To detect immunoglobulin isotype-specific autoantibodies to native human calpastatin in patients with rheumatic diseases, we performed immunoblot analysis using the heated HeLa cell extracts to enrich heat-resistant calpastatin. The calpastatin molecule that was apparently migrated to 110 kD by SDS-PAGE was confirmed to react with monoclonal anti-human calpastatin antibody in immunoblotting. IgG antibodies to calpastatin were detected in 22 of 48 sera(46%) from patients with RA, whereas only 20% (5/25), 11% (2/19) and 13% (2/15) of sera from SLE, SSc and PM/DM had IgG anti-calpastatin antibodies, respectively. IgM antibodies were also found in 40% (19/48) of RA and 12% (3/25) of SLE patients but not detected in sera from patients with other rheumatic diseases. IgA antibodies were found in only one RA and one SLE serum. In RA, 7 of 48 sera (15%) had IgM antibodies alone, but all SLE sera with IgM antibodies had IgG antibodies. Thus, anti-calpastatin autoantibodies were detected by using the native human calpastatin. Although these autoantibodies were found in patients with various rheumatic diseases, they were present in RA patients at the highest frequency. In particular, the presence of IgM antibodies appeared to be more specific in RA patients.
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