Citrullination: a small change for a protein with great consequences for rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis Res. 2000;2(4):249-51. doi: 10.1186/ar95. Epub 2000 May 24.


A new autoantibody activity, which is almost 100% specific for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), has been found. The essential part of the B-cell epitope is a modified form of arginine (ie citrulline). The conversion of protein-contained arginine to citrulline is an enzymatic process that is carried out by peptidylarginine deiminase (PAD), an enzyme that appears to be hormonally controlled. Because of its remarkable specificity, citrullination and related processes might open new possibilities for studying the aetiology of RA.

Publication types

  • Comment
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Arginine / metabolism
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism*
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Autoantibodies / metabolism*
  • Autoantigens / immunology
  • Autoantigens / metabolism
  • Citrulline / immunology
  • Citrulline / metabolism*
  • Humans


  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens
  • Citrulline
  • Arginine