Background and aims Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterised by high levels of autoantibodies and multi-organ damage. Neutrophils are the most abundant leukocytes in Human blood, but it is not clear whether neutrophils exert an important role in the pathogenesis of organ tissue damage in SLE.
Methods We used lupus-prone mouse model and model of lupus serum-induced tissue inflammation in mouse to investigate the role of neutrophils in the organ damage of SLE.
Results We found that there was a little neutrophil infiltration in the inflammatory sites of skin, liver, brain and joint in lupus-prone mice. We also found that there was also little neutrophil infiltration in the site of skin inflammation induced by lupus serum in normal mouse. The severity of skin inflammation induced by lupus serum was not significantly decreased in mice with neutrophil depletion compared to ones without neutrophil depletion. But we found that neutrophils were actually involved in tissue injury induced by lupus IgG. Further studies showed that lupus IgG stimulated and activated neutrophils, and cause the death of neutrophils. Studies also confirmed that Fas plays an important role in neutrophils apoptosis.
Conclusions Our study indicates that neutrophils participate in the early stage of lupus organ damage, and then they died through activation-mediated apoptosis. These findings promote the understanding of the role of neutrophils in the tissue injury with SLE.
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