Anti-CarP antibodies as promising marker to measure joint damage and disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Immunol Res. 2015 Feb;61(1-2):24-30. doi: 10.1007/s12026-014-8560-x.


Anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA) are important serological markers in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and are part of the recent disease classification criteria. However, there is a strong need for reliable markers for measuring and predicting joint damage and disease activity. Recently, antibodies directed against carbamylated antigens (anti-CarP antibodies) were identified. A total of 120 RA patients were tested for anti-CCP antibodies using different methods and for anti-CarP antibodies using carbamylated fetal calf serum according to the method described by Shi et al. Additionally, ACPA fine specificities (to three citrullinated peptides) were measured. Disease activity was assessed at baseline using the disease activity score 28 (DAS28) in 80 patients. For 40 RA patients, joint erosion score (JES) was established. The median JES was 14.1 with a standard deviation of 11.5. Anti-CarP antibodies were correlated with joint erosion score (ρ = 0.34, 95% CI 0.03-0.59; p = 0.0332). No correlation between ACPA and joint erosion score was observed. No individual marker correlated with DAS28. When one ACPA peptide was combined with anti-CarP antibodies in a score (ACPA peptide 1 divided by anti-CarP), a statistically relevant correlation was found (p = 0.0264). In this small cohort, the presence of anti-CarP antibodies, but not ACPA correlate with joint erosion score. Anti-CarP antibodies combined with ACPA fine specificities correlated with DAS28. Therefore, anti-CarP antibodies might represent a promising marker to predict joint damage and disease activity in RA patients.

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Autoantibodies / immunology*
  • Autoantigens / immunology*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens
  • Biomarkers
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic