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Clin Exp Immunol. Nov 1986; 66(2): 255–261.
PMCID: PMC1542527

Monoclonal anti-tuberculosis antibodies react with DNA, and monoclonal anti-DNA autoantibodies react with Mycobacterium tuberculosis.


Classical models of experimental autoimmune diseases, such as adjuvant arthritis entail the use of mycobacteria. Furthermore, BCG immunotherapy may be followed by arthritic symptoms. To test the infection-autoimmunity relationship of mycobacteria, we used monoclonal antibodies raised against M. tuberculosis and against DNA. Murine monoclonal anti-TB antibodies were found to react with ssDNA, dsDNA and other polynucleotides. Monoclonal anti-DNA autoantibodies derived from patients and mice with SLE bound to three glycolipids shared among all mycobacteria and derived from mycobacterial cell wall. Prior incubation of the antibodies with ssDNA and other polynucleotides or with glycolipid antigens inhibited binding. These results indicate that infecting mycobacteria share antigens with human tissue, thus accounting in part for the production of autoantibodies in mycobacterial infections.

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