Objective: To determine the frequency and significance of antinuclear (ANA), anticardiolipin (ACA) and anti-Ro (SS-A) antibodies in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.
Methods: ANA (indirect immunofluorescence), ACA and anti-Ro (SS-A) antibodies (ELISA) were tested in sera of 42 patients with Poser defined MS and 50 healthy individuals.
Results: High levels of anti-Ro (SS-A) antibodies were found in 3 patients (7%) (vs 0 in the control group). Two of them had normal salivary gland biopsy. Clinical MS form was chronic-progressive in 2 cases and relapsing-remitting in the third one. Ten patients (23%) had low levels of ANA (vs 4%), none of them positive for anti-Ro (SS-A) antibodies. Only 1 patient (2%) with RR clinical form had ACA (vs 0). No clinical or neuroradiological differences with conventional MS patients were observed.
Conclusions: ANA, ACA and anti-Ro (SS-A) antibodies in MS patients indicate an underlying autoimmune disease but our series suggests that they are an epiphenomenon of a more diffuse immunological dysfunction.