Geo-epidemiology of autoantibodies in rheumatoid arthritis: comparison between four ethnically diverse populations

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de Moel, Emma C.
Trouw, Leendert A.
Terao, Chikashi
Govind, Nimmisha
Tikly, Mohammed
El-Gabalawy, Hani
Smolik, Irene
Bang, Holger
Huizinga, Tom W.
Toes, Rene E.M.
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BioMed Central (BMC)
Abstract Background Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) occurs across the globe in different ethnic populations. Most RA patients harbor anti-modified protein antibodies (AMPA); however, it is unclear whether differences exist in autoantibody responses at different geographic locations and between different ethnic groups, which could provide new clues regarding factors underlying autoantibody development. We therefore investigated AMPA prevalence and association with HLA DRB1 alleles and smoking in four ethnically diverse populations on four different continents. Methods Anti-carbamylated (anti-CarP), anti-malondialdehyde acetaldehyde (anti-MAA), and anti-acetylated protein antibodies (anti-AcVim) IgG were determined in anti-citrullinated protein antibody-positive Dutch (NL, n = 103), Japanese (JP, n = 174), First Nations Peoples in Canada (FN, n = 100), and black South African (SA, n = 67) RA patients. Ethnicity-matched local healthy controls were used to calculate cut-offs. Risk factors associated with AMPA seropositivity in each cohort were identified using logistic regression. Results Median AMPA levels were higher in First Nations Peoples in Canada and especially South African patients, as reflected by percentage seropositivity: NL, JP, FN, and SA: anti-CarP: 47%, 43%, 58%, and 76% (p < 0.001); anti-MAA: 29%, 22%, 29%, and 53% (p < 0.001); and anti-AcVim: 20%, 17%, 38%, and 28% (p < 0.001). Total IgG levels also differed markedly, and when autoantibody levels were normalized to total IgG, differences between cohorts became less pronounced. Although there were some associations with AMPA and HLA risk alleles and smoking, none was consistent across all four cohorts. Conclusions AMPA against various post-translational modifications could consistently be detected on different continents across ethnically diverse RA populations. Differences in AMPA levels corresponded to differences in total serum IgG levels. This suggests that, despite differences in risk factors, a common pathway may be involved in AMPA development across geographic locations and ethnicities.
Arthritis Research & Therapy. 2023 Mar 08;25(1):37
Arthritis Research & Therapy. 2023 Mar 08;25(1):37