Objectives: Recent reports describe interactions between the two most prominent RA-related autoantibodies, RFs and ACPAs. The main aim of the present study was to investigate whether RFs preferentially interact with ACPA-IgG over non-ACPA IgG. Additionally, interactions of RFs with IgG with altered galactose content in the Fc domain were examined, since ACPA-IgGs have been shown to have decreased Fc galactose content in RF+ patients.
Methods: (Auto)antibody interactions were studied in a surface plasmon resonance imaging assay and with ELISA. Target antibodies were isolated from RA patient plasma (polyclonal ACPA- and non-ACPA-IgG) or recombinantly produced to obtain monoclonal IgG with well-defined Fc galactose content. Interacting autoantibodies were studied using autoantibody positive patient sera and two recombinantly produced IgM-RFs.
Results: The sera from 41 RF+ RA patients showed similar RF binding to ACPA- and non-ACPA-IgG and no differences in binding to IgG with normal, high or low levels of Fc galactosylation. Two monoclonal IgM-RFs, one interacting with the CH2-CH3 interface and one binding close to the C-terminal end of the CH3 domain showed no influence of the Fc glycan on IgG binding by IgM-RF.
Conclusion: Although interactions between RF and ACPA may play a role in inflammatory processes in RA, RFs do not preferentially interact with ACPA-IgG over non-ACPA-IgG nor with agalatosylated IgG over IgG with normal or high galactosylation.
Keywords: Fc glycans; anti-citrullinated protein antibodies; autoantibodies; galactosylation; rheumatoid factor.
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