Clinical and pathophysiologic relevance of autoantibodies in rheumatoid arthritis


Adv. rheumatol.




Abstract Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune/inflammatory disease affecting 0.5 to 1% of adults worldwide and frequently leads to joint destruction and disability. Early diagnosis and early and effective therapy may prevent joint damage and lead to better long-term results. Therefore, reliable biomarkers and outcome measures are needed. Refinement of the understanding of molecular pathways involved in disease pathogenesis have been achieved by combining knowledge on RA-associated genes, environmental factors and the presence of serological elements. The presence of autoantibodies is a distinctive feature of RA. Rheumatoid Factor and Anti-Citrullinated Protein Antibodies are the two most remarkable autoantibodies in RA and provide different clinical and pathophysiological information. They precede the onset of disease symptoms and predict a more severe disease course, indicating a pathogenetic role in RA. Therefore, they promote a more accurate prognosis and contribute for a better disease management. Several RA-associated autoantibody systems have been identified: Anti-Carbamylated Antibodies, Anti-BRAF, Anti-Acetylated, Anti-PAD4 antibodies and others. Hopefully, the characterization of a comprehensive array of novel autoantibody systems in RA will provide unique pathogenic insights of relevance for the development of diagnostic and prognostic approaches compatible with an effective personalized medicine.

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