The effect of intravenous cyclophosphamide pulse on peripheral blood lymphocytes in lupus erythematosus patients
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In the present study we investigated the long-term effect of intravenous pulse cyclophosphamide (CY) on lymphocyte surface antigens in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients. Blood samples derived from 17 lupus erythematosus patients were analysed using two- and three-colour flow cytometry. During the CY therapy, the total number of T lymphocytes (CD3+) was reduced by 31.4%, B lymphocytes (CD19+) by 67.4% and NK cells (CD16+) by 27.4%. Six months after the end of the CY regimen, these values recovered to entry levels. At the onset of the study we observed increased percentages of CD3+ CD25+, CD3+ CD4– CD8–, CD4+ CD29+, CD19+ and CD19+ CD5+ cells. The CY treatment regimen decreased the CD3+ CD25+, CD3+ CD4– CD8–, CD19+ and CD19+ CD5+ cells, but increased the CD3+ CD8+ subpopulation. Taken together, a deficiency of CD8+ T cells associated with CD4+ CD29+ predominance may imply an immune regulatory imbalance leading to abnormal CD4+ cell activation and in consequence to autoimmunity. Depletion of CD19+ cells combined with an enlargement of CD8 cells as a result of CY therapy may reduce the enhanced immune response in SLE patients.
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