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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 1998 Mar;5(2):181-5.

Reactivity of sera from systemic lupus erythematosus and Sjögren's syndrome patients with peptides derived from human immunodeficiency virus p24 capsid antigen.

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Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans 70112, USA.


We have previously demonstrated that about one-third of patients with either Sjögren's syndrome (SS) or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) react to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) p24 core protein antigen without any evidence of exposure to, or infection with, HIV itself. Herein, we further characterize the specificity of this reaction using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to peptides representing fragments of p24. Characteristic epitope-specific profiles were seen for SS and SLE patients. SS patients had significantly increased responses to peptides F (p24 amino acids 69 to 86) and H (amino acids 101 to 111) and diminished reactivity to peptides A (amino acids 1 to 16) and P (amino acids 214 to 228). SLE patients had increased reactivity to peptides E (amino acids 61 to 76), H, and P. Utilization of peptide P hyporeactivity as the criterion to select for SS patients results in a screen that is moderately sensitive (64%) and specific (79.3%). Adding hyperreactivity to one other peptide (F or H) as an additional criterion yields an expected decrease in sensitivity (to 41%) while increasing specificity (to 93.1%). All sera-reactive peptides from regions of known structure of HIV p24 were located in the apex of the p24 molecule. Thus, the specificity of the peptide reactivities described here indicates a specific pattern of a nonrandom cross-reactivity between HIV type 1 p24 and autoimmune sera which may be partially syndrome specific. The future focus of our work will be to optimize assays of the peptide as diagnostic tools.

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