Autoantibody Epitope Spreading in the Pre-Clinical Phase Predicts Progression to Rheumatoid Arthritis
ABSTRACT Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a prototypical autoimmune arthritis affecting nearly 1% of the world population and is a significant cause of worldwide disability. Though prior studies have demonstrated the appearance of RA-related autoantibodies years before the onset of clinical RA, the pattern of immunologic events preceding the development of RA remains unclear. To characterize the evolution of the autoantibody response in the preclinical phase of RA, we used a novel multiplex autoantigen array to evaluate development of the anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA) and to determine if epitope spread correlates with rise in serum cytokines and imminent onset of clinical RA. To do so, we utilized a cohort of 81 patients with clinical RA for whom stored serum was available from 1-12 years prior to disease onset. We evaluated the accumulation of ACPA subtypes over time and correlated this accumulation with elevations in serum cytokines. We then used logistic regression to identify a profile of biomarkers which predicts the imminent onset of clinical RA (defined as within 2 years of testing). We observed a time-dependent expansion of ACPA specificity with the number of ACPA subtypes. At the earliest timepoints, we found autoantibodies targeting several innate immune ligands including citrullinated histones, fibrinogen, and biglycan, thus providing insights into the earliest autoantigen targets and potential mechanisms underlying the onset and development of autoimmunity in RA. Additionally, expansion of the ACPA response strongly predicted elevations in many inflammatory cytokines including TNF-α, IL-6, IL-12p70, and IFN-γ. Thus, we observe that the preclinical phase of RA is characterized by an accumulation of multiple autoantibody specificities reflecting the process of epitope spread. Epitope expansion is closely correlated with the appearance of preclinical inflammation, and we identify a biomarker profile including autoantibodies and cytokines which predicts the imminent onset of clinical arthritis.
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ABSTRACT: Specimens in the United States Department of Defense (DoD) Serum Repository have accumulated in frozen storage since 1985 when the DoD began universal screening for human immunodeficiency virus. Use of the stored serum for health research has been carefully controlled, but the resulting publications have never been systematically identified or described. The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center (AFHSC) information systems and open (online) sites were used as data sources. Through 2012, the repository contained 54,542,658 serum specimens, of which 228,610 (0.42%) have been accessed for any purpose. Between 2001 (the first year that comprehensive, digital records were available) and 2012, 65.2% of all approved requests for serum were for healthcare or public health investigations, but greater than 99% of all shipped samples were for research. Using two different methods - a structure search of PubMed and an exhaustive online search based on records from AFHSC - we identified 76 articles published between October 1988 and March 2013 that covered a multitude of infectious diseases, injuries, environmental exposures and mental health conditions through analysis of antibodies, biological metabolic, signaling and regulatory substances, Vitamin D, organochlorines, dioxin, omega-3-fatty acid, and portions of human deoxyribonucleic acid. Despite its operational and scientific value, it appears that the DoD Serum Repository has been underutilized. Changes to policy and increased capacity for specimen processing could increase use of the repository without risking privacy or the availability of specimens for the healthcare of individual service members in the future.PLoS ONE 02/2015; 10(2):e0114857. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0114857 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: There is currently no biochemical test for detection of early-stage osteoarthritis (eOA). Tests for early-stage rheumatoid arthritis (eRA) such as rheumatoid factor (RF) and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) antibodies require refinement to improve clinical utility. We developed robust mass spectrometric methods to quantify citrullinated protein (CP) and free hydroxyproline in body fluids. We detected CP in the plasma of healthy subjects and surprisingly found that CP was increased in both patients with eOA and eRA whereas anti-CCP antibodies were predominantly present in eRA. A 4-class diagnostic algorithm combining plasma/serum CP, anti-CCP antibody and hydroxyproline applied to a cohort gave specific and sensitive detection and discrimination of eOA, eRA, other non-RA inflammatory joint diseases and good skeletal health. This provides a first-in-class plasma/serum-based biochemical assay for diagnosis and type discrimination of early-stage arthritis to facilitate improved treatment and patient outcomes, exploiting citrullinated protein and related differential autoimmunity.Scientific Reports 03/2015; 5:9259. DOI:10.1038/srep09259 · 5.08 Impact Factor
The Journal of Rheumatology 02/2015; 42(2):152-4. DOI:10.3899/jrheum.141366 · 3.17 Impact Factor