Double Negative T cells: A potential therapeutic target for Lupus

Lauren Nina Peralta

Poster Presentation at 2019 FIU McNair Scholars Research Conference.

Poster Presentation at 2019 FIU McNair Scholars Research Conference

Undergraduate Student Project


Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Lupus) is an autoimmune disease that can affect multiple organs, such as the kidneys in Lupus Nephritis. Although primarily affecting women and individuals of non-caucasian descent, the severity of the disease remains equal across gender and age.

Hello, my name is Lauren Nina Peralta.  I am a senior Biomedical Sciences major and McNair scholar. For the past two years, I have worked under the mentorship of Dr. Jessy Alexander within the Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology. As autoimmune diseases are a particular interest of mine, I am excited to share our study exploring Double Negative T cells (CD3+CD4-CD8-) as a possible indicator of Lupus.

Research has seen a significant increase of this specific immune T cell subset in Lupus patients, yet their exact role has remained uncertain. As there is currently no cure or effective treatments without simulating additional adverse effects, our goal was to determine if Double Negative T cells can be used as potential therapeutic targets for Lupus Nephritis.


Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease affecting 1.5 million Americans. In lupus patients and mice there is a significant increase in CD3+CD4-CD8- double negative Tcells (DNeg Tcells) which trigger the release of inflammatory cytokines. In this study, a steady increase of circulating DNeg Tcells was observed in MRL/lpr lupus mouse model from 8-week (preclinical) to 16-week mice (diseased). At 16 weeks when the disease was at its worst, the generation of DNeg Tcells correlated significantly with the Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) levels, a measure representing kidney function. DNeg Tcells from pediatric Lupus patients also correlated with kidney function. In addition, DNeg Tcells are increased in human kidney biopsies from lupus patients. For the first time our studies reveal by adoptive transfer that DNeg Tcells facilitate kidney disease in mice.  Our results show that DNeg Tcells could serve as a potential biomarker in lupus nephritis.

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