Objective: To examine the prevalence of α1 -antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and to determine whether AATD is associated with higher levels of rheumatoid factor (RF), antinuclear antibodies (ANAs), and anti-citrullinated peptide autoantibodies (ACPAs).
Methods: RF, ANAs, and ACPAs were measured by standard immunoturbidimetry, immunofluorescence assay, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively. Characterization of AAT phenotypes was performed by isoelectric focusing and immunofixation. The chi-square test with Yates' correction and the Mann-Whitney U test were used to assess the prevalence of alleles associated with AATD in RA and to compare mean antibody titers, respectively.
Results: Of 246 patients with RA, 24 who were heterozygous for AATD were identified, with no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of AATD between RA patients and the general population (P = 0.39). A positive association between heterozygosity for AATD and the production of ACPAs was observed (P < 0.0001), with increased ACPA titers recorded in the AATD RA cohort compared with the general population (P = 0.01).
Conclusion: AAT heterozygous status in RA is strongly associated with positive ACPAs and may define a distinct subset of patients with increased disease severity.
© 2017, American College of Rheumatology.