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Ann Rheum Dis. 2008 Mar;67(3):414-7. Epub 2007 Nov 15.

Serum IgG antibodies to peptidylarginine deiminase 4 in rheumatoid arthritis and associations with disease severity.

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Institute of Immunology, University of Oslo, Rikshospitalet University Hospital, 0027 Oslo, Norway.



Antibodies targeting citrullinated antigens are specific for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Citrullination is catalysed by the peptidylarginine deiminase (PAD) enzyme family. Critical enzymes are often targeted by disease-specific antibodies in complex immune-mediated diseases. Here, we have tested for autoantibodies against human recombinant PAD4 (hPAD4) in Caucasian RA patients.


A time-resolved fluorometric immunoassay based on hPAD4 was developed to analyse sera from two RA cohorts (n = 237 and n = 177), one systemic lupus erythaematosus (SLE) cohort (n = 84) and 148 healthy controls. Simple and multiple analyses were performed to examine possible associations between anti-hPAD4 and disease variables.


Raised levels of anti-hPAD4 IgG were found in both RA cohorts compared to the controls, and 23% of the RA patients were anti-hPAD4 IgG positive. Anti-hPAD4 was associated with anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) and rheumatoid factor (RF), as well as increased physical disability. Anti-hPAD4 was also associated with higher longitudinal radiographic damage scores and increased clinical joint pathology, but weaker than anti-CCP. No associations were found between anti-hPAD4 and selected Human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DRB1 variants.


Approximately 23% of Caucasian RA patients have serum IgG antibodies against hPAD4. The presence of serum anti-hPAD4 IgG was in simple analyses associated with a more severe disease phenotype, and the association with physical disability was maintained in multiple analyses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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