Autoimmune reactivity to malondialdehyde adducts in systemic lupus erythematosus is associated with disease activity and nephritis

Uta Hardt, Anders Larsson, Iva Gunnarsson, Robert M. Clancy, Michelle Petri, Jill P. Buyon, Gregg J. Silverman, Elisabet Svenungsson, Caroline Grönwall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Immunoglobulin M (IgM) autoreactivity to malondialdehyde (MDA) protein modifications is part of the natural antibody repertoire in health and may have beneficial functions. In contrast, IgG anti-MDA are increased in chronic inflammation and autoimmunity and may instead have pathogenic properties. Methods: Herein, we investigated serum IgG anti-MDA levels by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in 398 systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients in the Swedish Karolinska SLE cohort and compared these to findings in 225 US SLE patients from New York University and Johns Hopkins University. Results: In two independent cohorts, IgG anti-MDA levels correlated positively with disease activity by the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI; p < 0.0001, Spearman R = 0.3). Meta-analysis found an odds ratio of 2.7 (confidence interval (CI) 1.9-3.9; p < 0.0001) for high anti-MDA IgG levels with active disease (SLEDAI ≥ 6). Furthermore, IgG anti-MDA correlated directly with erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), soluble tumor necrosis factor receptors (sTNFR-1, sTNFR-2), and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) measurements, and inversely with complement factors (C1q, C2, C3, C4). Importantly, IgG anti-MDA levels were significantly elevated in SLE patients with active nephritis (p = 0.0005) and correlated with cystatin C estimated glomerular filtration rate and albuminuria. Conclusions: Elevated IgG anti-MDA in SLE patients was associated with high disease activity, with active lupus nephritis, and with biomarkers of systemic inflammation. This natural antibody reactivity may have potential prognostic utility, and may also actively contribute to pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number36
JournalArthritis Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 26 2018


  • Autoantibodies
  • Disease activity
  • Lupus nephritis
  • MDA
  • Malondialdehyde protein modification
  • Natural antibodies
  • SLE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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