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This study evaluated some cytokines involved in the Th1-Th2 shift during pregnancy in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and healthy women. Twenty-seven consecutive successful pregnancies in 26 SLE patients and 28 pregnancies in 28 matched healthy subjects, as controls, were enrolled and prospectively studied. Sera obtained at first and third trimesters of pregnancy were tested for IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p70, INF-γ, and TNF-α with a highly sensitive, multiplexed sandwich ELISA (SearchLight Human Inflammatory Cytokine Array). Statistics were performed by SPSS package. IL-8 serum levels were higher in the first (P<0.0001) and third (P=0.003) trimesters of pregnancy in SLE patients compared with controls, INF-γ serum levels in the third trimester (P=0.009), and IL-10 serum levels in the first and third trimesters (P=0.055 and P<0.0001, respectively). IL-2 (r=0.524 P=0.010), IL-12 (r=0.549 P=0.007), IFN-γ (r=0.492 P=0.017), and IL-6 (r=0.515 P=0.020) serum levels correlated with disease activity in SLE patients in the first trimester of pregnancy. Cytokine profile was similar in patients with and without lupus nephritis both in the first and in the third trimesters of pregnancy. IL-8 serum levels were lower in patients with a previous diagnosis of antiphospholipid antibody syndrome compared with those without, both in the first and in the third trimesters of pregnancy. In SLE patients, a lower than expected decrease in Th1 cytokine serum levels was observed in the third trimester of gestation which could contribute to a lower Th2 cytokine polarization during pregnancy.
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