Serum-soluble TRAIL: a potential biomarker for disease activity in myositis patients

  • Hang Zhou
  • Yunchao Wang
  • Kuo Bi
  • Haiyu Qi
  • Shuju Song
  • Mingzhu Zhou
  • Letian Chen
  • Guochun Wang
  • Ting DuanEmail author
Original Article



Tumor necrosis factor–related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a member of the TNF super-family, which is involved in the regulation of immune response and pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases, including polymyositis (PM) and dermatomyositis (DM). In this study, we examined the level and origin of serum-soluble TRAIL (sTRAIL) in patients with PM and DM and analyzed its association with disease activity and clinical features.


11 PM patients, 33 DM patients, and 20 healthy controls were enrolled in this study. Clinical features were recorded when admitted, and disease activity was evaluated by myositis disease activity assessment visual analogue scale (MYOACT). TRAIL expression in muscle tissues was detected by immunohistochemistry. Serum sTRAIL levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The expression of membrane TRAIL (mTRAIL) and its receptors, including DR4 and DR5, on circulating T cells was analyzed by flow cytometry.


TRAIL was expressed in infiltrated inflammatory cells in muscle tissues from patients. The serum sTRAIL level was markedly increased in patients and was positively correlated with the disease activity. Serum sTRAIL was decreased after therapy in patients and was specifically higher in patients with dysphagia, but lower in patients with autoantibody Jo-1 positive. The frequency of mTRAIL and its receptors on circulating T cells from patients were significantly elevated than that from healthy controls.


The serum sTRAIL could be a biomarker for evaluating the disease activity of PM and DM, and targeting the generation of TRAIL in T cells might be a potential approach in the treatment of PM and DM.


Biomarker Dermatomyositis Polymyositis Serum TRAIL 


Funding information

This study was supported by Research Foundation of Beijing Friendship Hospital, Capital Medical University (No. yyqdkt2016-9).

Compliance with ethical standards

The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Beijing Friendship Hospital (approved number: 2018-P2-204-01). Informed consent was obtained from all enrolled participants for their data to be used for this study. Patients did not receive any financial compensation.




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Copyright information

© International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hang Zhou
    • 1
  • Yunchao Wang
    • 2
  • Kuo Bi
    • 3
  • Haiyu Qi
    • 1
  • Shuju Song
    • 1
  • Mingzhu Zhou
    • 1
  • Letian Chen
    • 1
  • Guochun Wang
    • 4
  • Ting Duan
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of RheumatologyBeijing Friendship Hospital, Capital Medical UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Medical and Health Center, Beijing Friendship HospitalCapital Medical UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of PathologyBeijing Friendship Hospital, Capital Medical UniversityBeijingChina
  4. 4.Department of RheumatologyChina-Japan Friendship HospitalBeijingChina

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