Serum from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) frequently contain IgM and IgG autoantibodies to the constitutively expressed 73-kD/pI 5.5 member of the hsp70 family of heat shock proteins, as determined by one-dimensional (SDS-PAGE) and two-dimensional (IEF/SDS-PAGE) immunoblotting, and by solid-phase SLE Ig immunoprecipitation experiments using hsp70 protein-specific mAbs as probes. Autoantibodies to hsp70 also were detected in a minority of sera from patients with other rheumatic or viral diseases, but not in normal sera. These data may provide additional insight into etiologic and pathophysiologic mechanisms in this and related autoimmune disorders.

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