Background: Neuromyelitis optica (NMO)-systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) association is a rare condition characterized by multiple autoantibodies.
Objective: To examine if, during the evolution of NMO, anti-AQP4 responses are part of polyclonal B cell activation, and if T cell responses contribute.
Methods: In 19 samples of six patients who developed NMO during SLE, we examined the correlation of AQP4-IgG1 and IgM with (i) anti-MOG IgG and IgM, (ii) anti-nuclear, anti-nucleosome and anti-dsDNA IgG antibodies, (iii) cytokines and chemokines in the serum and (iv) longitudinal relation to NMO relapses/remission.
Results: AQP4-IgG1 was present 1-2-5 years before the first NMO relapse. During relapse, AQP4-IgG1, ANA, anti-dsDNA and anti-nucleosome antibodies were elevated. Anti-MOG IgG/IgM and AQP4-IgM antibodies were not detected. AQP4-IgG1 antibodies correlated with concentration of anti-nucleosome, IFN-γ,interferon-gamma-induced CCL10/IP-10 and CCL17/TARC (p<0.05, respectively). CCL17/TARC correlated with levels of anti-nucleosome and anti-dsDNA (p<0.05, respectively). Compared to healthy subjects, concentration of IFN-γ and CCL17/TARC was higher in NMO/SLE (p<0.05).
Conclusions: AQP4-IgG1 antibodies are present in the sera years before the first NMO attack in patients with SLE; elevation of anti-AQP4 is part of a polyclonal B cell response during NMO relapses; in spite of multiple autoantibodies in the serum, MOG antibodies were not present; Th1 responses accompany autoantibody responses in NMO/SLE.
Keywords: AQP4; IL-17; IP-10; SLE; Th1; Th17; myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein.
© The Author(s), 2015.