The objective of the study was to investigate the antigen specificity and occurrence of individual autoantibodies in mothers of children diagnosed with atrioventricular (AV) block in a nation-wide setting. Patients with AV block detected before 15 years of age were identified using national quality registries as well as a network of pediatric and adult cardiologists and rheumatologists at the six university hospitals in Sweden. Patients with gross heart malformations, surgically or infectiously induced blocks were excluded. Blood samples were obtained from the mothers and maternal autoantibody profile, including the occurrence of antibodies against Ro52, Ro60, La, SmB, SmD, RNP-70k, RNP-A, RNP-C, CENP-C, Scl-70, Jo-1, ribosomal RNP and histones was investigated in 193 mothers of children with AV block by immunoblotting and ELISA. Autoantibody reactivity was detected in 48% (93/193) of the mothers of children with AV block. In autoantibody-positive mothers, the vast majority, 95% (88/93), had antibodies against Ro52, while 63% (59/93) had autoantibodies to Ro60 and 58% (54/93) had autoantibodies to La. In addition, 13% (12/93) of the autoantibody-positive mothers had antibodies to other investigated antigens besides Ro52, Ro60 and La, and of these anti-histone antibodies were most commonly represented, detected in 8% (7/93) of the mothers. In conclusion, this Swedish population-based study confirms that maternal autoantibodies may associate with heart block in the child. Further, our data demonstrate a dominant role of Ro52 antibodies in association with AV block.
© 2011 The Authors. Scandinavian Journal of Immunology © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.