Researchers aimed at investigating whether the
frequency and function of T helper 17 (Th17) and
regulatory T cells (Treg) are affected by a
restriction of dietary sodium intake in patients
with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus
They enrolled RA and SLE patients not receiving
drugs known to increase urinary sodium excretion.
Patients underwent a dietary regimen starting with a
restricted daily sodium intake followed by a
normal-sodium daily intake.
The timepoints were identified at baseline (T0),
after 3 weeks of low-sodium dietary regimen (T3),
after 2 weeks of normal-sodium dietary regimen (T5).
On these visits, researchers measured the 24-hour
urinary sodium excretion, the frequency and function
of Th17 and Treg cells in the peripheral blood, the
serum levels of cytokines.
Analysis of urinary sodium excretion confirmed
adherence to the dietary regimen.
In RA patients, a trend toward a reduction in the
frequencies of Th17 cells over the low-sodium
dietary regimen followed by an increase at T5 was
observed, while Treg cells exhibited the opposite
SLE patients showed a progressive reduction in the
percentage of Th17 cells that reached a significance
at T5 compared to T0 and an increase in the
percentage of Treg cells following the low-sodium
dietary regimen at both T1 and T3 compared to T0.
No significant apoptosis or proliferation modulation
In RA patients, researchers found a reduction at T5
compared to T0 in serum levels of both TGFß and
IL-9; serum IL-9 levels were also reduced in SLE
patients at T5 with respect to T0.
This is the first study investigating the effects of
dietary sodium intake on adaptive immunity.
Based on the results, researchers hypothesize that a
restricted sodium dietary intake may dampen the
inflammatory response in RA and SLE patients.
Shaking Out Clues to Autoimmune Disease (2013-04-01)
For more information
The role of dietary sodium intake on the modulation
of T helper 17 cells and regulatory T cells in
patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic
Sapienza Universitā di Roma