Autoantibodies, elevated cytokines, and neurocognitive abnormalities in offspring of women with systemic lupus erythematosus: comparison with healthy controls

Maria Gariup, Sara Lera-Miguel, Ferrán Torres, Eva Varela, Carles Serra-Pagès, Azucena González-Navarro, Gerard Espinosa, Luisa Lázaro, Ricard Cervera, Astrid Morer

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2 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019, International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR). Introduction: Research describes higher incidence of neurodevelopmental disorders and learning disabilities in offspring of women affected by lupus. Factors implied are pregnancy and delivery adversities and exposure to maternal antibodies and cytokines. Little is known about the offspring immunological condition or the relation between offspring and maternal condition. Objectives: This study was conducted in order to analyze immunological configuration, psychopathology, and neuropsychological performance of young offspring of women with lupus, in comparison with healthy controls and in relation to maternal psychophysical condition. Methods: Twenty-one offspring aged 8–17 of 17 women with lupus and 34 controls were recruited. Pregnancy conditions, stress factors, and immunological, psychopathological, and neuropsychological characteristics were compared. Immunological tests included standard lupus screening, lupus-related autoantibodies, antibodies against GluN2 subunit of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) (anti-DWEYS Ab), and levels of ten cytokines (IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, GMCSF, IFN-γ, TNF-α). Results: Offspring had lower leukocyte count (p = 0.001) and higher levels of anti-dsDNA Ab (p = 0.022), anti-DWEYS-GluN2 Ab (p < 0.001), and eight cytokines (IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, TNF-α—all p < 0.001—and IFN-γ, p = 0.026) than controls. Their cytokine levels did not differ from their mothers’; 23.9% of offspring met the criteria for a clinical psychiatric diagnosis. No differences were found in intelligence measures. Various neuropsychological scores correlated inversely with maternal psychophysical health. Conclusions: Offspring’s profile suggests proinflammatory and autoimmune activation. Their rate of psychiatric diagnosis appears higher than in the general population, and their cognitive performance is related to maternal psychophysical health. Longitudinal research might investigate whether immunological and psychosocial conditions influence psychopathology and cognition. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2529-2539
JournalClinical Rheumatology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019


  • Anti-DWEYS
  • Anti-NMDA/glutamate receptor antibodies
  • Cognitive development
  • Cytokines
  • Parental depression
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus


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