Evaluation of TLR9 expression on PBMCs and CpG ODN-TLR9 ligation on IFN-α production in SLE patients

خلاصه: ABSTRACT Context: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disease characterized by autoreactive antibodies. Recent findings revealed the importance of innate immune responses, especially Toll-like receptors (TLRs) in the pathogenesis of SLE. Objective: In this study, the level of TLR9 expression on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was analyzed. The levels of produced IFN-a were also measured in supernatant of PBMCs from SLE patients and healthy controls after stimulation with CpG ODN2216 which is a plasmocytoid dendritic cell (pDC)-specific TLR9 ligand. Materials and methods: TLR9 expression was analyzed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and flow cytometry in 35 SLE patients and 38 healthy controls and IFN-a concentration was measured in supernatants using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Results: The results showed that the TLR9 expression in the mRNA and the protein level was significantly higher in PBMCs from SLE patients. However, IFN-a concentration in patients and controls significantly increased in response to CpG stimulation but this increase was significantly higher in healthy controls compared with SLE patients. Our results do not show any association between taking hydroxychloroquine and reduction in IFN-a production in SLE patients. Discussion and conclusions: Regarding the findings of the study, there is the possibility that TLR9 has played a role in SLE pathogenesis, and consequently it implies that TLRs can be considered to be the therapeutic targets for systemic autoimmunity. We may conclude that PBMCs in patients are functionally impaired in response to TLR ligation via innate response stimulating pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs).