Lupus patients selectively produce autoantibodies against nucleoproteins. Since the RNA/DNA components of these autoantigens are endogenous TLR ligands capable of stimulating Type I interferon (IFN-I) production, we asked whether autoantibodies against the ribonucleoproteins Sm/RNP and Ro60 and double-stranded DNA are associated with high levels of IFN-I. IFN-I levels were increased in SLE (n = 88) vs. other autoimmune diseases (n = 82) and controls (n = 57) (P < 0.0001) and were associated positively with autoantibodies against Sm/RNP, Ro60/La, and dsDNA but negatively with anti-phospholipid. Low numbers of circulating plasmacytoid and myeloid dendritic cells also were associated with these autoantibodies. The IFN-I and dendritic cell abnormalities correlated with disease severity and were not therapy-related. These findings suggest that immunostimulatory nucleic acid components of autoantigens may act as endogenous adjuvants by promoting IFN-I production and dendritic cell maturation, helping to explain the high prevalence of autoantibodies against nucleoprotein antigens in SLE.