ORGENTEC Autoimmunity Blog

Covering Autoimmune Diseases

Tag: ACPA

antibodies to citrullinated protein/peptide antigens, ACPAs

B-Cells in Autoimmunity

A link between B cell receptor expression and autoantibody production in rheumatoid arthritis

By now, it is a well known fact, that B cells play an important role in the development of autoimmunity. On the one hand, they are the precursors of the antibody-secreting plasmablasts and memory cells; on the other hand they also act as antigen-presenting cells.

Various cells of the immune system express a plethora of receptors that bind to the
Fc-portion of immune complexes containing IgG (Fc-gamma-receptors, FcγR), but
B cells and plasma cells only express the low affinity FcγRIIb. This receptor has repressive functions and mediates the deletion of autoreactive B cells and the inhibition of IgG secretion, thereby helping to preserve B cell tolerance.

Human autoimmune diseases that are characterized by an abnormal production of autoreactive antibodies have been suspected to come along with impaired FcγRIIb function. Alterations of the expression of FcγRIIb on B cells have been shown for Lupus erythematosus and several other autoimmune diseases, but until now, data have been lacking for rheumatoid arthritis. (more…)

Biomarkers – The Key to Prevention and Early Detection of Disease

Biomarkers are the key to prevention and early detection of disease …

… of this I am convinced. And I am firmly convinced that laboratory diagnostics and the use of biomarkers will have a critical effect on the medicine of tomorrow.

Why am I so sure of this? It has already been demonstrated that biomarkers can be used to optimize treatment for individual patients with diabetes. In the future, individualized medicine (also sometimes called “personalized medicine”) will not only significantly increase the efficiency of treatment; it will also greatly improve prevention and early detection. Today it is already possible to carry out a diagnosis in the symptom-free phase of a disease by using biomarkers. This is of great benefit to the patients who receive early and targeted treatment. (more…)

Rheumatism Affects more than just the Joints!

Rheumatism affects more than just the joints: the heart and circulatory system are also at risk!The knowledge gradually sinks in, even for patients: inflammatory rheumatic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) not only damage the joints, but also the blood vessels. Patients with rheumatism thus have an increased risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

Why is this the case? Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) not only causes inflammation of the musculoskeletal system; it also affects the walls of blood vessels. In addition, RA patients have an increased incidence of hardening of the arteries, arteriosclerosis. “These patients have a 30 to 60 % higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.”

These figures are given by Professor Dr. med. Jürgen Braun, Medical Director of the Ruhr Centre for Rheumatism in Herne, Germany (Rheumazentrum Ruhrgebiet). (These figures and excerpts, and those that follow, were published by the German Society of Rheumatology- Deutsche Gesellschaft für Rheumatologie, DGRh,  in the run-up to the 38th Congress of the DGRh (38. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Rheumatologie e.V.), which is currently underway in Hamburg.) Prof. Jürgen Braun adds, “The danger increases further when patients have elevated lipid levels, high blood pressure or diabetes, or are overweight.” (more…)

The 2010 ACR – EULAR Rheumatoid Arthritis Classification Criteria in brief

In the September issues of their journals Arthritis and Rheumatism and Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) present a new set of criteria for the classification of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Why do wee need “new” criteria for the classification of RA?

The 1987 ACR criteria have been criticised for their lack of sensitivity, especially in early disease. They rather describe the symptoms of fully developed late-stage RA. During the past decade, RA treatment has undergone dramatic changes (more…)

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): Smoking and Rheumatism

There is a Connection between Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Smoking – what are the Reasons?

Smoking might be a trigger for rheumatoid arthritis.

That smoking is unhealthy really isn’t a secret any more. However, it may be less well known that smoking is especially damaging to patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or people with a genetic predisposition towards this autoimmune disease.

Until a few years ago, a coherent explanation of how smoking triggers the break in immunotolerance and why tobacco smoke promotes the onset of autoimmune disease was still missing. A group of Swedish researchers has found one of the missing links in the pathogenic chain between tobacco smoke and rheumatoid arthritis (Makrygiannakis et al., 2008). The scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm showed that cigarette smoke is directly involved in the development of rheumatoid arthritis. (more…)

Research Update: Genetics of Rheumatoid Arthritis Susceptibility

Genetics of Rheumatoid Arthritis Susceptibility

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex autoimmune disease that is influenced by genetic and environmental factors, e.g. smoking. A group of Spanish investigators around Alejandro Balsa has recently published a study about the influence of HLA DRB1 genes on the development of RA and the production of disease-specific autoantibodies (open access, free article). 

They observed a dose-dependent association between SE-alleles and ACPA-titres in a Spanish cohort of RA patients. (more…)

Research Update about ACPAs

Are RA-specific ACPAs formed directly within inflamed joints?

Antibodies against mutated citrullinated vimentin (anti-MCV) and cyclic citrullinated peptides (anti-CCP) in the serum of RA patients act as highly specific indicators of rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, these antibodies indicate whether the disease is progressing aggressively. In contrast to the CCP antibodies, the anti-MCV antibodies seem to have pathogenic significance.

Earlier studies showed that the anti-CCP titre is higher in the synovial fluid of RA patients than in their serum. This study was intended to demonstrate that this is also true of anti-MCV antibodies and antibodies against other citrullinated proteins.  (more…)

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