Objective: The objective of this study is to investigate the relationship of oxidative stress to fatigue in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Methods: Patients with a confirmed diagnosis of SLE by ACR criteria and healthy controls completed validated questionnaires to assess depression and fatigue. Fatigue was measured with the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) and the Profile of Fatigue (Prof-F). Visual analogue scales (VAS) were also used to assess fatigue and pain. Depression was measured with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Plasma F2-isoprostane was measured with gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy to assess oxidative stress. Evaluation included medical record review, physical exam and calculation of body mass index (BMI), disease activity (SLEDAI) and damage (SLICC) in the SLE patients. Results: Seventy-one SLE patients with low disease activity (mean SLEDAI=1.62 standard error (SE) 0.37, range 0-8) were compared to 51 controls. Fatigue-limiting physical activity (defined as FSS ≥4) was present in 56% of patients and 12% of controls. F2-isoprostane was higher in SLE patients with fatigue compared to not-fatigued SLE subjects (p=.0076) who were otherwise similar in ethnicity, disease activity and cardiovascular risk factors. Plasma F2-isoprostane was strongly correlated with FSS and Profile of Somatic Fatigue (Prof-S) (p<.0001), VAS fatigue (p=.005), CES-D (p=.008) and with BMI (p=.0001.) In a multivariate model, F2-isoprostane was a significant predictor of FSS after adjustment for age, BMI, pain and depression (p=.0002). Conclusion: Fatigue in SLE patients with low disease activity is associated with increased F2-isoprostane. F2-isoprostane could provide a useful biomarker to explore mitochondrial function and the regulation of oxidative pathways in patients with SLE in whom fatigue is a debilitating symptom.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- oxidative stress