Open Access Research article

Diagnosis and early detection of CNS-SLE in MRL/lpr mice using peptide microarrays

Stephanie Williams1*, Phillip Stafford2 and Steven A Hoffman1

Author Affiliations

1 Neuroimmunology Labs, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-4501, USA

2 Center for Innovations in Medicine, BioDesign Institute, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA

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BMC Immunology 2014, 15:23  doi:10.1186/1471-2172-15-23

Published: 7 June 2014



An accurate method that can diagnose and predict lupus and its neuropsychiatric manifestations is essential since currently there are no reliable methods. Autoantibodies to a varied panel of antigens in the body are characteristic of lupus. In this study we investigated whether serum autoantibody binding patterns on random-sequence peptide microarrays (immunosignaturing) can be used for diagnosing and predicting the onset of lupus and its central nervous system (CNS) manifestations. We also tested the techniques for identifying potentially pathogenic autoantibodies in CNS-Lupus. We used the well-characterized MRL/lpr lupus animal model in two studies as a first step to develop and evaluate future studies in humans.


In study one we identified possible diagnostic peptides for both lupus and altered behavior in the forced swim test. When comparing the results of study one to that of study two (carried out in a similar manner), we further identified potential peptides that may be diagnostic and predictive of both lupus and altered behavior in the forced swim test. We also characterized five potentially pathogenic brain-reactive autoantibodies, as well as suggested possible brain targets.


These results indicate that immunosignaturing could predict and diagnose lupus and its CNS manifestations. It can also be used to characterize pathogenic autoantibodies, which may help to better understand the underlying mechanisms of CNS-Lupus.

Lupus; CNS-lupus; Microarray; Diagnostic; Predictive; Brain-reactive autoantibodies