Monoclonal anti-DNA antibodies prepared by the hybridoma technique were used for an analysis of idiotypes of anti-DNA antibodies in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Serum levels of one idiotypic marker, 16/6/R, were higher than normal in 40 of 74 patients (54%) with active SLE, compared with only 6 of 24 patients (25%) with inactive SLE, 9 of 38 patients (25%) with rheumatoid arthritis, and 4 of 96 normal subjects (4%). Levels of the 16/6/R idiotypic marker were determined in serially collected serum samples from 12 patients with SLE. Concordance was found between idiotype levels and clinical activity in 8 of the 12 patients. Levels of the 16/6/R idiotype tended to correlate with levels of antibodies to doublestranded DNA, but in some cases the clinical status was reflected better by the idiotype levels than by the levels of anti-double-stranded-DNA antibodies. Measurement of idiotypes of anti-DNA antibodies may provide information valuable in monitoring the clinical course of patients with SLE.
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