Background: Inclusion body myositis (IBM) is a poorly understood and refractory autoimmune muscle disease. Though widely believed to have no significant humoral autoimmunity, we sought to identify novel autoantibodies with high specificity for this disease.
Methodology/principal findings: Plasma autoantibodies from 65 people, including 25 with IBM, were analyzed by immunoblots against normal human muscle. Thirteen of 25 (52%) IBM patient samples recognized an approximately 43 kDa muscle protein. No other disease (N = 25) or healthy volunteer (N = 15) samples recognized this protein.
Conclusions: Circulating antibodies against a 43-kDa muscle autoantigen may lead to the discovery of a novel biomarker for IBM. Its high specificity for IBM among patients with autoimmune myopathies furthermore suggests a relationship to disease pathogenesis.