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Clin Lab Haematol. 2005 Aug;27(4):247-9.

Occurrence of autoantibodies in chronic graft vs. host disease after allogeneic stem cell transplantation.

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Department of Haematology, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, UK.


Chronic graft vs. host disease (GVHD) remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT). Chronic GVHD (cGVHD) has many similarities to de novo autoimmune disorders. While the presence and association of autoantibodies is well reported in these disorders, their role and clinical use remains a less studied area after SCT. We report the presence of autoantibodies in SCT recipients and a possible association with presence of cGVHD. During routine follow-up visits peripheral blood samples were tested for: rheumatoid factor (RF), antinuclear antibody (ANA), double stranded DNA (dsDNA), antimitochondrial antibody, antismooth muscle antibody (Anti Sm), antiendomysial, antireticulin antibodies, antithyroid peroxidase antibodies and an extractable nuclear antigen screen, in 13 SCT recipients. Six of 13 (46%) patients had one or more autoantibodies. All the patients with antibodies had cGVHD where as none of the patients without cGVHD had any autoantibodies (P = 0.025). Three (23%) patients had only one autoantibody and three (23%) of them had more than one autoantibody. ANA was positive in three (23.3%) patients, double stranded DNA in four (30.7%) patients, RF in one (7.6%) and Anti Sm muscle in two (15.3%) patients. In the present study, autoantibodies were detected predominantly in patients with presence of cGVHD. They also appeared to be more frequent in an unmanipulated graft and so less in patients with a T-cell depleted allograft. In two of 13 patients only there appeared to be an association between the antibody titre and flare up in skin symptoms. In conclusion, this small series raises interesting questions about the presence and role of autoantibodies after SCT and their association with cGVHD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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