Rheumatology (Oxford, England)

Increased plasma lactoferrin levels in leucocytapheresis therapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

PMID 24899661


The aim of this study was to clarify the mechanism of leucocytapheresis (LCAP) in patients with RA. Protein profiles of blood samples from two patients with RA obtained via LCAP column inlet and outlet lines were analysed by two-dimensional fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. The lactoferrin (LTF) levels of peripheral and circulating blood samples from seven patients obtained via the LCAP column blood circuit were then determined by ELISA. Peripheral blood samples from 14 patients with RA were exposed to unwoven polyester fibre filters and the LTF level was determined. In addition, morphological changes in neutrophils after exposure to the filter were examined by optical microscopy, electronic microscopy and LTF immunostaining. LTF levels were increased in both samples from the LCAP column outlet and peripheral blood at the end of LCAP treatment. Furthermore, peripheral blood samples exposed to the filter revealed a decreased number of neutrophils and an increased level of LTF. Morphological analysis of the exposed neutrophils showed vacuolization of the cytoplasm and degranulation of LTF-positive granules. These data suggest that LTF stored in the granules of neutrophils is released from the neutrophils caught in the LCAP column. Because LTF has been reported to have multiple anti-inflammatory properties, increased levels of LTF may contribute to the clinical effect of LCAP in patients with RA.