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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease of unknown etiology. A characteristic feature of RA is the presence of anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA). Since ACPAs are highly specific for RA and are often present before the onset of RA symptoms, they have become valuable diagnostic and prognostic. As a result, several assays for detection of ACPAs exist, which vary in sensitivity and specificity. In this study, we analyzed the reactivity of RA sera to selected peptides by solid-phase immunoassays in order to develop an ACPA assay with improved sensitivity and specificity. ACPA levels were determined with respect to sensitivity and specificity in 332 serum samples using the newly developed peptide panel, which was compared to the commercial assays CCPlus (Eurodiagnostica) and CCP3.1 (Inova Diagnostics). A primary panel (peptides 814, 33062 and 33156) was identified, which obtained a sensitivity of 71%, while the complete peptide panel reacted with 79% of RA sera screened. Total specificities of 89% and 80% were obtained for the primary peptide panel and the complete peptide panel. Sensitivities for the commercial assays ranged between 71% and 76% and specificities between 88% and 90%. These findings indicate that the generated peptide panel is optimal for ACPA detection and able to compete with commercial available assays. Collectively, this study may contribute to characterize autoimmunity towards citrullinated proteins and to the development of new and improved diagnostic assays for detection of ACPA and determination of RA.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunol Methods

Publication Date





6 - 14


Anti-citrullinated protein antibodies, Cyclic citrullinated peptides, Rheumatoid arthritis, Streptavidin capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, Synthetic peptides, Anti-Citrullinated Protein Antibodies, Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Early Diagnosis, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Humans, Peptides, Predictive Value of Tests, Prognosis, Proteoglycans, Sensitivity and Specificity