BACKGROUND: Serum samples from patients with autoimmune connective tissue diseases that show a finely speckled antinuclear antibody (ANA) on indirect immune-fluorescence often have antibodies against unknown nuclear target antigens. To search for such autoantigens we applied a proteomic approach using sera from patients with a high ANA titer (≥640) and finely speckled fluorescence but in whom no antibodies to extractable nuclear antigens (ENA) could be identified. METHODS: Using an immunoproteomics approach we identified heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein H1 (hnRNP H1) as a novel nuclear target of autoantibody response. RESULTS: Recombinant rat hnRNP H1 reacted in Western blot analyses with 48% of 93 sera from patients with primary Sjögren syndrome and with 5.2% of 153 sera from patients with other connective tissue diseases (diseased controls). For comparison, the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of anti-Sjögren syndrome A (SSA) antibodies for primary Sjögren syndrome in the same patient cohort were 88.2% and 76.3%, respectively. Interestingly, 5 of 11 primary Sjögren syndrome patients with no anti-SSA or anti-SSB antibodies had anti-hnRNP H1 antibodies. Anti-hnRNP H1 antibodies were preabsorbed by hnRNP H1, as demonstrated by indirect immunofluorescence. In an evaluation of the presence of anti-hnRNP H1 antibodies in 188 consecutive samples submitted to the clinical laboratory with positive ANA (titer ≥160), anti-hnRNP H1 antibodies were found in 3 of 7 (2 primary and 5 secondary) Sjögren syndrome patients and in 8.3% of the diseased controls. CONCLUSIONS: HnRNP H1 is a newly discovered autoantigen that could become an additional diagnostic marker.

Sjoegren syndrome, Western blotting, adult, aged, amino acid sequence, antinuclear antibody, article, cell nucleus antigen, connective tissue disease, controlled study, female, human, immunofluorescence, laboratory test, major clinical study, male, proteomics, ribonucleoprotein h1, ribonucleoprotein h1 antibody, sensitivity and specificity, unclassified drug,
Clinical Chemistry
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van den Bergh, K, Hooijkaas, H, Blockmans, D.E, Westhovens, R, op de Beéck, K, Verschueren, P, … Bossuyt, X. (2009). Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein H1, a novel nuclear autoantigen. Clinical Chemistry, 55(5), 946–954. doi:10.1373/clinchem.2008.115626