Subacute cutaneous lupus and neonatal lupus are closely associated with the presence of anti-Ro (SSA) autoantibodies, but there is no direct evidence establishing a role for anti-Ro (SSA) in these diseases. After parental injection into mice, IgG from sera containing anti-Ro (SSA) will bind human skin grafted onto the mice. To determine whether the antibody binding is due to anti-Ro (SSA), affinity-purified anti-Ro (SSA) and serum depleted of anti-Ro (SSA) were prepared. After injection into human skin-grafted mice, purified anti-Ro (SSA) antibodies bound an antigen in the human skin graft, while preabsorbing anti-Ro (SSA) serum with Ro (SSA) virtually abolished binding to the human skin graft. Moreover, the pattern of IgG deposition was primarily epidermal and was identical in the human skin-grafted mice injected with purified anti-Ro (SSA) when compared with that found in five patients with subacute lupus (four adults, one neonate). These data directly show that anti-Ro (SSA) antibodies bind to the skin, and support the hypothesis that anti-Ro (SSA) autoantibodies are involved in the disease process that produces subacute cutaneous lupus and neonatal lupus.
L A Lee, K K Gaither, S N Coulter, D A Norris, J B Harley