We have studied the expressions of various protein kinase C (PKC) isoenzymes in T cells and monocytes from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), in comparison to those of healthy controls and patients with other immunological disorders. As measured by Western blotting, the levels of PKCβ, δ, η, ε, θ and ζ (but not of PKCα) significantly decreased in T cells of SLE patients. In monocytes, however, we observed marked suppressions only in the expressions of PKCδ, ε and ζ but not in the expressions of other PKC isoforms. In vivo corticosteroid application, as well as in vitro steroid treatment of monocytes, elevated the expressions of most isoforms close to normal values; however, the decreased levels of PKCθ and ζ were not affected by steroid application. These alterations were characteristic to SLE because we could not detect any changes in the PKC levels in mononuclear cells of primary Sjögren's syndrome and mixed connective tissue disease patients. These results suggest that impaired PKC isoenzyme pattern may exist in the T cells and monocytes of SLE patients. Furthermore, the clinically efficient glucocorticoid application in SLE can increase the expression of some members of PKC system.
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