Recent studies have shown that autoreactive B cells and autoantibodies are present in pathological as well as in normal situations. In the present study, we immortalized human B cell lines from normal individuals and from patients with malignant or benign dysglobulinemia with Epstein-Barr virus and examined, after cloning, the autoantibody reactivities of the immunoglobulins secreted by these cells. Forty-two supernatants were analyzed by enzyme-immunoassay on a panel of 13 self and non-self antigens: trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNP), DNA, L- glutamine, L-alanine, L-tyrosine (GAT), actin, myosin, tubulin, albumin, renin, spectrin, transferrin, thyroglobulin, myoglobin, peroxidase, and by immunofluorescence in tissue sections. Fourteen (33%) of the immunoglobulin-secreting cell lines were found to have an autoantibody function; seven secreted IgM, six IgA, and one IgG. The light chains were of the kappa type in 11 cases. The vast majority of these clones reacted with more than five antigens of the panel and all of them reacted with TNP. No correlation was found between a given isotype and an antibody specificity. More than half of these antibodies also reacted with cellular antigens present in tissue sections. None of the four cell lines secreting monoclonal antiviral antibodies reacted with any of the antigens of the panel. The results indicate that immunoglobulins secreted by human monoclonal lymphoid cell lines can have polyspecific autoantibody functions, similar to those found in normal human polyclonal antibodies, in human monoclonal paraproteins and in natural monoclonal antibodies synthesized by murine or rat clones obtained from physiologically normal animals.

This content is only available as a PDF.