Autoantibodies in human chronic graft-versus-host disease after hematopoietic cell transplantation

S. Quaranta*, H. Shulman, A. Ahmed, Y. Shoenfeld, J. Peter, G. B. McDonald, J. Van De Water, R. Coppel, C. Östlund, H. J. Worman, M. Rizzetto, K. Tsuneyama, Y. Nakanuma, A. Ansari, F. Locatelli, S. Paganin, F. Rosina, M. Manns, M. E. Gershwin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) are thought to have common immunopathologic features and previous studies have reported that 5.2 to 81% of patients with chronic GVHD after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant have antimitochondrial antibodies (AMA). We studied a total of 89 patients with chronic GVHD and 60 controls for AMA reactivity by ELISA and immunoblotting using recombinant PDC-E2, BCOADC-E2, and OGDC-E2, immunoblotting of beef heart mitochondrial proteins, and reactivity to nuclei, smooth muscle (ASMA), ribonucleoprotein JO-1, extractable nuclear antigen, nuclear proteins SSA/ SSB, ribonucleic P proteinase III, cardiolipin (ACA), liver kidney microsomal, thyroid microsomal, myeloperoxidase, and the reactivity of rheumatoid factor. A subset of 60 chronic GVHD sera were tested for reactivity to gp210 and LBR. Finally, liver tissue from patients with chronic GVHD and PBC was studied by immunohistochemistry to determine whether there was comparable abnormal apical staining of biliary epithelial cells using PDC-E2-specific monoclonal antibodies. Surprisingly, there were no AMA found in the sera from the 89 patients with chronic GVHD. Review of published data on AMA in GVHD suggests that previous results were primarily false positives. In contrast, sera from the patients with GVHD did have a variety of other autoantibodies and, in particular, 20/89 (22.4%) positive ANA, 23/89 (25.8%) positive ASMA, and 9/89 (10.1%) positive ACA. The other autoantibodies assayed were not statistically different from controls. Finally, abnormal biliary epithelial luminal staining of bile ducts was found, as expected, in liver tissue of patients with PBC but was absent in chronic GVHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-116
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • AMA
  • Bone marrow transplantation
  • Chronic graft-versus-host disease
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis


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