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BACKGROUND: IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD) is a systemic fibroinflammatory condition, characterised by an elevated serum IgG4 concentration and abundant IgG4-positive plasma cells in the involved organs. An important question is whether the elevated IgG4 response is causal or a reflection of immune-regulatory mechanisms of the disease. OBJECTIVES: To investigate if the IgG4 response in IgG4-RD represents a generalised polyclonal amplification by examining the response to common environmental antigens. METHODS: Serum from 24 patients with IgG4-RD (14 treatment-naive, 10 treatment-experienced), 9 patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis and an elevated serum IgG4 (PSC-high IgG4), and 18 healthy controls were tested against egg white and yolk, milk, banana, cat, peanut, rice and wheat antigens by radioimmunoassay. RESULTS: We demonstrated an elevated polyclonal IgG4 response to multiple antigens in patients with IgG4-RD and in PSC-high IgG4, compared with healthy controls. There was a strong correlation between serum IgG4 and antigen-specific responses. Responses to antigens were higher in treatment-naive compared with treatment-experienced patients with IgG4-RD. Serum electrophoresis and immunofixation demonstrated polyclonality. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to show enhanced levels of polyclonal IgG4 to multiple antigens in IgG4-RD. This supports that elevated IgG4 levels reflect an aberrant immunological regulation of the overall IgG4 response, but does not exclude that causality of disease could be antigen-driven.

Original publication

DOI

10.1136/annrheumdis-2014-206405

Type

Journal article

Journal

Ann Rheum Dis

Publication Date

05/2015

Volume

74

Pages

944 - 947

Keywords

Autoimmunity, B cells, Corticosteroids, Inflammation, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Animals, Antigens, Arachis, Autoimmune Diseases, B-Lymphocytes, Case-Control Studies, Cats, Cholangitis, Sclerosing, Eggs, Female, Humans, Immunoglobulin G, Male, Middle Aged, Milk, Musa, Oryza, Triticum, Young Adult