Autoantibodies and genetic variation in rheumatoid arthritis : aspects on susceptibility and disease course
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation and subsequent destruction of synovial joints. Although its causes remain largely unknown, a substantial genetic contribution is known to exist. During the last decades the benefits of early aggressive treatment have become evident, and more potent therapeutic options have become available. These advances have increased the demands for rapid accurate diagnosis and prognostic markers of disease course and therapy response.The ‘rheumatoid factor’ (RF) has long been used as a diagnostic and prognostic marker of RA. In this thesis, the utility of measuring antibodies to cyclic citrullinated peptides (CCP) was investigated. In a population-based arthritis incidence study, 69 very early arthritis patients (symptom duration < 3 months) were identified. The anti-CCP test, performed at baseline and related to diagnosis at the 2-year follow-up, had a diagnostic specificity for RA of 96% and a sensitivity of 44%, both of which were superior to RF. In a prospective cohort of 242 incident cases of RA (symptom duration < 1 year), 64% of the patients tested positive for anti-CCP at baseline (equal to RF). Despite receiving more active anti-rheumatic therapy, the anti-CCP-positive patients had a more aggressive disease course during 3 years as compared to those testing negative.The 158VV genotype of Fc? Receptor type IIIA (Fc?RIIIA), which binds IgG with higher affinity than 158FF, was associated with an increased susceptibility to RA in men, but not in women. Previous studies report conflicting results, and none stratified according to gender. The 158V/F polymorphism of Fc?RIIIA was not found to influence outcome of anti-tumour necrosis factor therapy in 282 RA patients, contradicting hints from previous studies. Genetic variation in proteins of the inflammasome, an interleukin-1 (IL-1) regulating intracellular protein complex, is associated with rare autoinflammatory conditions and possibly with Crohn’s disease. In this first study on genetic variation of the inflammasome in RA, we describe a compound polymorphism of the genes CIAS1 and TUCAN that associates both with susceptibility to RA and to the severity of the disease. Hypothetically, these genes may identify a subgroup of RA patients that would benefit from anti-IL-1 therapy.This thesis work emphasizes the benefits of testing for anti-CCP in the diagnosis and outcome prediction in early arthritis. Fc?RIIIA genotype is likely to affect RA susceptibility and further work should apply a gender perspective. Inflammasome genetics may influence the risk of developing RA. Additional studies are warranted to settle whether it also identifies a subgroup of RA patients benefiting from IL-1 targeted therapy.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:MEDICINE; Dermatology and venerology,clinical genetics, internal medicine; Internal medicine; Rheumatology; Rheumatoid arthritis; autoantibodies; single-nucleotide polymorphisms; disease course
Date of Publication:01/01/2007