, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 447-452

Increased serum levels of soluble interleukin-2 receptor in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis

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In this study we investigated the serum levels of a released soluble form of the interleukin-2 receptor (sIL-2R) in 42 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and in 12 cases of systemic lupus erythematosus. Data were evaluated in relationship to the clinical phase and compared with those observed in normal controls (N=56) and in osteoarthritis (N = 7). Increased levels were observed in both rheumatoid arthritis (mean ± SE, 604±49 U/ml) and systemic lupus erythematosus (1438±481 U/ml). These values were significantly higher than in control (256±15 U/ml;P<0.001) and in osteoarthritis (298±33 U/ml;P<0.001) groups. In addition, the highest values were associated with the active phases of both rheumatoid arthritis (active vs inactive, 771±78 vs 451±39 U/ml;P<0.001) and systemic lupus erythematosus (active vs inactive, 2108±489 vs 499±75 U/ml;P<0.001). Our findings suggest that the detection of sIL-2R in rheumatoid arthritis and in systemic lupus erythematosus may represent a good marker of disease activity, which indirectly indicates the ongoing activation and/or proliferation of immunoreactive cells which are involved in the pathogenetic events of these autoimmune conditions.