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Acta Neurol Scand. 1999 Sep;100(3):139-47.

High prevalence of anti-alpha-crystallin antibodies in multiple sclerosis: correlation with severity and activity of disease.

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  • 1University of California at Davis, 95616, USA.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

The presence of T-cell reactivity to alphaB-crystallin in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) has suggested that this small molecular weight heat shock protein (Hsp) may be an autoantigen in MS.

MATERIAL AND METHODS:

We have tested the serum of patients with clinically definite MS (n=30), other inflammatory neurological disease (n=22), non-inflammatory neurological disease (n=42) and healthy individuals (n=23) for systemic humoral responses to bovine alphaB-crystallin, to the homologous chaperone protein, alphaA-crystallin, and to another small Hsp, Hsp 27.

RESULTS:

Sixty-three percent of MS patients exhibited immunoreactivity to alpha-crystallin and this was present in all 4 of 4 non-ambulatory patients with MS. In contrast, serum concentrations in MS patients of antibodies to the small Hsp, Hsp27, and to myelin basic protein were negligible (P<0.001). Serum anti-alpha-crystallin immune responses were detected in significantly lower percentages of patients with other inflammatory neurological diseases (32%, P<0.025), and with non-inflammatory neurological diseases (12%, P<0.001). None of the healthy control individuals showed anti-alpha-crystallin reactivity. The concentration of anti-alpha-crystallin antibodies in patients with MS correlated with severe disease (P<0.05) and with active disease (P<0.025).

CONCLUSION:

Our observations support the notion that anti-alpha-crystallin autoimmune responses may contribute to pathogenicity in MS and may represent a mechanism of how recurrent attacks of MS develop subsequent to an isolated demyelinating episode.

PMID:
10478576
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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