Increased Prevalence of Anti-Third Generation Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide Antibodies in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis and CREST Syndrome

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To investigate the prevalence of anti-third generation cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies (anti-CCP3) in patients with systemic connective tissue diseases, we assembled a training set consisting of 115 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 52 with Calcinosis, Raynaud’s phenomenon, oesophageal dysmotility, sclerodactyly, telangiectasia (CREST) syndrome, 21 with scleroderma, 20 with ankylosing spondylitis, 18 with reactive arthritis, 25 with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 51 with osteoarthritis, 26 with mixed connective tissue disease, 23 with primary Sjogren’s syndrome, 74 with systemic lupus erythematosus, 49 with Polymyaglia rheumatica, and 39 with polymyositis/dermatomyositis. The commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to detect anti-CCP antibodies, including anti-CCP2 (regular, second generation of CCP antigen) and anti-CCP3 (third generation of CCP antigen) in disease-related specimens and normal controls. These serum samples were also evaluated for anti-centomere antibodies by anti-centromere ELISA kit. The higher frequencies of anti-CCP3 and anti-CCP2 were detected in 75.6 and 70.4% patients with RA, respectively. At the same time, anti-CCP3 (not anti-CCP2) was significantly increased in samples isolated from patients with CREST syndrome. The clinical sensitivity of IgG anti-CCP3 for the patients with CREST syndrome was 29% (15 of 52) and the specificity was 96% (384 of 397), with the exception of the RA group. The anti-centromere antibodies were significantly higher in patients with CREST only. The results of our study suggest that compared to anti-CCP2 assay, the new anti-CCP3 assay can enhance the clinical sensitivity for diagnosis of RA and, as an associate marker combined with anti-centromoere, can distinguish CREST syndrome from other systemic connective tissue diseases, especially RA. The clinical specificity of anti-CCP3 was lower than anti-CCP2 assay in diagnosis of RA because of the crossreaction to the patients with CREST syndrome.