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October 1994

The Autoantibody Response to Ro/SSA in Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Dermatology (Dr Lee), Medicine (Drs Lee and Reichlin), and Microbiology/Immunology (Drs Lee, Frank, and Reichlin), University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center; the Arthritis/Immunology Program (Drs Lee, Frank, and Reichlin and Ms McCubbin), Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation; the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Drs Lee and Reichlin); the Oklahoma Center for Molecular Medicine (Drs Lee and Frank); and the Department of Chemistry, Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (Dr Roberts), Oklahoma City.

Arch Dermatol. 1994;130(10):1262-1268. doi:10.1001/archderm.1994.01690100046006

Background and Design:  Seventeen patients with subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE) were compared with 15 patients with discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) to evaluate the relationship of 60- and 52-kd Ro/SSA autoantibodies to the clinical diagnosis and to evaluate assays for anti-Ro/SSA.

Results:  All serum samples from patients with SCLE had precipitating anti-Ro/SSA antibodies in immunodiffusion, and all had high titer anti—60-kd Ro/SSA in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Immunoblotting was inadequately sensitive for detecting anti—60-kd Ro/SSA. Fifteen patients with SCLE had anti—52-kd Ro/SSA (11 high titer, four low titer). Only one of the 15 patients with DLE had precipitating, high-titer anti-Ro/SSA. Nine other patients with DLE had low-titer anti—60-kd Ro/SSA, and four had low-titer anti— 52-kd Ro/SSA. Low-titer anti-Ro/SSA did not confer an increased risk for photosensitivity in the DLE group.

Conclusions:  High-titer, precipitating antibodies to Ro/SSA are typical of SCLE and unusual in DLE. Lowtiter, nonprecipitating antibodies to Ro/SSA are common in DLE and could be an indication of pathogenic factors shared with SCLE. However, low titers of antiRo/SSA do not confer a significant risk for SCLE skin lesions. For the purpose of clinical evaluation of skin disease, immunodiffusion assays for anti-Ro/SSA are cost-effective and informative.(Arch Dermatol. 1994;130:1262-1268)

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