Monoclonal antibodies to mitochondrial E2 components define autoepitopes in primary biliary cirrhosis

Christopher Migliaccio, Akiyoshi Nishio, Judy Van De Water, Aftab A. Ansari, Patrick S.C. Leung, Yasuni Nakanuma, Ross L. Coppel, M. Eric Gershwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is an autoimmune liver disease characterized by the presence of antimitochondrial Abs (AMA). The autoantigens recognized by AMA are the E2 components of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC-E2), the branched chain 2-oxoacid dehydrogenase complex E (BCOADC-E2), and the 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase complex E (OGDC- E2). Previous studies using murine monoclonal and human combinatorial Abs to PDC-E2 have demonstrated an intense linear staining pattern in the apical region of biliary epithelial cells (BEC) in PBC but not control liver. We therefore examined whether mAbs to the other mitochondrial autoantigens BCOADC-E2 and OGDC-E2 demonstrated disease-specific patterns of reactivity. Using an expressed recombinant 'trihybrid' protein containing the lipoyl domains of PDC-E2, OGDC-E2, and BCOADC-E2, we immunized BALB/c mice to produce 35 mAbs specific for one or more of the above mitochondrial autoantigens. Seven of these mAbs uniquely stained the apical region of BEC in PBC. Of these seven, one was reactive to PDC-E2, two recognized BCOADC- E2, three were reactive to OGDC-E2, and one recognized all three Ags. Our current data demonstrate that, similar to our previous studies regarding PDC- E2, mAbs to BCOADC-E2 and OGDC-E2, or a molecule that cross-reacts with the inner lipoyl domain of all three enzymes, also show a uniquely intense staining pattern in the apical region of BEC in patients with PBC when compared with diseased controls. The abundance of such disease-specific determinants in the target cells of PBC raises interesting possibilities regarding the role of these autoantigens in the pathogenesis of this disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5157-5163
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 15 1998


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