Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic chronic inflammatory disease characterized by extensive synovitis resulting in erosions of articular cartilage and marginal bone with joint destruction. The lack of immunological tolerance in RA represents the first step toward the development of autoimmunity. Susceptible individuals, under the influence of environmental factors, such as tobacco smoke, and silica exposure, develop autoimmune phenomena that result in the presence of autoantibodies. HLA and non-HLA haplotypes play a major role in determining the development of specific autoantibodies differentiating anti-citrullinated antibodies (ACPA)-positive and negative RA patients. Rheumatoid factor (RF) and ACPA are the serological markers for RA, and during the preclinical immunological phase, autoantibody titers increase with a progressive spread of ACPA antigens repertoire. The presence of ACPA represents an independent risk factor for developing RA in patients with undifferentiated arthritis or arthralgia. Moreover, anti-CarP antibodies have been identified in patients with RA as well as in individuals before the onset of clinical symptoms of RA. Several autoantibodies mainly targeting post-translational modified proteins have been investigated as possible biomarkers to improve the early diagnosis, prognosis and response to therapy in RA patients. Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is distinguished from RA by infrequent positivity for RF and ACPA, together with other distinctive clinical features. Actually, specific autoantibodies have not been described. Recently, anti-CarP antibodies have been reported in sera from PsA patients with active disease. Further investigations on autoantibodies showing high specificity and sensibility as well as relevant correlation with disease severity, progression, and response to therapy are awaited in inflammatory arthritides.
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