Clinical rheumatology

The protective effect of GM-CSF on serum-induced neutrophil apoptosis in juvenile systemic lupus erythematosus patients.

PMID 25344776


Juvenile systemic lupus erythematosus (JSLE) is one of the most common autoimmune diseases in children and can affect multiple organs and systems. The etiology remains unclear, and current management only suppresses rather than eliminates the disease. The pathogenesis is triggered by autoantigens that induce autoantibody production. Apoptotic neutrophils may be one source of autoantigens in JSLE, and increased numbers of apoptotic neutrophils in JSLE have been reported. This study aimed to determine if factor(s) in JSLE serum induce neutrophil apoptosis, to identify the most potent cytokine in delaying neutrophil apoptosis, and to investigate whether this cytokine can reverse the pro-apoptotic effects of JSLE serum. Blood neutrophils and sera were collected from JSLE patients, healthy children and adult controls. Neutrophils from healthy adult controls were incubated with 10xa0% serum from either JSLE patients or pediatric controls. Neutrophils from healthy adult controls were also incubated with 10xa0% JSLE serum with or without granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) supplementation. Neutrophil apoptosis was measured by flow cytometry (annexin-V/propidium iodide staining). Caspase-3, caspase-7 and caspase-8 protein expression was detected using Western blotting. Neutrophils incubated with JSLE sera had significantly increased apoptosis at 6xa0h compared to those incubated with control sera. Cleaved (active) forms of caspase-3, caspase-7 and caspase-8 were identified in neutrophils incubated with JSLE sera (that showed high rates of apoptosis) compared to control sera. GM-CSF had the most protective effect on neutrophil apoptosis, significantly preventing neutrophil apoptosis and caspase activation induced by JSLE serum. JSLE serum significantly induced neutrophil apoptosis in healthy adult neutrophils, activating the extrinsic pathway of apoptosis. The observation that GM-CSF prevents activation of apoptosis in response to JSLE serum should prompt further studies to evaluate the therapeutic potential of this cytokine for the treatment of JSLE.