Using a combination of avidin-biotin microELISA and solid phase radioimmunoassay, we examined sera from 23 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), two patients with established sensitivity to ingested shrimp, and 15 healthy normal subjects. In addition to IgG antibodies, varying amounts of IgE antibodies specific for native DNA (nDNA), denatured or single-stranded DNA (dnDNA), RNA, and tRNA were demonstrable in the sera of SLE patients, but not in the sera of normal subjects. A comparison of the specificity of nucleic acid-specific IgE antibodies present in the sera of shrimp-sensitive patients with those present in the sera of seven SLE patients revealed that the IgE antibodies in the sera of shrimp-sensitive patients specifically recognized shrimp tRNA but not yeast tRNA, calf thymus RNA, or calf thymus DNA, while those present in the sera of patients with SLE recognized all these nucleic acid antigens. The IgE antibodies directed against nDNA, dnDNA, RNA, and tRNA may mediate mast cell and basophil degranulation and thus contribute both to immediate-type hypersensitivity phenomena including hives seen in patients with SLE and to the localization of IgE-nucleic acid complexes in target tissues.
- Nucleic acid
- Systemic lupus erythematosus