Objectives The detection of autoantibodies to the muscarinic receptor type 3 (M3R) in the serum of patients with Sjögrens syndrome (SS) by ELISA is controversial. A study was undertaken to test whether modification of M3R peptides could enhance the antigenicity and increase the detection of specific antibodies using an ELISA.
Methods A series of controlled ELISAs was performed with serum from 71 patients with SS and 37 healthy volunteers (HV) on linear, citrullinated and/or cyclised and multi-antigenic peptides (MAP) of the three extracellular M3R loops to detect specific binding.
Results Significant differences (p<0.05) in optical density (OD) between serum from patients and HV were detected for a cyclised loop 1-derived peptide and the negative control peptide. Furthermore, there were no statistically significant differences between the frequency of positive patients (defined as OD >2SDs above the mean of the HV) and HV on any of the peptides tested.
Conclusions Binding of serum from patients with SS to M3R-derived peptides does not differ from binding to a control peptide in an ELISA and no significant binding to M3R-derived peptides was found in the serum from individual patients compared with HV. These data suggest that peptide-based ELISAs are not sufficiently sensitive and/or specific to detect anti-MR3 autoantibodies.
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Funding This research was supported by the intramural research program of the NIH, NIDCR.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval All subjects signed an informed consent and the study was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the National Institutes of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.