Objectives Anticitrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA) are specific for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and have been implicated in disease pathogenesis. Previously we have shown that ACPA display a considerably lower avidity as compared with antibodies against recall antigens. Nonetheless, ACPA-avidity did vary between patients. As antibody mediated effects are influenced by antibody-avidity, we now investigated ACPA-avidity in relation to biological activity and clinical outcome.
Methods We determined the avidity of ACPA and related this with severity of joint damage in two Dutch early-RA cohorts containing 199 and 132 patients respectively. Differences in effector functions of low- and high-avidity ACPA were studied.
Results Extensive variation in ACPA-avidity between patients was observed. This allowed the analysis of the relationship between avidity and severity. The presence of low-avidity ACPA is associated with a higher rate of joint destruction. This finding was replicated in an independent cohort. Analysis of the properties of low-versus high-avidity ACPA revealed that low-avidity ACPA are less hampered in their ability to bind ‘new’ citrullinated antigens. Although no differences could be observed regarding cellular activation via Fc-γ receptors, low-avidity ACPA were more potent in activating the complement system.
Conclusions Patients with low-avidity ACPA display a higher rate of joint destruction. Low-avidity ACPA display a higher potency to interact with more citrullinated antigens in time and show that low-avidity ACPA are more potent in complement activation. These data indicate that (low) avidity impacts on the biological activity of ACPA and associates with a worse radiological outcome.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
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