Ann Rheum Dis 64:1094-1095 doi:10.1136/ard.2004.032847
  • Letter

Production of anti-CCP antibodies and matrix metalloproteinase-3 by human rheumatoid arthritis synovial tissues using SCID mice

  1. S Iwaki-Egawa1,
  2. H Matsuno2,
  3. Y Ogawa3,
  4. Y Watanabe1
  1. 1Hokkaido College of Pharmacy, Otaru, Japan
  2. 2Toin University of Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan
  3. 3Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Toyama, Japan
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr S Iwaki-Egawa
    Department of Pharmacy, Hokkaido College of Pharmacy, 7-1 Katsuraoka-cho, Otaru 047-0264, Japan;
  • Accepted 16 December 2004

The diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) remains imprecise, particularly early in the course of the disease. Up to now, rheumatoid factor (RF) has been used as a typical marker for RA; however, RF has a low specificity because it also occurs in many inflammatory diseases as well as in healthy people. It has recently been shown that autoantibodies directed toward cyclic citrullinated peptides (anti-CCP) are potentially important serological markers for diagnosis and prognosis in RA.1

The proteolytic pathways associated with cellular interactions also seem to have an important role in joint cartilage destruction of RA. Matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3) is secreted by fibroblasts and synovial cells,2 and it has been shown to be increased in RA serum, not only in the late stage but also in the early stage of the disease. Therefore, MMP-3 is a useful marker for predicting bone damage in early RA.3

In many early cases of RA, patients will not always fulfil the American …