Acquired hypoparathyroidism (AH) has been considered to result from an autoimmune process but the self-antigens have not been identified. We studied 25 patients with AH, of which 17 had type I autoimmune polyglandular syndrome and 8 had AH associated with autoimmune hypothyroidism. Five of 25 (20%) AH sera reacted to a membrane-associated antigen of 120-140 kD in human parathyroid gland extracts using immunoblot analysis. This is the exact size of the calcium sensing receptor (Ca-SR). The AH sera were then tested by immunoblot using a membrane fraction of HEK-293 cells transfected with Ca-SR cDNA. Eight of 25 (32%) AH sera reacted to a 120-140-kD protein, which closely matched that recognized by the anti-Ca-SR IgG raised in rabbits. The Ca-SR cDNA was translated in vitro into two parts in order to identify the antigenic epitopes. By using this technique, 14 of 25 (56%) AH sera were positive to the extracellular domain of the Ca-SR, whereas none of the AH patients sera reacted to the intracellular domain. The reactivity of the positive sera was completely removed after pre-absorption with the Ca-SR containing membranes. Sera from 50 patients with various other autoimmune diseases as well as 22 normal controls were also tested, and none of them was positive. In conclusion, the Ca-SR has been identified as an autoantigen in AH.
Y Li, Y H Song, N Rais, E Connor, D Schatz, A Muir, N Maclaren