Semaphorin 3A (sema3A) plays a regulatory role in immune responses, mainly affecting the activation of regulatory T cells. It has been found to correlate with disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). To investigate the expression of sema3A in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) compared to healthy controls and SLE disease controls and to correlate it with clinical characteristics, 27 SSc patients, 42 SLE patients and 28 healthy controls were enrolled. Serum level of sema3A was measured by ELISA, and expression of sema3A on regulatory T cells was evaluated by FACS analysis. SSc patients were evaluated for demographics, clinical manifestations, routine laboratory results, nailfold videocapillaroscopy, pulmonary function tests, echocardiograms, modified Rodnan skin score, and disease activity and severity scores. Serum levels of semaphorin 3A were lower in SSc compared to healthy controls 14.38 ± 5.7 versus 27.14 ± 8.4 ng/ml, p < 0.0001 and similar to SLE 15.7 ± 4.3 ng/ml. The expression of semaphorin 3A on regulatory T cells was also lower in SSc compared to healthy controls 61.7 ± 15.7 versus 88.7 ± 3. 7 % (p < 0.0001). Semaphorin 3A serum level inversely correlated with the duration of disease: r = −0.4, p = 0.036 and with low C4 level r = 0.66, p = 0.026. SCL-70 antibody positivity was associated with a lower semaphorin 3A level (difference in mean of 3.44, p = 0.06). Sema3A expression is low in SSc serum and more specifically on regulatory T cells. This may help explain the reduced activation of regulatory T cells in SSc.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
- Semaphorin 3A
- Systemic sclerosis
- T regulatory cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy