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The pathophysiological significance of variable region glycosylation of autoantibodies is still unclear. In the current study, the influence of the variable region N-linked oligosaccharides on the reactivity of three autoantibody specificities was investigated with Sambucus nigra agglutinin (SNA), which mainly binds to oligosaccharides with terminal α2, 6-linked sialic acid on the variable region of IgG.
Twenty-seven patients with serum positive anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ANCA) against myeploperoxidase (MPO) or proteinase 3 (PR3), or autoantibodies against glomerular basement membrane (GBM) were included. Total IgG was isolated and separated into non-SNA-binding and SNA-binding fractions with SNA affinity chromatography. Antigen-specific IgG was purified by immunoaffinity chromatography.
At the same concentration of IgG, the antigen binding level of non-SNA-binding IgG was significantly lower than that of SNA-binding IgG for MPO-ANCA (absorbance value at 405 nm, 0.572 ± 0.590 vs. 0.962 ± 0.670, P < 0.001) and for PR3-ANCA (0.362 ± 0.530 vs. 0.560 ± 0.531, P = 0.003). The antigen binding level of non-SNA-binding IgG was significantly higher than that of SNA-binding IgG for anti-GBM antibodies (1.301 ± 0.594 vs. 1.172 ± 0.583, P = 0.044). The level of variable region glycosylation of total IgG was significantly lower than that of affinity-purified MPO-ANCA (1.021 ± 0.201 vs. 1.434 ± 0.134, P = 0.004). The level of variable region glycosylation of total IgG was significantly higher than that of affinity-purified anti-GBM antibodies (1.034 ± 0.340 vs. 0.734 ± 0.333, P = 0.007). The SNA-binding fraction of MPO-ANCA-containing IgG and PR3-ANCA-containing IgG induced higher levels of neutrophil oxygen radical production than the corresponding non-SNA-binding fractions (P < 0.001 and P = 0.043, respectively). The level of variable region glycosylation of affinity-purified MPO-ANCA was higher in active AAV than the same patients in remission (P = 0.001).
Characteristics of variable region glycosylation of ANCA and anti-GBM antibodies were different from that of total IgG, which might influence the antigen-binding ability of these antibodies. Variable region glycosylation of ANCA might influence the effect of ANCA-induced neutrophils respiratory burst.