Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease with a complex etiology. Opportunistic viral pathogens, such as human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), are particularly relevant. The role of the T cell response in SLE has not been deeply studied; we investigated the role of HCMV- and EBV-specific T cell responses in SLE patients also in relation to their pharmacological immunosuppressive status. PBMCs from 70 SLE patients and 50 healthy controls were stimulated with EBV- and HCMV-specific antigens, and IFN-γ-secreting T cells were quantified. We observed that both EBV- and HCMV-specific T cell responses were significantly lower in SLE patients compared with healthy subjects. We reported decreased EBV- and HCMV-specific T cell responses among medium-high immunosuppressed patients compared to low immunosuppressed patients. Immunosuppressive level could exert a role in the control of herpesviruses reactivation, even if the immunosuppressive condition of SLE remains the driving cause of skewed virus-specific T cell response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy