Autoantibodies and aberrant immune complexes are pathological hallmarks of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This study aimed to determine the occurrence of IgG autoantibodies against human serum albumin (anti-HSA IgG) and their potential association with antibodies against bovine serum albumin (anti-BSA IgG) in patients with SLE. Sera of 180 SLE patients included to the Swiss SLE Cohort Study and 188 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were evaluated. Levels of anti-HSA IgG and anti-BSA IgG were quantified by ELISA. Selected samples were further characterized using serum fractions obtained by fast liquid chromatography (FPLC). SLE patients had increased levels of anti-HSA IgG ( = 0.002) but similar levels of anti-BSA IgG compared to matched healthy controls. Anti-HSA IgG levels correlated with the SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI), which was more pronounced in patients with an physician's global assessment (PGA) of ≥ 1 ( = 0.309, = 0.0066). Anti-HSA IgG was partially complexed with serum albumin but also occurred as monomeric autoantibodies in highly positive SLE patients. A positive correlation between anti-HSA IgG and anti-BSA IgG was found that was stronger in SLE patients than in healthy controls ( = 0.3172, < 0.001 vs. = 0.2122, < 0.0035). Binding of anti-BSA IgG was inhibited partially in the presence of HSA in samples with double positivity for anti-HSA and anti-BSA (median inhibition 47.9%, range 0.9-100%) and vice versa. In SLE patients there is an increased prevalence of anti-HSA IgG antibodies that are associated with SLE disease activity
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