Objective: To detect autoantibodies to tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and to determine their clinical correlates.
Methods: Ninety-two patients with RA and 62 with SLE were studied. Sera were examined for autoantibodies to TNF by enzyme linked immunoassay. Levels of these autoantibodies were analyzed in respect to markers of inflammation such as erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), and joint erosions, as well as other clinical, laboratory, and therapeutic aspects of RA and SLE.
Results: Anti-TNF levels were higher in those RA patients without erosions, but did not correlate with ESR or CRP.
Conclusion: These observations suggest that autoantibody anti-TNF may be part of the innate immune system and may contribute to decreased inflammation in patients with RA.