Increased frequency of NGF in sera of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus patients

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Nerve growth factor (NGF) levels were measured by a two-site enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in sera of patients with three autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythermatosus (SLE) and thyroiditis. Serum NGF levels were variable (15 pg ml−1-1.6 ng ml−1) but not significantly different among these groups compared with control subjects. However the frequency of detectable circulating NGF was significantly higher in RA and SLE patients but not in thyroiditis patients compared with controls. The present data provides evidence for NGF involvement in two autoimmune rheumatic diseases and suggests a possible differential role of NGF as immunomodulatory agent in systemic versus certain organ-specific autoimmune diseases.

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