Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by a wide spectrum of autoantibodies, among which anti-ribosomal P (anti-P) antibodies are considered to be closely related to the neuropsychiatric SLE (NPSLE). Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) has been proven to be effective against a variety of autoimmune diseases and is an essential drug for the treatment of SLE. In this study, we investigated the effects of anti-ribosomal P (anti-P) antibodies on neural cells and determined whether hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) influenced the anti-P antibodies-induced changes. The results showed that the binding of anti-P antibodies with mouse neuroblastoma- 2a (N2a) cells and rat primary neurons resulted in elevated intracellular calcium levels, inducing decreased cell viability and cell apoptosis. These inhibitory effects were alleviated by HCQ in a concentration-dependent manner by reducing the intracellular calcium levels and modulating the expression of apoptotic proteins. In summary, our study demonstrates that anti-P antibodies induce neural cell damage. HCQ could ease the damage effects and may play a neuroprotective role in NPSLE.
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