Simultaneous detection of anti-C1q and anti-double stranded DNA autoantibodies in lupus nephritis: predictive value for renal flares

Lupus. 2011 Jan;20(1):28-34. doi: 10.1177/0961203310379871. Epub 2010 Oct 13.


Clinical difficulties in predicting systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) renal flares are still encountered. Biological markers such as autoantibodies (aAbs) may be of major interest for clinicians in the follow-up of SLE patients. The aim of our study was to investigate the clinical utility of one of these biological markers, anti-C1q aAbs, in predicting renal flares of SLE nephritis in comparison with the 'gold standard' anti-double stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) aAbs. Anti-C1q aAbs and anti-dsDNA aAbs were analysed through a longitudinal retrospective study of 23 SLE patients presenting with one or more renal flares. Anti-C1q and/or anti-dsDNA aAbs were found in 20 (87%) of 23 patients, of whom 16 (69%) displayed both. Thirty-three renal flares occurred during the course of the study, and anti-C1q aAbs and anti-dsDNA aAbs were positive in 25 (76%) and 24 (73%) of these flares respectively. The sensitivity of anti-C1q and/or anti-dsDNA aAbs in predicting renal flares reached 85%. The specificity of anti-C1q aAbs was 84%, of anti-dsDNA aAbs 77% and of both aAbs 97%. Positive and negative predictive values were as follows: 56% and 70% for anti-C1q aAbs, 53% and 72% for anti-dsDNA aAbs. The combination of both aAbs had the highest positive predictive value (69%), whereas absence of both aAbs was associated with the highest negative predictive value (74%). In conclusion, our results confirm that anti-C1q aAbs are present in a significant percentage of SLE patients with active renal involvement, suggesting that these aAbs could be a useful additional marker. The presence of anti-C1q and anti-dsDNA aAbs was associated with a high risk of renal flare, whereas the absence of both aAbs excluded such an event. These data confirm that systematic detection of anti-C1q and anti-dsDNA aAbs is of interest for the follow-up in SLE patients with renal involvement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / analysis*
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / immunology
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Biomarkers
  • Complement C1q / immunology*
  • DNA / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney* / immunology
  • Kidney* / pathology
  • Lupus Nephritis / immunology*
  • Lupus Nephritis / pathology
  • Lupus Nephritis / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Complement C1q
  • DNA