BACKGROUND: The pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is poorly understood but has been linked to defective clearance of subcellular particulate material from the circulation. This study investigates the origin, formation, and specificity of circulating microparticles (MPs) in patients with SLE based on comprehensive MP proteome profiling using patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) and healthy donors (HC) as controls.
METHODS: We purified MPs from platelet-poor plasma using differential centrifugation of samples from SLE (n = 45), SSc (n = 38), and two sets of HC (n = 35, n = 25). MP proteins were identified and quantitated after trypsin digestion by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The abundance of specific proteins was compared between the groups using univariate statistics and false discovery rate correction for multiple comparisons. Specific proteins and protein ratios were explored for diagnostic and disease activity information using receiver-operating characteristic curves and by analysis of correlations of protein abundance with disease activity scores.
RESULTS: We identify and quantitate more than 1000 MP proteins and show that a subpopulation of SLE-MPs (which we propose to call luposomes) are highly specific for SLE, i.e. not found in MP preparations from HC or patients with another autoimmune, systemic disease, SSc. In SLE-MPs platelet proteins and mitochondrial proteins are significantly diminished, cytoskeletal proteins deranged, and glycolytic enzymes and apoptotic proteins significantly increased.
CONCLUSIONS: Normal MPs are efficiently removed in SLE, but aberrant MPs, derived from non-lymphoid leukocytes, are less efficiently removed and abundantly produced leading to an altered MP proteome in SLE. The data suggest that an abnormal generation of MPs may partake in the pathology of SLE and that new diagnostic, monitoring, and treatment strategies targeting these processes may be advantageous.
- Journal Article
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Circulating microparticles
- Systemic autoimmunity