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Objective. The aim of this study was to determine whether the proportions of naive and memory CD4+ T cell are independently associated with the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in patients with SLE. Methods. This cross-sectional study was conducted in SLE patients seen at our rheumatology department between September 2013 and April 2014. CD4+ T cell subpopulations were examined by flow cytometry. The association of MetS and CD4+ T cell subpopulations was examined by MannWhitney U-test and by multivariable analysis, adjusting for all possible confounding variables.

Results. One hundred and seventeen patients were evaluated. Their mean age was 44.6 years (S.D. 12.6), 109 (93.2%) were female and all patients were Mestizo (mixed Caucasian and Amerindian ancestry). Fifty-two patients (44.4%) presented with MetS. Disease duration was 7.6 years (S.D. 6.8). The percentage of naive CD4+ T cells was 25.0 (S.D. 12.7) and memory CD4+ T cells was 66.7 (S.D. 13.2) and the memory:naive CD4+ T cell ratio was 4.3 (S.D. 5.6). In multivariable analysis, the percentage of naive CD4+ T cells was negatively associated with the presence of MetS [odds ratio (OR) 0.959 (95% CI 0.923, 0.997), P=0.033], whereas the percentage of memory CD4+T cells and the memory:naive CD4+ T cell ratio were positively associated with its presence [OR 1.040 (95% CI 1.003, 1.078), P=0.031 and OR 1.238 (95% CI 1.041, 1.472), P=0.016, respectively].

Conclusion. In the SLE patients studied, a lower percentage of naive CD4+ T cells, a higher percentage of memory CD4+ T cells and the memory:naive CD4+ T cell ratio were independently associated with the presence of MetS. This association could reflect the impact of immunosenescence among SLE patients with cardiovascular morbidity.

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