA-4 molecules in SLE patients needs to be clarified further.

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