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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Altered expression of protein tyrosine phosphatase, non-receptor type 22 isoforms in systemic lupus erythematosus

Hui-Hsin Chang12, William Tseng1, Jing Cui12, Karen Costenbader12 and I-Cheng Ho123*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Rheumatology, Immunology, and Allergy, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, One Jimmy Fund Way, Boston, MA 02115, USA

2 Harvard Medical School, 25 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA

3 Section of Rheumatology, VA Boston Healthcare System, 150 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130, USA

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2014, 16:R14  doi:10.1186/ar4440

Published: 17 January 2014



A C-to-T single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) located at position 1858 of human protein tyrosine phosphatase, non-receptor type 22 (PTPN22) complementary DNA (cDNA) is associated with an increased risk of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). How the overall activity of PTPN22 is regulated and how the expression of PTPN22 differs between healthy individuals and patients with lupus are poorly understood. Our objectives were to identify novel alternatively spliced forms of PTPN22 and to examine the expression of PTPN22 isoforms in healthy donors and patients with lupus.


Various human PTPN22 isoforms were identified from the GenBank database or amplified directly from human T cells. The expression of these isoforms in primary T cells and macrophages was examined with real-time polymerase chain reaction. The function of the isoforms was determined with luciferase assays. Blood samples were collected from 49 subjects with SLE and 15 healthy controls. Correlation between the level of PTPN22 isoforms in peripheral blood and clinical features of SLE was examined with statistical analyses.


Human PTPN22 was expressed in several isoforms, which differed in their level of expression and subcellular localization. All isoforms except one were functionally interchangeable in regulating NFAT activity. SLE patients expressed higher levels of PTPN22 than healthy individuals and the levels of PTPN22 were negatively correlated with the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics/American College of Rheumatology Damage Index (SLICC-DI).


The overall activity of PTPN22 is determined by the functional balance among all isoforms. The levels of PTPN22 isoforms in peripheral blood could represent a useful biomarker of SLE.