Rheumatoid factor isotypes and circulating immune complexes in rheumatoid arthritis

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 1990 Mar-Apr;8(2):113-9.


Solid phase enzyme immunoassays were here used to quantify rheumatoid factors (RF) of the IgM, IgG and IgA classes and the immune complexes (IK) by their ability to bind to C1q or conglutinin in both the serum and synovial fluid of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Elevated serum levels of any RF isotype could be found in all patients with seropositive RA (IgM: 63%, IgG: 87%, IgA: 90%). Seronegative patients with RA presented to a significantly lesser extent with elevated levels of all the RF isotypes tested (IgM: 0%, IgG: 40%, IgA: 32%). Synovial fluid RF levels were significantly higher in SPRA patients than in SNRA patients with the exception of IgG-RF. All of the RF classes in both RA groups, however, were elevated when compared to RF in the synovial fluid of patients with osteoarthrosis. Both C1q binding and conglutinin binding immune complexes were significantly higher in the synovial fluid than in the serum of RA patients. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate and plasma iron levels were correlated with the levels of C1q binding immune complexes (IC) in the synovial fluid; total iron binding capacity showed an inverse relationship to synovial fluid IgG-RF levels. A radiographic index was also correlated with IgG-RF levels in the synovial fluid. Extraarticular manifestations were significantly more frequent in patients with elevated serum levels of IgM-RF or conglutinin binding IC. These findings indicate that IgG-RF in the synovial fluid and the formation of IC determined by their ability to bind C1q seem to be closely related to clinical features of local disease.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex / analysis*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isomerism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rheumatoid Factor / analysis*
  • Synovial Fluid / analysis


  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Rheumatoid Factor