In order to identify target antigens of anti-endothelial cell (anti-EC) antibodies (AECA) in healthy individuals, we have used a proteomic approach combining 2-DE and immunoblotting. Whole cell protein extracts obtained from human umbilical vein EC (HUVEC) cultures were used as a source of antigens. Serum IgG from 12 healthy blood donors were tested at a concentration of 200 microg/mL. Targeted spots were identified by MS. The HUVEC proteome was composed of 884 protein spots. Among these, 61 +/- 25.8 (mean +/- SD) spots were recognized by serum IgG from healthy individuals, with marked differences from one individual to another. Among these spots, 11 were recognized by serum IgG from all healthy individuals tested. These spots corresponded to six different proteins with several spots corresponding to different isoforms of the same protein. Target antigens were: cytoskeletal proteins (beta-actin, alpha-tubulin, and vimentin); glycolytic enzymes (glucose-3-phosphate-deshydrogenase and alpha-enolase); and prolyl-4-hydroxylase beta subunit, a member of the disulfide isomerase family. This study shows that the repertoire of IgG AECA is heterogeneous among healthy individuals. IgG from all of the healthy individuals tested recognized a restricted set of highly conserved ubiquitous proteins playing key roles in cell biology and maintenance of homeostasis.
"AECAs have been detected in healthy individuals  and in a number of systemic autoimmune diseases [10,35]. AECAs have been associated with disease activity in patients with vasculitis, particularly in those with anti-ANCA-associated vasculitis, Takayasu's arteritis or GCA , although these data remain controversial . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Immunological studies of giant cell arteritis (GCA) suggest that a triggering antigen of unknown nature could generate a specific immune response. We thus decided to detect autoantibodies directed against endothelial cells (ECs) and vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) in the serum of GCA patients and to identify their target antigens.
Sera from 15 GCA patients were tested in 5 pools of 3 patients' sera and compared to a sera pool from 12 healthy controls (HCs). Serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) reactivity was analysed by 2-D electrophoresis and immunoblotting with antigens from human umbilical vein ECs (HUVECs) and mammary artery VSMCs. Target antigens were identified by mass spectrometry.
Serum IgG from GCA patients recognised 162 ± 3 (mean ± SD) and 100 ± 17 (mean ± SD) protein spots from HUVECs and VSMCs, respectively, and that from HCs recognised 79 and 94 protein spots, respectively. In total, 30 spots from HUVECs and 19 from VSMCs were recognised by at least two-thirds and three-fifths, respectively, of the pools of sera from GCA patients and not by sera from HCs. Among identified proteins, we found vinculin, lamin A/C, voltage-dependent anion-selective channel protein 2, annexin V and other proteins involved in cell energy metabolism and key cellular pathways. Ingenuity pathway analysis revealed that most identified target antigens interacted with growth factor receptor-bound protein 2.
IgG antibodies to proteins in the proteome of ECs and VSMCs are present in the sera of GCA patients and recognise cellular targets that play key roles in cell biology and maintenance of homeostasis. Their potential pathogenic role remains to be determined.
"Images of the reference gel and membranes were acquired by using the GS-800 calibrated densitometer and were analysed by using ImageMaster 2D Platinum 6.0 software (GE Healthcare, Buckinghamshire, UK) as described previously . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antinuclear antibodies (ANAs), usually detected by indirect immunofluorescence on HEp-2 cells, are identified in 90% of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc). Thus, approximately 10% of SSc patients have no routinely detectable autoantibodies, and for 20% to 40% of those with detectable ANAs, the ANAs do not have identified specificity (unidentified ANAs). In this work, we aimed to identify new target autoantigens in SSc patients.
Using a proteomic approach combining two-dimensional electrophoresis and immunoblotting with HEp-2 cell total and enriched nuclear protein extracts as sources of autoantigens, we systematically analysed autoantibodies in SSc patients. Sera from 45 SSc patients were tested in 15 pools from groups of three patients with the same phenotype. A sera pool from 12 healthy individuals was used as a control. Proteins of interest were identified by mass spectrometry and analysed using Pathway Studio software.
We identified 974 and 832 protein spots in HEp-2 cell total and enriched nuclear protein extracts, respectively. Interestingly, α-enolase was recognised by immunoglobulin G (IgG) from all pools of patients in both extracts. Fourteen and four proteins were recognised by IgG from at least 75% of the 15 pools in total and enriched nuclear protein extracts, respectively, whereas 15 protein spots were specifically recognised by IgG from at least four of the ten pools from patients with unidentified ANAs. The IgG intensity for a number of antigens was higher in sera from patients than in sera from healthy controls. These antigens included triosephosphate isomerase, superoxide dismutase mitochondrial precursor, heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein L and lamin A/C. In addition, peroxiredoxin 2, cofilin 1 and calreticulin were specifically recognised by sera from phenotypic subsets of patients with unidentified ANAs. Interestingly, several identified target antigens were involved in the transforming growth factor β pathway.
We identified several new target antigens shared among patients with SSc or specific to a given phenotype. The specification of new autoantibodies could help in understanding the pathophysiology of SSc. Moreover, these autoantibodies could represent new diagnostic and/or prognostic markers for SSc.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antiendothelial cell antibodies (AECA) have been detected in healthy individuals, as well as in autoimmune and systemic inflammatory diseases, including systemic vasculitides. AECA have been reported in large vessel vasculitides such as giant cell arteritis and Takayasu arteritis; medium-sized vessel vasculitides, such as polyarteritis nodosa related to hepatitis B virus infection and Kawasaki disease; and small-sized vessel vasculitides, such as Wegener's granulomatosis, microscopic polyangiitis, and Henoch-Schonlein purpura. In Takayasu arteritis and antineutrophil cytoplasm antibody-positive vasculitides, AECA have been reported to correlate with disease activity. A cell-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) represent one of the reference techniques for AECA detection, although flow cytometry and immunobloting have also been proposed. AECA might contribute to the pathogenesis of systemic vasculitides and vasculitis-associated diseases through (1) activation of endothelial cells (EC), (2) direct cytotoxic effect due to complement-dependent cytotoxicity or indirect cytotoxic effect secondary to antibody-dependent cytotoxicity, (3) induction of coagulation, (4) induction of apoptosis through the binding of phospholipids or heat-shock protein 60, and (5) induction of EC activation. None of the identified target antigens of AECA is specific for EC, and EC-specific target antigens of AECA remain to be identified in systemic vasculitides.
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