Objectives: To analyse the effect of infliximab on IgM rheumatoid factor (RF) and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) antibodies, and determine whether baseline autoantibody titres (IgM RF and anti-CCP antibodies) are associated with changes in acute phase reactants.
Patients and methods: 62 patients with refractory RA were treated with infliximab combined with methotrexate. At baseline and week 30, serum samples were tested for IgM RF by two agglutination assays, and for anti-CCP antibodies by an ELISA. Percentage change in C reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) was calculated.
Results: At baseline and week 30 RF titres were reduced significantly during infliximab treatment (p<0.001 and p = 0.038, respectively), whereas anti-CCP antibodies were unchanged (p = 0.240). Baseline IgM RF titres, but not anti-CCP antibodies, correlated inversely with changes in CRP and ESR during treatment. Patients with a marked decrease in acute phase reactants had lower IgM RF titres than those with a smaller decrease in CRP and ESR; no significant differences were found for anti-CCP antibodies.
Conclusion: The differential effect of infliximab treatment on IgM RF and anti-CCP antibodies, and the different predictive value on changes in acute phase reactants during infliximab treatment support the existing evidence that RF and anti-CCP antibodies are independent autoantibody systems in RA.
- anti-CCP, anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide
- CRP, C reactive protein
- ESR, erythrocyte sedimentation rate
- RA, rheumatoid arthritis
- RF, rheumatoid factor
- TNFα, tumour necrosis factor α
- anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies
- rheumatoid factor
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