T cell subsets and immunoglobulin G levels are associated with the infection status of systemic lupus erythematosus patients

<div><p>Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic, autoimmune disorder that affects nearly all organs and tissues. As knowledge about the mechanism of SLE has increased, some immunosuppressive agents have become routinely used in clinical care, and infections have become one of the direct causes of mortality in SLE patients. To identify the risk factors indicative of infection in SLE patients, a case control study of our hospital's medical records between 2011 and 2013 was performed. We reviewed the records of 117 SLE patients with infection and 61 SLE patients without infection. Changes in the levels of T cell subsets, immunoglobulin G (IgG), complement C3, complement C4, globulin, and anti-double-stranded DNA (anti-ds-DNA) were detected. CD4+ and CD4+/CD8+ T cell levels were significantly lower and CD8+ T cell levels were significantly greater in SLE patients with infection than in SLE patients without infection. Additionally, the concentrations of IgG in SLE patients with infection were significantly lower than those in SLE patients without infection. However, complement C3, complement C4, globulin, and anti-ds-DNA levels were not significantly different in SLE patients with and without infection. Therefore, clinical testing for T cell subsets and IgG is potentially useful for identifying the presence of infection in SLE patients and for distinguishing a lupus flare from an acute infection.</p></div>