Antibodies to lymphocytes in serum samples from 88 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and 15 normal control subjects were examined by a cell enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with four human T and B cell lines as antigens. The antibodies reacted with the Wa B cell line and the T cell lines P12 (CD4-, CD8+), Jurkat (CD4-, CD8-), and Hut78 (CD4+, CD8-). Antibody titres in serum samples from patients with SLE were higher than in those from normal control subjects. Titres of antibodies to P12 were correlated with titres of antibodies to Wa, Jurkat, and Hut78 in serum samples from patients with SLE. IgG antibodies to P12 were associated with lymphopenia and reduced haemolytic complement. By thin layer chromatography immunostaining, the antibodies in serum samples from two of 10 patients with SLE with high titres of IgG antibodies to P12 and lymphopenia were shown to react with three monosialoglycosphingolipids and two neutral glycosphingolipids from P12 cells. Antibodies to lymphocytes in serum samples from patients with SLE react with T and B cell lines, recognise a series of cell membrane glycosphingolipids and are associated with the lymphopenia and hypocomplementaemia typical of active disease.
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