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J Immunol. 2008 Jul 1;181(1):756-67.

Identification of annexin 1 as a novel autoantigen in acute exacerbation of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

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Department of Respirology (B2), Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.


Consistent with the hypothesis that pulmonary epithelial apoptosis is the key to the acute exacerbation of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), we conducted serological identification of Ags by recombinant expression cloning (SEREX) analysis using type II alveolar cell carcinoma (A549) cell lines to identify disease-related Abs. In a survey of Abs to the recombinant autoantigens identified by SEREX analysis, five Abs were identified as novel candidates for the acute exacerbation of IPF. Abs to annexin 1 were detected in 47 and 53% of the sera and bronchoalveolar lavage materials from patients with acute exacerbation of IPF. Some identical TCR Vbeta genes were identified in sequential materials obtained at 1-3 mo in all 10 acute exacerbation IPF cases, suggesting that some infiltrating CD4-positive T cells sharing limited epitopes expand by Ag-driven stimulation during disease extension. The CDR3 region of these identical TCR Vbeta genes showed high homology with the N-terminal portion of annexin 1, including in the HLA-DR ligand epitopes predicted by TEPITOPE analysis. By Western blotting analysis and observation of the CD4-positive T cell responses in bronchoalveolar lavage samples, the N-terminal portion of annexin 1 was cleaved and found to induce marked proliferative responses of CD4-positive T cells in three patients. Our study demonstrates that annexin 1 is an autoantigen that raises both Ab production and T cell response in patients with acute exacerbation of IPF, and that the N-terminal portion of annexin 1 plays some role in the pathogenesis of acute exacerbation in IPF patients.

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