Liang B, Ge C, Lönnblom E, Lin X, Feng H, Xiao L, Bai J, Ayoglu B, Nilsson P, Nandakumar KS, Zhao M, Holmdahl R
Rheumatology (Oxford) 58 (9) 1623-1633 [2019-09-01; online 2019-03-21]
The detection of anti-citrullinated peptide antibodies (ACPAs) is a serological hallmark of RA. Autoantibodies reactive with collagen type II (CII) are present in RA sera and synovial fluid and are potentially pathogenic. Here, we investigate the prevalence and specificity of the autoantibody responses to defined citrullinated cyclic peptides derived from CII in a China RA cohort. Using bead-based multiplex assay, we examined the presence of autoantibodies binding to 54 cyclic 17-mer citrullinated CII peptides, encompassing all citrullinate epitopes in CII, and the corresponding unmodified peptides in 415 RA patients, in addition to 304 patients with OA. Furthermore, the autoantibody responses to a selected set of 10 cyclic citrullinated peptides were also examined in 203 healthy individuals. Autoantibody responses to cyclic citrullinated CII peptides were higher in RA patients as compared with OA patients or healthy individuals, whereas little or negligible antibody responses to cyclic unmodified CII peptides were observed. Interestingly, several novel citrullinated CII epitopes were identified. Antibodies to these novel citrullinated CII epitopes showed not only substantial overlapping reactivities but also had unique specificities. We found a high prevalence of autoantibodies against cyclic citrullinated CII in the sera of patients in a China RA cohort. The present study revealed heterogeneous binding patterns against novel citrullinated CII epitopes, which may help to stratify RA patients into different subgroups.