Antibodies against cyclic citrullinated peptides in patients affected by rheumatoid arthritis before and after infliximab treatment
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To evaluate antibodies against cyclic citrullinated peptides (anti-CCP) together with rheumatoid factor (RF), antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and C-reactive protein (CRP), in patients affected by rheumatoid arthritis (RA), before and after infliximab treatment. Twenty-seven patients (five men and 22 women, mean age of 51.9 years, mean duration of disease 12.6 years) affected by RA, refractory to conventional DMARDs, were treated with infliximab, at the conventional dosage. Before starting infliximab and after 22 weeks, on the occasion of the fifth infusion, anti-CCP antibodies were tested by ELISA method. At the same time IgM RF, ANA and CRP level were measured. Before infliximab therapy, anti-CCP antibodies resulted positive in 23 patients (85.1%); the serum level did not change after infliximab treatment; only one case negative at baseline became slightly positive after treatment. Before and after therapy RF resulted positive in 22 cases (81.4%) and 21 cases (77.7%) respectively; comparing values at baseline with those after 22 weeks of treatment with infliximab, RF levels significantly decreased, as well as CRP values. In contrast to both anti-CCP antibodies, which remained stable, and to RF, which fell after infliximab, ANA were positive ≥ 1: 160 in four cases at baseline and in 12 after treatment. The titre of anti-CCP antibodies did not significantly change after anti-TNFα blocker administration; instead the positivity of RF significantly decreased. As opposed to antinuclear and anti-dsDNA antibodies, which may appear or increase in titre during infliximab treatment, the typical autoantibodies detectable in RA show a different trend; in fact, anti-CCP antibodies remained stable and RF decreased.