Author(s): Migliorini P, Baldini C, Rocchi V, Bombardieri S
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Abstract Among anti-nuclear antibodies, anti-Sm and anti-RNP antibodies are of the utmost importance in clinical practice. Anti-Sm antibodies are directed against 7 proteins (B/B', D1, D2, D3, E, F, G) that constitute the common core of U1, U2, U4 and U5 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (snRNP) particles; B/B', D1 and D3 are more frequently targeted. Anti-RNP antibodies react with proteins (70 Kd, A, C) that are associated with U1 RNA and form U1snRNP. Anti-Sm and anti-RNP antibodies are directed towards both discontinuous and linear epitopes which are either contained in the protein sequence or are post-translationally modified. The assays to detect anti-Sm and anti-RNP antibodies are counterimmunoelectrophoresis (CIE), immunoblot, and ELISA, based on purified or recombinant proteins or synthetic peptides. Anti-Sm antibodies are detectable in a percentage of SLE patients comprised between 5 and 30\%; they are more prevalent in blacks and because of their high specificity for SLE have been included in the serological criteria for diagnosing the disease.Anti-RNP are detectable in 25-47\% of SLE patients; high titers of anti-RNP antibodies are diagnostic of mixed connective tissue disorder (MCTD). The measurement of anti-Sm and anti-RNP antibodies is more important in the diagnosis of SLE than in the follow-up of patients. However, anti-RNP antibodies are more prevalent in patients with Raynaud's phenomenon and are associated with milder renal involvement. On the contrary, anti-Sm antibodies are associated with the severity and the activity of renal involvement. The specificity of anti-Sm antibodies, together with epidemiological data, suggest that Epstein-Barr virus infection has the potential to induce anti-Sm antibodies by molecular mimicry.Anti-nuclear antibodies, a hallmark of the systemic autoimmune diseases, include several populations of antibodies with different specificities. Among them, anti-Sm and anti-RNP antibodies are of the utmost importance in clinical practice; in research, the study of the mechanisms inducing their production has opened up new perspectives and helped to elucidate the pathogenesis of autoimmune disorders.
This article was published in Autoimmunity
and referenced in Rheumatology: Current Research