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/st> Anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA) and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies are a hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis and are believed to play a role in disease pathogenesis. These antibodies are typically detected in ELISA with citrullinated peptides (eg, CCP2) or proteins as antigens. The absolute concentration of anti-CCP antibodies in serum is unknown. Although antibodies to several citrullinated proteins can mainly be detected within anti-CCP-positive sera, it is currently unknown whether anti-CCP antibodies are in fact ACPA. Likewise, it is unknown to what extent antibody responses to different citrullinated antigens are crossreactive.
/st> An affinity purification method was established in which citrullinated antigen-specific antibodies were eluted from ELISA plates and then used for detection of other citrullinated antigens in ELISA or western blot. For additional crossreactivity studies, ELISA-based inhibition assays were performed with citrullinated or control peptides as inhibitors.
/st> The concentration of anti-CCP IgG antibodies was estimated to be at least 30 mug/ml in patients with high anti-CCP levels (>1600 mug/ml). Affinity-purified anti-CCP antibodies were able to recognise citrullinated fibrinogen (cit-fib) and citrullinated myelin basic protein (cit-MBP) on western blot. Furthermore, antibodies specific for cit-fib and cit-MBP were crossreactive. However, additional crossreactivity studies indicated that non-overlapping antibody responses to citrullinated peptides can also exist in patients.
/st> This report shows for the first time that anti-CCP antibodies recognise multiple citrullinated proteins and are thus a collection of ACPA. More importantly, the data indicate that different ACPA responses are crossreactive, but that crossreactivity is not complete, as distinct non-crossreactive responses can also be detected in patients with RA.
1Department of Rheumatology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Annals of the rheumatic diseases
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