The prevalence of autoantibodies in an elderly sub-Saharan African population

Clin Exp Immunol. 2002 Jan;127(1):99-106. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2249.2002.01713.x.


In the present prospective, census-based study we have investigated the prevalence of organ-specific and non-organ-specific autoantibodies (AAb) in 152 unselected Cameroonians aged 60 years and older living in the community. AAb were detected in 49% of the participants. Non-organ-specific AAb (47%) predominated over organ-specific AAb (7%). Anti-TPO, anti-Tm, anti-Tg and anti-PC AAb were completely absent. RF was the most frequent AAb, being found in 57 (38%) cases. The prevalences of anti-SMA and RF were significantly higher in women than in men (respectively, P=0.023 and P=0.016). Higher serum concentrations of gammaglobulins were accompanied by a higher prevalence of RF (P < 0.0001) and a lower prevalence of ANA (P=0.036). The overall prevalence of AAb was higher in the filaria-infected (60%) compared to the non-infected (42%) participants (P=0.046). There was no significant influence of the vitamin D status, number of pregnancies, physical activity or medication use on the prevalence of AAb. In this study a heterogeneous pattern for the presence of the various AAb was found. Some AAb, which are commonly encountered in other studies on elderly subjects, were completely absent in this population. This diversified pattern of AAb prevalence therefore argues in favour of exogenous influences in the occurrence of AAb in elderly populations.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / immunology*
  • Antibody Specificity*
  • Autoantibodies / immunology*
  • Cameroon
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Specificity
  • Prevalence


  • Autoantibodies