Objective: To investigate how sera from 37 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) stimulate interleukin (IL) 6 release from IL-1beta pretreated endothelial cells and compare these effects to those of sera from 16 normal controls.
Methods: Endothelial cells pretreated 18 h with IL-1beta (5 U/ml) were incubated 2 h with sera diluted 10-fold with phosphate buffered saline (PBS). IL-6 concentrations in endothelial culture supernatants collected after incubation were measured by ELISA.
Results: Compared with PBS, sera from controls and 24 patients with SLE suppressed IL-6 release from IL-1beta pretreated cells. However, sera from 13 patients with SLE augmented IL-6 release. Of note, sera from 5 patients with pulmonary hypertension induced the highest level of IL-6 release. IgG from control sera suppressed IL-6 release, whereas F(ab')2 did not. Both IgG and F(ab')2 from the sera of patients with SLE with pulmonary hypertension augmented IL-6 release from IL-1beta pretreated cells.
Conclusion: IgG antiendothelial cell antibodies from patients with SLE may be associated with the pathogenesis of SLE and pulmonary hypertension.