Citrullination by peptidylarginine deiminase in rheumatoid arthritis

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Jun;1108:323-39. doi: 10.1196/annals.1422.034.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex, multifactorial disease with genetic and immunological aspects. Because RA is an autoimmune condition, dysregulation of the immune system is implied. Many linkage and association studies have also indicated that multiple genetic factors are associated with RA. Although the contribution of each genetic factor is small, the combination of these factors affects RA development. Previous studies have suggested that genetic changes affect the internal immunological environment, which results in autoimmune diseases. More recent genetic studies indicate that the HLA-DRB gene is the predominant cause of RA and that other non-HLA genes are also involved. We reported that peptidylarginine deiminase (gene name abbreviated to PADI, protein name abbreviated to PAD) type 4 is the one of the non-HLA genetic factors involved in RA via citrullination. Antibodies against citrullinated proteins/peptides are highly specific to RA, but the physiological roles of PADI gene, PAD proteins as their products and citrullinated proteins/peptides are obscure. However, levels of anticitrullinated protein antibodies are apparently also increased and were involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune arthritis in mice with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). These data suggested that citrullinated protein and anticitrullinated protein antibodies play important roles in the development of RA. This review summarizes the relationship between RA and citrullination, as well as the role of PADI4 genetics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / genetics
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism*
  • Autoantibodies / immunology*
  • Autoantibodies / metabolism
  • Autoantigens / metabolism
  • Citrulline / metabolism*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Hydrolases / genetics
  • Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Protein-Arginine Deiminases
  • Proteins / metabolism


  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens
  • Isoenzymes
  • Proteins
  • Citrulline
  • Hydrolases
  • Protein-Arginine Deiminases