Natural killer cell in systemic lupus erythematosus

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Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease with acute periodic recurrences affecting multiple organ systems, characterized by loss of tolerance to nucleic acids, and has a wide variety of clinical manifestations, leading to potentially lifethreatening complications. SLE also can affect the innate and adaptive immune system.

Natural Killer cells (NK) are lymphocytes in innate immune system that has a contribution to autoimmune diseases. Pathogenesis of SLE have shown a formation of Neutrophil Extracellular Trap (NET), Interferon (IFN) signatures, changes in Dendritic Cell (DC), changes in T cells, and changes in Natural Killer (NK) cells. The presence of NET will cause more antigen presentation so that excessive autoantibodies are formed, and immune complexes are deposited in various body tissues, which causes disease activity to worsen. This is due to the reduced role of NK cells as immunoregulators due to the influence of IFN. This study is intended to compare the number and percentage of activated NK cells in mild and severe SLE.

We conducted activated NK cell measurements in inpatient and outpatient SLE patients at Dr. Soetomo Hospital, Surabaya, from October 2019 to January 2020. The percentage of activated NK cell is measured based on CD69 expression. There was a substantial difference in the number of NK cells and the percentage of activated NK cells between mild SLE group and severe SLE group based on CD69 expression. The average number of NK cells in the mild SLE group was higher than the average number of NK cells in the severe SLE group. This is consistent with the theory that the more active SLE disease, the more NK cells undergo apoptosis. This causes autoantigens’ availability that triggers more intense inflammation, which is reflected in the activity of SLE disease.

Author: Dr. Gatot Soegiarto, dr., Sp.PD, K-AI

Detailed information from this research can be seen on our article at:

Nurani WK, Soegiarto G, Yuliasih. Natural Killer Cell in Mild and Severe Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, J Int Dent Med Res 2021, 14(4):1736-1742

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