Rheumatology International

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 997–1002

Circulating endothelial progenitor cells are reduced in SLE in the absence of coronary artery calcification

  • Joshua F. Baker
  • Lifeng Zhang
  • Sotonye Imadojemu
  • Alexis Sharpe
  • Sarita Patil
  • Jonni S. Moore
  • Emile R. MohlerIII
  • Joan Von Feldt
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00296-010-1730-9

Cite this article as:
Baker, J.F., Zhang, L., Imadojemu, S. et al. Rheumatol Int (2012) 32: 997. doi:10.1007/s00296-010-1730-9

Abstract

Circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are reduced in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). A reduced number of EPCs are associated with the presence of atherosclerosis in other populations. We sought to determine whether the reduction in EPC numbers in SLE is dependent on the presence of advanced coronary artery calcification (CAC). Patients with SLE had previous coronary calcium scores which placed them in either the >75th percentile or <25th percentile for their age. Seventeen patients with SLE and 13 healthy controls (HC) were included in the study. White blood cells were stained for EPC and progenitor cell markers including CD34, CD133, and VEGFR and analyzed by flow cytometry. SLE patients had repeated coronary imaging as well as carotid ultrasound. There was no difference in age between groups. SLE patients with advanced CAC were more likely to be hypertensive, to be smokers, and to have longer disease duration than SLE patients without CAC. SLE patients without evidence of CAC had a significantly lower number of EPCs (CD34+/CD133+/VEGFR+) compared to HC (median (IQR)) 0 (0, 6.7) vs. 10.2 (5.8, 12.3) (P = 0.02). Total numbers of PCs (CD133+/CD34+) were not significantly decreased in patients with SLE ((mean ± SEM) 1,007 ± 154 vs. 824 ± 170 (P = 0.20)). No significant difference was seen in EPC number between SLE patients without CAC and those with advanced CAC. Increased carotid intima-media thickness did not correlate with CAC or EPC number in SLE patients. Reduced numbers of EPCs in SLE patients may be observed compared to HC even in the absence of CAC. Differences in measured risk factor profiles and depletion of total circulating PCs do not fully explain this finding.

Keywords

Endothelial progenitor cells Systemic lupus erythematosus Coronary artery calcification Atherosclerosis 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joshua F. Baker
    • 1
  • Lifeng Zhang
    • 2
  • Sotonye Imadojemu
    • 1
  • Alexis Sharpe
    • 1
  • Sarita Patil
    • 1
  • Jonni S. Moore
    • 3
  • Emile R. MohlerIII
    • 2
  • Joan Von Feldt
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Rheumatology, Department of MedicineHospital of the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Section of Vascular MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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