Identification of Antibodies to Nuclear Acidic Antigens by Counterimmunoelectrophoresis

Arthritis Rheum. May-Jun 1976;19(3):574-80. doi: 10.1002/art.1780190309.


Saline extracts of rabbit thymus were found to contain many nuclear antigens that reacted with antibodies in the sera of patients with systemic rheumatic diseases. Counterimmunoelectrophoresis (CIE) was used to detect antibodies to nuclear acidic protein (Sm), nuclear ribonucleoprotein (RNP), and antibody to nuclear antigen B, which was reported previously in Sjögren's syndrome. All these nuclear antigens behaved as anions with different mobilities in CIE and could be distinguished from one another by the locations of the precipitin lines. They could also be distinguished by the facts that the nuclear RNP precipitin lines were abolished by digestion with ribonuclease whereas others were unaffected, and that Sm precipitin lines developed later than other precipitin lines. With this technique antibody to nuclear RNP was detected in 46% of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) compared to 26% detected by the hemagglutination technique. Similarly the increased sensitivity of the CIE technique was able to show that antibody to B antigen was present in 12% of SLE patients, whereas this antibody was not detectable in the same group of patients by immunodiffusion. This study shows that CIE is a rapid and sensitive technique for detecting precipitating antibodies to a number of nuclear acidic antigens. Methods are described to identify the immunochemical specificities of the precipitin lines by the use of standard reference sera.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / analysis*
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Antigens
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Collagen Diseases / immunology
  • Counterimmunoelectrophoresis*
  • Dermatomyositis / immunology
  • Hemagglutination Tests
  • Humans
  • Immunoelectrophoresis*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Nucleoproteins / immunology
  • Precipitins
  • Ribonucleoproteins / immunology
  • Salmine / immunology
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / immunology
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / immunology


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Antigens
  • Nucleoproteins
  • Precipitins
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • Salmine