Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
The presence of antibodies in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients to antigens on the synoviocyte surface has recently been reported (Scand. J. Immunol. 27, 295, 1988). Here we have further characterized these antigens and found that they are exogenous proteins acquired from the bovine serum used in the culture medium. By immunoprecipitation and ELISA studies, we have identified bovine albumin and transferrin as the antigens recognized by the RA anybodies. These specificities were found not only in the sera but also in the synovial fluid from RA patients. A comparative study with a large panel or RA sera did not show a correlation in the antibody specificities for bovine albumin, bovine transferrin, or the 65-kDa heat shock protein from Mycobacterium bovis. Similar experiments using rabbit and monkey sera as well as human synovial fluid and serum as a source of antigen did not reveal any reactivity with a highly positive RA serum. By sequence alignment, a high degree of homology between residues 142–156 from bovine albumin and residues 65 78 from human pro-collagen α1 (I) was found. The capacity of the synoviocytes to bind exogenous antigens and the presence of antibodies to bovine proteins, normally present in the diet, suggest a role for these type A synoviocytes as well as a possible involvement of food antigens in the pathogenesis of RA.
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