Influence of selected cytokines on organ damage in systemic lupus erythematosus

Łukasz Kapłon, Marek Brzosko



Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a rheumatic disease with unclear pathogenesis. In the course of this disease a dysfunction of the immune system occurs, which involves the production of autoantibodies and the deposition of immune complexes, which contributes to the damage of various organs. The most commonly involved organs include: kidneys, skin, joints, the eye, respiratory system, and the cardiovascular and nervous systems, both central and peripheral. In recent years there have been reports regarding the role of cytokines in the pathogenesis of various organs’ involvement. However, until now it has not been entirely clear which cytokines are responsible for either the stimulation or inhibition of the inflammatory response, which could be helpful in establishing a relationship with the clinical picture.

In this article reports are summarized regarding Interleukins 4, 7, 10, 18 (IL-4, IL-7, IL-10, IL-18) and their relationship with organ involvement in SLE. Interleukin 4 is indicated as a protective cytokine by its role in preventing the development of an autoimmune response. In the case of IL-7, it has a role in increasing the proliferation of autoreactive T-cell clones and the development of the disease. The IL-10, despite its protective effect, is found in patients with SLE at significantly higher concentrations than in the general population and correlates with the SLEDAI disease activity level scale. Interleukin 18 has a pro-inflammatory effect, contributing to damage to tissues and organs. In the serum of patients with SLE significantly higher levels of IL-18 were found than in the control group; there was also a statistically significant positive correlation between serum IL-18 levels and SLEDAI disease activity level scale and anti-dsDNA antibody titers. Increasing levels of serum IL-18 in SLE patients is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, IL-18 has an important role in the involvement of the kidneys and skin in SLE patients.


systemic lupus erythematosus; organ involvement; cytokines

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