In systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), IL-2 production by T lymphocytes in vitro is impaired. Deficient IL-2 production may be an outcome of a primary SLE T cell disorder that is due to impaired signal transduction. In this issue of the JCI, evidence is presented that an anti-TCR/CD3 complex autoantibody present in SLE sera can bind to T cells and activate the Ca2+-calmodulin kinase IV (CaMKIV) signaling cascade, resulting in downregulation of IL-2 transcription and IL-2 production. Because IL-2 may contribute to the maintenance of T cell tolerance, deficient IL-2 production could promote a breach of T cell tolerance that results in autoantibody production in SLE.
Gary M. Kammer