Effect of hydroxychloroquine treatment on pro-inflammatory cytokines and disease activity in SLE patients: Data from LUMINA (LXXV), a multiethnic US cohort

Academic Article


  • Objective: We sought to determine the effect of hydroxychloroquine therapy on the levels proinflammatory/prothrombotic markers and disease activity scores in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in a multiethnic, multi-center cohort (LUMINA). Methods: Plasma/serum samples from SLE patients (n=35) were evaluated at baseline and after hydroxychloroquine treatment. Disease activity was assessed using SLAM-R scores. Interferon (IFN)-α2, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8, inducible protein (IP)-10, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and soluble CD40 ligand (sCD40L) levels were determined by a multiplex immunoassay. Anticardiolipin antibodies were evaluated using ELISA assays. Thirty-two frequency-matched plasma/serum samples from healthy donors were used as controls. Results: Levels of IL-6, IP-10, sCD40L, IFN-α and TNF-α were significantly elevated in SLE patients versus controls. There was a positive but moderate correlation between SLAM-R scores at baseline and levels of IFN-α (p=0.0546). Hydroxychloroquine therapy resulted in a significant decrease in SLAM-R scores (p=0.0157), and the decrease in SLAM-R after hydroxychloroquine therapy strongly correlated with decreases in IFN-α (p=0.0087). Conclusions: Hydroxychloroquine therapy resulted in significant clinical improvement in SLE patients, which strongly correlated with reductions in IFN-α levels. This indicates an important role for the inhibition of endogenous TLR activation in the action of hydroxychloroquine in SLE and provides additional evidence for the importance of type I interferons in the pathogenesis of SLE. This study underscores the use of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of SLE. © The Author(s), 2012.
  • Published In

  • Lupus  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Willis R; Seif AM; McGwin G; Martinez-Martinez LA; González EB; Dang N; Papalardo E; Liu J; Vilá LM; Reveille JD
  • Start Page

  • 830
  • End Page

  • 835
  • Volume

  • 21
  • Issue

  • 8