Data_Sheet_1_P2X7 Receptor Expression in Patients With Serositis Related to Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.pdf
Introduction: P2X7R is an extracellular ATP-gated receptor involved in inflammatory and autoimmune processes mainly acting through NLPR3-inflammasome activation and IL-1β release, also implicated in lymphocyte proliferation and cellular apoptosis. Several observations from animal models and patients’ studies highlight a possible link between P2X7R-NLRP3 axis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) pathogenesis. The P2X7R-inflammasome axis in addition to the direct production of IL-1β and IL-18, indirectly mediates the release of other cytokines implicated in the pathogenesis of SLE, such as IL-6. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of P2X7R and NLRP3-inflammasome in SLE.
Methods: Forty-eight SLE patients, 16 with (SLE-S) and 32 without (SLE-NS) history of serositis, and 20 healthy control (HC) subjects were enrolled. Demographic, clinical, and therapeutic data were collected. IL-1β and IL-6 plasma levels were evaluated by ELISA. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated from venous blood by Ficoll gradient sedimentation and employed as follows: (1) evaluation of P2X7R and NLRP3 expression by RT-PCR; (2) determination of P2X7R activity as Benzoyl ATP (BzATP)-induced [Ca2+]i increments using Fura-2-AM fluorescent probe; (3) isolation of monocytes/macrophages and assessment of in vitro IL-1β and IL-6 release following stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and BzATP, either separately or in combination.
Results: Plasma IL-1β levels were unmodified in SLE respect to HC whereas IL-6 levels were higher in SLE than in HC, resulting significantly increased in SLE-S. Macrophages isolated from SLE patients released lower quantities of IL-1β after stimulation with BzATP, whereas IL-6 release was significantly augmented in SLE-NS respect to both HC and SLE-S after all types of stimulation. The [Ca2+]i increase following BzATP stimulation was significantly lower in PBMCs from SLE patients than in PBMCs from HC. RT-PCR showed significantly reduced P2X7R and significantly augmented NLRP3 expression in PBMCs from SLE patients.
Conclusion: Our data indicate reduced P2X7R expression and function in SLE patients compared with HC and, conversely, increased IL-6 signaling. The possible consequences of reduced P2X7R, mainly on cytokines network deregulation and lymphocyte proliferation, will be further investigated as well as the role of IL-6 as a possible therapeutic target especially in lupus serositis.