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Circulating Angiogenic T Cells Are Increased in Lupus Nephritis Patients

Peng Zhao, Jinlin Miao, Kui Zhang, Minghua Lv, Qing Han, Ping Zhu

(Department of Clinical Immunology, Xijing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an, Shaanxi, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24:5384-5390

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.908406

BACKGROUND: Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), especially with lupus nephritis (LN), undergo vascular damage and repair during the course of the disease. Since the recently identified angiogenic T cells (Tang) are involved in endothelial repair coupled with endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), this study investigated the circulating Tang cells in LN patients and their potential correlations with disease features.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Circulating Tang cells and EPCs were assessed by flow cytometry in peripheral blood samples from 67 SLE patients; of these, 32 had LN and 30 were matched healthy controls (HCs). The plasma levels of interleukin IL-17, IL-8, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were quantified by immunoassays.
RESULTS: The percentage of circulating Tang cells in LN patients was significantly increased as compared to the non-LN patients and HCs, and they were positively correlated with the level of EPC and VEGF. Additionally, circulating Tang cell percentages were positively correlated with the extent of proteinuria in LN patients.
CONCLUSIONS: The increased levels of circulating Tang cells in LN patients might play a role in the balance of endothelium dysfunction in these patients.

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