Urinary TWEAK and the activity of lupus nephritis

Noa Schwartz, Lihe Su, Linda C. Burkly, Meggan Mackay, Cynthia Aranow, Maria Kollaros, Jennifer S. Michaelson, Brad Rovin, Chaim Putterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


The TNF superfamily cytokine TWEAK induces mesangial cells, podocytes, and endothelial cells to secrete pro-inflammatory chemokines including MCP-1, IP-10 and RANTES, which are crucial in the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis (LN). As TWEAK regulates the secretion of these inflammatory mediators, we studied whether urinary TWEAK (uTWEAK) levels might be predictive and/or diagnostic in LN. In a cross-sectional study of a large, multi-center cohort of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients, uTWEAK levels were higher in patients with active as compared to never or non-active nephritis (median (IQR): 16.3 (9.9-23.0) versus 5.5 (2.3-16.8) pg/mg creatinine, p = 0.001), and levels of uTWEAK correlated with the renal SLE disease activity index (rSLEDAI) score (r = 0.405, p < 0.001). uTWEAK levels were higher in patients undergoing a flare as compared to patients with chronic stable disease (11.1 (8.1-18.2) and 5.2 (2.3-15.3) pg/mg creatinine, respectively; p = 0.036). Moreover, uTWEAK levels were significantly higher in patients undergoing a renal flare, as opposed to a non-renal flare (12.4 (9.1-18.2) and 5.2 (3.0-11.9) pg/mg creatinine, respectively; p = 0.029). An accurate, non-invasive method to repeatedly assess kidney disease in lupus would be very helpful in managing these often challenging patients. Our study indicates that urinary TWEAK levels may be useful as a novel biomarker in LN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-250
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Autoimmunity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Lupus nephritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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