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Ro52 autoantibodies arise from self-reactive progenitors in a mother of a child with neonatal lupus.


The detection of cardiac conduction defects in an 18-24 week old foetus in the absence of structural abnormalities predicts with near certainty the presence of autoantibodies against 60kD and 52kD SSA/Ro in the mother regardless of her health status. Previous studies have emphasized these autoantibodies as key mediators of tissue injury. The aim of this study was to focus on the anti-Ro52 response to determine whether these autoantibodies originate from progenitors that are inherently self-reactive or from B-cells that acquire self-reactivity during an immune response. We traced the evolution of two anti-Ro52 autoantibodies isolated from circulating IgG1-switched B-cells from an asymptomatic mother of a child with third degree congenital heart block. The autoantibodies were expressed as their immune form and as pre-immune ancestors by reverting somatic mutations to germline sequence. The reactivity of pre-immune and immune antibodies for Ro52, Ro60, La and DNA was measured. Both anti-Ro52 autoantibodies exhibited a low frequency of somatic mutations (3-4%) and utilised the same heavy and light chain genes but represented distinct clones based on differing complementarity determining region sequences. Pre- and post-immune antibodies showed specific binding to Ro52 with no measurable reactivity for other autoantigens. Ro52 binding was higher for immune antibodies compared to pre-immune counterparts demonstrating that autoreactivity was enhanced by affinity maturation. These data indicate that Ro52 reactivity is an intrinsic property of the germline antibody repertoire in a mother with a pathogenic antibody defined by cardiac injury in her offspring, and implies defects in both central and peripheral tolerance mechanisms.

Type Journal
Authors Reed, JH.; Gorny, MK.; Li. L.; Cardozo. T.; Buyon, JP.; Clancy, RM.
Responsible Garvan Author Dr Joanne Reed
Published Date 2017-05-01
Published Volume 79
Published Pages 99-104
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1016/j.jaut.2017.01.004
URL link to publisher's version