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Serum BAFF and APRIL levels in patients with IgG4-related disease and their clinical significance

Kazuhiro Kiyama, Daisuke Kawabata*, Yuji Hosono, Koji Kitagori, Naoichiro Yukawa, Hajime Yoshifuji, Koichiro Omura, Takao Fujii and Tsuneyo Mimori

Author Affiliations

Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, 54 Shogoin Kawahara-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:R86  doi:10.1186/ar3810

Published: 24 April 2012



B cell-activating factor of the tumor necrosis factor family (BAFF) and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) play a crucial role in B cell development, survival, and antibody production. Here we analyzed the serum levels of BAFF and APRIL and their respective clinical associations in patients with an immunoglobulin (Ig) G4-related disease (IgG4-RD).


We measured serum levels of BAFF and APRIL in patients with IgG4-RD, primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS), and healthy individuals. Serum BAFF and APRIL levels in IgG4-RD were assessed for correlations with serological parameters, including Ig, particularly IgG4, and the number of affected organs. Serum BAFF and APRIL levels in IgG4-RD were monitored during glucocorticoid (GC) therapy.


Serum BAFF and APRIL levels in patients with IgG4-RD were significantly higher (P < 0.01) than in healthy individuals. The BAFF levels of patients with IgG4-RD were comparable to those of patients with pSS. Although clinical parameters, such as serum IgG4 and the number of affected organs, were not correlated with the levels of BAFF, serum APRIL levels were inversely correlated with serum IgG4 levels (r = -0.626, P < 0.05). While serum BAFF levels decreased following GC therapy, serum APRIL levels increased during follow-up.


These results indicate that BAFF and APRIL might be useful markers for predicting disease activity in IgG4-RD. Further studies are needed to elucidate the role of BAFF and APRIL in the pathogenesis of IgG4-RD.