SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Isotypes in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Patients Prior to Vaccination: Associations With Disease Activity, Antinuclear Antibodies, and Immunomodulatory Drugs During the First Year of the Pandemic.

Sjöwall J, Azharuddin M, Frodlund M, Zhang Y, Sandner L, Dahle C, Hinkula J, Sjöwall C

Front Immunol 12 (-) 724047 [2021-08-27; online 2021-08-27]

Impact of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic on individuals with arthritis has been highlighted whereas data on other rheumatic diseases, e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), are scarce. Similarly to SLE, severe SARS-CoV-2 infection includes risks for thromboembolism, an unbalanced type I interferon response, and complement activation. Herein, SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in longitudinal samples collected prior to vaccination were analyzed and compared with SLE progression and antinuclear antibody (ANA) levels. One hundred patients (83 women) with established SLE and a regular visit to the rheumatologist (March 2020 to January 2021) were included. All subjects donated blood and had done likewise prior to the pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 antibody isotypes (IgG, IgA, IgM) to the cell receptor-binding S1-spike outer envelope protein were detected by ELISA, and their neutralizing capacity was investigated. IgG-ANA were measured by multiplex technology. During the pandemic, 4% had PCR-confirmed infection but 36% showed SARS-CoV-2 antibodies of ≥1 isotype; IgA was the most common (30%), followed by IgM (9%) and IgG (8%). The antibodies had low neutralizing capacity and were detected also in prepandemic samples. Plasma albumin (p = 0.04) and anti-dsDNA (p = 0.003) levels were lower in patients with SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Blood group, BMI, smoking habits, complement proteins, daily glucocorticoid dose, use of hydroxychloroquine, or self-reported coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms (except fever, >38.5°C) did not associate with SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Our data from early 2021 indicate that a large proportion of Swedish SLE patients had serological signs of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 but apparently with a minor impact on the SLE course. Use of steroids and hydroxychloroquine showed no distinct effects, and self-reported COVID-19-related symptoms correlated poorly with all antibody isotypes.

Category: Health

Type: Journal article

PubMed 34512651

DOI 10.3389/fimmu.2021.724047

Crossref 10.3389/fimmu.2021.724047

pmc: PMC8430325

Publications 7.0.1