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Title: Autoantibodies in ILD : detection and association of anti-Hsp72 IgG complexes in IPF
Author: Mills, Ross Jack
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 4327
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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Background Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is one of a number of interstitial lung diseases (ILDs) that result in extensive and chronic pulmonary fibrosis. In IPF pathology, immunological dysfunction has been identified as a contributing factor to the ongoing fibrotic process, implicating cells and mechanisms of both the innate and humoral immune response. Due to the complex and diverse range of cells and mediators involved in IPF, the pathology is still poorly understood. Evidence of complement activation through the classical pathway in IPF lungs implies a role for IgG in the pathology. The active IgG in IPF may be autoreactive in nature, as IgG that target antigens of alveolar epithelial cells have been. Two autoantibodies in IPF, anti-periplakin IgG and anti-Hsp72 IgG, have been associated with poorer prognoses in IPF patients. The association of anti-Hsp72 IgG with IPF patient outcomes has not been validated and little work has been done to study the underlying mechanisms of autoantibodies in IPF pathogenesis. Hypothesis Anti-Hsp72 IgG is associated with poorer outcomes in IPF, and may induce alveolar macrophages to exhibit a pro-fibrotic phenotype. Aims The aims were to:  Optimise an ELISA for anti-Hsp72 IgG detection and determine any association of anti-Hsp72 IgG with IPF patient outcomes  Determine the location of anti-Hsp72 IgG producing cells and detect if Hsp72-IgG complexes are present in IPF patients’ lungs  Explore a potential underlying pro-fibrotic mechanism through which anti-Hps72 IgG modulates macrophage function. Results The presence of anti-Hsp72 IgG was determined in ILD patient and healthy control bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALf) and serum. A novel anti-Hsp72 IgG ELISA was developed and optimised and then compared against a commercial anti-Hsp72 IgGAM ELISA which became available during the PhD. Progression in IPF was defined by a decrease of ≥10% vital capacity (VC) over twelve months. Serum anti-Hsp72 IgG(AM) did not associate with changes in VC over 12 months. In contrast, BALf anti-Hsp72 IgG(AM) concentrations were elevated in IPF non-progressors. Patients with high BALf anti-Hsp72 IgGAM, had improved survival compared patient with low anti-Hsp72 IgGAM (adjusted HR 0.39, 95% CI 0.16-0.92; p=0.032) In contrast there was no association between anti-Hsp72 IgG and survival. Detection of anti-Hsp72 IgG subtypes in the serum and BALf of IPF patients revealed no significant difference in anti-Hsp72 IgG subtype detection levels between progressors and non-progressors. BALf anti-Hsp72 IgG1 levels were associated with a significantly lower rate of decline in VC over twelve months than patients with no detectable anti-Hsp72 IgG1. The presence of Hsp72-IgG complexes was confirmed by detection in purified IgG from IPF patient BALf. Immuno-histological detection of C4d deposition in the lungs of IPF patients coincided in areas of Hsp72 expression in alveolar epithelium. Summary These findings do not validate serum and-Hsp72 IgG as a biomarker for IPF. They support a role for anti-Hsp72 IgG in IPF, but associate with decreased rates of lung function decline and increased patient survival. Data also suggests that the decreased rate of decline may be related to specific anti-Hsp72 IgG subtype expression. The immune-histological data further suggests that anti-Hsp72 IgG may be targeting Hsp72 expressed by lung epithelium. Therefore these findings support a role for immunological dysfunction in IPF, but further work is required to determine the underlying mechanism.
Supervisor: Hirani, Nikhil ; Howie, Sarah ; Dransfield, Ian Sponsor: Medical Research Council (MRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis ; inflammation ; interstitial lung diseases ; self-targeting antibodies ; anti-Hsp72 antibodies ; immune dysfunction