Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is characterized by expansion of autoreactive lymphocytes and impaired management of oxidative stress. Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2) plays a significant role in maintaining the redox homeostasis of cell. The present study aims to investigate the frequency of peripheral B cell subsets and the redox regulation by Nrf2 in SLE patients with variable disease activity. For this, a total of forty (40) SLE patients and twenty (20) age and gender-matched healthy controls (HCs) were recruited where patients with SLEDAI < 6 were grouped as Inactive SLE (n = 20) and patients with SLEDAI ≥ 6 were grouped as Active SLE (n = 20). A proportion of peripheral B cell subsets, level of ROS and expression of Nrf2 and Keap1 were studied with the help of flow cytometry and multiplex cytokine bead assay was exploited to estimate the serological concentration of cytokines. The frequency of B cell subsets was significantly altered and correlated with SLEDAI score. Concentration of IFNα2, IFN-β, BAFF, APRIL and IL-6 was also raised in active SLE patients. Moreover, the level of cytosolic ROS was universally decreased while mitochondrial ROS was increased in B cell subsets. The expression of Nrf2 and Keap1 (a negative regulator of Nrf2) was significantly increased in B cell subsets of SLE patients. Here, it has been demonstrated that the frequency of peripheral B cell subsets varies with modification in the SLE disease activity. The given data also demonstrated that the expression of Nrf2 is significantly heightened in B cell subsets to deal with free radical stress.
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