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Immunoblotting detection of so-called 'antikeratin antibodies': a new assay for the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
  1. V Gomès-Daudrix,
  2. M Sebbag,
  3. E Girbal,
  4. C Vincent,
  5. M Simon,
  6. J Rakotoarivony,
  7. M Abbal,
  8. B Fournié,
  9. G Serre
  1. Department of Biology and Pathology of the Cell, Purpan School of Medicine, University of Toulouse III, France.


    OBJECTIVES--To assess the diagnostic value for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), of an immunoblotting assay based on the rat oesophagus epithelium antigens recognised by the so-called 'antikeratin antibodies' ('AKA'), antigens that have been identified as three non-cytokeratin proteins (referred to as A, B and C proteins). METHODS--After polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in non-denaturing conditions and electrotransfer of an epithelial extract, the immunoreactivities to the A, B and C proteins of a series of serum samples from 88 patients with RA and 100 patients with non-rheumatoid rheumatic diseases, were semiquantitatively evaluated. RESULTS--A total of 81.8% of RA serum samples recognised the three proteins, while 91% of non-RA serum samples only weakly recognised the A and B proteins but not the C protein. Only in the group of RA patients, were the titres of the antibodies to the A, B and C proteins found to be significantly correlated with each other and with the titres of 'AKA' detected by the standard indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) method. For a diagnostic specificity of 99%, the diagnostic sensitivities of the detection of the A and B proteins were 50% and 43.2%, respectively, when those of the detection of 'AKA' by IIF and of IgM-rheumatoid factor by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay were 42% and 54%, respectively. In contrast, at a same specificity of 99%, the diagnostic sensitivity of the detection of the C protein was significantly higher with a value of 70.5%. CONCLUSION--This immunoblotting assay which is the first immunochemical method proposed for the detection of 'AKA, should be validated on larger series of patients but can already be considered as a very powerful test for the serological diagnosis of RA.

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