Involvement of the central nervous system (CNS) is an uncommon feature in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), making diagnosis rather difficult and challenging due to the poor specificity of neuropathic symptoms and neurological symptoms. In this work, we used human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) derived from CNS-SLE patient, with the aim to dissect the molecular insights underlying the disease by gene expression analysis and modulation of implicated pathways. CNS-SLE-derived hiPSCs allowed us to provide evidence of Erk and Akt pathways involvement and to identify a novel cohort of potential biomarkers, namely CHCHD2, IDO1, S100A10, EPHA4 and LEFTY1, never reported so far. We further extended the study analysing a panel of oxidative stress-related miRNAs and demonstrated, under normal or stress conditions, a strong dysregulation of several miRNAs in CNS-SLE-derived compared to control hiPSCs. In conclusion, we provide evidence that iPSCs reprogrammed from CNS-SLE patient are a powerful useful tool to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the disease and to eventually develop innovative therapeutic approaches.
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