Systemic inflammation and antibodies to citrullinated peptides in hand osteoarthritis

Clin Exp Rheumatol. Nov-Dec 2011;29(6):1006-9. Epub 2011 Dec 22.


Objectives: To investigate systemic inflammation and autoimmune response to citrullinated peptides in patients with erosive and non erosive 'lone' hand osteoarthritis (HOA) with no hip/knee involvement and their relationship with radiographic structural damage.

Methods: Sera were obtained from a total of 99 patients with HOA (52 patients with erosive HOA and 47 patients with non-erosive HOA) and from 50 control subjects (NC). Hand radiographs were obtained from all patients and scored for joint damage according to the Kellgren-Lawrence and the Kallman scores. Serum levels of high-sensitivity CRP (hsCRP), IL-6, pentraxin-3 (PTX-3), anti-CCP and anti-modified citrullinated vimentin (MCV) antibodies were evaluated by a sandwich ELISA.

Results: Circulating levels of inflammatory biomarkers hsCRP, IL-6 and PTX3 were not significantly different in the two groups of patients with erosive and non-erosive HOA compared to NC and no significant difference was seen between non-erosive and erosive HOA. Anti-CCP positivity was detected respectively in 1 patient (2.1%) with non-erosive HOA and 1 patient (1.9%) with erosive HOA. Anti-MCV antibodies were present in 4 patients (8.5%) with non-erosive HOA, and 4 patients (7.7%) with erosive HOA. In the control group, one subject (2%) was positive for anti-CCP and 2 subjects (4%) had anti-MCV antibodies. Significant correlation was obtained only between body mass index and hsCRP concentration (r=0.4071; p<0.0001). No correlation between inflammation markers/autoantibodies and disease duration and radiological scores was found.

Conclusions: Our study underlines the lack of systemic inflammation and autoimmunity in 'lone' HOA and confirms the association between BMI and CRP levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Autoimmunity
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Female
  • Hand Joints / diagnostic imaging
  • Hand Joints / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / diagnostic imaging
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / blood
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnosis*
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnostic imaging
  • Peptides, Cyclic / immunology*
  • Radiography
  • Serum Amyloid P-Component / analysis


  • Biomarkers
  • IL6 protein, human
  • Interleukin-6
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • Serum Amyloid P-Component
  • cyclic citrullinated peptide
  • PTX3 protein
  • C-Reactive Protein