Background: There is still no reliable, specific biomarker for precision diagnosis and clinical monitoring of systemic lupus erythematosus. The aim of this study was to investigate the importance of the determination of immunofenotypic profiles (T, B lymphocytes and NK cells) and serum cytokine concentrations (IL-17 and IFN-alpha) as potential biomarkers for this disease. Methods: The study included 55 patients with SLE and 25 healthy controls. The proportion of T, B, NK cells were assessed in peripheral blood using flow cytometric assays while the serum cytokine concentration (IL-17 and IFNalpha) was determined by ELISA test. Results: ROC curve analysis showed good accuracy to distinguish between patients and healthy individuals for activated T cells (AUC=0.798; p<0.001), Treg (AUC= 0.651; p=0.036), and memory B cells (AUC=0.285; p=0.002). We found statistically significant difference (p=0.036) in the levels of serum IL-17 between patients with SLE (IL-17=49.27 pg/mL) and controls (IL-17= 28.64 pg/mL). Conclusions: Significant increase in the relative number of Treg lymphocytes, and decrease in memory B cells, as well as decrease level of IL-17, in SLE patients may be implicated in the pathogenesis of the disease. These parameters, as biomarkers, could distinguish SLE patients and no-SLE patients. Monitoring subpopulations of immune cells in peripheral blood using flow cytometry provides insight into abnormal T and B cell function in SLE. Progress in understanding the immunity at SLE, results in concrete benefits for the SLE patients, which include new clinical management and therapeutic strategies
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