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Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a common, inflammatory rheumatic disease, which primarily affects the axial skeleton and is associated with sacroiliitis, uveitis and enthesitis. Unlike other autoimmune rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus, autoantibodies have not yet been reported to be a feature of AS. We therefore wished to determine if plasma from patients with AS contained autoantibodies and if so, characterize and quantify this response in comparison to patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and healthy controls. Two high-density nucleic acid programmable protein arrays expressing a total of 3498 proteins were screened with plasma from 25 patients with AS, 17 with RA and 25 healthy controls. Autoantigens identified were subjected to Ingenuity Pathway Analysis in order to determine patterns of signalling cascades or tissue origin. 44% of patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis demonstrated a broad autoantibody response, as compared to 33% of patients with RA and only 8% of healthy controls. Individuals with AS demonstrated autoantibody responses to shared autoantigens, and 60% of autoantigens identified in the AS cohort were restricted to that group. The AS patients' autoantibody responses were targeted towards connective, skeletal and muscular tissue, unlike those of RA patients or healthy controls. Thus, patients with AS show evidence of systemic humoral autoimmunity and multispecific autoantibody production. Nucleic Acid Programmable Protein Arrays constitute a powerful tool to study autoimmune diseases.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Cell Proteomics

Publication Date



Clinical Medicine, Central Proteomics Facility, Headington, Oxfordshire OX37BN.