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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2018 Sep 27. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/key282. [Epub ahead of print]

Association of antibodies against myelin and neuronal antigens with neuroinflammation in systemic lupus erythematosus.

Author information

Neurologic Clinic and Policlinic, Department of Medicine, University Hospital Basel, Basel.
Clinical Neuroimmunology, Department of Biomedicine, University of Basel, Basel.
Clinical Immunology, Department of Biomedicine, University Hospital Basel, Basel.
Department of Immunology and Allergy, University Hospital and School of Medicine, Geneva.
Division of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Basel, Basel.
Division of Nephrology, Hypertension and Clinical Pharmacology, University Hospital Bern, Bern.
Division of Immunology and Allergy, CHUV, Lausanne, Switzerland.



To determine frequency and syndrome specificity of novel and known nervous system (NS)-directed antibodies in a large, unbiased cohort of SLE patients in the Swiss SLE Cohort Study.


This retrospective pilot study included 174 patients in a cross-sectional and 102 in a longitudinal study. Antibodies against 12 NS antigens [myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), neurofascin 186 (NF186), aquaporin-4 (AQP4), N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (subunit NR1) (NMDAR-NR1), α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor (subunits 1 and 2) (AMPAR1/2), gamma-aminobutyric acid B receptor (subunits B1 and B2) (GABABR1/2), glutamate decarboxylase 65 (GAD65), glycine receptor (GlyR), contactin-associated protein-like 2 (CASPR2), leucine-rich glioma-inactivated 1 (LGI1), metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) and dipeptidyl-peptidase-like protein 6 (DPPX)] were screened with validated cell-based assays and correlated with clinical and diagnostic findings.


Twenty-three of one hundred and seventy-four (13.2%) patients harboured antibodies against MOG (n = 14), NF186 (n = 6), GAD65 (n = 2), AQP4 and GlyR (n = 1). Anti-MOG antibodies were most frequently found in the cohort (8%). Thirteen of the anti-NS antibody-positive patients showed clinical symptoms of NS involvement, a subgroup of which (n = 8) resembled the syndrome associated with the antibody. Nine patients harboured antibodies without neurological symptoms and one patient was lost to follow-up. The frequency of NPSLE was significantly higher in the anti-NS antibody-positive patients (13/23, 56.5%: MOG 6/14, 42.9%; NF186 5/6, 83.3%; GAD65 2/2, 100%; AQP4/GlyR 0/1, 0%) compared with the antibody-negative cohort (21/151, 13.9%) (chi-square test, P < 0.0001).


Anti-NS antibodies, most prevalently anti-MOG antibodies, are significantly associated with NPSLE and manifest with the distinct neurological syndrome associated with the antibody in a subgroup. Follow-up studies in large, independent cohorts will reveal whether these anti-NS antibodies could serve as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for NPSLE and enable tailored treatment decisions in this challenging and diverse patient cohort.

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