Background Spondyloarthritis (SpA) is a common debilitating inflammatory disorder. Pathogenesis of axial SpA (axSpA) including ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is still largely unclear.
Objectives Diagnosis is difficult, since abnormalities in conventional X-rays develop with a latency of several years and only HLA-B27 is used as laboratory marker. The presence of radiographic sacroiliitis is essential for SpA diagnosis. To prevent destructive effects early diagnosis and intervention in SpA patients may be important. To evaluate antibodies to the human leukocyte antigen class II-associated invariant chain peptide (anti-CD74) as a diagnostic marker of SpA.
Methods Sera of 117 patients with axial SpA and 38 non-SpA patients were analyzed for IgA and IgG antibodies against CD74 by ELISA. HLA-B27 status was available in 112 patients. All donors provided informed consent for the study approved by the local ethics committee (project number 4928).
Results Anti-CD74 antibodies were detected in 85.1% of SpA patients but only in 5% of non-SpA patients (p≤0.0001). Detection of both IgG and IgA anti-CD74 antibodies for diagnosing SpA revealed a sensitivity of 77% and a specificity of 90%. Remarkably, IgA autoantibodies against CD74 alone had a sensitivity of 67% and a specificity of 95%. IgA anti-CD74 antibodies were even more frequent in SpA patients with short disease duration and significantly correlate with more advanced radiological sacroiliitis and reduced spinal mobility.
Conclusions Anti-CD74 IgA antibodies were strongly associated with SpA. Antibodies against CD74 could provide an important additional tool for diagnosis of SpA.
Disclosure of Interest None declared