Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Role of anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies in discriminating patients with rheumatoid arthritis from patients with chronic hepatitis C infection-associated polyarticular involvement

Michele Bombardieri, Cristiano Alessandri, Giancarlo Labbadia, Cristina Iannuccelli, Francesco Carlucci, Valeria Riccieri, Vincenzo Paoletti and Guido Valesini*

Author Affiliations

Cattedra di Reumatologia, Dipartimento di Clinica e Terapia Medica Applicata – Università degli Studi di Roma 'La Sapienza', Roma, Italy

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Arthritis Res Ther 2004, 6:R137-R141  doi:10.1186/ar1041

Published: 29 January 2004

Abstract

This study was performed to assess the utility of anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies in distinguishing between patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and patients with polyarticular involvement associated with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Serum anti-CCP antibodies and rheumatoid factor (RF) were evaluated in 30 patients with RA, 8 patients with chronic HCV infection and associated articular involvement and 31 patients with chronic HCV infection without any joint involvement. In addition, we retrospectively analysed sera collected at the time of first visit in 10 patients originally presenting with symmetric polyarthritis and HCV and subsequently developing well-established RA. Anti-CCP antibodies and RF were detected by commercial second-generation anti-CCP2 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunonephelometry respectively. Anti-CCP antibodies were detected in 23 of 30 (76.6%) patients with RA but not in patients with chronic HCV infection irrespective of the presence of articular involvement. Conversely, RF was detected in 27 of 30 (90%) patients with RA, 3 of 8 (37.5%) patients with HCV-related arthropathy and 3 of 31 (9.7%) patients with HCV infection without joint involvement. Finally, anti-CCP antibodies were retrospectively detected in 6 of 10 (60%) patients with RA and HCV. This indicates that anti-CCP antibodies can be useful in discriminating patients with RA from patients with HCV-associated arthropathy.

Keywords:
anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies; hepatitis C virus; rheumatoid arthritis; rheumatoid factor