Antibodies as Predictors of Complex Autoimmune Diseases

Emerging evidence has suggested environmental factors such as infections and xenobiotics and some dietary proteins and peptides in the pathogenesis of many autoimmune diseases. Considering the fact that autoantibodies can often be detected prior to the onset of a disease, in this study an enzyme immunoassay was used for measurement of antibodies against different highly purified antigens or synthetic peptides originating not only from human tissue, but also from cross-reactive epitopes of infectious agents, dietary proteins and xenobiotics. The measurement of antibodies against a panel of antigens allows for identification of patterns or antibody signatures, rather than just one or two markers of autoimmunity, thus establishing the premise for increased sensitivity and specificity of prediction, as well as positive predictive values. This panel of different autoantibodies was applied to 420 patients with different autoimmune diseases, including pernicious anemia, celiac disease, thyroiditis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, Addison’s disease, type 1 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and autoimmunity, which are presented in this article. In all cases, the levels of these antibodies were significantly elevated in patients versus controls. Antibody patterns related to neuroautoimmune disorders, cancer, and patients with somatic hypermutation will be shown in a subsequent article. We believe that this novel 96 antigen-specific autoantibody or predictive antibody screen should be studied for its incorporation into routine medical examinations. Clinicians should be aware that the detection of antibodies should not automatically mean that a patient will definitely become ill, but would rather give a percentage of risk for autoimmune disease over subsequent months or years.

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