The correlation between renal histology and class specific (IgG and IgM) antibodies to double stranded DNA (dsDNA) and single stranded DNA (ssDNA) was studied by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in 40 untreated patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The levels of IgG antibodies to dsDNA were significantly higher in patients with World Health Organisation class IV nephritis than in those with class I, class II, or class III nephritis. IgG antibodies to ssDNA were higher in patients with class IV than in those with class II nephritis. IgG antibodies to dsDNA showed a close correlation with the histological activity score and the amount of electron dense deposit. IgG antibodies to ssDNA showed only a weak correlation with the renal histological activity score. IgM antibodies to dsDNA and IgM antibodies to ssDNA were not correlated with renal histological features. Patients with moderate to severe nephritis had a lower ratio of IgM antibodies to dsDNA to IgG antibodies to dsDNA than those with mild nephritis. These results indicate that the measurement of IgG antibodies to dsDNA is predictive in evaluating renal histological activity in patients with SLE.
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