Purpose of review
Autoantibodies are cornerstone biomarkers in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibody-mediated tissue damage. Autoantibodies can inform about disease susceptibility, clinical course, outcomes and the cause of SLE. Identifying pathogenic autoantibodies in SLE, however, remains a significant challenge. This review summarizes recent advances in the field of autoantibodies in SLE.
High-throughput technologies and innovative hypothesis have been applied to identify autoantibodies linked to pathogenic pathways in SLE. This work has led to the discovery of functional autoantibodies targeting key components is SLE pathogenesis (e.g. DNase1L3, cytokines, extracellular immunoregulatory receptors), as well as the identification of endogenous retroelements and interferon-induced proteins as sources of autoantigens in SLE. Others have reinvigorated the study of mitochondria, which has antigenic parallels with bacteria, as a trigger of autoantibodies in SLE, and identified faecal IgA to nuclear antigens as potential biomarkers linking gut permeability and microbial translocation in SLE pathogenesis. Recent studies showed that levels of autoantibodies against dsDNA, C1q, chromatin, Sm and ribosomal P may serve as biomarkers of proliferative lupus nephritis, and identified novel autoantibodies to several unique species of Ro52 overexpressed by SLE neutrophils.
Autoantibodies hold promise as biomarkers of pathogenic mechanisms in SLE.