Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by intense polyclonal production of autoantibodies and circulating immune complexes. Some reports have associated SLE with a Th2 immune response and allergy. In the present study 21 female patients with SLE were investigated for total IgE and IgE antibodies to dust house aeroallergens by an automated enzyme-linked fluorescent assay, and were also evaluated for antinuclear IgE autoantibodies by a modified indirect immunofluorescence test using HEp-2 cells as antigen substrate. Additionally, immunocapture ELISA was used to investigate serum anti-IgE IgG autoantibodies. Serum IgE above 150 IU/ml, ranging from 152 to 609 IU/ml (median = 394 IU IgE/ml), was observed in 7 of 21 SLE patients (33%), 5 of them presenting proteinuria, urinary cellular casts and augmented production of anti-dsDNA antibodies. While only 2 of 21 SLE patients (9.5%) were positive for IgE antibodies to aeroallergens, all 10 patients with respiratory allergy (100%) from the atopic control group (3 males and 7 females), had these immunoglobulins. SLE patients and healthy controls presented similar anti-IgE IgG autoantibody titers (X = 0.37 ± 0.20 and 0.34 ± 0.18, respectively), differing from atopic controls (0.94 ± 0.26). Antinuclear IgE autoantibodies were detected in 17 of 21 (81%) sera from SLE patients, predominating the fine speckled pattern of fluorescence, that was also observed in IgG-ANA. Concluding, SLE patients can present increased IgE levels and antinuclear IgE autoantibodies without specific clinical signs of allergy or production of antiallergen IgE antibodies, excluding a possible association between SLE and allergy.
Systemic lupus erythematosus; Antinuclear IgE antibody; Allergy; IgG anti-IgE; IgE