Autoantibodies found in blood years before symptom onset of autoimmune disease

November 5, 2013

Autoantibodies are present many years before symptom onset in patients with primary Sjögren syndrome, an autoimmune disease, according to a Research Letter published in the November 6 issue of JAMA.

Primary Sjögren syndrome is a disease in which immune cells attack and destroy glands that produce tears and saliva. Autoantibodies are characteristic of this syndrome and may be involved in its development. Roland Jonsson, D.M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Bergen, Norway, and colleagues measured before in these patients.

All with primary Sjögren syndrome at Malmo University Hospital in Malmo, Sweden, have been included in a registry since 1984. Controls were randomly selected from biobanks and matched by sex, age, and date of earliest sampling (within 60 days before or after) to each case.

Of 360 cases in the registry, 44 (41 women and 3 men) provided 64 presymptomatic serum samples obtained an average of 7 years before symptom onset. In 29 cases (66 percent), autoantibodies were detected before symptom onset. All 29 cases had autoantibodies in their earliest available serum sample, as early as 18 years before symptom onset.

"To our knowledge, this is the first systematic investigation of presymptomatic autoantibodies in Sjögren syndrome. Most cases produced autoantibodies many years before clinical onset of the disease; the median [midpoint] time of 4 to 6 years is an underestimate because all seropositive cases had autoantibodies in their earliest available serum sample," the authors write.

"Autoantibody profiling may identify individuals at risk many years before disease onset. However, the significance of these presymptomatic autoantibodies for determining prognosis and treatment remains to be determined."

More information: DOI: 10.1001/jama.2013.278448

Related Stories

Stopping diabetes with insulin tablets

September 19, 2012

Type 1 diabetes is the autoimmune form of diabetes, in which the patients' insulin-producing beta cells are destroyed by their own immune system.

Researchers find six new Sjogren's syndrome genes

October 6, 2013

With the completion of the first genome-wide association study for Sjögren's syndrome, an international coalition of researchers led by scientists at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation has identified six new disease-related ...

Recommended for you

How to become a T follicular helper cell

July 30, 2015

Follicular helper Tcells (TFH cells), a rare type of immune cell that is essential for inducing a strong and lasting antibody response to viruses and other microbes, have garnered intense interest in recent years but the ...

Uncovering the secrets of immune system invaders

July 20, 2015

The human immune system is a powerful and wonderful creation. If you cut your skin, your body mobilizes a series of different proteins and cells to heal the cut. If you are infected by a virus or bacteria, your immune system ...

The role of the microbiota in preventing allergies

July 10, 2015

The human body is inhabited by billions of symbiotic bacteria, carrying a diversity that is unique to each individual. The microbiota is involved in many mechanisms, including digestion, vitamin synthesis and host defense. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.