Autoantibodies in nonautoimmune individuals during infections

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Jun:1108:584-93. doi: 10.1196/annals.1422.061.


Infections can act as environmental triggers inducing or promoting autoimmune disease in genetically predisposed individuals. Identification of microbial peptides similar to self-tissues may by molecular mimicry, provide the inducing mechanism for an immune response. The aim of this study was to identify autoantibodies (autoAbs) in nonautoimmune individuals during acute bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections. Specific Abs or specific infections with an increased autoAb load may shed insight into the mechanisms of autoimmune disease. Sera from 88 patients with acute infections (41 bacterial, 23 viral, 17 parasitic, and 7 rickettsial) were tested by the ELISA method for antinuclear antibodies (ANA) 8 Pro, and Abs to thyroid peroxidase (TPO), thyroglobulin, phospholipids, annexin-V, laminin, anti-Saccharomyces cervisiae (ASCA), and prothrombin, along with 80 normal controls. Elevated titers of Abs to annexin-V and prothrombin were the most prevalent in viral, parasitic, and rickettsial infections and to laminin in viral and parasitic infections. Elevated titers of ASCA and ANA were found in viral and bacterial infections. Antiphospholipid Abs were found in parasitic and Q-fever infections. Thirty-four individuals harbored elevated titers of at least two Abs. An autoAb burden was detected in individuals with hepatitis A, hepatitis B, toxoplasma or Q-fever infections. In nonautoimmune individuals with various (bacterial, viral, parasitic, and rickettsial) infections, elevated titers of Abs to annexin-V, prothrombin, laminin, ASCA, ANA, and phospholipids were most frequently detected.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Infections / blood*
  • Infections / immunology
  • Molecular Mimicry
  • Parasites / immunology


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Autoantibodies