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Arthritis Rheum. 2000 Feb;43(2):429-39.

Cross-reactivity of antiidiotypic antibodies with DNA in systemic lupus erythematosus.

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King's College London, UK.



To assess the functional relationship between antibodies reactive with DNA and antibodies reactive with the idiotypes (idiopeptides) of anti-DNA antibodies that are associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in mice.


Antiidiotypic antibodies that appeared spontaneously in lupus mice, and others that were induced by immunization of normal, non-lupus mice, were analyzed for their reactivity by a range of direct binding, competition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) methods. Their reactions were assessed against synthetic peptides representing sequences of the V(H) region of anti-DNA monoclonal antibody (mAb) V-88, against the native mAb itself, and against mammalian DNA.


In lupus mice, only sera with the highest reactivity against double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) also reacted with idiopeptides in ELISA, and this showed a strong statistical correlation. However, there was no significant relationship between antiidiotypic antibodies and anti-single-stranded DNA antibodies. Immunization of (BALB/c x NZW)F1 mice with idiopeptides p64 (V(H) residues 64-80) or p92 (V(H) residues 92-105) induced antibodies that reacted not only against the respective peptides, but also against the native parent anti-DNA mAb V-88. Furthermore, the immune antiidiopeptide antibodies cross-reacted with dsDNA. Competition SPR experiments with the BIAcore system supported this observation. The binding reaction of V(H) peptide p64 (representing the CDR-H2/FR-H3 region of V-88) with antiidiopeptide antibodies was inhibited by dsDNA.


This study identified a unique set of autoantibodies in SLE. They react with both autoantibody idiotopes and with dsDNA, thus having a dual specificity for 2 autoantigens. Because these antiidiotope antibodies arise naturally during the development of lupus disease, and because they bind also to dsDNA, this provides a mechanism whereby the production of anti-dsDNA antibodies is stimulated. These idiotopes on autoantibodies in lupus act as natural mimotopes for inducing anti-dsDNA antibodies, which, due to their dual specificity, may significantly contribute to the pathology of nephritis in SLE.

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