Autoantibodies to citrullinated antigens in (early) rheumatoid arthritis

Autoimmun Rev. 2006 Nov;6(1):37-41. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2006.03.008. Epub 2006 Apr 19.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common, systemic autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the synovium, that can lead to progressive joint destruction and in many cases results in severe disability and poor quality of life. With the availability of more sophisticated and effective therapies and with increasing evidence that the first few months of disease represent an unique therapeutic opportunity and that such early therapeutic intervention is crucial in preventing irreversible joint damage, it is widely accepted that early and accurate diagnosis of RA is critical in disease management. Within the last three years a growing number of publications have reported that the second generation anti-CCP (cyclic citrullinated peptide) test may become the marker of choice for diagnosing early RA as it appears to be highly specific for the disease with a sensitivity comparable to the widely used but less specific rheumatoid factor test. Additionally, anti-CCP2 positivity can predict future development of RA in both asymptomatic individuals and in patients with undifferentiated arthritis. Furthermore, antibody levels at presentation can correlate with progression to erosive disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / etiology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Citrulline / immunology*
  • Citrulline / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Peptides, Cyclic / immunology*
  • Peptides, Cyclic / metabolism*
  • Prognosis


  • Autoantibodies
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • Citrulline