Cross-reactivity of a monoclonal rheumatoid factor with an antigen present on IgG and DNA-nucleoprotein was demonstrated, and evidence presented that the combining site of the antibody was involved in the reaction. The antigen on the DNA-nucleoprotein was shown to involve both DNA and histone fraction H2A + H2B and was trypsin sensitive. The relative binding affinity of the antibody appeared to be greater for IgG than the DNA-histone antigen. Similar polyclonal cross-reactive rheumatoid factors were found in a variety of diseases. A high incidence was found among patients with rheumatoid arthritis and mixed connective tissue disease. None were detected in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and idiopathic cryoglobulinemia. Studies on one representative isolated polyclonal rheumatoid factor demonstrated the same reactivity with DNA-histone H2A + H2B as the monoclonal antibody. Cross-idiotype studies using antigen-binding inhibition methods demonstrated the same cross-idiotype on the polyclonal and the monoclonal rheumatoid factor which reacted with DNA-histone. This cross-idiotype was shown to be distinct from the cross-idiotypes previously demonstrated on monoclonal IgM proteins with anti-gamma-globulin activity.

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