The Korean journal of internal medicine 2017 11 29() doi 10.3904/kjim.2017.224
To evaluate cellular immune function in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients over 60 years old, the association between antinuclear antibody (ANA) titers and the ratio of CD4+ /CD8+ was analyzed in this study. The distribution of ANAs and extractable nuclear antibodies (ENAs) in a healthy elderly population was also investigated.
Serum ANA titers were assayed by indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) and the CD4+ /CD8+ T-cell ratio was determined by flow cytometry in 76 SLE patients and 30 healthy control individuals. IIF of cytoplasm and nuclear and nucleolar staining were performed on samples taken from 286 healthy elderly individuals. ENA levels were determined using a strip enzyme immunoassay among patients that tested positive for ANAs.
ANA titers were negative in the 30 control individuals, but were positive in the 76 SLE patients. Based on ANA titers, the SLE patients were stratified to low (≤ 1:320), medium (1:640 to 1:1,280), and high (≥ 1:2,560) titer groups. The average CD4+ /CD8+ ratio of the SLE group was significantly lower than that of the control group. Among the 286 healthy elderly volunteers, 59 (20.63%) tested positive for ANAs. A homogeneous pattern was present in 47.46% of those 59 patients and a granule pattern in the karyoplasm was present in 33.90%. Furthermore, of the 59 patients, ENAs immunoassay was positive in 18 (30.51%); Sjogren syndrome-related antigen A (SSA)/52 kd and Sjogren syndrome antigen B (SSB)/La were the two major antibodies.
The significantly lower CD4+ /CD8+ ratio among SLE patients over 60 years old is associated with deregulated immune responses and the development of SLE. A low ANA titer (1:160) is common in healthy elders, emphasizing the importance of considering age when determining if the evaluation of ANA titers is to be included in autoimmune disease diagnosis.