Background: The antigenic trigger that drives expansion of circulating plasmablasts and CD4+ cytotoxic T cells in patients with IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD) is presently unknown.
Objective: We sought to sequence immunoglobulin genes from single-cell clones of dominantly expanded plasmablasts and generate recombinant human mAbs to identify relevant antigens in patients with IgG4-RD by using mass spectrometry.
Methods: Paired heavy and light chain cDNAs from dominant plasmablast clones were expressed as mAbs and used to purify antigens by using immunoaffinity chromatography. Affinity-purified antigens were identified by using mass spectrometry and validated by means of ELISA. Plasma levels of the antigen of interest were also determined by using ELISA.
Results: mAbs expressed from the 2 dominant plasmablast clones of a patient with multiorgan IgG4-RD stained human pancreatic tissue sections. Galectin-3 was identified as the antigen specifically recognized by both mAbs. Anti-galectin-3 autoantibody responses were predominantly of the IgG4 isotype (28% of the IgG4-RD cohort, P = .0001) and IgE isotype (11% of the IgG4-RD cohort, P = .009). No significant responses were seen from the IgG1, IgG2, or IgG3 isotypes. IgG4 anti-galectin-3 autoantibodies correlated with increased plasma galectin-3 levels (P = .001), lymphadenopathy (P = .04), total IgG level increase (P = .05), and IgG4 level increase (P = .03).
Conclusion: Affinity chromatography using patient-derived mAbs identifies relevant autoantigens in patients with IgG4-RD. IgG4 galectin-3 autoantibodies are present in a subset of patients with IgG4-RD and correlate with galectin-3 plasma levels. The marked increases in levels of circulating IgG4 and IgE observed clinically are, at least in part, caused by the development of IgG4- and IgE-specific autoantibody responses.
Keywords: IgG(4)-related disease; autoantibody; autoantigen; galectin-3; plasmablast.
Copyright © 2018 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.