Author(s): Spadaro A, Rinaldi T, Riccieri V, Taccari E, Valesini G
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: Several cytokines play a role in the production of autoantibodies such as RF and ANA by B-lymphocytes; the role of IL-13 in this process has not been previously studied. We investigated the relationship between the serum concentration of this cytokine and circulating autoantibodies. METHODS: IL-13 serum levels, as well as RF and ANA, were evaluated in 282 patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases including RA (n=84), SLE (n= 114), SS (n=52) and Scl (n=32). RESULTS: Serum levels of IL-13 (pg/ml) were significantly higher in patients with RA (p < 0.00003), SLE (p < 0.03), SS (p < 0.0007), or Scl (p < 0.025) compared to controls. IL-13 serum levels correlated with those of RF in RA (p < 0.00001), SLE (p < 0.003) and Scl (p < 0.03). IL-13 levels were higher in RA (p<0.0003), SLE (p<0.005) and Scl (p<0.05) patients with RF than in patients without RF. SS patients with antiSSA/Ro antibodies had significantly higher IL-13 levels than SS patients without this autoantibody (p < 0.04). No statistically significant correlation was found between IL-13 levels and any other antinuclear autoantibody, total immunoglobulin levels or the main clinicalfeatures of each disease. CONCLUSION: The evidence of higher IL-13 levels in our RA, SLE, SS and Scl patients confirms that this cytokine is involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune rheumatic diseases. The relationship of this cytokine with RF in RA, SLE and Scl, as well as with antiSSA/ Ro antibody in SS, strengthens the hypothesis that it plays a role in autoantibody production. However, the different autoantibody synthesis by B-cells recognises different pathways depending on the underlying autoimmune disease.
This article was published in Clin Exp Rheumatol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology