Elevated levels of the 90 kDa heat shock protein (hsp90) in SLE correlate with levels of IL-6 and autoantibodies to hsp90

J Autoimmun. 2001 Dec;17(4):341-6. doi: 10.1006/jaut.2001.0549.


Levels of the 90 kDa heat shock protein (hsp90) are elevated in a subset of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) due to enhanced transcription of the hsp90beta gene. In cultured cells, transcription of the hsp90beta gene is induced following exposure to IL-6 or IL-10 which are known to be elevated in SLE patients. Here we have measured the levels of hsp90 protein and of IL-6, IL-10 in SLE patients and normal controls. We demonstrate that the levels of hsp90 protein in individual patients correlate with the IL-6 level but not with the level of IL-10. Moreover, hsp90 protein levels in patients correlate with the presence of IgG autoantibodies to hsp90. These results support a model in which elevated levels of IL-6 in SLE patients induce elevated levels of hsp90 protein which in turn results in the production of autoantibodies to this protein.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Autoantibodies / immunology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins / blood
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Interleukin-10 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Interleukin-6 / immunology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / blood
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Autoantibodies
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-10