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1.  An Antinuclear Antibody-Negative Patient With Lupus Nephritis 
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a typical autoimmune disease that's characterized by various autoantibodies to nuclear and cytoplasmic antigens. The presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) in serum is generally considered a decisive diagnostic sign of SLE. However, a small subset of SLE patients who had the typical clinical features of SLE was reported to show persistently negative ANA tests. Our report describes a 16-yr-old female who presented with the clinical manifestations of SLE such as malar rash, photosensitivity, arthritis, lymphopenia, pericarditis and proteinuria. The serum autoantibodies were all negative and renal biopsy showed that the histopathological changes of immune complex mediated the focal segmental necrotizing glomerulonephritis with crescent formation. She was treated with monthly pulse cyclophosphamide along with corticosteroids. During the 2-yr follow-up period, the proteinuria was markedly decreased and all of the ANA and anti-double stranded DNA antibody tests were negative. This case suggests that ANA may not be required in the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis.
doi:10.3904/kjim.2009.24.1.76
PMCID: PMC2687656  PMID: 19270487
Antinuclear antibody; Lupus nephritis; Systemic lupus erythematosus
2.  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.
doi:10.1080/17402520500116723
PMCID: PMC2270732  PMID: 16050141
3.  High prevalence of autoantibodies to RNA helicase A in Mexican patients with systemic lupus erythematosus 
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/ar2905
PMCID: PMC2875632  PMID: 20064217
4.  Ribosomal P Autoantibodies are Present Before SLE Onset and are Directed Against non-C Terminal Peptides 
Autoantibodies to ribosomal P are found in 15–30% of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients and are highly specific for SLE. The goal of this study is to assess the temporal association of anti-ribosomal P (anti-P) responses with SLE disease onset, as well as to characterize the humoral ribosomal P (ribo P) epitopes targeted in early, pre-diagnostic SLE samples. Patients with stored serial serum samples available prior to SLE diagnosis were identified from a military cohort. Each sample was tested for antibodies against ribo P utilizing standard C-terminus ribo P ELISAs and a solid phase, bead-based assay with affinity-purified ribo P proteins. In this study, antibodies to ribo P were more common in African American SLE patients (p= 0.026), and anti-P positive patients comprised a group with more measured autoantibody specificities than did other SLE patients (3.5 vs. 2.2, p<0.05). Antibodies against ribo P were present on average 1.7 years before SLE diagnosis and were detected an average of 1.08 years earlier in pre-diagnostic SLE samples using affinity-purified whole protein rather than C- terminal peptide alone (p=0.0019). Furthermore, 61% of anti-P positive patients initially had antibodies to aa 99–113, a known ribosomal P0 antigenic target, at a time point when no antibodies to the clinically used C-terminus were detected. Our findings provide evidence that antibodies against ribosomal P frequently develop before clinical SLE diagnosis and are more broadly reactive than previously thought by targeting regions outside of the C-terminus.
doi:10.1007/s00109-010-0618-1
PMCID: PMC2877769  PMID: 20396862
lupus; antibodies; autoimmunity; ribosomal P; epitope
5.  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.
Background
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic, multiorgan, autoimmune disease that affects people of all ages and ethnicities.
Objectives
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1136/ard.2010.141697
PMCID: PMC3034281  PMID: 20881011
6.  Trait-stratified genome-wide association study identifies novel and diverse genetic associations with serologic and cytokine phenotypes in systemic lupus erythematosus 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(4):R151.
Introduction
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a highly heterogeneous disorder, characterized by differences in autoantibody profile, serum cytokines, and clinical manifestations. SLE-associated autoantibodies and high serum interferon alpha (IFN-α) are important heritable phenotypes in SLE which are correlated with each other, and play a role in disease pathogenesis. These two heritable risk factors are shared between ancestral backgrounds. The aim of the study was to detect genetic factors associated with autoantibody profiles and serum IFN-α in SLE.
Methods
We undertook a case-case genome-wide association study of SLE patients stratified by ancestry and extremes of phenotype in serology and serum IFN-α. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in seven loci were selected for follow-up in a large independent cohort of 538 SLE patients and 522 controls using a multi-step screening approach based on novel metrics and expert database review. The seven loci were: leucine-rich repeat containing 20 (LRRC20); protein phosphatase 1 H (PPM1H); lysophosphatidic acid receptor 1 (LPAR1); ankyrin repeat and sterile alpha motif domain 1A (ANKS1A); protein tyrosine phosphatase, receptor type M (PTPRM); ephrin A5 (EFNA5); and V-set and immunoglobulin domain containing 2 (VSIG2).
Results
SNPs in the LRRC20, PPM1H, LPAR1, ANKS1A, and VSIG2 loci each demonstrated strong association with a particular serologic profile (all odds ratios > 2.2 and P < 3.5 × 10-4). Each of these serologic profiles was associated with increased serum IFN-α. SNPs in both PTPRM and LRRC20 were associated with increased serum IFN-α independent of serologic profile (P = 2.2 × 10-6 and P = 2.6 × 10-3 respectively). None of the SNPs were strongly associated with SLE in case-control analysis, suggesting that the major impact of these variants will be upon subphenotypes in SLE.
Conclusions
This study demonstrates the power of using serologic and cytokine subphenotypes to elucidate genetic factors involved in complex autoimmune disease. The distinct associations observed emphasize the heterogeneity of molecular pathogenesis in SLE, and the need for stratification by subphenotypes in genetic studies. We hypothesize that these genetic variants play a role in disease manifestations and severity in SLE.
doi:10.1186/ar3101
PMCID: PMC2945049  PMID: 20659327
7.  60 kD Ro and nRNP A Frequently Initiate Human Lupus Autoimmunity 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9599.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a clinically heterogeneous, humoral autoimmune disorder. The unifying feature among SLE patients is the production of large quantities of autoantibodies. Serum samples from 129 patients collected before the onset of SLE and while in the United States military were evaluated for early pre-clinical serologic events. The first available positive serum sample frequently already contained multiple autoantibody specificities (65%). However, in 34 SLE patients the earliest pre-clinical serum sample positive for any detectable common autoantibody bound only a single autoantigen, most commonly 60 kD Ro (29%), nRNP A (24%), anti-phospholipids (18%) or rheumatoid factor (15%). We identified several recurrent patterns of autoantibody onset using these pre-diagnostic samples. In the serum samples available, anti-nRNP A appeared before or simultaneously with anti-nRNP 70 K in 96% of the patients who had both autoantibodies at diagnosis. Anti-60 kD Ro antibodies appeared before or simultaneously with anti-La (98%) or anti-52 kD Ro (95%). The autoantibody response in SLE patients begins simply, often binding a single specific autoantigen years before disease onset, followed by epitope spreading to additional autoantigenic specificities that are accrued in recurring patterns.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009599
PMCID: PMC2835743  PMID: 20224770
8.  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.
Objective
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.
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1002/art.34651
PMCID: PMC3490432  PMID: 23112091
systemic lupus erythematosus; autoantibodies; ancestry
9.  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.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1002/art.30187
PMCID: PMC3068224  PMID: 21162028
systemic lupus erythematosus; interferon alpha; autoantibodies; ancestry
10.  Anti-C reactive protein antibodies in Indian patients with systemic lupus erythematosus 
Indian Journal of Nephrology  2013;23(6):434-437.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is characterized by over production of autoantibodies. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a phylogenetically highly conserved plasma protein that participates in the systemic response to inflammation. Anti-CRP antibodies might have biological functions of pathogenetic interest in SLE. We evaluated anti-CRP antibodies in Indian SLE patients and their association with anti-dsDNA antibodies and complement levels (C3 and C4). One hundred SLE patients diagnosed according to the American College of Rheumatology criteria were included. Disease activity was assessed using SLE disease activity index (SLEDAI). Anti-CRP autoantibodies were detected by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Anti-dsDNA antibodies were detected by indirect immunofluroscence test (Euroimmun Lubeck, Germany). High sensitivity CRP and complement levels (C3, C4) were detected using a Nephelometer. (BN ProSpec, Dade Behring, Germany). Anti-CRP antibodies were detected in 26% of SLE patients. Mean age of disease onset among anti-CRP positives was 22.4 ± 7.5, and 26.6 ± 9.3 years among anti-CRP negatives (P > 0.05). Anti-dsDNA positivity was significantly higher among anti-CRP positives (32.7%) as compared to anti-CRP negatives (16%) (P = 0.00519). No statistically significant difference was observed in SLEDAI scores of anti-CRP positive group and anti-CRP negative group (P > 0.05). We observed a positive correlation between anti-CRP antibodies and anti-dsDNA antibodies.
doi:10.4103/0971-4065.120341
PMCID: PMC3841512  PMID: 24339522
Anti-C reactive protein antibodies; anti-dsDNA antibodies; high sensitivity C-reactive protein; systemic lupus erythematosus
11.  The Autoimmune Disease Risk Allele of UBE2L3 in African American Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A Recessive Effect Upon Subphenotypes 
The Journal of Rheumatology  2011;39(1):73-78.
Objective
UBE2L3 is associated with susceptibility to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis in European ancestry populations, and this locus has not been investigated fully in non-European populations. We studied the UBE2L3 risk allele for association with SLE, interferon-α (IFN-α), and autoantibodies in a predominantly African American SLE cohort.
Methods
We studied 395 patients with SLE and 344 controls. The UBE2L3 rs5754217 polymorphism was genotyped using Taqman primer-probe sets, and IFN-α was measured using a reporter cell assay.
Results
The UBE2L3 rs5754217 T allele was strongly enriched in African American patients with anti-La antibodies as compared to controls, and a recessive model was the best fit for this association (OR 2.55, p = 0.0061). Serum IFN-α also demonstrated a recessive association with the rs5754217 genotype in African American patients, and the TT/anti-La-positive patients formed a significantly high IFN-α subgroup (p = 0.0040). Similar nonstatistically significant patterns of association were observed in the European American patients with SLE. Case-control analysis did not show large allele frequency differences, supporting the idea that this allele is most strongly associated with anti-La-positive patients.
Conclusion
This pattern of recessive influence within a subgroup of patients may explain why this allele does not produce a strong signal in standard case-control studies, and subphenotypes should be included in future studies of UBE2L3. The interaction we observed between UBE2L3 genotype and autoantibodies upon serum IFN-α suggests a biological role for this locus in patients with SLE in vivo.
doi:10.3899/jrheum.110590
PMCID: PMC3304461  PMID: 22045845
SYSTEMIC LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS; GENETICS INTERFERON-α; AUTOANTIBODIES; UBE2L3 GENOTYPE
12.  Neurocognitive Dysfunction in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Association with Antiphospholipid Antibodies, Disease Activity and Chronic Damage 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33824.
Introduction
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is characterized by frequent neuropsychiatric involvement, which includes cognitive impairment (CI). We aimed at assessing CI in a cohort of Italian SLE patients by using a wide range of neurocognitive tests specifically designed to evaluate the fronto-subcortical dysfunction. Furthermore, we aimed at testing whether CI in SLE is associated with serum autoantibodies, disease activity and chronic damage.
Methods
Fifty-eight consecutive patients were enrolled. Study protocol included data collection, evaluation of serum levels of ANA, anti-dsDNA, anti-cardiolipin, anti-β2-glycoprotein I, anti-P ribosomal, anti-endothelial cell, and anti-Nedd5 antibodies. SLEDAI-2000 and SLICC were used to assess disease activity and chronic damage. Patients were administered a test battery specifically designed to detect fronto-subcortical dysfunction across five domains: memory, attention, abstract reasoning, executive function and visuospatial function. For each patient, the raw scores from each test were compared with published norms, then transformed into Z scores (deviation from normal mean), and finally summed in the Global Cognitive Dysfunction score (GCDs).
Results
Nineteen percent of patients had mild GCDs impairment (GCDs 2–3), 7% moderate (GCDs 4–5) and 5% severe (GCDs≥6). The visuospatial domain was the most compromised (MDZs = −0.89±1.23). Anti-cardiolipin IgM levels were associated with visuospatial domain impairment (r = 0.331, P = 0.005). SLEDAI correlated with GCDs, and attentional and executive domains; SLICC correlated with GCDs, and with visuospatial and attentional domains impairment.
Conclusions
Anti-phospholipids, disease activity, and chronic damage are associated with cognitive dysfunction in SLE. The use of a wide spectrum of tests allowed for a better selection of the relevant factors involved in SLE cognitive dysfunction, and standardized neuropsychological testing methods should be used for routine assessment of SLE patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033824
PMCID: PMC3312889  PMID: 22461897
13.  HLA-DR antigens in systemic lupus erythematosus: association with specificity of autoantibody responses to nuclear antigens. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1987;46(6):457-462.
HLA-DR antigens and autoantibodies to the nuclear or cytoplasmic antigens Ro/SSA, La/SSB, Sm, and RNP were determined in North American and Austrian patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Analysis of the association of antibodies to these ribonucleic acid (RNA)-protein antigens with HLA-DR antigens showed that HLA-DR3 was related to the presence of anti-Ro/SSA or anti-La/SSB, or both. In contrast, anti-Sm or anti-RNP, or both were associated with HLA-DR4. HLA-DR5 was associated with absence of these autoantibodies. The data extend evidence for the complexity and heterogeneity of SLE. Moreover, they indicate that, in SLE, genes linked to those coding for HLA-DR antigens, are related to the specificity of autoantibody responses rather than to the primary immunological abnormalities of this disorder.
PMCID: PMC1002164  PMID: 3498447
14.  Enhanced membrane binding of autoantibodies to cultured keratinocytes of systemic lupus erythematosus patients after ultraviolet B/ultraviolet A irradiation. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1992;90(3):1067-1076.
Although sunlight is known to induce skin lesions in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and to exacerbate systemic manifestations, the underlying mechanisms remain obscure. We report experiments that show enhanced binding of IgG autoantibodies to the cell surface membrane of ultraviolet-B (UVB) irradiated (200-1,600 J/m2) cultured SLE keratinocytes in 10 out of 12 such cell strains. The autoantibody probes showing increased binding were directed against the soluble intracellular antigens, Sm, RNP, SSA/Ro, SSB/La, whereas serum with anti-dsDNA activity did not demonstrate such binding. Control keratinocytes from several sources shared low level binding of autoantibodies after ultraviolet light exposure. In addition, 4/6 UVB-sensitive SLE strains showed increased autoantibody binding to the surface of SLE keratinocytes after UVA exposure (50-150 kJ/m2), but of lower magnitude. When UVB-sensitive nonirradiated SLE strains were exposed to autologous serum, 3/8 sera demonstrated a striking increase in IgG binding, which increased further after UVB exposure. Enhanced expression of saline-soluble intracellular antigens on the cell surface membrane of patient, but not control, keratinocytes may, in part, explain the photosensitivity of patients with SLE.
Images
PMCID: PMC329966  PMID: 1522215
15.  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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1001323
PMCID: PMC3048371  PMID: 21408207
16.  Serum and Cerebrospinal Fluid Autoantibodies in Patients with Neuropsychiatric Lupus Erythematosus. Implications for Diagnosis and Pathogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(10):e3347.
Background
Despite the uncertainty in the diagnosis of neuropsychiatric involvement in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), attempts have been made to record the association of certain antibodies in serum with neuropsychiatric (NP) manifestations. We aimed to assess the behaviour and the association of serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) autoantibodies with NP manifestations in SLE patients (NPSLE).
Methodology/Principal Findings
Forty-seven SLE patients, hospitalized because of NP manifestations were included. They were evaluated at hospitalization and six months later, and serum and CSF samples were obtained at each evaluation. As controls, serum samples were taken from 49 non-NPSLE patients at hospitalization and six months later; serum and CSF samples were also obtained from 6 SLE patients with septic meningitis, 16 surgical SLE patients and 25 patients without autoimmune diseases. Antinuclear, anti-dsDNA, anti-ribosomal P, Anti-N-Methyl-D-Aspartate receptor (NMDAR), anti-cardiolipin, and anti-β2 glycoprotein-I antibodies were measured. In serum, anti-ribosomal P, anti-NMDAR, and other antibodies did not differentiate among SLE groups, and the levels of all antibodies were similar among the SLE groups. Six-months later, this scenario remained unchanged and the decrease in the levels of some autoantibodies reflected a decline in disease activity, rather than a change in NPSLE. In CSF, only the presence and the levels of anti-NMDAR antibodies showed a characteristic distribution in central NPSLE and septic meningitis patients. Six months later the prevalence of most antibodies in CSF did not change, however the levels of anti-dsDNA, anti-ribosomal P, and anti-NMDAR decreased.
Conclusion
In NPSLE, autoantibodies in serum do not reflect their behaviour in CSF. All autoantibodies were elevated in septic meningitis reflecting the global penetration of serum antibodies into the CSF in this condition. Anti-NMDAR antibodies in CSF identified patients with central NPSLE; their continued presence in CSF 6 months after neurologic symptoms raise questions regarding the conditions under which they are pathogenic.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003347
PMCID: PMC2556096  PMID: 18836530
17.  Autoantibodies predate the onset of systemic lupus erythematosus in northern Sweden 
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/ar3258
PMCID: PMC3241374  PMID: 21342502
18.  Male only Systemic Lupus 
The Journal of rheumatology  2010;37(7):1480-1487.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is more common among women than men with a ratio of about 10 to 1. We undertook this study to describe familial male SLE within a large cohort of familial SLE. SLE families (two or more patients) were obtained from the Lupus Multiplex Registry and Repository. Genomic DNA and blood samples were obtained using standard methods. Autoantibodies were determined by multiple methods. Medical records were abstracted for SLE clinical data. Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) was performed with X and Y centromere specific probes, and a probe specific for the toll-like receptor 7 gene on the X chromosome. Among 523 SLE families, we found five families in which all the SLE patients were male. FISH found no yaa gene equivalent in these families. SLE-unaffected primary female relatives from the five families with only-male SLE patients had a statistically increased rate of positive ANA compared to SLE-unaffected female relatives in other families. White men with SLE were 5 times more likely to have an offspring with SLE than were White women with SLE but there was no difference in this likelihood among Black men. These data suggest genetic susceptibility factors that act only in men.
doi:10.3899/jrheum.090726
PMCID: PMC2978923  PMID: 20472921
Systemic lupus erythematosus; men; autoantibodies; genetics
19.  Cutaneous Manifestations of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Autoimmune Diseases  2012;2012:834291.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multiorgan autoimmune disease of unknown etiology with many clinical manifestations. The skin is one of the target organs most variably affected by the disease. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) established 11 criteria as a classificatory instrument to operationalise the definition of SLE in clinical trials. They were not intended to be used to diagnose individuals and do not do well in that capacity. Cutaneous lesions account for four of these 11 revised criteria of SLE. Skin lesions in patients with lupus may be specific or nonspecific. This paper covers the SLE-specific cutaneous changes: malar rash, discoid rash, photosensitivity, and oral mucosal lesions as well as SLE nonspecific skin manifestations, their pathophysiology, and management. A deeper thorough understanding of the cutaneous manifestations of SLE is essential for diagnosis, prognosis, and efficient management. Thus, dermatologists should cooperate with other specialties to provide optimal care of SLE patient.
doi:10.1155/2012/834291
PMCID: PMC3410306  PMID: 22888407
20.  Do we need new autoantibodies in lupus? 
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a clinically and serologically complex disease that demonstrates clinical, epidemiological and genetic differences among racial and ethnic groups. Some autoantibodies are useful for diagnosis of the illness. Others are clinically important because of associations with a particular manifestation of SLE. Antibodies to RNA helicase A (anti-RHA) comprise a newly described class of SLE autoantibodies. These antibodies have so far been found only in SLE patients and differ substantially in prevalence and nature between Mexican and white American SLE patients. Study of anti-RHA may provide insights into the origin of population differences in SLE.
doi:10.1186/ar2998
PMCID: PMC2911855  PMID: 20537203
21.  Promoter Variant of PIK3C3 Is Associated with Autoimmunity against Ro and Sm Epitopes in African-American Lupus Patients 
The PIK3C3 locus was implicated in case-case genome-wide association study of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) which we had performed to detect genes associated with autoantibodies and serum interferon-alpha (IFN-α). Herein, we examine a PIK3C3 promoter variant (rs3813065/-442 C/T) in an independent multiancestral cohort of 478 SLE cases and 522 controls. rs3813065 C was strongly associated with the simultaneous presence of both anti-Ro and anti-Sm antibodies in African-American patients [OR = 2.24 (1.34–3.73), P = 2.0 × 10−3]. This autoantibody profile was associated with higher serum IFN-α (P = 7.6 × 10−6). In the HapMap Yoruba population, rs3813065 was associated with differential expression of ERAP2 (P = 2.0 × 10−5), which encodes an enzyme involved in MHC class I peptide processing. Thus, rs3813065 C is associated with a particular autoantibody profile and altered expression of an MHC peptide processing enzyme, suggesting that this variant modulates serologic autoimmunity in African-American SLE patients.
doi:10.1155/2010/826434
PMCID: PMC2910508  PMID: 20671926
22.  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.
doi:10.1186/ar2070
PMCID: PMC1794505  PMID: 17062137
23.  Repertoire cloning of lupus anti-DNA autoantibodies. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1996;98(12):2827-2837.
To investigate the autoantibody repertoire associated with SLE, we have created phage display IgG Fab libraries from two clinically active SLE patients and from the healthy identical twin of one of these patients. The libraries from the lupus discordant twins were found to both include unusually large representations of the V(H)5 gene family. By panning with DNA, the SLE libraries each yielded IgG anti-double-stranded (ds) DNA autoantibodies, which are characteristic of lupus disease. These included a V(H)5 autoantibody from the affected twin, that has a targeted cluster of mutations that potentially improves binding affinity. The recovered IgG anti-dsDNA autoantibodies expressed the same idiotypes associated with the in vivo IgG anti-dsDNA response of the respective SLE donor. Heavy-light chain shuffling experiments demonstrated a case in which the in vitro creation of anti-dsDNA binding activity required restrictive pairing of a heavy chain with Vlambda light chains similar to those in circulating anti-dsDNA autoantibodies. By contrast, IgG anti-ds autoantibodies could not be recovered from the library from the healthy twin, or from shuffled libraries with heavy chains from the healthy twin. These repertoire analyses illustrate how inheritance and somatic processes interplay to produce lupus-associated IgG autoantibodies.
PMCID: PMC507750  PMID: 8981931
24.  Diversity and pattern of inheritance of autoantibodies in families with multiple cases of systemic lupus erythematosus. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1992;51(5):611-618.
The pattern of inheritance of autoantibodies in eight families chosen from a pool of 110 families of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is described. In all the eight families at least two members were already affected by SLE. In total, 19 patients and 43 first degree relatives were examined. The inheritance of a large set of antinuclear antibodies (for example, DNA, Sm, RNP, Ro, La, histones) and 16/6 idiotype seemed to be related to some unknown genetic factors but not related to HLA. The presence of numerous antinuclear autoantibodies in the serum of a subject was not necessarily associated with overt disease. The incidence of the 16/6 idiotype among patients and their relatives was low. It is not yet clear whether the 'autoantibody burden' is greater in families with multiple cases of SLE than in families with single cases.
PMCID: PMC1005692  PMID: 1616325
25.  Detection of anti-dsDNA as diagnostic tool. 
The diagnostic significance of anti-dsDNA determinations was evaluated in 2 different groups of patients. When the immunofluorescence technique (IFT) with Crithidia luciliae and the Farr assay with 3H-labelled-PM2 DNA were applied to a selected panel of 536 sera from patients with various well-defined autoimmune diseases, positive results were obtained only with serum samples from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). On the other hand when we screened 4431 sera sent to our laboratory for diagnostic reasons, we observed a high incidence of antibodies to dsDNA in patients who did not fulfil the preliminary American Rheumatism Association's criteria for SLE and did not have the diagnosis SLE. Furthermore, a significant number of the positive sera showed peculiar behaviour in that they were positive only in the IFT on Crithidia luciliae and not in the Farr assay.
PMCID: PMC1000654  PMID: 7008712

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