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The positive correlations of apolipoprotein E with disease activity and related cytokines in systemic lupus erythematosus

Li-jun Song1, Wei-wei Liu1, Yu-chen Fan2, Feng Qiu1, Qi-lin Chen1, Xing-fu Li1 and Feng Ding1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Rheumatology, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, 107# Wenhua Xi Road, Jinan 250012, P.R. China

2 Department of Hepatology, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, Jinan, P.R. China

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Diagnostic Pathology 2013, 8:175  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-8-175

Published: 21 October 2013



The aim of this study is to investigate the expression of apolipoprotein E (apoE) and the relationship between apoE and disease activity of SLE, and the possible effects of glucocorticoid on apoE and other cytokines activities in SLE patients.


Forty treatment-naïve SLE patients and forty matched healthy controls were studied. All the SLE patients received prednisone 1 mg/kg/day for 28 consecutive days. The sera levels of apoE and related cytokines were evaluated by ELISA. The expression of apoE mRNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was determined by real-time PCR.


Compared with healthy controls, the relative expression levels of ApoE proteins and sera levels were significantly up-regulated in active SLE patients. ApoE sera concentrations positively correlated with SLEDAI, anti-dsDNA antibody and the related cytokines including IL-6, IFN-γ and IL-10, and uncorrelated with the concentration of total cholesterol (TC) and triglyceride (TG) in SLE patients. After 4 weeks prednisone treatment, the relative mRNA expression of apoE and the serum levels of apoE and related cytokines decreased.


ApoE correlated with disease activity and related cytokines in SLE patients. Glucocorticoid can down-regulate the expressions of apoE and related cytokines.

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Systemic lupus erythematosus; Apolipoprotein E; Anti-inflammatory cytokine; SLEDAI