The Journal of rheumatology

Elevated Serum Levels of Soluble CD163 in Polymyositis and Dermatomyositis: Associated with Macrophage Infiltration in Muscle Tissue.

PMID 25877505


To investigate serum levels of soluble CD163 (sCD163) in patients with polymyositis (PM) and dermatomyositis (DM), and to correlate these to clinical manifestations and laboratory data. Serum levels of sCD163 were detected in 24 patients with PM, 84 patients with DM, and 46 healthy controls by using the ELISA method. Immunohistochemistry staining of macrophage infiltration in muscle tissue using anti-CD163 monoclonal antibody was conducted on muscle biopsy specimens from 13 patients with PM and 17 with DM. Serum levels of sCD163 were significantly increased in patients compared with healthy controls (p < 0.001). Patients with interstitial lung disease (ILD) had statistically higher sCD163 levels than patients without ILD (p < 0.001). High serum sCD163 levels were associated with increased incidence of antinuclear antibody (p < 0.05), higher serum levels of immunoglobulin G (p < 0.01) and immunoglobulin A (p < 0.05), and increased erythrocyte sedimentation rates (p < 0.01). Serum sCD163 levels were inversely correlated with CD3+ T cell counts in peripheral blood of patients (r = -0.306, p < 0.01). Cross-sectional assessment and longitudinal study revealed a significant correlation between serum sCD163 levels and disease activity. Patients with high serum sCD163 levels showed a higher incidence of CD163+ macrophage infiltration in muscle tissue than patients with normal sCD163 levels (chi-square value = 10.804, p < 0.01). Serum levels of sCD163 were significantly elevated and correlated with disease severity in patients with PM/DM, suggesting serum sCD163 as a promising biomarker in the disease evaluation of PM/DM. Our finding of elevated serum sCD163 levels associated with muscle macrophage infiltration highlights the role activated macrophage plays in the pathogenesis of PM/DM.