Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can test either positive or negative for circulating anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA) and are thereby categorized as ACPA-positive (ACPA+) or ACPA-negative (ACPA−), respectively. In this study, we aimed to elucidate a broader range of serological autoantibodies that could further explain immunological differences between patients with ACPA+ RA and ACPA− RA. On serum collected from adult patients with ACPA+ RA (n = 32), ACPA− RA (n = 30), and matched healthy controls (n = 30), we used a highly multiplex autoantibody profiling assay to screen for over 1600 IgG autoantibodies that target full-length, correctly folded, native human proteins. We identified differences in serum autoantibodies between patients with ACPA+ RA and ACPA− RA compared with healthy controls. Specifically, we found 22 and 19 autoantibodies with significantly higher abundances in ACPA+ RA patients and ACPA− RA patients, respectively. Among these two sets of autoantibodies, only one autoantibody (anti-GTF2A2) was common in both comparisons; this provides further evidence of immunological differences between these two RA subgroups despite sharing similar symptoms. On the other hand, we identified 30 and 25 autoantibodies with lower abundances in ACPA+ RA and ACPA− RA, respectively, of which 8 autoantibodies were common in both comparisons; we report for the first time that the depletion of certain autoantibodies may be linked to this autoimmune disease. Functional enrichment analysis of the protein antigens targeted by these autoantibodies showed an over-representation of a range of essential biological processes, including programmed cell death, metabolism, and signal transduction. Lastly, we found that autoantibodies correlate with Clinical Disease Activity Index, but associate differently depending on patients’ ACPA status. In all, we present candidate autoantibody biomarker signatures associated with ACPA status and disease activity in RA, providing a promising avenue for patient stratification and diagnostics.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Dec 2023|
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