Phenotypic and Functional Consequences of PLT Binding to Monocytes and Its Association with Clinical Features in SLE

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Apr 29;22(9):4719. doi: 10.3390/ijms22094719.


Platelets (PLTs) can modulate the immune system through the release of soluble mediators or through interaction with immune cells. Monocytes are the main immune cells that bind with PLTs, and this interaction is increased in several inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Our aim was to characterize the phenotypic and functional consequences of PLT binding to monocytes in healthy donors (HD) and in SLE and to relate it to the pathogenesis of SLE. We analyzed the phenotypic and functional features of monocytes with non-activated and activated bound PLTs by flow cytometry. We observed that monocytes with bound PLTs and especially those with activated PLTs have an up-regulated HLA-DR, CD86, CD54, CD16 and CD64 expression. Monocytes with bound PLTs also have an increased capacity for phagocytosis, though not for efferocytosis. In addition, monocytes with bound PLTs have increased IL-10, but not TNF-α, secretion. The altered phenotypic and functional features are comparable in SLE and HD monocytes and in bound PLTs. However, the percentages of monocytes with bound PLTs are significantly higher in SLE patients and are associated with undetectable levels of anti-dsDNA antibodies and hematuria, and with normal C3 and albumin/creatinine levels. Our results suggest that PLTs have a modulatory influence on monocytes and that this effect may be highlighted by an increased binding of PLTs to monocytes in autoimmune conditions.

Keywords: immune modulation; lupus; monocytes; platelets.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / blood
  • Antigens, CD / biosynthesis
  • Apoptosis
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • HLA-DR Antigens / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / blood
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / biosynthesis
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • Neutrophils / pathology
  • Phagocytosis
  • Phenotype
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Antigens, CD
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • IL10 protein, human
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • P-selectin ligand protein
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-10