Our aim is to evaluate the complement component C4 (C4) and its fragment C4d (C4d) levels, focusing on their associations with other markers of B cells’ activity in patients with primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS). Humoral factors C4, C4d, B cell-activating factor (BAFF), κ and λ free light chains (FLCs) and IgG (by immunoassay) were investigated in 58 patients with pSS and in 28 healthy controls. We observed significantly higher levels of BAFF, κ and λ FLC and IgG, and significantly lower level of C4 in pSS patients, while the level of C4d was similar in the both groups. Significantly higher levels of BAFF, κ and λ FLCs, IgG, and significantly lower C4 level were found in anti-SSA/SSB antibodies (Abs) seropositive pSS patients’ group comparing with healthy controls. Level of C4d was significantly lower in anti-SSA/SSB Abs seropositive pSS patients comparing with seronegative pSS patients and healthy controls. C4d correlated with C4, anti-SSB Abs level and κ/λ ratio. Significantly higher κ FLC and IgG levels were found in anti-SSA/SSB Abs seronegative pSS patients comparing with healthy controls. Anti-SSA/SSB seropositivity in pSS patients is associated with the decreased level of C4d. These results show that C4d can be an appropriate marker of antibody response and complement activation in pSS patients with Abs, and possibly may show the more severe condition—exhaustion of C4. Further studies are required to determine whether C4d assessment could be a relevant biomarker for the more severe condition and the worse prognosis of pSS.
Primary Sjögren’s syndrome Complement C4 Complement fragment C4d Immunoglobulin free light chain B cell-activating factor IgG
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This research was funded by a grant number LIG—23/2010 from the Research Council of Lithuania.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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