A subset of antibodies targeting citrullinated proteins confers protection from rheumatoid arthritis

Nat Commun. 2023 Feb 8;14(1):691. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-36257-x.


Although elevated levels of anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs) are a hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the in vivo functions of these antibodies remain unclear. Here, we have expressed monoclonal ACPAs derived from patients with RA, and analyzed their functions in mice, as well as their specificities. None of the ACPAs showed arthritogenicity nor induced pain-associated behavior in mice. However, one of the antibodies, clone E4, protected mice from antibody-induced arthritis. E4 showed a binding pattern restricted to skin, macrophages and dendritic cells in lymphoid tissue, and cartilage derived from mouse and human arthritic joints. Proteomic analysis confirmed that E4 strongly binds to macrophages and certain RA synovial fluid proteins such as α-enolase. The protective effect of E4 was epitope-specific and dependent on the interaction between E4-citrullinated α-enolase immune complexes with FCGR2B on macrophages, resulting in increased IL-10 secretion and reduced osteoclastogenesis. These findings suggest that a subset of ACPAs have therapeutic potential in RA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid*
  • Autoantibodies*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase
  • Proteomics


  • acetyl 4-aminosalicylic acid
  • Autoantibodies
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase