Gastrointestinal dysmotility in systemic sclerosis (SSc) is associated with autoantibodies against muscarinic-3 receptor (M3-R). We investigated the temporal course of the site of action of these autoantibodies at the myenteric neurons (MN) vs. the smooth muscle (SM) M3-R in relation to disease duration, and determined the role of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) in reversing these changes. Immunoglobulins purified from SSc patients (SScIgG) were used to assess their differential binding to MN and SM (from rat colon) employing immunohistochemistry (IHC). Effect of SScIgG on neural and direct muscle contraction was determined by cholinergic nerve stimulation and bethanechol-induced SM contraction. Effects of IVIG and its antigen-binding fragment F(ab′)2 on SScIgG binding were studied by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) of rat colonic longitudinal SM myenteric plexus (LSMMP) lysate and to second extracellular loop peptide of M3-R (M3-RL2). SScIgG from all patients demonstrated significantly higher binding to MN than to SM. With progression of SSc duration, binding at MN and SM increased in a linear fashion with a correlation coefficient of 0.696 and 0.726, respectively (P < 0.05). SScIgG-mediated attenuation of neural and direct SM contraction also increased with disease duration. ELISA analysis revealed that IVIG and F(ab′)2 significantly reduced SScIgG binding to LSMMP lysate and M3-RL2. Dysmotility in SSc occurs sequentially, beginning with SScIgG-induced blockage of cholinergic neurotransmission (neuropathy), which progresses to inhibition of acetylcholine action at the SM cell (myopathy). IVIG reverses this cholinergic dysfunction at the neural and myogenic receptors by anti-idiotypic neutralization of SScIgG.
- scleroderma autoantibodies
- muscarinic receptor
- smooth muscle
- myenteric neuron
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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