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Analysis of plasma cytokines levels prior to BCDT and six months after RTX treatment of all rheumatic patients showed that IL-6 and IL-8 were significantly elevated in patients prior to RTX compared with controls (Figures 1A and 1B, Table S1).
Prior to BCDT, IL-6 and IL-8 are elevated in RA patients, while in SLE- associated PolyA only IL-8 is increased
Prior to BCDT, RA patients showed increased levels of IL-6 and IL-8 compared with controls, while PolyA patients showed elevated levels only for IL-8 (Figures 2A and 2B), although a non-significant difference in IL-6 was detected (p=0.055).
After BCDT, IL-6 decreased in RA patients, whereas IL-8 decreased in SLE-associated PolyA patients
However, bearing in mind that a substantial proportion of our sample (82%) had RA, and based on the mounting evidence that supports (a) the potential of ACPAs in inducing IL-8 secretion (50) and (b) the existence of IL-8 (8) and IL-6 (7) secretion by B-cells, we hypothesize that a significant reduction of these cytokines after BCDT should be observed.
Of note, after BCDT a trend towards elevation of TGF-[beta]1 was observed in RA patients (Table S2).
Our analysis of plasma cytokines before and after BCDT therapy supports the importance of B-cells cytokine secretion in RA and SLE-associated PolyA, and suggests a differential role in each pathology.
As expected (22,51,52,53), patients with RA had higher levels of IL-6 compared with controls and presented a significant decrease after 6-months of BCDT (Figure 2A).
In contrast, after 6-months of BCDT a significant decrease was only observed in SLE-associated PolyA patients (Figure 2B), that, to our knowledge, has not been previously reported.
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