The isotype repertoire of antibodies against novel UH-RA peptides in rheumatoid arthritis

Liesbeth M. De Winter, Piet Geusens, Jan Lenaerts, Johan Vanhoof, Piet Stinissen, Veerle Somers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)


Background: Recently, autoantibodies against novel UH-RA peptides (UH-RA. 1 and UH-RA. 21) were identified as candidate biomarkers for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who are seronegative for the current diagnostic markers rheumatoid factor and anticitrullinated protein antibodies. Previously, screening for anti-UH-RA autoantibodies was based on measuring the immunoglobulin (Ig) G response. We aimed to investigate whether measurement of other isotypes could improve the performance of diagnostic testing. In addition, assigning the isotype profile might provide valuable information on effector functions of the antibodies. Methods: The isotype profile of antibodies against UH-RA. 1 and UH-RA. 21 was studied. The IgG, IgM, and IgA classes, together with the 4 different IgG subclasses, were determined in 285 patients with RA, 88 rheumatic control subjects, and 90 healthy control subjects. Results: Anti-UH-RA. 1 antibodies were primarily of the IgM isotype and twice as prevalent as IgG (IgG3-dominated) and IgA. RA sensitivity when testing for anti-UH-RA. 1 IgM was shown to be higher than when testing for the IgG isotype: 18 % versus 9 % sensitivity when RA specificity was set to 90 %. Within antibodies against UH-RA. 21, IgG and IgA were more common than IgM. Different anti-UH-RA. 21 IgG subclasses were found, with the highest prevalence found for IgG2. Combined testing for IgG and IgA slightly increased RA sensitivity of UH-RA. 21-specific antibody testing to 27 % compared with solely testing for IgG (23 %). Notably, a higher number of anti-UH-RA. 21 antibody isotypes was related to increased levels of erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Finally, for both antibody responses, the full antibody isotype use was demonstrated in early and seronegative disease. Conclusions: The isotype distribution of anti-UH-RA. 1 and anti-UH-RA. 21 antibodies was successfully outlined, and, for antibodies against UH-RA. 1, we found that isotype-specific testing might have implications for diagnostic testing. The exact mechanisms by which the different antibody isotypes act still have to be unraveled.
Original languageEnglish
Article number130
JournalArthritis Research & Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2016


  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarker
  • Antibody isotype
  • UH-RA peptides

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