The fully blown disease of human progressive systemic sclerosis (PSS, sclero-derma) is serologically associated with the emergence of several types of au- toantibodies, some of them regarded as more specific for scleroderma (e.g. Scl-70. anti-centromere) and some common also to other connective tissue diseases (e.g. anti-ssDNA). Since most patients suffering from PSS are not under medical control until clinical manifestations are fully established, only scarce data are available on the dynamics and clinical significance of autoantibodies in the very early stages of this systemic fibrotic disease. The University of California at Davis line 200 (UCD 200) of chickens spontaneously develop a PSS-like disorder with an acute inflammatory stage around 60 days after hatching, leading to fibrosis with fast progression. In order to address a possible correla-tion between the occurrence and titer of autoantibodies and the initial disease activity, we have chronologically investigated the presence and titer of autoan-tibodies directed against several human nuclear antigens in this animal strain. In UCD-200 chickens, we found a progressive increase in autoantibodies to histones. to ssDNA and - to a lesser degree - dsDNA with peaks at the age of 60 and 120 days, to poly(I) and poly(G) with a peak at 120 days and an elevation in anti-cardiolipin antibodies. Total immunoglobulin concentrations, anti-Ro, anti-La and anti-Sm showed no significant differences as compared to negative results in healthy normal controls. Our data reveal parallels in the antinuclear antibody (ANA) spectrum between UCD-200 chickens and human autoimmune collagen diseases, but do not reflect the typical ANA spectrum found in the foudroyant form of diffuse scleroderma. It still remains to be clarified whether these serum antibodies play an integral role in the pathogenesis of the scleroderma-like disease in the UCD-200 line.
- Progressive systemic sclerosis
- UCD 200