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1.  Differential Genetic Associations for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Based on Anti–dsDNA Autoantibody Production 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(3):e1001323.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a clinically heterogeneous, systemic autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibody formation. Previously published genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have investigated SLE as a single phenotype. Therefore, we conducted a GWAS to identify genetic factors associated with anti–dsDNA autoantibody production, a SLE–related autoantibody with diagnostic and clinical importance. Using two independent datasets, over 400,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were studied in a total of 1,717 SLE cases and 4,813 healthy controls. Anti–dsDNA autoantibody positive (anti–dsDNA +, n = 811) and anti–dsDNA autoantibody negative (anti–dsDNA –, n = 906) SLE cases were compared to healthy controls and to each other to identify SNPs associated specifically with these SLE subtypes. SNPs in the previously identified SLE susceptibility loci STAT4, IRF5, ITGAM, and the major histocompatibility complex were strongly associated with anti–dsDNA + SLE. Far fewer and weaker associations were observed for anti–dsDNA – SLE. For example, rs7574865 in STAT4 had an OR for anti–dsDNA + SLE of 1.77 (95% CI 1.57–1.99, p = 2.0E-20) compared to an OR for anti–dsDNA – SLE of 1.26 (95% CI 1.12–1.41, p = 2.4E-04), with pheterogeneity<0.0005. SNPs in the SLE susceptibility loci BANK1, KIAA1542, and UBE2L3 showed evidence of association with anti–dsDNA + SLE and were not associated with anti–dsDNA – SLE. In conclusion, we identified differential genetic associations with SLE based on anti–dsDNA autoantibody production. Many previously identified SLE susceptibility loci may confer disease risk through their role in autoantibody production and be more accurately described as autoantibody propensity loci. Lack of strong SNP associations may suggest that other types of genetic variation or non-genetic factors such as environmental exposures have a greater impact on susceptibility to anti–dsDNA – SLE.
Author Summary
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease that can involve virtually any organ system. SLE patients produce antibodies that bind to their own cells and proteins (autoantibodies) which can cause irreversible organ damage. One particular SLE–related autoantibody directed at double-stranded DNA (anti–dsDNA) is associated with kidney involvement and more severe disease. Previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in SLE have studied SLE itself, not particular SLE manifestations. Therefore, we conducted this GWAS of anti–dsDNA autoantibody production to identify genetic associations with this clinically important autoantibody. We found that many previously identified SLE–associated genes are more strongly associated with anti–dsDNA autoantibody production than SLE itself, and they may be more accurately described as autoantibody propensity genes. No strong genetic associations were observed for SLE patients who do not produce anti–dsDNA autoantibodies, suggesting that other factors may have more influence in developing this type of SLE. Further investigation of these autoantibody propensity genes may lead to greater insight into the causes of autoantibody production and organ damage in SLE.
PMCID: PMC3048371  PMID: 21408207
2.  Comparison of autoantibody specificities between traditional and bead-based assays in a large, diverse collection of SLE patients and family members 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2012;64(11):3677-3686.
The replacement of standard immunofluorescence anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) methods with bead-based assays is a new clinical option. A large, multi-racial cohort of SLE patients, blood relatives and unaffected control individuals was evaluated for familial aggregation and subset clustering of autoantibodies by high-throughput serum screening technology and traditional methods.
Serum samples (1,540 SLE patients, 1,127 unaffected relatives, and 906 healthy, population-based controls) were analyzed for SLE autoantibodies using a bead-based assay, immunofluorescence, and immunodiffusion. Autoantibody prevalence, disease sensitivity, clustering, and association with standard immunodiffusion results were evaluated.
ANA frequency in SLE patient sera were 89%, 73%, and 67% by BioPlex 2200 and 94%, 84%, and 86% by immunofluorescence in African-American, Hispanic, and European-American patients respectively. 60kD Ro, La, Sm, nRNP A, and ribosomal P prevalence were compared across assays, with sensitivities ranging from 0.92 to 0.83 and specificities ranging from 0.90 to 0.79. Cluster autoantibody analysis showed association of three subsets: 1) 60kD Ro, 52kD Ro and La, 2) spliceosomal proteins, and 3) dsDNA, chromatin, and ribosomal P. Familial aggregation of Sm/RNP, ribosomal P, and 60kD Ro in SLE patient sibling pairs was observed (p ≤ 0.004). Simplex pedigree patients had a greater prevalence for dsDNA (p=0.0003) and chromatin (p=0.005) autoantibodies than multiplex patients.
ANA frequencies detected by a bead-based assay are lower in European-American SLE patients compared to immunofluorescence. These assays have strong positive predictive values across racial groups, provide useful information for clinical care, and provide unique insights to familial aggregation and autoantibody clustering.
PMCID: PMC3490432  PMID: 23112091
systemic lupus erythematosus; autoantibodies; ancestry
3.  Early disease onset is predicted by a higher genetic risk for lupus and is associated with a more severe phenotype in lupus patients 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2010;70(1):151-156.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic, multiorgan, autoimmune disease that affects people of all ages and ethnicities.
To explore the relationship between age at disease onset and many of the diverse manifestations of SLE. Additionally, to determine the relationship between age of disease onset and genetic risk in patients with SLE.
The relationship between the age at disease onset and SLE manifestations were explored in a multiracial cohort of 1317 patients. Patients with SLE were genotyped across 19 confirmed genetic susceptibility loci for SLE. Logistic regression was used to determine the relationships between the number of risk alleles present and age of disease onset.
Childhood-onset SLE had higher odds of proteinuria, malar rash, anti-dsDNA antibody, haemolytic anaemia, arthritis and leucopenia (OR=3.03, 2.13, 2.08, 2.50, 1.89, 1.53, respectively; p values <0.0001, 0.0004, 0.0005, 0.0024, 0.0114, 0.045, respectively). In female subjects, the odds of having cellular casts were 2.18 times higher in childhood-onset than in adult-onset SLE (p=0.0027). With age of onset ≥50, the odds of having proteinuria, cellular casts, anti-nRNP antibody, anti-Sm antibody, anti-dsDNA antibody and seizures were reduced. However, late adult-onset patients with SLE have higher odds of developing photosensitivity than early adult-onset patients. Each SLE-susceptibility risk allele carried within the genome of patients with SLE increased the odds of having a childhood-onset disease in a race-specific manner: by an average of 48% in Gullah and 25% in African-Americans, but this was not significant in Hispanic and European-American lupus patients.
The genetic contribution towards predicting early-onset disease in patients with SLE is quantified for the first time. A more severe SLE phenotype is found in patients with early-onset disease in a large multi-racial cohort, independent of gender, race and disease duration.
PMCID: PMC3034281  PMID: 20881011
4.  IRF5 haplotypes demonstrate diverse serological associations which predict serum interferon alpha activity and explain the majority of the genetic association with systemic lupus erythematosus 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2011;71(3):463-468.
High serum interferon α (IFNα) activity is a heritable risk factor for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Auto-antibodies found in SLE form immune complexes which can stimulate IFNα production by activating endosomal Toll-like receptors and interferon regulatory factors (IRFs), including IRF5. Genetic variation in IRF5 is associated with SLE susceptibility; however, it is unclear how IRF5 functional genetic elements contribute to human disease.
1034 patients with SLE and 989 controls of European ancestry, 555 patients with SLE and 679 controls of African–American ancestry, and 73 patients with SLE of South African ancestry were genotyped at IRF5 polymorphisms, which define major haplotypes. Serum IFNα activity was measured using a functional assay.
In European ancestry subjects, anti-double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) and anti-Ro antibodies were each associated with different haplotypes characterised by a different combination of functional genetic elements (OR > 2.56, p >003C; 1.9×10−14 for both). These IRF5 haplotype-auto-antibody associations strongly predicted higher serum IFNα in patients with SLE and explained > 70% of the genetic risk of SLE due to IRF5. In African–American patients with SLE a similar relationship between serology and IFNα was observed, although the previously described European ancestry-risk haplotype was present at admixture proportions in African–American subjects and absent in African patients with SLE.
The authors define a novel risk haplotype of IRF5 that is associated with anti-dsDNA antibodies and show that risk of SLE due to IRF5 genotype is largely dependent upon particular auto-antibodies. This suggests that auto-antibodies are directly pathogenic in human SLE, resulting in increased IFNα in cooperation with particular combinations of IRF5 functional genetic elements.
SLE is a systemic autoimmune disorder affecting multiple organ systems including the skin, musculoskeletal, renal and haematopoietic systems. Humoral autoimmunity is a hallmark of SLE, and patients frequently have circulating auto-antibodies directed against dsDNA, as well as RNA binding proteins (RBP). Anti-RBP autoantibodies include antibodies which recognize Ro, La, Smith (anti-Sm), and ribonucleoprotein (anti-nRNP), collectively referred to as anti-retinol-binding protein). Anti-retinol-binding protein and anti-dsDNA auto-antibodies are rare in the healthy population.1 These auto-antibodies can be present in sera for years preceding the onset of clinical SLE illness2 and are likely pathogenic in SLE.34
PMCID: PMC3307526  PMID: 22088620
5.  Network Analysis of Associations between Serum Interferon Alpha Activity, Autoantibodies, and Clinical Features in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2011;63(4):1044-1053.
Interferon-alpha (IFN-α) is a primary pathogenic factor in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and high IFN-α levels may be associated with particular clinical manifestations. The prevalence of individual clinical and serologic features differs significantly by ancestry. We used multivariate and network analyses to detect associations between clinical and serologic disease manifestations and serum IFN-α activity in a large diverse SLE cohort.
1089 SLE patients were studied (387 African-American, 186 Hispanic-American, and 516 European-American). Presence or absence of ACR clinical criteria for SLE, autoantibodies, and serum IFN-α activity data were analyzed in univariate and multivariate models. Iterative multivariate logistic regression was performed in each background separately to establish the network of associations between variables that were independently significant following Bonferroni correction.
In all ancestral backgrounds, high IFN-α activity was associated with anti-Ro and anti-dsDNA antibodies (p-values 4.6×10−18 and 2.9 × 10−16 respectively). Younger age, non-European ancestry, and anti-RNP were also independently associated with increased serum IFN-α activity (p≤6.7×10−4). We found 14 unique associations between variables in network analysis, and only 7 of these associations were shared by more than one ancestral background. Associations between clinical criteria were different in different ancestral backgrounds, while autoantibody-IFN-α relationships were similar across backgrounds. IFN-α activity and autoantibodies were not associated with ACR clinical features in multivariate models.
Serum IFN-α activity was strongly and consistently associated with autoantibodies, and not independently associated with clinical features in SLE. IFN-α may be more relevant to humoral tolerance and initial pathogenesis than later clinical disease manifestations.
PMCID: PMC3068224  PMID: 21162028
systemic lupus erythematosus; interferon alpha; autoantibodies; ancestry
6.  RNA-seq Analysis Reveals Unique Transcriptome Signatures in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Patients with Distinct Autoantibody Specificities 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(11):e0166312.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients exhibit immense heterogeneity which is challenging from the diagnostic perspective. Emerging high throughput sequencing technologies have been proved to be a useful platform to understand the complex and dynamic disease processes. SLE patients categorised based on autoantibody specificities are reported to have differential immuno-regulatory mechanisms. Therefore, we performed RNA-seq analysis to identify transcriptomics of SLE patients with distinguished autoantibody specificities. The SLE patients were segregated into three subsets based on the type of autoantibodies present in their sera (anti-dsDNA+ group with anti-dsDNA autoantibody alone; anti-ENA+ group having autoantibodies against extractable nuclear antigens (ENA) only, and anti-dsDNA+ENA+ group having autoantibodies to both dsDNA and ENA). Global transcriptome profiling for each SLE patients subsets was performed using Illumina® Hiseq-2000 platform. The biological relevance of dysregulated transcripts in each SLE subsets was assessed by ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) software. We observed that dysregulation in the transcriptome expression pattern was clearly distinct in each SLE patients subsets. IPA analysis of transcripts uniquely expressed in different SLE groups revealed specific biological pathways to be affected in each SLE subsets. Multiple cytokine signaling pathways were specifically dysregulated in anti-dsDNA+ patients whereas Interferon signaling was predominantly dysregulated in anti-ENA+ patients. In anti-dsDNA+ENA+ patients regulation of actin based motility by Rho pathway was significantly affected. The granulocyte gene signature was a common feature to all SLE subsets; however, anti-dsDNA+ group showed relatively predominant expression of these genes. Dysregulation of Plasma cell related transcripts were higher in anti-dsDNA+ and anti-ENA+ patients as compared to anti-dsDNA+ ENA+. Association of specific canonical pathways with the uniquely expressed transcripts in each SLE subgroup indicates that specific immunological disease mechanisms are operative in distinct SLE patients’ subsets. This ‘sub-grouping’ approach could further be useful for clinical evaluation of SLE patients and devising targeted therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC5106032  PMID: 27835693
7.  Autoantigen microarrays reveal autoantibodies associated with proliferative nephritis and active disease in pediatric systemic lupus erythematosus 
Pediatric systemic lupus erythematosus (pSLE) patients often initially present with more active and severe disease than adults, including a higher frequency of lupus nephritis. Specific autoantibodies, including anti-C1q, anti-DNA and anti-alpha-actinin, have been associated with kidney involvement in SLE, and DNA antibodies are capable of initiating early-stage lupus nephritis in severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice. Over 100 different autoantibodies have been described in SLE patients, highlighting the need for comprehensive autoantibody profiling. Knowledge of the antibodies associated with pSLE and proliferative nephritis will increase the understanding of SLE pathogenesis, and may aid in monitoring patients for renal flare.
We used autoantigen microarrays composed of 140 recombinant or purified antigens to compare the serum autoantibody profiles of new-onset pSLE patients (n = 45) to healthy controls (n = 17). We also compared pSLE patients with biopsy-confirmed class III or IV proliferative nephritis (n = 23) and without significant renal involvement (n = 18). We performed ELISA with selected autoantigens to validate the microarray findings. We created a multiple logistic regression model, based on the ELISA and clinical information, to predict whether a patient had proliferative nephritis, and used a validation cohort (n = 23) and longitudinal samples (88 patient visits) to test its accuracy.
Fifty autoantibodies were at significantly higher levels in the sera of pSLE patients compared to healthy controls, including anti-B cell-activating factor (BAFF). High levels of anti-BAFF were associated with active disease. Thirteen serum autoantibodies were present at significantly higher levels in pSLE patients with proliferative nephritis than those without, and we confirmed five autoantigens (dsDNA, C1q, collagens IV and X and aggrecan) by ELISA. Our model, based on ELISA measurements and clinical variables, correctly identified patients with proliferative nephritis with 91 % accuracy.
Autoantigen microarrays are an ideal platform for identifying autoantibodies associated with both pSLE and specific clinical manifestations of pSLE. Using multiple regression analysis to integrate autoantibody and clinical data permits accurate prediction of clinical manifestations with complex etiologies in pSLE.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13075-015-0682-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4493823  PMID: 26081107
8.  Selective Involvement of the Amygdala in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e499.
Antibodies specifically affect the amygdala in a mouse model of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The aim of our study was to investigate whether there is also specific involvement of the amygdala in human SLE.
Methods and Findings
We analyzed a group of 37 patients with neuropsychiatric SLE (NP-SLE), 21 patients with SLE, and a group of 12 healthy control participants with diffusion weighted imaging (DWI). In addition, in a subset of eight patients, plasma was available to determine their anti-NMDAR antibody status. From the structural magnetic resonance imaging data, the amygdala and the hippocampus were segmented, as well as the white and gray matter, and the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) was retrieved. ADC values between controls, patients with SLE, and patients with NP-SLE were tested using analysis of variance with post-hoc Bonferroni correction. No differences were found in the gray or white matter segments. The average ADC in the amygdala of patients with NP-SLE and SLE (940 × 10−6 mm2/s; p = 0.006 and 949 × 10−6 mm2/s; p = 0.019, respectively) was lower than in healthy control participants (1152 × 10−6 mm2/s). Mann-Whitney analysis revealed that the average ADC in the amygdala of patients with anti-NMDAR antibodies (n = 4; 802 × 10−6 mm2/s) was lower (p = 0.029) than the average ADC of patients without anti-NMDAR antibodies (n = 4; 979 × 10−6 mm2/s) and also lower (p = 0.001) than in healthy control participants.
This is the first study to our knowledge to observe damage in the amygdala in patients with SLE. Patients with SLE with anti-NMDAR antibodies had more severe damage in the amygdala compared to SLE patients without anti-NMDAR antibodies.
Patients with SLE who also had antibodies against the NMDA receptor had more severe damage in the amygdala as compared with patients with SLE without these antibodies.
Editors' Summary
The human body is continually attacked by viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites, but the immune system usually prevents these pathogens from causing disease. To be effective, the immune system has to respond rapidly to foreign antigens (bits of proteins that are unique to the pathogen) but ignore self-antigens. In autoimmune diseases, this ability to discriminate between self and nonself fails for unknown reasons, and the immune system begins to destroy human tissues. In the chronic autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), the immune system attacks the skin, joints, nervous system, and many other organs. Patients with SLE make numerous “autoantibodies” (antibodies are molecules made by the immune system that recognize and attack antigens; autoantibodies attack self-antigens). These autoantibodies start the attack on the body; then other parts of the immune system join in, causing inflammation and forming deposits of immune cells, both of which damage tissues. Common symptoms of SLE include skin rashes and arthritis, but some patients develop NP-SLE, a form of SLE that includes neuropsychiatric symptoms such as amnesia, dementia, mood disorders, strokes, and seizures. There is no cure for SLE, but mild cases are controlled with ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; severe cases are kept in check with corticosteroids and other powerful immunosuppressants.
Why Was This Study Done?
In most of the tissues affected by SLE, the damage done by autoantibodies and immune cells can be seen when the tissues are examined with a microscope. But there is little microscopic damage visible in the brains of patients with NP-SLE. More generally, it is unclear how or even whether the immune system affects mental functions and emotion. In this study, researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate whether there are any structural changes in the brains of patients with NP-SLE that could explain their neuropsychiatric symptoms. They have also examined whether any changes in the brain can be linked to the presence of autoantibodies that recognize a protein called the NMDA receptor (anti-NMDAR antibodies) that is present on brain cells.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used an MRI technique called diffusion weighted imaging to examine the brains of several patients with NP-SLE or SLE and the brains of several healthy individuals. Using this technique, it is possible to quantify the amount of structural damage in different regions of the brain. The researchers found no differences in most areas of the brain between the two groups of patients and the healthy controls. However, there were clear signs of damage in the amygdala (the part of the brain that regulates emotions and triggers responses to danger) in the patients with SLE or NP-SLE when compared to the control individuals. The researchers also found that the damage was more severe in the patients who had anti-NMDAR autoantibodies than in those that did not have these autoantibodies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that autoantibodies produced by patients with SLE specifically damage the amygdala, a discovery that helps to explain some of the neuropsychiatric symptoms of this condition. Previous work has shown that the treatment of mice with anti-NMDAR antibodies and epinephrine, a stress hormone that causes leaks in the blood-brain barrier (antibodies can't usually get into the brain because of this barrier), results in damage to the amygdala and a deficient response to dangerous stimuli. The researchers suggest that a similar series of events might happen in SLE—patients often mention that a period of major stress precedes the development of symptoms. To provide stronger evidence for such a scenario, a detailed study of how stress relates to neuropsychiatric symptoms is needed. The damage to the amygdala (and the lack of damage elsewhere in the brain) and the possible association between brain damage and anti-NMDAR antibodies seen in this small study also need to be confirmed in more patients. Nevertheless, these findings provide an intriguing glimpse into the interplay between the immune system and the brain and into how stress might lead to physical damage in the brain.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
MedlinePlus encyclopedia pages on autoimmunity and on systemic lupus erythematosus
US National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases booklet for patients with SLE
American College of Rheumatology information for patients on SLE
NHS Direct Online Health Encyclopedia pages on SLE
The Lupus Foundation of America information and support for patients with SLE
PMCID: PMC1702559  PMID: 17177602
9.  The Homogeneous Multiplexed System-a New Method for Autoantibody Profile in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multi-systemic autoimmune disease leading to immunological aberrations and excessive multiple autoantibody production. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of multiple autoantibodies in SLE patients utilizing the multiplex system method.
We analyzed the presence of elevated titers of anti-Ro, anti-La, anti-RNP, anti-Sm, anti-Jo1, anti-centromere, anti-Scl-70, anti-histone, and anti-dsDNA antibodies in 199 serum samples (113 SLE patients, 86 healthy donors). We compared the type, level and number of autoantibodies and the correlation between the autoantibody profile and disease severity utilizing the SLEDAI score.
Elevated titers of at least one autoantibody were detected in 48% of 42 SLE patients. Elevated titers of anti-Ro antibodies were most commonly detected. The distribution of specific autoantibodies was: anti-Ro- 23.8%, anti-dsDNA- 19%, anti-histone- 19%, anti-RNP- 14.2%, anti-La antibodies- 11.9%, anti-Sm- 7.1%, anti-Scl 70-4.7%, and anti-centromere- 2.4%. Utilizing ROC analysis, the sensitivity and specificity of anti-DNA antibodies at a cutoff value of 34 IU/ml were 87.1% and 79.4% respectively. Elevated titers of anti-Jo1 antibody were not detected. There was a correlation with the titer of anti-Ro antibodies and disease activity by the SLEDAI score. Seven patients harbored one autoantibody only, 15 patients harbored 2-3 autoantibodies, 3 patients harbored 4-5 autoantibodies, and one patient harbored 6 autoantibodies. A correlation between the number of autoantibodies per patient and disease severity was found. One patient with a multitude of autoantibodies had severe lupus and a myriad of clinical manifestations.
In conclusion, the multiplex system is specific and sensitive, provides an autoantibody profile in a single test, and may be useful as a diagnostic test for SLE. Elevated anti-Ro antibodies are associated with severe disease. An autoantibody load may be indicative of more severe disease.
PMCID: PMC2270732  PMID: 16050141
10.  Development of SLE among “Potential SLE” Patients Seen in Consultation: Long-Term Follow-Up 
To identify factors associated with development of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) among patients evaluated at a tertiary care Lupus Center for potential SLE
We identified patients first seen at the Brigham and Women's Hospital Lupus Center between January 1, 1992 and December 31, 2012 and thought to have potential SLE by a board certified rheumatologist. All had 1-3 SLE ACR criteria at initial visit and >2 follow-up visits ≥ 3 months apart. We reviewed medical records through May 15, 2013 for: SLE signs and symptoms, autoimmune serologies, prescriptions, and diagnoses by board certified rheumatologists. Bivariable analyses and multivariable logistic regression models were used to identify independent predictors of developing SLE.
264 patients met inclusion criteria. At initial visit, mean age was 39.2 (SD 12.4) years, 94% were female and 67% white. Mean number of SLE ACR criteria was 2.7 (SD 1.0) and 88% were antinuclear antibody (ANA) positive at initial consultation. Mean follow-up time was 6.3 (SD 4.3) years and 67% were prescribed hydroxychloroquine in follow-up. At most recent visit, 56 (21%) had been diagnosed with SLE; 47 (18%) were thought not to have SLE; and 161 (61%) were still considered to have potential SLE. In multivariable regression models, oral ulcers (OR 2.40, 95%CI 1.03-5.58), anti-dsDNA (OR 2.59, 95% CI 1.25-5.35) and baseline proteinuria or cellular casts (OR 16.20, 95%CI 1.63-161.02) were independent predictors of developing SLE. The most common other final diagnoses included fibromyalgia, Sjögren's syndrome, mixed connective tissue disease and cutaneous lupus.
Among patients with potential SLE at initial consultation, 21% were diagnosed with definite SLE within 6.3 years. Oral ulcers, anti-dsDNA and proteinuria or cellular casts were independent predictors of developing definite SLE. A better means of accurately identifying those who will develop SLE among those presenting with potential disease is necessary.
PMCID: PMC4241393  PMID: 24853089
systemic lupus erythematosus; prognosis; serology; presentation; manifestation; risk factor; diagnosis; incomplete lupus
11.  Alpha-actinin-binding antibodies in relation to systemic lupus erythematosus and lupus nephritis 
This study investigated the overall clinical impact of anti-α-actinin antibodies in patients with pre-selected autoimmune diseases and in a random group of anti-nuclear antibody (ANA)-positive individuals. The relation of anti-α-actinin antibodies with lupus nephritis and anti-double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) antibodies represented a particular focus for the study. Using a cross-sectional design, the presence of antibodies to α-actinin was studied in selected groups, classified according to the relevant American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) (n = 99), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (n = 68), Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) (n = 85), and fibromyalgia (FM) (n = 29), and in a random group of ANA-positive individuals (n = 142). Renal disease was defined as (increased) proteinuria with haematuria or presence of cellular casts. Sera from SLE, RA, and Sjøgren's syndrome (SS) patients had significantly higher levels of anti-α-actinin antibodies than the other patient groups. Using the geometric mean (± 2 standard deviations) in FM patients as the upper cutoff, 20% of SLE patients, 12% of RA patients, 4% of SS patients, and none of the WG patients were positive for anti-α-actinin antibodies. Within the SLE cohort, anti-α-actinin antibody levels were higher in patients with renal flares (p = 0.02) and correlated independently with anti-dsDNA antibody levels by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (p < 0.007) but not with other disease features. In the random ANA group, 14 individuals had anti-α-actinin antibodies. Of these, 36% had SLE, while 64% suffered from other, mostly autoimmune, disorders. Antibodies binding to α-actinin were detected in 20% of SLE patients but were not specific for SLE. They correlate with anti-dsDNA antibody levels, implying in vitro cross-reactivity of anti-dsDNA antibodies, which may explain the observed association with renal disease in SLE.
PMCID: PMC1794505  PMID: 17062137
12.  Chinese SLE Treatment and Research Group Registry: III. Association of Autoantibodies with Clinical Manifestations in Chinese Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Journal of Immunology Research  2014;2014:809389.
We investigated the characteristics of Chinese SLE patients by analyzing the association between specific autoantibodies and clinical manifestations of 2104 SLE patients from registry data of CSTAR cohort. Significant (P < 0.05) associations were found between anti-Sm antibody, anti-rRNP antibody, and malar rash; between anti-RNP antibody, anti-SSA antibody, and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH); between anti-SSB antibody and hematologic involvement; and between anti-dsDNA antibody and nephropathy. APL antibody was associated with hematologic involvement, interstitial lung disease, and a lower prevalence of oral ulcerations (P < 0.05). Associations were also found between anti-dsDNA antibody and a lower prevalence of photosensitivity, and between anti-SSA antibody and a lower prevalence of nephropathy (P < 0.05). Most of these findings were consistent with other studies in the literature but this study is the first report on the association between anti-SSA and a lower prevalence of nephropathy. The correlations of specific autoantibodies and clinical manifestations could provide clues for physicians to predict organ damages in SLE patients. We suggest that a thorough screening of autoantibodies should be carried out when the diagnosis of SLE is established, and repeated echocardiography annually in SLE patients with anti-RNP or anti-SSA antibody should be performed.
PMCID: PMC4017718  PMID: 24864270
13.  Smoking is not associated with autoantibody production in systemic lupus erythematosus patients, unaffected first-degree relatives, nor healthy controls 
Lupus  2014;23(4):360-369.
To examine whether smoking is associated with autoantibody production in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients, unaffected first-degree relatives (FDR) of individuals with SLE - a group at increased risk of developing SLE, or unaffected, unrelated controls.
Detailed demographic, environmental, clinical, and therapeutic information was collected by questionnaire on 1,242 SLE patients, 981 FDRs, and 946 controls in the Lupus Family Registry and Repository; a blood sample was obtained. All sera were tested for multiple lupus autoantibodies by immunofluorescence and luminex bead-based assays. Generalized estimating equations, adjusting for age, gender, and ethnicity and accounting for correlation within families, were used to assess smoking status with the dichotomous outcome variables of positivity for SLE status, positivity of ANA by immunofluorescence (≥ 1:120), positivity for ≥ 1 autoantibody by the luminex assay, and positivity for each of the 11 autoantibodies.
Current smoking was associated with being positive for ≥ 1 autoantibody (excluding ANA) (adjusted OR=1.53, 95% CI 1.04–2.24) in our subjects with SLE. No association was observed in unaffected FDRs or healthy controls. Former smoking was associated with anti-Ro/SS-A60 in our unaffected FDRs. There was an increased association with anti-nRNP A seropositivity, as well as a decreased association with anti-nRNP 68 positivity, in current smokers in SLE subjects.
No clear association between smoking status and individual autoantibodies was detected in SLE patients, unaffected FDRs, nor healthy controls within this collection. The association of smoking with SLE may therefore manifest its risk through mechanisms outside of autoantibody production, at least for the specificities tested.
PMCID: PMC3954895  PMID: 24449338
Smoking; autoantibodies; systemic lupus erythematosus
14.  Genome-Wide Assessment of Differential DNA Methylation Associated with Autoantibody Production in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0129813.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is characterized by the development of autoantibodies associated with specific clinical manifestations. Previous studies have shown an association between differential DNA methylation and SLE susceptibility, but have not investigated SLE-related autoantibodies. Our goal was to determine whether DNA methylation is associated with production of clinically relevant SLE-related autoantibodies, with an emphasis on the anti-dsDNA autoantibody. In this study, we characterized the methylation status of 467,314 CpG sites in 326 women with SLE. Using a discovery and replication study design, we identified and replicated significant associations between anti-dsDNA autoantibody production and the methylation status of 16 CpG sites (pdiscovery<1.07E-07 and preplication<0.0029) in 11 genes. Associations were further investigated using multivariable regression to adjust for estimated leukocyte cell proportions and population substructure. The adjusted mean DNA methylation difference between anti-dsDNA positive and negative cases ranged from 1.2% to 19%, and the adjusted odds ratio for anti-dsDNA autoantibody production comparing the lowest and highest methylation tertiles ranged from 6.8 to 18.2. Differential methylation for these CpG sites was also associated with anti-SSA, anti-Sm, and anti-RNP autoantibody production. Overall, associated CpG sites were hypomethylated in autoantibody positive compared to autoantibody negative cases. Differential methylation of CpG sites within the major histocompatibility region was not strongly associated with autoantibody production. Genes with differentially methylated CpG sites represent multiple biologic pathways, and have not been associated with autoantibody production in genetic association studies. In conclusion, hypomethylation of CpG sites within genes from different pathways is associated with anti-dsDNA, anti-SSA, anti-Sm, and anti-RNP production in SLE, and these associations are not explained by genetic variation. Thus, studies of epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation represent a complementary method to genetic association studies to identify biologic pathways that may contribute to the clinical heterogeneity of autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC4508022  PMID: 26192630
15.  Genetic contributions to the autoantibody profile in a rabbit model of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) 
For the development of rabbit models of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), immunoglobulin allotype-defined pedigreed rabbits from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases rabbit resource more closely approximate human populations due to their non-inbred pedigreed structure. In an initial study from this laboratory, peptides (SM and GR) from the spliceosomal Smith (Sm) and the NMDA glutamate receptor NR2b, on branched polylysine backbones (BB) elicited antinuclear and anti-dsDNA autoantibodies typical of SLE, as well as seizures and nystagmus sometimes observed as neurological manifestations in SLE patients. This suggested the feasibility of further selective breeding to develop a more reproducible rabbit model for investigations of SLE. Here we report the results of GR-MAP-8 and control BB immunization on autoantibody responses in a group of 24 rabbits specifically bred and developed from parents and ancestors tested for autoantibody responses. The changes in hematological profile and blood chemistry in the experimental rabbits were evaluated along with autoantibody responses. Elevations of total white blood cell (WBC), monocyte, eosinophil and basophil counts that developed following immunizations were moderately influenced by litter and presence of the antibody heavy chain allotype VH1a1. Autoantibody development followed a sequential pattern with anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA) followed by anti-dsDNA and subsequently anti-Sm and anti-RNP similar to SLE patients. High autoantibody levels to one autoantigen were not always associated with antibody response to another. Female rabbits had higher prevalence and levels of autoantibodies similar to human SLE. Higher autoantibody levels of anti-dsDNA and -ANA were observed among some full sibs and the presence of high responder ancestors in the pedigree was associated the augmented responses. We observed significant association between highest antibody responses to GR-MAP-8 and highest anti-dsDNA levels. Naturally occurring autoantibodies were found in some pre-immune sera and some unique ANA fluorescent staining patterns within the experimental group were observed. Background immunofluorescence in pre-immune sera, distinct patterns of programmed autoantibody responses unique among individual rabbits may have been modulated by genetic constitution, gender and environmental factors including exposure to antigens. The high incidence and intensity of autoantibody responses among descendants of high responders suggest that there may be an additive mode of inheritance with high heritability. It is conceivable that further rigorous pedigree selection for autoantibody responses could lead to development of rabbit models with spontaneous occurrence of SLE like serology and disease phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC2561998  PMID: 18602165
Rabbits; Autoantibodies; Antibody heavy chain allotypes; Genetics; Lupus
16.  High prevalence of autoantibodies to RNA helicase A in Mexican patients with systemic lupus erythematosus 
Autoantibodies to RNA helicase A (RHA) were reported as a new serological marker of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) associated with early stage of the disease. Anti-RHA and other autoantibodies in Mexican SLE patients and their correlation with clinical and immunological features were examined.
Autoantibodies in sera from 62 Mexican SLE patients were tested by immunoprecipitation of 35S-labeled K562 cell extract and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (anti-U1RNP/Sm, ribosomal P, β2GPI, and dsDNA). Anti-RHA was screened based on the immunoprecipitation of the 140-kDa protein, the identity of which was verified by Western blot using rabbit anti-RHA serum. Clinical and immunological characteristics of anti-RHA-positive patients were analyzed.
Anti-RHA was detected in 23% (14/62) of patients, a prevalence higher than that of anti-Sm (13%, 8/62). Prevalence and levels of various autoantibodies were not clearly different between anti-RHA (+) vs. (-) cases, although there was a trend of higher levels of anti-RHA antibodies in patients without anti-U1RNP/Sm (P = 0.07). Both anti-RHA and -Sm were common in cases within one year of diagnosis; however, the prevalence and levels of anti-RHA in patients years after diagnosis did not reduce dramatically, unlike a previous report in American patients. This suggests that the high prevalence of anti-RHA in Mexican patients may be due to relatively stable production of anti-RHA.
Anti-RHA was detected at high prevalence in Mexican SLE patients. Detection of anti-RHA in races in which anti-Sm is not common should be clinically useful. Racial difference in the clinical significance of anti-RHA should be clarified in future studies.
PMCID: PMC2875632  PMID: 20064217
17.  Association between Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage and disease phenotype in patients affected by systemic lupus erythematosus 
Staphylococcus aureus (SA) is a commensal bacterium representing one of the most important components of the skin microbiome, mostly isolated in the anterior nares. A higher rate of SA nasal colonization in patients affected by Wegener’s granulomatosis and rheumatoid arthritis compared with healthy subjects (HS) has been described. No studies focusing on systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are available. We aimed at analyzing the prevalence of SA nasal carriers in an SLE cohort and evaluating correlation between nasal colonization and clinical, laboratory and therapeutic features.
We enrolled 84 patients with SLE (number of male/female patients 6/78; mean age 41.3 ± 12.2 years, mean disease duration 142.1 ± 103.8 months) and 154 HS blood donors. Patients with SLE underwent a physical examination and the clinical/laboratory data were collected. All the patients with SLE and the HS received a nasal swab for SA isolation and identification.
SA nasal colonization prevalence was 21.4 % in patients with SLE and 28.6 % in HS (P not significant). We analyzed patients with SLE according to the presence (n = 18, SA-positive SLE) or the absence (n = 66, SA-negative SLE) of nasal colonization. Renal involvement was significantly more frequent in SA-positive SLE (11.6 % vs 3.0 %; P = 0.0009). Moreover, the presence of anti-dsDNA, anti-Sm, anti-SSA, anti-SSB, anti-RNP antibodies was significantly higher in SA-positive SLE (P < 0.0001, P = 0.01, P = 0.008, P = 0.03, P = 0.03, respectively).
SA colonization is a relatively frequent condition in patients with SLE, with a frequency similar to HS. The presence of SA seems associated with a peculiar SLE phenotype characterized by renal manifestations and autoantibody positivity, confirming the role of the microbiome in disease phenotype.
PMCID: PMC4967505  PMID: 27475749
Systemic lupus erythematosus; Microbiome; Staphylococcus aureus
Arthritis and rheumatism  2007;56(11):3770-3783.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is diagnosed by a spectrum of clinical manifestations and autoantibodies associated with abnormal expression of Type I interferon (IFN-I) stimulated genes (ISGs). The role of IFN-I in the pathogenesis of SLE remains uncertain, partly due to the lack of suitable animal models. The objective of this study was to examine the role of IFN-I signaling in the pathogenesis of murine lupus induced by 2, 6, 10, 14 tetramethylpentadecane (TMPD).
129Sv IFN-I receptor deficient (IFNAR−/−) and control 129Sv mice were treated i.p. with TMPD. The expression of ISGs was measured by real-time PCR. Autoantibody production was evaluated by immunofluorescence and ELISA. Proteinuria and renal glomerular cellularity were measured and renal immune complexes were examined by immunofluorescence.
Increased ISG expression was seen in peripheral blood of TMPD-treated wild type but not IFNAR−/− mice. TMPD did not induce lupus-specific autoantibodies (anti-nRNP/Sm, -dsDNA) in IFNAR−/− mice, whereas 129Sv controls developed these specificities. Although glomerular immune complexes were present in IFNAR−/− mice, proteinuria and glomerular hypercellularity did not develop, unlike TMPD-treated controls. Thus, consistent with the association of increased ISG expression with lupus-specific autoantibodies, and nephritis in humans, these clinical and serological manifestations were strongly dependent on IFNAR signaling in TMPD-treated mice.
Signaling via the IFNAR is central to the pathogenesis of autoantibodies and glomerulonephritis in TMPD-lupus, consistent with a similar role in human SLE. TMPD-lupus is the first animal model shown to recapitulate the interferon signature in peripheral blood.
PMCID: PMC2909118  PMID: 17968932
19.  Anti-dsDNA Antibody Isotypes in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: IgA in Addition to IgG Anti-dsDNA Help to Identify Glomerulonephritis and Active Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71458.
To evaluate the role of serum IgG, IgM and IgA anti-dsDNA antibody isotypes in the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and their association with clinical features and disease activity, in a large cohort of SLE patients.
Sera of 200 SLE patients (mean age 34±10.3 years; 26 male and 174 female; median duration of disease 115 months, range 7–378), and of 206 controls, including 19 Sjögren's syndrome, 27 rheumatoid arthritis, 26 psoriatic arthritis, 15 idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM), 13 systemic sclerosis, 49 infectious diseases and 57 healthy subjects, were tested for anti-dsDNA IgG, IgM and IgA isotypes.
Selecting a cutoff corresponding to 95% specificity, the sensitivity of IgG, IgM and IgA anti-dsDNA antibodies in SLE was 55%, 30% and 49%, respectively; 12.5%, 1% and 7.5% of SLE patients had positive IgG, IgM or IgA isotype alone, respectively. SLE patients with glomerulonephritis showed higher levels of IgA anti-dsDNA (p = 0.0002), anti-dsDNA IgG/IgM (p = 0.001) and IgA/IgM (p<0.0001) ratios than patients without renal disease. No significant associations have been found between anti-dsDNA isotypes and other clinical features. IgA anti-dsDNA (p = 0.01) (but not IgG or IgM) and IgG/IgM ratio (p = 0.005) were significantly higher in patients with more active disease (ECLAM score >4).
The detection of IgA anti-dsDNA autoantibodies seems to improve our ability to diagnose SLE and to define lupus nephritis phenotype and active disease. By contrast, IgM anti-dsDNA antibodies might be protective for renal involvement. These data support the hypothesis that anti-dsDNA antibody class clustering may help to refine SLE diagnosis and prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3741383  PMID: 23951169
20.  Frequent coexistence of anti-topoisomerase I and anti-U1RNP autoantibodies in African American patients associated with mild skin involvement: a retrospective clinical study 
The presence of anti-topoisomerase I (topo I) antibodies is a classic scleroderma (SSc) marker presumably associated with a unique clinical subset. Here the clinical association of anti-topo I was reevaluated in unselected patients seen in a rheumatology clinic setting.
Sera from the initial visit in a cohort of unselected rheumatology clinic patients (n = 1,966, including 434 systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), 119 SSc, 85 polymyositis/dermatomyositis (PM/DM)) were screened by radioimmunoprecipitation. Anti-topo I-positive sera were also tested with immunofluorescence and RNA immunoprecipitation.
Twenty-five (15 Caucasian, eight African American, two Latin) anti-topo I positive patients were identified, and all except one met the ACR SSc criteria. Coexistence of other SSc autoantibodies was not observed, except for anti-U1RNP in six cases. When anti-topo I alone versus anti-topo I + U1RNP groups were compared, African American (21% vs. 67%), overlap with SLE (0 vs. 50%; P = 0.009) or PM/DM (0 vs. 33%; P = 0.05) or elevated creatine phosphokinase (CPK) (P = 0.07) were more common in the latter group. In comparison of anti-topo I-positive Caucasians versus African Americans, the latter more frequently had anti-U1RNP (13% vs. 50%), mild/no skin changes (14% vs. 63%; P = 0.03) and overlap with SLE (0 vs. 38%; P = 0.03) and PM/DM (0 vs. 25%; P = 0.05).
Anti-topo I detected by immunoprecipitation in unselected rheumatology patients is highly specific for SSc. Anti-topo I coexisting with anti-U1RNP in African American patients is associated with a subset of SLE overlapping with SSc and PM/DM but without apparent sclerodermatous changes.
PMCID: PMC3218882  PMID: 21569292
21.  Autoantibodies predate the onset of systemic lupus erythematosus in northern Sweden 
Autoantibodies have a central role in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The presence of autoantibodies preceding disease onset by years has been reported both in patients with SLE and in those with rheumatoid arthritis, suggesting a gradual development of these diseases. Therefore, we sought to identify autoantibodies in a northern European population predating the onset of symptoms of SLE and their relationship to presenting symptoms.
The register of patients fulfilling the American College of Rheumatology criteria for SLE and with a given date of the onset of symptoms was coanalysed with the register of the Medical Biobank, Umeå, Sweden. Thirty-eight patients were identified as having donated blood samples prior to symptom onset. A nested case-control study (1:4) was performed with 152 age- and sex-matched controls identified from within the Medical Biobank register (Umeå, Sweden). Antibodies against anti-Sjögren's syndrome antigen A (Ro/SSA; 52 and 60 kDa), anti-Sjögren's syndrome antigen B, anti-Smith antibody, ribonucleoprotein, scleroderma, anti-histidyl-tRNA synthetase antibody, double-stranded DNA (dsDNA), centromere protein B and histones were analysed using the AtheNA Multi-Lyte ANA II Plus Test System on a Bio-Plex Array Reader (Luminex200). Antinuclear antibodies test II (ANA II) results were analysed using indirect immunofluorescence on human epidermal 2 cells at a sample dilution of 1:100.
Autoantibodies against nuclear antigens were detected a mean (±SD) of 5.6 ± 4.7 years before the onset of symptoms and 8.7 ± 5.6 years before diagnosis in 63% of the individuals who subsequently developed SLE. The sensitivity (45.7%) was highest for ANA II, with a specificity of 95%, followed by anti-dsDNA and anti-Ro/SSA antibodies, both with sensitivities of 20.0% at specificities of 98.7% and 97.4%, respectively. The odds ratios (ORs) for predicting disease were 18.13 for anti-dsDNA (95% confidence interval (95% CI), 3.58 to 91.84) and 11.5 (95% CI, 4.54 to 28.87) for ANA. Anti-Ro/SSA antibodies appeared first at a mean of 6.6 ± 2.5 years prior to symptom onset. The mean number of autoantibodies in prediseased individuals was 1.4, and after disease onset it was 3.1 (P < 0.0005). The time predating disease was shorter and the number of autoantibodies was greater in those individuals with serositis as a presenting symptom in comparison to those with arthritis and skin manifestations as the presenting symptoms.
Autoantibodies against nuclear antigens were detected in individuals who developed SLE several years before the onset of symptoms and diagnosis. The most sensitive autoantibodies were ANA, Ro/SSA and dsDNA, with the highest predictive OR being for anti-dsDNA antibodies. The first autoantibodies detected were anti-Ro/SSA.
PMCID: PMC3241374  PMID: 21342502
22.  Antibodies against C1q Are a Valuable Serological Marker for Identification of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Patients with Active Lupus Nephritis 
Disease Markers  2015;2015:450351.
Objective. An early diagnosis of lupus nephritis (LN) has an important clinical implication in guiding treatments of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in clinical settings. In this study, the diagnostic values of circulating autoantibodies to C1q alone or in combination with other markers for accessing active SLE and LN were evaluated. Methods. The diagnostic value of anti-C1q autoantibodies for identification of patients with active SLE disease and LN was evaluated by analyzing the level of anti-C1q antibodies in sera from 95 SLE patients, 40 non-SLE patients, and 34 healthy cohorts. Results. The prevalence of anti-C1q antibodies was significantly higher in patients with SLE (50/95, 52.6%), active SLE (40/51, 78.4%), and LN (30/35, 85.7%) in comparison with non-SLE patient controls, patients with inactive SLE, and non-LN, respectively. A combination of anti-C1q with anti-dsDNA and/or levels of complements C3 and C4 exhibited an increased specificity but a decreased sensitivity for identification of patients with active SLE and LN diseases relative to each of these markers alone. Conclusion. Anti-C1q antibodies were strongly associated with disease activity and LN in SLE patients, suggesting that it may be a reliable serological marker for identification of SLE patients with active LN and active SLE disease.
PMCID: PMC4621353  PMID: 26549923
23.  Anti-ribosomal P protein IgG autoantibodies in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: diagnostic performance and clinical profile 
BMC Medicine  2013;11:98.
This study was devised to assess the performance of anti-ribosomal P (anti-Rib-P) antibodies in the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and the association of these antibodies with the clinical features of SLE.
We used a fluorescence enzyme immunoassay to determine anti-Rib-P levels in an SLE group, a rheumatic disease control (RDC) group (rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis), and a healthy control (HC) group. We also determined anti-Smith antigen (anti-Sm) and anti-double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) antibody levels. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were constructed and the best cut-off points for positivity were determined. Using regression analysis, the relationship between clinical variables and autoantibody levels was analyzed.
In total, 127 patients with SLE, 256 controls with other rheumatic diseases, and 100 HCs were studied. Anti-Rib-P autoantibodies were positive in 18 (14.2%) of the patients with SLE (mean concentration of 30.6 ± 46.9 U/ml) and in 2 patients with RA (0.8% of the RDC group). In addition, 12 patients with SLE (9.4%) were positive for anti-Sm (31.1 ± 40.8 U/ml) and 63 (49.6%) were positive for anti-dsDNA autoantibodies (88.4 ± 88.5 U/ml). When we assessed the 18 patients with SLE who had tested positive for anti-Rib-P, we found that 4 of these were positive for anti-Rib-P only, whereas 12 were positive for anti-Rib-P plus anti-dsDNA, and 2 were positive for all three antibodies. There were no samples positive for anti-Rib-P plus anti-Sm. The specificity, sensitivity, positive likelihood ratio, and negative likelihood ratio of anti-Rib-P for SLE diagnosis were 99.4%, 14.2%, 23.7%, and 0.86%, respectively.
Caucasian ethnicity was associated with lower anti-Rib-P antibody levels. No relation was found between anti-Rib-P levels and neuropsychiatric or other clinical features.
Anti-Rib-P autoantibodies have high specificity for SLE, and measurement of these might improve the accuracy of SLE diagnosis. In this study, we found that Caucasian ethnicity was associated with lower anti-Rib-P antibody levels.
PMCID: PMC3616863  PMID: 23557114
Anti-Rib-P; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Antibodies
24.  High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein as an Associate of Clinical Subsets and Organ Damage in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
C-reactive protein (CRP) may play an anti-inflammatory role during the acute phase of inflammation, and is also used as a marker of inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease. In the present study, we investigated the association between high-sensitivity CRP (hsCRP) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) manifestations, autoantibodies, and organ damage.
In this cross-sectional study, 610 SLE patients from a prospective cohort had more than one hsCRP measurement. Organ damage was assessed using the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics (SLICC)/American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Damage Index. Multiple linear regression models were used to adjust for age, gender, ethnicity, disease duration, body mass index, education, disease activity, current prednisone dose, statin use, and estrogen use.
After adjusting for confounders, hsCRP was associated with myocarditis, cardiac murmur, interstitial pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, gastrointestinal lupus manifestations, and anemia. Anti-dsDNA antibodies and lupus anticoagulant were associated with hsCRP in unadjusted models, and these associations remained significant after adjustment for confounders. hsCRP levels were significantly higher in patients with pulmonary, musculoskeletal, and endocrine damage, and a total SLICC Damage Index score ≥1. After adjustment, hsCRP was associated with pulmonary, musculoskeletal, and total damage, but no longer with endocrine damage.
hsCRP is associated with a broad range of clinical features and organ damage in SLE, particularly in the pulmonary and musculoskeletal systems. This association holds true independent of sociodemographic, disease activity, and treatment factors, and may be useful to identify high-risk SLE patients who would benefit from additional screening and surveillance studies.
PMCID: PMC2670393  PMID: 18221991
Cardiovascular risk factors; C-reactive protein; systemic lupus erythematosus; inflammation
25.  Genetic Variation at the IRF7/PHRF1 Locus Is Associated With Autoantibody Profile and Serum Interferon-α Activity in Lupus Patients 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(2):553-561.
Interferon-α (IFNα) is a heritable risk factor for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Genetic variation near IRF7 is implicated in SLE susceptibility. SLE-associated autoantibodies can stimulate IFNα production through the Toll-like receptor/IRF7 pathway. This study was undertaken to determine whether variants of IRF7 act as risk factors for SLE by increasing IFNα production and whether autoantibodies are important to this phenomenon.
We studied 492 patients with SLE (236 African American, 162 European American, and 94 Hispanic American subjects). Serum levels of IFNα were measured using a reporter cell assay, and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the IRF7/PHRF1 locus were genotyped.
In a joint analysis of European American and Hispanic American subjects, the rs702966 C allele was associated with the presence of anti–double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) antibodies (odds ratio [OR] 1.83, P = 0.0069). The rs702966 CC genotype was only associated with higher serum levels of IFNα in European American and Hispanic American patients with anti-dsDNA antibodies (joint analysis P = 4.1 × 10−5 in anti-dsDNA–positive patients and P = 0.99 in anti-dsDNA–negative patients). In African American subjects, anti-Sm antibodies were associated with the rs4963128 SNP near IRF7 (OR 1.95, P = 0.0017). The rs4963128 CT and TT genotypes were associated with higher serum levels of IFNα only in African American patients with anti-Sm antibodies (P = 0.0012). In African American patients lacking anti-Sm antibodies, an effect of anti-dsDNA–rs702966 C allele interaction on serum levels of IFNα was observed, similar to the other patient groups (overall joint analysis P = 1.0 × 10−6). In European American and Hispanic American patients, the IRF5 SLE risk haplotype showed an additive effect with the rs702966 C allele on IFNα level in anti-dsDNA–positive patients.
Our findings indicate that IRF7/PHRF1 variants in combination with SLE-associated autoantibodies result in higher serum levels of IFNα, providing a biologic relevance for this locus at the protein level in human SLE in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2832192  PMID: 20112359

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