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The objective of this study was to explore the relationship between serum levels of β2-microglobulin (β2MG), which some studies suggest reflect disease activity in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and various clinical and immunological markers of disease activity in SLE. Twenty-six SLE patients and 10 healthy controls were included. Disease activity was assessed by: SLEDAI, 24 hr-proteinuria, circulating levels of complement C3, anti-double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA), β2MG and various pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-18) measured with a multiplex assay, IFN-α assessed with a reporter gene assay, and a combined expression score of 12 IFN-α inducible genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Median serum levels of β2MG were significantly higher in SLE patients vs controls (2.8 mg/L, range: 1.1-21.6 and 1.2 mg/L, range: 0.9-1.7, respectively, p < 0.001). β2MG was correlated with SLEDAI score (R = 0.68, p < 0.001), 24 hr-proteinuria (R = 0.64, p < 0.001), and complement C3 (R = -0.52, p = 0.007). The cytokines were significantly correlated with β2MG: IL-6 (R = 0.45, p = 0.02), IL-8 (R = 0.75, p < 0.001), IL-10 (R = 0.67, p < 0.001) and IL-18 (R = 0.71, p < 0.001) as were serum IFN-α (R = 0.45, p = 0.02) and the IFN-α inducible gene-score (R = 0.51, p = 0.01). The results support that β2MG may serve as a marker of disease activity in SLE. The correlations with the measured cytokines indicate that increased β2MG in SLE reflects immunological activity.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1098 - 1104


Adult, Aged, Antibodies, Antinuclear, Biomarkers, Case-Control Studies, Complement C3, Cytokines, Female, Gene Expression, Humans, Interferon-alpha, Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic, Middle Aged, Young Adult, beta 2-Microglobulin