Expression of lncRNA NEAT1 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and its correlation with Th1/Th2 balance

Objective: This study explored and analyzed the expression of LncRNA NEAT1 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and its correlation with Th1/Th2 balance.

Methods: We chose 97 SLE patients admitted in our hospital from Jun. 2016 to Feb. 2019 as SLE group, and randomly selected 50 healthy volunteers that underwent physical examination in our hospital during the same period as control group. We detected the expression of LncRNA NEAT1 in PBMCs of the two groups of subjects by qRT-PCR, the degree of Th1 and Th2 cells in both groups by flow cytometry, and the expression of TFN-γ and IL-4 in both groups by ELISA.

Results: The relative expression of LncRNA NEAT1 in PBMCs of SLE group was higher than that of control group (P<0.05). The proportion of Th1 and the ratio of Th1/Th2 cells in PBMCs were markedly lower in the SLE group than the control group (P<0.05), while the proportion of Th2 was higher in the SLE group than the control group (P<0.05). IFN-γ level in SLE group was much lower than the control group (P<0.05), while IL-4 level was evidently higher in the SLE group than in controls (P<0.05). The expression of LncRNA NEAT1 in PBMCs of SLE group was notably negatively correlated with Th1 proportion and Th1/Th2 ratio (P<0.05), while positively correlated with Th2 proportion (P<0.05).

Conclusion: LncRNA NEAT1 in PBMCs of SLE patients is abnormally highly expressed, and this expression is negatively correlated with Th1/Th2 balance. These two factors may interact and jointly affect the occurrence and progression of SLE.

Keywords: LncRNA NEAT1; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Th1/Th2 balance; peripheral blood mononuclear cells.