Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) produce antibodies to many different self-antigens. Here, we investigated antibodies in SLE sera using an antigen microarray containing many hundreds of antigens, mostly self-antigens. The aim was to detect sets of antibody reactivities characteristic of SLE patients in each of various clinical states - SLE patients with acute lupus nephritis, SLE patients in renal remission, and SLE patients who had never had renal involvement. The analysis produced two novel findings: (i) an SLE antibody profile persists independently of disease activity and despite long-term clinical remission, and (ii) this SLE antibody profile includes increases in four specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) reactivities to double-stranded DNA (dsDNA), single-stranded DNA (ssDNA), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and hyaluronic acid; the profile also includes decreases in specific IgM reactivities to myeloperoxidase (MPO), CD99, collagen III, insulin-like growth factor binding protein 1 (IGFBP1) and cardiolipin. The reactivities together showed high sensitivity (> 93%) and high specificity for SLE (> 88%). A healthy control subject who had the SLE antibody profile was later found to develop clinical SLE. The present study did not detect antibody reactivities that differentiated among the various subgroups of SLE subjects with statistical significance. Thus, SLE is characterized by an enduring antibody profile irrespective of clinical state. The association of SLE with decreased IgM natural autoantibodies suggests that these autoantibodies might enhance resistance to SLE.
- Autoimmune diseases
- Systemic lupus erythematosus