Serum and urinary interleukin-6 in systemic lupus erythematosus

E. Peterson, A. D. Robertson, W. Emlen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Dysregulation of IL-6 production has been proposed as a pathogenic mechanism in SLE. We asked if serum or urine IL-6 levels could serve as indicators of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) disease activity. Using a sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), we measured serum and urine IL-6 in 56 SLE patients. Disease activity was assessed using a standard clinical index, the Systemic Lupus Activity Measure (SLAM). Only seven of 56 SLE patients had elevated serum IL-6 levels, compared with 1 of 32 controls (NS). SLE disease activity did not correlate with serum IL-6 levels. Sixteen of 50 SLE patients in whom urine IL-6 was measured exhibited elevated urine IL-6 levels, compared with 1 of 17 controls (p = < 0.05). Urine IL-6 levels correlated with overall disease activity and with the presence of active urinary sediment. Our results indicate that serum IL-6 is not a predictor of disease activity in SLE, but that urine IL-6 may be a marker of active nephritis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-575
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Disease activity
  • Interleukin-6
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus


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