Anti-ganglioside antibodies in a large cohort of European patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: clinical, serological, and HLA class II gene associations. European Concerted Action on the Immunogenetics of SLE

J Rheumatol. 2000 Jan;27(1):135-41.


Objective: To assay anti-ganglioside antibodies (aGM1) in sera of a large cohort of European patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) to define the prevalence of these autoantibodies in SLE; to evaluate the association of aGM1 with clinical manifestations and other autoantibodies found in SLE; and to search for aGM1 association with HLA class II alleles.

Methods: Four hundred forty-eight patients with SLE were consecutively enrolled in 8 centers from 6 European countries. All sera were tested for antinuclear antibodies by immunofluorescence on HEp-2 cells as substrate, anti-dsDNA, aGM1, aCL, abeta2-glycoprotein I (abeta2-GPI) antibodies by ELISA, and antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) by immunofluorescence and by ELISA. Genomic typing for HLA class II loci was performed by polymerase chain reaction-sequence specific oligonucleotide probe method. Clinical assessment was done at the time of enrolment.

Results: We found 41.9% of patients with clinical signs of neuropsychiatric involvement; 15.5% of patients were positive for aGM1, 8% of the IgG isotype and 8.6% of the IgM isotype; aGM1-IgG were associated with neuropsychiatric manifestations (NPM) (RR = 3.7), with migraine (RR = 2.4), with OBS (RR = 7.3), and with peripheral neuropathy (RR = 8.5). aGM1-IgM were associated with NPM (RR = 4) and with depression (RR = 3.4). Furthermore, the genetic study showed that aGM1-IgG were associated with HLA-DQB1*0404 (RR = 7.2) while aGM1-IgM were associated with HLA-DQB1*0605 (RR = 33.3). No associations were found between aGM1 and anti-dsDNA, aCL, abeta2GP1, or ANCA.

Conclusion: Our results show aGM1 can be found in patients with SLE. aGM1 may play a pathogenetic role for some NPM in this condition.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Gangliosides / immunology*
  • Genes, MHC Class II / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / blood*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology


  • Autoantibodies
  • Gangliosides