To examine both possible correlations between anti-Ro/SS-A and anti-La/SS-B levels and their correlation with clinical disease activity in patients with Sjögren's syndrome (SS) or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an ELISA was developed using purified recombinant Ro 60 kDa, Ro 52 kDa and La antigens. The ELISA was used for testing sequential serum samples from 16 patients with either SS or SLE. The patients were followed for periods between 15 and 128 months, and 3-15 serum samples per patient were analysed and compared with clinically apparent disease activity at the time of sampling in 14 patients. A temporal correlation of antibody levels to Ro and La antigens was found, and antibodies to different epitopes of the Ro 60 kDa protein showed parallel variation in seven of eight patients tested. Co-variation of autoantibody levels and disease activity was found in 11 of 14 patients. In seven of these 11 patients the anti-Ro and anti-La levels were stable and changes in disease activity were minimal during the observation period. In the other four of these 11, changes in disease activity were noted, with an associated change in autoantibody levels. The results suggest that the serological response to Ro and La antigens, as well as to different epitopes of the Ro 60 kDa protein, is antigen driven and regulated by common mechanisms, and indicate a correlation of Ro and La antibodies with pathogenic events.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press Limited.