• anti-C1q antibodies;
  • lupus nephritis;
  • renal flare;
  • anti-DNA antibodies;
  • C3

Anti-C1q antibodies are found in a variety of diseases, in addition to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and in 3–5% of normal individuals. In particular, anti-C1q antibodies are detected at a high titer in 100% of patients with hypocomplementemic urticarial vasculitis and in 30–48% of SLE patients. Their titer correlates with active renal disease with a sensitivity of 44–100% and a specificity of 70–92%. An increase in anti-C1q antibody titer has been suggested to be able to predict renal flares in lupus nephritis so that monitoring anti-C1q might be valuable for the clinical management of SLE patients as a noninvasive biological marker. Recently our group studied 228 patients affected by lupus nephritis and found that the association of anti-C1q, C3, and C4, in a multivariate analysis, provided the best prediction of renal flares, particularly in patients with focal and diffuse proliferative lupus nephritis and in the absence of antiphospholipid antibodies.