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Clin Exp Immunol. 1993 Apr;92(1):46-50.

Similar frequency of autoantibodies against 70-kD class heat-shock proteins in healthy subjects and systemic lupus erythematosus patients.

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Institute of Tumorbiology-Cancer Research, University of Vienna, Austria.


Stress or heat-shock proteins may be involved in the initiation and perpetuation of autoimmune diseases. In order to investigate a possible role of autoantibodies against the 70-kD family of heat-shock proteins in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), sera of SLE patients and healthy subjects were tested for the presence of IgG and IgM antibodies to 70-kD class proteins. These proteins were purified by affinity chromatography on ATP-agarose and used in Western blotting studies. The data obtained revealed that antibodies to the 72-kD and the 73-kD heat-shock proteins occurred with similar frequencies both in healthy subjects and SLE patients. Thus, approximately 20% of the sera in each group contained IgG antibodies, and IgM antibodies were detected in about 30% of the sera tested. Moreover, in SLE patients no association between the occurrence and titre of these antibodies and disease activity was found. These data suggest that antibodies to the 70-kD class heat-shock proteins are naturally occurring and argue therefore against an involvement of these antibodies in the pathogenesis of SLE.

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