Yanni JIANG1, Yi ZHAO1, Yi LIU1, Qiaorong HUANG2, Wentong MENG2, Hong XU2, Xianming MO2

1Department of Rheumatology and Immunology, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China
2Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology, State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, West China Hospital, Sichuan University and Collaborative Innovation Center For Biotherapy, Chengdu, China

Keywords: Arthritis, innate lymphoid cells, systemic lupus erythematosus


Objectives: This study aims to evaluate the frequency and absolute number of circulating innate lymphoid cell (ILC) subsets and their associations with clinical and serological features in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Patients and methods: We recruited 28 SLE patients (6 males, 22 females; mean age 37.57 years; range, 18 to 56 years) and 13 healthy controls (4 males, 9 females; mean age 32.08 years; range, 19 to 48 years). Circulating ILC subsets were identified by flow cytometry. Associations between all detected cells and SLE disease activity, clinical manifestations, and serum autoantibodies were analyzed.

Results: In this study, significantly higher frequencies of ILC2s and ILC3s, lower frequencies of ILC1s, and higher ILC1/ILC3 and ILC1/ILC2 ratios were observed in SLE patients than in healthy controls. The frequencies and number of ILC3s were positively associated with SLE disease activity index 2000 score and anti-double stranded deoxyribonucleic acid titers in patients with SLE. Decreased ILC1 frequencies, increased ILC3 frequencies, and decreased ILC1/ILC3 and ILC2/ILC3 ratios were observed in patients with arthritis compared to those without arthritis.

Conclusion: Our results indicated biased altered distributions of circulating ILC subsets in SLE. ILC3s were associated with SLE disease activity, and ILC1s, ILC3s, and ILC1/ILC3 and ILC2/ILC3 ratios were associated with SLE accompanied with arthritis. Taken together, these results suggest that ILCs may serve as cellular biomarkers for disease activity and arthritis involvement in SLE.

Citation: Jiang Y, Zhao Y, Liu Y, Huang Q, Meng W, Xu H, et al. Imbalanced innate lymphoid cells are associated with disease activity and arthritis involvement in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Arch Rheumatol 2020;35(4):521-532.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.

Financial Disclosure

The authors received no financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article.