Reduced complement receptor 1 (CR1, CD35) transcription in systemic lupus erythematosus

Vaishali Arora, Jyotsna Verma, Raini Dutta, Vishal Marwah, Ashok Kumar, Nibhriti Das

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29 Scopus citations


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease characterized by the production of a broad spectrum of autoantibodies against nuclear, cytoplasmic and cell surface antigens and immune complex overload. Complement receptor 1 (CR1, CD 35), a transmembrane glycoprotein found on the surface of erythrocytes, leukocytes and glomerular podocytes plays a key role in the clearance of immune complexes and regulation of complement cascade. A drastic decline in the level of cell surface CR1 appears to be an important event in pathology of SLE. However, the etiology of lower than normal expression of cell surface CR1 in this disease is poorly understood. We studied the level of leukocyte CR1 transcription in 30 patients with active SLE and 30 controls by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and related the same with the level of CR1 protein expression monitored by Western blotting. For RT-PCR, ratio of CR1/β-actin was considered for semiquantitation of the level of CR1 transcription. Despite individual variation at the level of transcription, 70% (21 out of 30) of the patients expressed CR1 transcript at the lowest range of 0-15% as compared to the controls wherein only 30% (9 out of 30 individuals) demonstrated CR1 transcript in this range. Majority of the controls (70%) expressed CR1 transcript at the level above 15%. Mean level of CR1 transcript in patients (mean±S.D.=21.09±14.3) was significantly lower than the controls (mean±S.D.=48.91±26.34) (P<0.001). The level of CR1 transcription correlated inversely with circulating immune complexes (CIC) (r=0.52, P<0.01). This may suggest that although erythrocyte CR1 is the chief vehicle for CIC clearance, drastic decline in leukocyte CR1 expression may impair the phagocyte mediated immune complex clearance and contribute to increased complement consumption in SLE. Total leukocyte CR1 protein expression was also significantly reduced in patients (P<0.001) as compared to controls. This decline at the protein level gave a very significant positive correlation with CR1 transcript (r=0.67, P<0.01). A marginal increase in soluble CR1 (sCR1) was observed in the plasma (ELISA) of SLE patients compared to the controls but was insignificant. This paper for the first time brings evidence to suggest that reduced synthesis of CR1 contributes substantially to the low cell surface CR1 expression in SLE. Our findings also suggest increased proteolytic cleavage of leukocyte cell surface CR1 in these patients. However, evidence for the latter is indirect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-456
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Complement receptor 1
  • RT-PCR
  • Rythematosus
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Western blot
  • sCR1


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