Autoantibody explosion in systemic lupus erythematosus: more than 100 different antibodies found in SLE patients

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2004 Oct;34(2):501-37. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2004.07.002.


Objective: Description of the various autoantibodies that can be detected in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Methods: A literature review, using the terms "autoantibody" and "systemic lupus erythematosus", was conducted to search for articles on autoantibodies in SLE, their target antigens, association with disease activity, or other clinical associations.

Results: One hundred sixteen autoantibodies were described in SLE patients. These include autoantibodies that target nuclear antigens, cytoplasmic antigens, cell membrane antigens, phospholipid-associated antigens, blood cells, endothelial cells, and nervous system antigens, plasma proteins, matrix proteins, and miscellaneous antigens. The target of autoantibody, the autoantigen properties, autoantibody frequencies in SLE, as well as clinical associations, and correlation with disease activity are described for all 116 autoantibodies.

Conclusions: SLE is the autoimmune disease with the largest number of detectable autoantibodies. Their production could be antigen-driven, the result of polyclonal B cell activation, impaired apoptotic pathways, or the outcome of idiotypic network dysregulation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*


  • Autoantibodies