Objective: Although more than a dozen myositis-specific autoantibodies (MSAs) have been identified, most patients with myositis are positive for a single MSA. The specific overexpression of a given myositis autoantigen in myositis muscle has been proposed as initiating and/or propagating autoimmunity against that particular autoantigen. The present study was undertaken to test this hypothesis. Methods: In order to quantify autoantigen RNA expression, RNA sequencing was performed on muscle biopsy samples from control subjects, MSA-positive patients with myositis, regenerating mouse muscles, and cultured human muscle cells. Results: Muscle biopsy samples were available from 20 control subjects and 106 patients with autoantibodies recognizing hydroxymethylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (n = 40), signal recognition particles (n = 9), Jo-1 (n = 18), nuclear matrix protein 2 (n = 12), Mi-2 (n = 11), transcription intermediary factor 1γ (n = 11), or melanoma differentiation–associated protein 5 (n = 5). The increased expression of a given autoantigen in myositis muscle was not associated with autoantibodies recognizing that autoantigen (all q > 0.05). In biopsy specimens from both myositis muscle and regenerating mouse muscles, autoantigen expression correlated directly with the expression of muscle regeneration markers and correlated inversely with the expression of genes encoding mature muscle proteins. Myositis autoantigens were also expressed at high levels in cultured human muscle cells. Conclusion: Most myositis autoantigens are highly expressed during muscle regeneration, which may relate to the propagation of autoimmunity. However, factors other than overexpression of specific autoantigens are likely to govern the development of unique autoantibodies in individual patients with myositis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy