Arthritis and rheumatism

Quantitative radioligand assays using de novo-synthesized recombinant autoantigens in connective tissue diseases: new tools to approach the pathogenic significance of anti-RNP antibodies in rheumatic diseases.

PMID 10728764


To describe new assays for the detection and quantification of antibodies to RNPs in rheumatic diseases, using soluble nuclear antigens synthesized de novo in reticulocyte lysates. Sera from 381 patients with various rheumatic diseases, including 212 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), were analyzed in order to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of serum autoantibody reactivities to several recombinant soluble autoantigens: U1-A RNP, Sm-B, SSA/Ro 52 and SSA/Ro 60, SSB/La, and Ku. Radioligand assays (RLAs) were performed following the in vitro transcription and translation of each autoantigen from the corresponding complementary DNA, labeled with 35S-methionine. The radiolabeled protein was then bound by the specific serum autoantibody, forming immune complexes that were captured by protein A-Sepharose beads and quantified by counting the radioactivity. Among the SLE patients, 44% were positive for anti-U1-A RNP activity, 34% for anti-Sm-B, 44% for anti-SSA (32% for Ro 52 and 46% for Ro 60), 32% for anti-SSB/La, and 11% for anti-Ku reactivities. SSA antibodies had a high frequency in patients with mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) (80%); 65% of these patient sera reacted with Ro 52, 45% with Ro 60, and 45% with U1-A RNP. Twenty percent of the MCTD patients also exhibited antibodies to Sm-B and Ku. In patients with Sjögren's syndrome, anti-SSA was the main anti-RNP antibody (63%), together with SSB/La antibodies (44%). Among patients with inflammatory myopathy, only antibodies against Ro 52 (36%) and Ro 60 (36%) were present. These new RLA allowed observation of a strong correlation (P < 0.0001) between Sm-B antibody levels and the severity of SLE (as measured by the SLE Disease Activity Index), and establishment of a correlation between anti-U1-A RNP antibodies and the occurrence of SLE nephritis (P < 0.02). All RLAs were highly specific for the antigen tested and displayed, in the disease groups studied, a higher sensitivity than conventional immunodiffusion assays. These highly sensitive, specific, and quantitative RLAs represent new tools for the detection of autoantibodies to RNP antigens in rheumatic diseases, and may be useful for (differential) diagnosis in clinical practice.

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R8526 RO-52 (SSA) human, recombinant, expressed in E. coli, liquid