Objectives: The aim of the study was to evaluate the potential contribution made by tumor necrosis factor (TNF) autoantibodies to the pathogenesis of bronchial asthma (BA).
Methods: We used affinity chromatography methods and a magnetic separation procedure to purify human autoantibodies specific to TNF. The autoantibodies were used as a calibration material to determine the absolute content of autoantibodies to TNF using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). TNF content and levels of soluble receptors to TNF were determined using the ELISA commercial test kits.
Results: We demonstrated significant increases in the levels of TNF and soluble TNF receptors in the sera of patients with uncontrolled and controlled BA, as compared with healthy donors. Levels of autoantibodies of the IgG2 and IgG4 subclasses were significantly higher in sera from patients with uncontrolled BA than in healthy donors. Levels of IgG2 autoantibodies were significantly higher in sera from patients with uncontrolled BA than in patients with controlled BA.
Conclusions: BA is associated with changes in the levels of not only TNF and soluble receptors for TNF, but also autoantibodies to TNF. Given the magnitude of the changes in the levels of different subclasses of autoantibodies to TNF, we propose that these autoantibodies might contribute to the pathogenesis of BA.