Functional Role of Immune Complexes in Rheumatic and Parasitic Diseases

Detta är en avhandling från Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Sammanfattning: Immune complexes (IC) have key pathological roles in both autoimmune and infectious diseases. In this thesis functional mechanisms behind IC-driven inflammation in rheumatic diseases and tropical infections have been studied, with special focus on the contribution of autoantibodies and cytokine-inducing properties of IC. In the autoimmune disease SLE, increased levels of IC-induced cytokines were associated with both increased classical complement activation and the occurrence of the autoantibodies anti-SSA and anti-SSB, both directed against RNA-associated antigens. In addition, complement activation and anti-SSA synergistically predisposed to higher levels of IC in sera. In the following study it was demonstrated that also other autoantibodies against RNA-associated autoantigens were more enriched than anti-dsDNA in SLE IC. Sudanese Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) patients had elevated IC levels, and precipitated IC induced higher levels of GM-CSF, IL10, IL6 and IL1RA than control IC. Levels of IC were especially prominent in severely ill patients receiving antimony treatment, and a parallel association with IC induction of GM-CSF was demonstrated. Leishmania-infected patients were often rheumatoid factor (RF) positive and a substantial number displayed reactivity towards cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) antigens. Contrary to what was seen in Sudanese RA sera, the CCP reactivity was not restricted to citrulline but reacted equally well with arginine-containing control peptides. Levels of anti-CCP among VL patients were not due to cross-reactions with, or CCP-reactivity bound to IC.I have demonstrated that IC are associated with the presence of autoantibodies in both SLE and in Leishmania infection. In SLE, autoantibodies against RNA-associated antigens were more prone to form circulating IC than anti-dsDNA. In Leishmania infection false reactivity against the CCP-autoantigen correlated to IC levels although the IC themselves did not contain such reactivity. In both diseases higher IC levels were associated with a more active disease, and purified IC induced key cytokines in disease pathogeneses.