Anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae Autoantibodies in Autoimmune Diseases: from Bread Baking to Autoimmunity

Abstract

Saccharomyces cerevisiae is best known as the baker’s and brewer’s yeast, but its residual traces are also frequent excipients in some vaccines. Although anti-S. cerevisiae autoantibodies (ASCAs) are considered specific for Crohn’s disease, a growing number of studies have detected high levels of ASCAs in patients affected with autoimmune diseases as compared with healthy controls, including antiphospholipid syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, type 1 diabetes mellitus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Commensal microorganisms such as Saccharomyces are required for nutrition, proper development of Peyer’s aggregated lymphoid tissue, and tissue healing. However, even the commensal nonclassically pathogenic microbiota can trigger autoimmunity when fine regulation of immune tolerance does not work properly. For our purposes, the protein database of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) was consulted, comparing Saccharomyces mannan to several molecules with a pathogenetic role in autoimmune diseases. Thanks to the NCBI bioinformation technology tool, several overlaps in molecular structures (50–100 %) were identified when yeast mannan, and the most common autoantigens were compared. The autoantigen U2 snRNP B″ was found to conserve a superfamily protein domain that shares 83 % of the S. cerevisiae mannan sequence. Furthermore, ASCAs may be present years before the diagnosis of some associated autoimmune diseases as they were retrospectively found in the preserved blood samples of soldiers who became affected by Crohn’s disease years later. Our results strongly suggest that ASCAs’ role in clinical practice should be better addressed in order to evaluate their predictive or prognostic relevance.

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Correspondence to Yehuda Shoenfeld.

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Rinaldi, M., Perricone, R., Blank, M. et al. Anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae Autoantibodies in Autoimmune Diseases: from Bread Baking to Autoimmunity. Clinic Rev Allerg Immunol 45, 152–161 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12016-012-8344-9

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Keywords

  • Anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae autoantibodies
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Molecular mimicry
  • Autoantigenicity
  • Vaccines