Antibodies to histone have been associated in the adult literature with systemic lupus erythematosus(SLE) and drug induced lupus(DILE). Little data is available regarding the spectrum of pathology that antibodies to histone encompass in the pediatric population. Prior studies suggest an association with SLE, juvenile idiopathic arthritis(JIA), uveitis and linear scleroderma.
Patient charts were reviewed that contained positive anti-histone antibody testing during a consecutive three year period. Patient diagnosis along with the presence of: anti-histone antibody titer, ANA, and the presence of other autoantibodies to SSA, SSB, Sm, RNP, dsDNA and chromatin were obtained. The frequency of SLE, JIA and DILE was further investigated in specific subsets.
139 individual charts were reviewed containing 41 different diagnoses. The most common diagnosis was hypermobility arthralgia with 22 patients. The most frequent rheumatologic diagnosis was JIA(non-systemic) with 19. 13 patients in this study were diagnosed with SLE and 2 with DILE. 18 patients had other autoantibody production, of these, 11 had SLE or DILE. Only one of 62 patients with a weak anti-histone antibody titer(1.0-1.5) was diagnosed with SLE. When strong titers are present(>2.5), the anti-histone antibody test was associated with a greater than 50% incidence of an underlying rheumatologic disease and ten times higher incidence of SLE than a weak titer. In regards to the frequency of SLE, there was a statistically significant difference in weak and moderate(1.6-2.5) titers(p-value 0.0113) and weak and strong titers(p-value 0.0053).
The presence of anti-histone antibody was observed in a variety of diagnoses in the pediatric population. Overall, the presence of anti-histone antibodies appears to have poor diagnostic utility for any specific condition. However, diagnostic utility for SLE does improve with higher titers, when combined with other autoantibody positivity. Strength of titer did not appear to be a factor for JIA, but was the most frequently observed rheumatologic disease in this study.