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Original research
Glycosphingolipid-associated β-1,4 galactosyltransferase is elevated in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus
  1. Vignesh Sadras1,
  2. Michelle A Petri2,
  3. Steven Richard Jones3,
  4. Barbara Lee Peterlin4 and
  5. Subroto Chatterjee5
  1. 1Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  2. 2Division of Rheumatology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  3. 3Heart and Vascular Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  4. 4Lancaster General Health Physicians, Penn Medicine, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA
  5. 5Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Subroto Chatterjee; schatte2{at}


Objective β-1,4 galactosyltransferase-V (β-1,4 GalT-V) is an enzyme that synthesises a glycosphingolipid known as lactosylceramide, which has been implicated in general inflammation and atherosclerosis. We asked if β-1,4 GalT-V was present at elevated levels in patients with SLE, a disease which is associated with increased risk of atherosclerosis.

Methods In this case–control observational study, serum samples were obtained from patients with SLE who are part of the Johns Hopkins Lupus Cohort. Control serum samples were obtained from healthy adult community members recruited from the Baltimore area. All serum samples (n=50 in the SLE group and n=50 in the healthy control group) were analysed with enzyme-linked immunoassays. These assays used antibodies raised against antigens that enabled us to measure the absorbance of oxidised phosphocholines per apolipoprotein B-100 (ox-PC/apoB) and the concentration of lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) and β-1,4 GalT-V.

Results Absorbance of ox-PC/apoB and concentrations of Lp(a) and β-1,4 GalT-V were significantly higher in the SLE serum samples as compared with the control serum (p<0.0001).

Conclusions We conclude that patients with SLE have elevated levels of β-1,4 GalT-V and ox-PC, which have previously been recognised as risk factors for atherosclerosis.

  • systemic lupus erythematosus
  • atherosclerosis
  • lipids
  • inflammation

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  • Presented at A preliminary account of this work has been presented at the 2016 Annual ACR/ARHP Meeting (abstract #798).

  • Contributors VS analysed the data, communicated with the authors, and wrote and edited the manuscript. MAP planned and provided indepth clinical data on serum samples from patients with SLE and critiqued the manuscript. BLP provided clinical data and serum samples from normal subjects. SRJ designed and conceived the study and critiqued the manuscript and statistical analysis. SC conceived and designed the study, conducted the ELISA, and edited and wrote the manuscript.

  • Funding This work was supported by funds from NIH/NHLBI PO-1 HL-107153 (SC), AR43727 (MAP) and AR69572 (MAP).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The Johns Hopkins Institutional Review Board approval was obtained for this study. The Hopkins Lupus Cohort Study is approved by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Institutional Review Board on a yearly basis.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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