The physicochemical properties of apparently acid-labile IFN-alpha from patients with SLE have been studied. The antigenicity, apparent molecular size, and isoelectric point of SLE IFN-alpha are indistinguishable from those of conventional, previously characterized, acid-stable subspecies of IFN-alpha. However, after partial purification by anion-exchange chromatography, SLE IFN-alpha no longer exhibits acid lability, suggesting that other plasma factor(s) are responsible for the acid lability of SLE IFN-alpha. Addition of SLE plasma, but not normal plasma, to conventional acid-stable IFN-alpha renders the exogenous IFN-alpha acid labile. Preliminary results demonstrate that an acid-dependent IFN-inactivating activity can be partially purified from SLE plasma by anion-exchange chromatography.

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