Relationship between lupus nephritis activity and the serum level of soluble VCAM-1

Y Ikeda, T Fujimoto, M Ameno, H Shiiki, K Dohi
Lupus 1998, 7 (5): 347-54
We measured the serum levels of soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1), soluble E-selectin (sE-selectin) and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) in 72 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) (including patients with active nephritis) and 33 normal control subjects, to investigate the correlation between levels of adhesion molecules and disease and histological activity. Serum samples were obtained at the time of renal biopsy in 27 patients with lupus nephritis. The 27 patients were divided into groups according to the World Health Organization (WHO) class as follows: class I + II, n = 11; class III + IV, n = 13 and class V, n = 3. We also determined the activity index (AI) in these 27 renal biopsy specimens. We obtained serial measurements of the serum levels of soluble adhesion molecules in 11 patients to examine the difference between active and remission stages. The serum level of sVCAM-1, but not sE-selectin or sICAM-1, was correlated with parameters of SLE disease activity, including the SLE disease activity index score, the anti-double stranded DNA antibody titer, the C3 level, the C4 level and the CH50 level. The serum levels of sVCAM-1, sE-selectin and sICAM-1 were significantly higher in patients with SLE than in controls (P = 0.006, P = 0.0005 and P = 0.04, respectively). The serum level of sVCAM-1 was significantly higher in patients with active lupus nephritis (WHO classes III and IV) than in patients in inactive lupus nephritis (WHO classes I and II) (P = 0.0016). The sVCAM-1 level was significantly elevated in patients with an AI > or = 4 compared with patients with an AI < 4 (P = 0.0025). The sVCAM-1 level decreased significantly during remission (P = 0.0033). The serum level of sVCAM-1 was elevated in patients with active lupus nephritis (WHO classes III and IV) and in patients with high AI scores. The serum level of sVCAM-1 was correlated with the SLE disease activity and decreased during remission. Therefore, the sVCAM-1 level may be a useful marker of lupus nephritis activity.

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