Sex differences in monocyte activation in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

Wei Jiang, Lumin Zhang, Ren Lang, Zihai Li, Gary Gilkeson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: TLR7/8 and TLR9 signaling pathways have been extensively studied in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) as possible mediators of disease. Monocytes are a major source of pro-inflammatory cytokines and are understudied in SLE. In the current project, we investigated sex differences in monocyte activation and its implications in SLE disease pathogenesis. Methods: Human blood samples from 27 healthy male controls, 32 healthy female controls, and 25 female patients with SLE matched for age and race were studied. Monocyte activation was tested by flow cytometry and ELISA, including subset proportions, CD14, CD80 and CD86 expression, the percentage of IL-6-producing monocytes, plasma levels of sCD14 and IL-6, and urine levels of creatinine. Results: Monocytes were significantly more activated in women compared to men and in patients with SLE compared to controls in vivo. We observed increased proportions of non-classic monocytes, decreased proportions of classic monocytes, elevated levels of plasma sCD14 as well as reduced surface expression of CD14 on monocytes comparing women to men and lupus patients to controls. Plasma levels of IL-6 were positively related to sCD14 and serum creatinine. Conclusion: Monocyte activation and TLR4 responsiveness are altered in women compared to men and in patients with SLE compared to controls. These sex differences may allow persistent systemic inflammation and resultant enhanced SLE susceptibility.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere114589
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume9
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 8 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes

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