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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 12, Issue 5, Pages 293-298

Vascular endothelial growth factor and its soluble receptors VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 in the serum of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus

1Department of Dermatology and Venerology, Medical University of Łódź, Łódź, Poland
2Department of Hematology, Medical University of Łódź, ul. Pabianicka 62, and Copernicus Memorial Hospital, Łódź 93-513, Poland

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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 investigated the serum concentration of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its two soluble receptors, sVEGFR-1 and sVEGFR-2, in a group of 60 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and 20 healthy controls, using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We examined a possible association between serum levels of these proteins and certain clinical and laboratory parameters as well as SLE activity. VEGF, sVEGFR-1 and sVEGFR-2 were detectable in all patients with SLE and in all normal individuals. The VEGF level was higher in active SLE (mean, 300.8 pg/ml) than in inactive SLE (mean, 165.9 pg/ml) (P<0.05) or in the control group (mean, 124.7 pg/ml) (P<0.04). The highest sVEGFR-1 concentrations were also detected in active SLE patients (mean, 42.2 pg/ml) and the lowest in inactive disease (mean, 32.0 pg/ml) (P<0.01). In contrast, the levels of sVEGFR-2 were lower in SLE (mean, 12557.6 pg/ml) than in the control group (mean, 15025.3 pg/ml) (P<0.05). We found a positive correlation between sVEGFR-1 concentration and the SLE activity score ρ=0.375(P<0.004) and a negative, but statistically insignificant correlation between sVEGFR-2 and SLE activity (ρ=0.190, P>0.05). Treatment with steroids and cytotoxic agents did not influence VEGF or its soluble receptors levels. In conclusion, in SLE patients the levels of VEGF and sVEGFR-1 are higher in patients with active SLE than in inactive disease or healthy persons. In contrast, the level of sVEGFR-2 is lower in active SLE than in inactive disease. The imbalance between VEGF and its soluble receptors may be important in SLE pathogenesis.