Background: Activated CD8+ T cells play an important role in the pathogenesis of dermatomyositis (DM) with interstitial pneumonia (IP). Serum CD8+ T-cell activator, LIGHT, and Th1/Th2/Th17 cytokines were measured in DM-IP patients and compared with clinical parameters to investigate their usefulness.
Methods: The correlations between the clinical findings and serum LIGHT and Th1/Th2/Th17 cytokine levels were investigated in 21 patients with DM-IP (14 with rapidly progressive IP [RPIP] and 7 with chronic IP [CIP], including 4 fatal cases of IP).
Results: The median serum LIGHT level was 119 (16-335.4) pg/ml, which was higher than that in healthy control subjects and DM patients without IP. The median serum IL-6 level was 14.7 (2.4-154.5) pg/ml (n = 13). The other cytokines were detected in only a few patients. The median serum LIGHT level in DM-RPIP patients (156 [49.6-335.4] pg/ml) was significantly higher than that in DM-CIP patients (94.3 [16-164.2] pg/ml) (P = 0.02). The serum IL-6 level did not correlate with either progression or outcome of DM-IP. ROC curve analysis determined a serum LIGHT level of ≥120 pg/ml to be the cut-off value for the rapid progression of DM-IP. Serum LIGHT levels correlated significantly with %DLco (R = 0.55, P = 0.04) and total ground-glass opacity scores (R = 0.72, P = 0.0002). The serum LIGHT level significantly decreased to 100.5 (12.4-259.3) pg/ml 4 weeks after treatment initiation (P = 0.04).
Conclusions: The serum LIGHT level may be a promising marker of disease progression and severity in patients with DM-IP.