JOURNAL ARTICLE

Serum concentration of immunoglobulin G-type antibodies against the whole Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 1 and its aa35-58 or aa398-404 fragments in the sera of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and multiple sclerosis

D Csuka, D Simon, R Hóbor, K Uray, Z Prohászka, Z Bánlaki, P K Jani, Á Szilágyi, F Hudecz, K Rajczy, G Beke, A Boros Major, A Tordai, Z Illés, T Berki, L Czirják, G Füst
Clinical and Experimental Immunology 2013, 171 (3): 255-62
23379431
Several studies suggest that infection by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) might be one of the environmental factors which facilitates the development of autoimmune disorders in genetically susceptible individuals. Recent data indicate that high anti-Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA)-1 immunoglobulin (Ig)G titre is a strong risk factor for multiple sclerosis (MS) in patients both with and without the main genetic predisposing trait, human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-DRB1*15:01. Because no similar studies have been published in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients, we determined the HLA-DRB1*15:01 carrier state and the serum titres against the whole EBNA-1 and its small fragments aa35-58 and aa398-404 in 301 SLE patients, 135 MS patients and in 345 healthy controls. The carrier state of the HLA-DRB1*15:01 allele was deduced from genotyping of a tagSNP (rs3135388) by applying a Taqman-based assay. The serum concentrations of antibodies to EBNA-1 and its aa35-58 or aa398-404 fragments were determined using a commercial assay (ETI-EBNA-G) and home-made enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, respectively. The serum concentration of anti-EBNA-1 antibodies was significantly (P < 0·001) higher both in MS and SLE patients than in controls. Similar significant differences were found both in HLA-DRB1*15:01 carriers and non-carriers. Furthermore, titres of antibodies against the aa35-58 EBNA-1 fragment were elevated both in MS and SLE patients. By contrast, the levels of aa398-404 EBNA-1 antibodies were elevated significantly only in the SLE patients. These findings indicate that high anti-EBNA-1 IgG titres are HLA-DRB1*15:01-independent risk factors not only for MS, but also for SLE, while high antibody titres against the aa398-404 fragment are characteristic for SLE.

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