Discrepancy in the expression of autoantibodies in healthy aged individuals

Franco Silvestris, William Anderson, James S. Goodwin, Ralph C. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Sera from 50 healthy old subjects and from 51 young controls were tested by ELISA assays for a panel of autoantibodies, including IgM RF, anti-DNA, anti-F(ab′)2, anti-thyroglobulin, anti-human albumin, anti-human hemoglobin, anti-secretory component from human IgA, and anti-gliadin. In vitro production of anti-DNA as well as anti-F(ab′)2 antibodies were measured after stimulation of PBMC by pokeweed mitogen (PWM) in 12 healthy elderly subjects and 11 young controls. Sera from elderly donors contained threefold higher amounts of IgM RF than young controls (P < 0.001). On the contrary, the levels of anti-DNA as well as anti-F(ab′)2 antibodies were similar in both groups (P < 0.3 for the two determinations). Anti-DNA and anti-F(ab′)2 antibodies were also measured in supernates of PWM-stimulated glass nonadherent PBMC cultures from both old and young healthy donors without finding any significant difference between the two groups. Additional ELISA tests were also performed in both elderly and young control sera to detect antibodies against six other different antigens. No significant difference was found in the percentages of positive sera between the two groups. This discrepancy in production of IgM RF compared to other autoantibodies in healthy elderly subjects does not provide support for a general increase of autoantibodies with aging. The biological significance of an increase in IgM RF with aging remains to be determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-244
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Immunology


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