Open Access Research article

Screening of an endothelial cDNA library identifies the C-terminal region of Nedd5 as a novel autoantigen in systemic lupus erythematosus with psychiatric manifestations

Paola Margutti1, Maurizio Sorice2, Fabrizio Conti3, Federica Delunardo1, Mauro Racaniello1, Cristiano Alessandri3, Alessandra Siracusano1, Rachele Riganò1, Elisabetta Profumo1, Guido Valesini3 and Elena Ortona1*

Author Affiliations

1 Dipartimento di Malattie Infettive, Parassitarie e Immunomediate, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy

2 Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale e Patologia, Cattedra di Reumatologia, Università 'La Sapienza', Rome, Italy

3 Dipartimento di Clinica e Terapia Medica Applicata, Cattedra di Reumatologia, Università 'La Sapienza', Rome, Italy

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2005, 7:R896-R903  doi:10.1186/ar1759

Published: 20 May 2005


Anti-endothelial-cell antibodies are associated with psychiatric manifestations in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Our primary aim in this study was to seek and characterize molecules that behave as endothelial autoantigens in SLE patients with psychiatric manifestations. By screening a cDNA library from human umbilical artery endothelial cells with serum from an SLE patient with psychosis, we identified one positive strongly reactive clone encoding the C-terminal region (C-ter) of Nedd5, an intracytoplasmatic protein of the septin family. To evaluate anti-Nedd5 serum immunoreactivity, we analyzed by ELISA specific IgG responses in 17 patients with SLE and psychiatric manifestations (group A), 34 patients with SLE without psychiatric manifestations (group B), 20 patients with systemic sclerosis, 20 patients with infectious mononucleosis, and 35 healthy subjects. IgG specific to Nedd5 C-ter was present in 14 (27%) of the 51 SLE patients. The mean optical density value for IgG immunoreactivity to Nedd5 C-ter was significantly higher in patients of group A than in those of group B, those with infectious mononucleosis, or healthy subjects (0.17 ± 0.14 vs, respectively, 0.11 ± 0.07, P = 0.04; 0.11 ± 0.06, P = 0.034; and 0.09 ± 0.045, P = 0.003, on Student's t-test). Moreover, IgG immunoreactivity to Nedd5 C-ter was significantly higher in patients with systemic sclerosis than in patients of group B or healthy subjects (0.18 ± 0.18 vs, respectively, 0.11 ± 0.07, P = 0.046; and 0.09 ± 0.045, P = 0.003). The percentage of patients with anti-Nedd5 C-ter serum IgG was higher in group A than in group B (8 (47%) of 17, vs 6 (17%) of 34, P = 0.045, on Fisher's exact test). In order to clarify a possible mechanism by which Nedd5 might be autoantigenic, we observed that Nedd5 relocated from cytoplasm to the plasma membrane of EAhy926 endothelial cells after apoptotic stimuli. In conclusion, Nedd5 is a novel autoantigen of potential clinical importance that could be successfully used for a more thorough investigation of the pathogenesis of psychiatric manifestations in SLE. Although anti-Nedd5 autoantibodies are not specific to SLE, they are significantly associated with neuropsychiatric SLE and may represent immunological markers of psychiatric manifestations in this pathology.