An Update on Antibodies to Necleosome Components as Biomarkers of Sistemic Lupus Erythematosus and of Lupus Flares

Gian Marco Ghiggeri, Matteo D'Alessandro, Domenico Bartolomeo, Maria Ludovica Degl'Innocenti, Alberto Magnasco, Francesca Lugani, Marco Prunotto, Maurizio Bruschi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease with variable clinical expression. It is a potentially devastating condition affecting mostly women and leading to clinically unpredictable outcomes. Remission and flares may, in fact, alternate over time and a mild involvement limited to few articular sites may be followed by severe and widespread organ damage. SLE is the prototype of any autoimmune condition and has, for this reason, attracted the interest of basic immunologists. Therapies have evolved over time and clinical prognosis has, in parallel, been improved. What clinicians still lack is the possibility to use biomarkers of the disease as predictors of outcome and, in this area, several studies are trying to find solutions. Circulating autoantibodies are clearly a milestone of clinical research and the concrete possibility is to integrate, in the future, classical markers of activation (like C3) with target organ autoantibodies. Anti-dsDNA antibodies represent a basic point in any predictive attempt in SLE and should be considered the benchmark for any innovative proposal in the wide field of target organ pathologies related to SLE. DNA is part of the nucleosome that is the basic unit of chromatin. It consists of DNA wrapped around a histone octamer made of 2 copies each of Histone 2A, 2B, 3, and 4. The nucleosome has a plastic organization that varies over time and has the potential to stimulate the formation of antibodies directed to the whole structure (anti-nucleosome) or its parts (anti-dsDNA and anti-Histones). Here, we present an updated review of the literature on antibodies directed to the nucleosome and the nucleosome constituents, i.e., DNA and Histones. Wetriedto merge the data first published more than twenty years ago with more recent results to create a balanced bridge between old dogma and more recent research that could serve as a stimulus to reconsider mechanisms for SLE. The formation of large networks would provide the chance of studying large cohorts of patients and confirm what already presented in small sample size during the last years.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 18 2019


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