Objectives: Serum autoantibodies are pivotal for the early detection of systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases such as Systemic Sclerosis (SSc) and Poly/Dermatomyositis (PM/DM), and in some cases are associated with organ complications such as interstitial lung disease (ILD). A paradigmatic example is provided by the autoantibody against the Eukaryotic Initiation Factor 2B (eIF2B) that has been recently detected in SSc.
Methods: Sera from 118 patients with SSc, 8 Poly/Dermatomyositis, 2 overlap SSc/Polymyositis, 4 undifferentiated connective tissue disease-UCTD and 3 healthy controls were tested first by indirect immunofluorescence for anti-nuclear antibodies-ANA pattern. Further, we employed protein-radioimmunoprecipitation (IP) and IP- Western Blot for the detection and confirmation of anti-eIF2B antibodies. Serum findings were further correlated with the clinical features of patients.
Results: We identified 3 SSc cases (2.5%) positive for anti-eIF2B antibodies while this autoantibody was not detected in control sera. Using protein-IP all three patients manifested the 38kD protein which is the antigenic target of anti-eIF2B antibodies, and this was associated with a cytoplasmic pattern at indirect immunofluorescence. The presence of anti-eIF2B was associated with ILD and a diffuse SSc variant, in one case in association with anti-Scl70/topoI.
Conclusions: Our data confirm that a small subgroup (2.5%) of patients with SSc have detectable anti-eIF2B with cytoplasmic-positive staining at immunofluorescence and this reactivity is associated with ILD.