Researchers find that self-reactive IgE can worsen autoimmune inflammation in systemic lupus erythematosus patients.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or as commonly known as lupus, is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects multiple organs in the body. In this disease, the immune system generates self-reactive immune cells and antibodies against the body’s nucleic acids. Lupus symptoms vary dramatically from one patient to another but usually include fever, pain, fatigue, abutterfly shaped rash on the cheeks and nose and skin lesions. Lupus can cause serious damage to major organs such as the kidneys, lungs and heart. Currently, there is no cure, only treatments to keep symptoms under control. Treatment usually includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids or immunosuppressive therapy.1
IgE is a type of antibody that plays a major role in triggering allergies to outside antigens such as pollen, dust mites, and so forth. Its circulating amounts are very minimal compared to other antibodies like IgG, which plays a prominent role in lupus. But a research group in MedImmune has found a link between IgE and SLE.
A study that was published earlier this year in Nature Immunology examined the levels of IgE in the blood of lupus patients and found that those patients had much higher levels of self-reactive IgE, a level that was not detected in healthy individuals or patients with allergies. In addition, the levels of self-reactive IgE positively correlated with the severity of the disease. As the researchers dug deeper to figure out how self-reactive IgE was involved, they found that IgE against patients' own DNA is deposited in the kidneys. Not only that, but DNA-specific IgE activates plasmacytoid dendritic cells, immune cells that produce high levels of inflammatory type I interferon, which, in turn, aggravates the disease.2
The results from this research are completely novel and highlight a new perspective of IgE and SLE. Could targeting IgE affect the outcome or severity of lupus? Here at HemaCare, we will be watching enthusiastically as this story unravels. We provide SLE patient samples that can be used to further understand the role IgE plays in disease severity. You can call us at (877) 397-3087 if you have any questions or would like to place an order.
2 Henault J. et al. (2016). Self-reactive IgE exacerbates interferon responses associated with autoimmunity. Nature Immunology, 17, (2) doi:10.1038/ni.3326.