Associations between type I interferon and antiphospholipid antibody status differ between ancestral backgrounds

Taro Iwamoto, Jessica Dorschner, Meenakshi Jolly, Xiangyang Huang, Timothy B. Niewold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: The type I interferon pathway is activated in many patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and anti-double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) and anti-RNA binding protein autoantibodies are correlated with high interferon-α (IFNα) activity. We studied whether antiphospholipid (APL) antibodies, which should not stimulate Toll-like receptors, are also associated with high levels of IFNα activity. Methods: Serum IFNα activity was measured in patients with SLE using the WISH cell bioassay. IgG APL, anti-RBP and anti-dsDNA antibodies were measured in the clinical laboratory, and standard clinical cut-offs were used to define the positive results. Results: High IFNα activity was associated with anti-RBP and anti-dsDNA antibodies in all three ancestral backgrounds. Strikingly, African-American subjects with a positive APL antibody test had higher IFNα activity than those without IgG APL antibodies. This was not shared with other ancestral backgrounds. This finding was independent of other autoantibody profiles, and clinical features did not differ between IgG APL antibody positive versus negative African-American patients. Conclusion: The difference in association between IFNα activity and IgG APL status between ancestral backgrounds supports differences in molecular pathogenesis. This may suggest B cell hyperactivity in the setting of type I IFN in African-Americans and could suggest ways to individualise therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere000246
JournalLupus Science and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018


  • antiphospholipid antibodies
  • cytokines
  • systemic lupus erythematosus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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