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Arthritis Research and Therapy

, 13:R62

First Online: 15 April 2011Received: 08 December 2010Revised: 15 March 2011Accepted: 15 April 2011


IntroductionMer and Tyro3 are receptor tyrosine kinases important for the phagocytosis of apoptotic cells. Together with Axl, they constitute the TAM receptor family. These receptors can be shed from the cell membrane and their soluble extracellular regions can be found in plasma. The objective of this study was to elucidate whether the plasma levels of soluble Mer sMer and Tyro3 sTyro3 were increased in systemic lupus erythematosis SLE, rheumatoid arthritis RA, or critical limb ischemia CLI.

MethodsELISA kits were used to test plasma concentrations in controls and in patients with SLE, RA or CLI.

ResultsIncreased levels of, in particular, sMer and, to some extent, sTyro3, were found in patients with SLE or RA, but not in patients with CLI. Patients with SLE demonstrated the highest sMer levels and there was a strong correlation to higher SLE disease activity score SLEDAI. In contrast, in patients with RA, the sMer levels did not correlate with the disease activity score DAS. In SLE, sMer levels were particularly high in those with lupus nephritis, patients who also had decreased C1q levels and increased titers of anti-DNA antibodies. After therapy, the plasma concentrations of sMer decreased in parallel to the decrease in SLEDAI score.

ConclusionsThe plasma concentrations of sMer and sTyro3 were significantly increased in patients with active SLE and RA, suggesting the TAM receptor shedding was affected by these autoimmune diseases. In particular, sMer was increased in SLE, the plasma levels of sMer reflecting disease activity.

AbbreviationsACRAmerican College of Rheumatology

ARAAmerican Rheumatology Association

anti-CCP Abanti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies

CLIcritical limb ischemia

DASDisease Activity Score

MCP-1monocyte chemotactic protein-1

POSphotoreceptor outer segment

RArheumatoid arthritis

RPEretinal pigment epithelial

RTKreceptor tyrosine kinase

sAxlsoluble Axl receptor

SLEsystem lupus erythematosis

SLEDAISLE Disease Activity Score

sMersoluble Mer receptor

sTyro3soluble Tyro3 receptor

TAMTyro3, Axl and Mer.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-ar3316 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Jun Wu - Carl Ekman - Andreas Jönsen - Gunnar Sturfelt - Anders A Bengtsson - Anders Gottsäter - Bengt Lindblad - Elisab


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