The complement system plays a pathophysiological role in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This study aims to investigate whether an association exists between the ficolins that are part of the lectin complement pathway and SLE. EDTA plasma samples from 68 Danish SLE patients and 29 healthy donors were included in the study. Plasma concentrations of Ficolin-1, -2, and -3 were determined in specific sandwich ELISAs. Lectin pathway activity via Ficolin-3 was measured in ELISA on acetylated bovine serum albumin (acBSA) and measured as Ficolin-3 binding and deposition of C4, C3 and the terminal complement complex (TCC). SLE patients had increased levels of Ficolin-3, 21.6μg/ml as compared to 17.0μg/ml in healthy controls (P=0.0098). The Ficolin-1 plasma concentration was negatively correlated with SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) (Rho=-0.29, P=0.015) and positively correlated to the [Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics (SLICC)/American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Damage Index] (SDI) (Rho=0.27, P=0.026). The Ficolin-1 concentration was also associated with the occurrence of arterial (P=0.0053) but not venous thrombosis (P=0.42). Finally, deposition of C4, C3 and TCC in the Ficolin-3 pathway were all correlated to SLEDAI, respectively (P<0.0076). The Ficolin-1 association to SLEDAI and SDI as well as arterial thrombosis shown in this study suggests that Ficolin-1 may be a potential new biomarker for patients with SLE. Furthermore, Ficolin-3 mediated complement activation may be valuable in monitoring disease activity in SLE patients due to the high sensitivity for complement consumption in the assay independent of the Ficolin-3 concentration.
Molecular Immunology, 2015, Vol 63, Issue 2, p. 209-214