Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 6473204, 16 pages
Research Article

Impaired Cytokine Responses to Epstein-Barr Virus Antigens in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Patients

1Department of Autoimmunology and Biomarkers, Statens Serum Institut, 2300 Copenhagen, Denmark
2Department of Congenital Disorders, Statens Serum Institut, 2300 Copenhagen, Denmark
3Department of Rheumatology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

Received 12 November 2015; Accepted 6 March 2016

Academic Editor: Ethan M. Shevach

Copyright © 2016 Anette Holck Draborg et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We analyzed cytokine responses against latent and lytic Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antigens in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients and healthy controls (HCs) to obtain an overview of the distinctive immune regulatory response in SLE patients and to expand the previously determined impaired EBV-directed T-cell response. The concentrations of 14 cytokines (IL2, IL4, IL5, IL6, IL10, IL12, IL17, IL18, IL1β, IFNγ, TNFα, TNFβ, TGFβ, and GM-CSF) were quantified upon stimulation of whole blood with latent state antigen EBNA1, lytic cycle antigen EBV-EA/D, and the superantigen SEB. To avoid results affected by lack of lymphocytes, we focused on SLE patients with normal levels. Decreased induction of IL12, IFNγ, IL17, and IL6 upon EBNA1 stimulation and that of IFNγ, IL6, TNFβ, IL1β, and GM-CSF upon EBV-EA/D stimulation were detected in SLE patients compared to HCs. IFNγ responses, especially, were shown to be reduced. Induction of several cytokines was furthermore impaired in SLE patients upon SEB stimulation, but no difference was observed in basic levels. Results substantiate the previously proposed impaired regulation of the immune response against latent and lytic cycle EBV infection in SLE patients without lymphopenia. Furthermore, results indicate general dysfunction of leukocytes and their cytokine regulations in SLE patients.