Autoantibodies to Perilipin-1 define a subset of acquired generalized lipodystrophy
Acquired lipodystrophy is often characterized as an idiopathic subtype of lipodystrophy. Despite suspicion of an immune-mediated pathology, biomarkers such as autoantibodies are generally lacking. Here, we used an unbiased proteome-wide screening approach to identify autoantibodies to the adipocyte-specific lipid droplet protein Perilipin-1 (PLIN1) in a murine model of Autoimmune Polyendocrine Syndrome 1 (APS1). We then tested for PLIN1 autoantibodies in human subjects with acquired lipodystrophy with two independent severe breaks in immune tolerance (including APS1) along with controls using a specific Radioligand Binding Assay and indirect immunofluorescence on fat tissue. We identified autoantibodies to PLIN1 in these two cases, including the first reported case of APS1 with acquired lipodystrophy and a second patient who acquired lipodystrophy as an immune-related adverse event following cancer immunotherapy. Lastly, we also found PLIN1 autoantibodies to be specifically enriched in a subset of patients with acquired generalized lipodystrophy (17/46; 37%) particularly those with panniculitis and other features of autoimmunity. These data lend additional support to new literature that suggests that PLIN1 autoantibodies represent a marker of acquired autoimmune lipodystrophies and further link them to a break in immune tolerance.