The presence of autoreactive antibodies is a hallmark of many autoimmune diseases. The effector functions of (auto)antibodies are determined by their constant domain, which defines the antibody isotype and subclass. The most prevalent isotype in serum is IgG, which is often the only isotype used in diagnostic testing. Nevertheless, autoantibody responses can have their own unique isotype/subclass profile. Because comparing autoantibody isotype profiles may yield new insights into disease pathophysiology, here we summarize the isotype/subclass profiles of the most prominent autoantibodies. Despite substantial variation between (and within) autoantibody responses, this unprecedented comparison shows that autoantibodies share distinctive isotype patterns across different diseases. Although most autoantibody responses are dominated by IgG (and mainly IgG1), several specific diseases are characterized by a predominance of IgG4. In other diseases, IgE plays a key role. Importantly, shared features of autoantibody isotype/subclass profiles are seen in clinically unrelated diseases, suggesting potentially common trajectories in response evolution, disease pathogenesis, and treatment response. Isotypes beyond IgG are scarcely investigated in many autoantibody responses, leaving substantial gaps in our understanding of the pathophysiology of autoimmune diseases. Future research should address isotype/subclass profiling in more detail and incorporate autoantibody measurements beyond total IgG in disease models and clinical studies.
- autoantibody isotypes
- pathogenic autoantibodies