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Expression level of the growth factor progranulin is related with development of systemic lupus erythematosus

Feng Qiu1, Lijun Song1, Feng Ding1, Huaxiang Liu1, Qiang Shu1, Ning Yang1, Weiwei Liu1 and Xingfu Li12*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Rheumatology, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, Jinan 250012, P. R. China

2 Department of Rheumatology, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, No. 107, Wenhua Xi Road, Jinan 250012, P. R. China

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Citation and License

Diagnostic Pathology 2013, 8:88  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-8-88

Published: 23 May 2013



This study is to investigate the expression of progranulin (PGRN) in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients and the effect of glucocorticoid (GC) treatment on its expression.


Thirty newly diagnosed severe SLE patients and 30 healthy subjects were enrolled in this study. The serum levels of PGRN and the inflammatory factors of SLE were detected by ELISA and the mRNA expression of these proteins were detected by real-time PCR.


The serum levels of PGRN, IL-6, PR3, TNFR, TNF-α and anti-dsDNA antibody in SLE patients were increased significantly compared with healthy controls (P < 0.05). The relative expression of PGRN mRNA was increased by 4.88-fold in pre-treatment SLE patients compared with controls (P < 0.05). After prednisone treatment, the serum levels of PGRN decreased significantly, and the relative expression of PGRN mRNA was decreased by 1.34-fold compared with the untreated controls (P < 0.01). Moreover, Serum concentration of PGRN was correlated with serum levels of IL-6, TNF-α, TNFR and anti-dsDNA antibody in both pre-treatment and post-treatment SLE patients.


PGRN is up-regulated in the SLE patients and is correlated with pro-inflammatory cytokines and anti-dsDNA antibody. Glucocorticoids can down-regulate the expression of PGRN in SLE patients.

Virtual slides webcite

Systemic lupus erythematosus; Progranulin; Glucocorticoid; IL-6