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J Rheumatol. 2012 Oct;39(10):1934-41. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.110984. Epub 2012 Aug 15.

Rheumatic disease among Oklahoma tribal populations: a cross-sectional study.

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  • 1Department of Arthritis and Clinical Immunology, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, OK, USA.



Rheumatic diseases cause significant morbidity within American Indian populations. Clinical disease presentations, as well as historically associated autoantibodies, are not always useful in making a rapid diagnosis or assessing prognosis. The purpose of our study was to identify autoantibody associations among Oklahoma tribal populations with rheumatic disease.


Oklahoma tribal members (110 patients with rheumatic disease and 110 controls) were enrolled at tribal-based clinics. Patients with rheumatic disease (suspected or confirmed diagnosis) were assessed by a rheumatologist for clinical features, disease criteria, and activity measures. Blood samples were collected and tested for common rheumatic disease autoantibodies [antinuclear antibody (ANA), anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies (anti-CCP), rheumatoid factor (RF), anti-Ro, anti-La, anti-Sm, anti-nRNP, anti-ribosomal P, anti-dsDNA, and anticardiolipins].


In patients with suspected systemic rheumatic diseases, 72% satisfied American College of Rheumatology classification criteria: 40 (36%) had rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 16 (15%) systemic lupus erythematosus, 8 (7%) scleroderma, 8 (7%) osteoarthritis, 4 (4%) fibromyalgia, 2 (2%) seronegative spondyloarthropathy, 1 Sjögren's syndrome, and 1 sarcoidosis. Compared to controls, RA patient sera were more likely to contain anti-CCP (55% vs 2%; p < 0.001) or RF IgM antibodies (57% vs 10%; p < 0.001); however, the difference was greater for anti-CCP. Anti-CCP positivity conferred higher disease activity scores (DAS28 5.6 vs 4.45; p = 0.021) while RF positivity did not (DAS28 5.36 vs 4.64; p = 0.15). Anticardiolipin antibodies (25% of rheumatic disease patients vs 10% of controls; p = 0.0022) and ANA (63% vs 21%; p < 0.0001) were more common in rheumatic disease patients.


Anti-CCP may serve as a more specific RA biomarker in American Indian patients, while the clinical significance of increased frequency of anticardiolipin antibodies needs further evaluation.

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