Expanded Autoantibody Profiles for Subsetting of Native American, African American, and European American Patients With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

ACR Open Rheumatol. 2020 Jul;2(7):415-423. doi: 10.1002/acr2.11149. Epub 2020 Jun 22.


Objective: Many Native American (NA) patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) do not exhibit the classical SLE autoantibody profiles of European American (EA) and African American (AA) patients with SLE. The poorer SLE disease outcomes noted in NA patients highlights a need for more equitable diagnostic and prognostic tools for NA patients with SLE. The objective was to identify informative autoantibody profiles for NA, AA, and EA patients with SLE using an expanded set of autoantigens.

Methods: Sera from 49 NA, 49 AA, and 49 EA age-, sex-, and antinuclear autoantibody titer-matched patients with SLE who met the American College of Rheumatology classification criteria and 10 ethnicity-, sex-, and age-matched controls were tested for autoantibody reactivity by autoantigen microarrays. Autoantibodies that were significantly elevated in patients with SLE compared with ethnicity-specific controls were selected for hierarchical clustering. Differences in clinical criteria between patient clusters were determined by Fisher's exact test and corrected for multiple comparisons.

Results: NA, AA, and EA patients with SLE each had a cluster distinguished by higher levels of anti-Ro52 and another cluster distinguished by nucleic acid-specific autoantibodies. Additional clusters were distinguished in NA patients by elevated extracellular matrix autoantibodies and were distinguished in AA patients by elevated Sm/RNP autoantibody and elevated nucleolin/histone autoantibody. Two EA patient clusters with similar nucleic acid- and Ro52-specific autoantibodies were distinguished by either high or low histone 2A reactivity. Renal manifestations trended higher in the NA Ro52 cluster and were significantly enriched in the AA nucleolin/histone cluster. The AA nucleolin/histone cluster and EA H2A cluster had higher disease activity.

Conclusion: Expanded autoantibody profiles can identify informative subsets of patients with SLE.