T cell abnormalities in systemic lupus erythematosus

Tsutomu Takeuchi, Kensei Tsuzaka, Thoru Abe, Keiko Yoshimoto, Kiyono Shiraishi, Hideto Kameda, Kouichi Amano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Because of the consensus that T cells play a central role in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), we explored the molecular basis of the defective function of SLE T cells for expression of signal transduction molecules, as well as surface structures such as adhesion molecules, by extensively testing peripheral blood T cells from SLE patients. Upregulated expression and function of adhesion molecules was observed in T cells from patients with active SLE who had specific clinical manifestations such as vasculitis, epithelitis and arthritis, but proximal signal transduction was defective. Comprehensive analysis to identify the molecules responsible for the defects showed the expression of the TCR ζ chain was attenuated, or absent in more than half of SLE patients. Moreover, the aberrant transcripts of the TCR ζ chain, including spliced variants lacking exon 7 and with a short 3′ UTR, were detected in SLE T cells. Although attenuated expression of the TCR ζ chain is also observed in patients with cancers, infections and other autoimmune diseases, sustained attenuation of TCR ζ expression and aberrant transcripts are only observed in SLE. In this review we discuss the unique features of the TCR ζ defects in SLE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-346
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Aug
Externally publishedYes


  • Adhesion molecules
  • Signal transduction
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • T cells
  • TCR ζ chain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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