ERα Autoantibodies Affect Disease Activity in Lupus

Anti-estrogen receptor α induces cell activation by interfering with T lymphocyte homeostasis

TUESDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), autoantibodies specific to estrogen receptor α (anti-ERα Abs) interfere with T lymphocyte homeostasis and are significantly associated with disease activity, according to a study published online Oct. 3 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Tania Colasanti, Ph.D., from Istituto Superiore di Sanitá in Rome, and colleagues assessed the presence of anti-ERα and ERβ Abs in the sera from 86 patients with SLE and 95 healthy donors. Additionally, they analyzed the impact of these antibodies on peripheral blood T lymphocyte homeostasis, and their role as determinants of pathogenesis and progression. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, anti-ER Abs serum immunoreactivity was analyzed. Flow cytometry and Western blot were used for phenotypic and functional analyses.

The investigators found that anti-ERβ Abs were undetectable, but anti-ERα Abs were noted in 45 percent of patients with SLE. Anti-ERα Abs from healthy participants induced cell activation resulting in apoptotic cell death in resting lymphocytes, and anti-CD3-stimulated T lymphocyte proliferation. Anti-ERα Ab values had a significant association with clinical parameters (SLE Disease Activity Index and arthritis).

"Anti-ERα autoantibodies interfere with T lymphocyte homeostasis and are significantly associated with lupus disease activity," the authors write.

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