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Contribution of bacterial pathogens to evoking serological disease markers and aggravating disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis

Terato, K;Waritani, T;Fukai, R;Shionoya, H;Itoh, H;Katayama, K;

Commensal bacteria and their pathogenic components in the gastrointestinal tract and oral cavity may play pathological roles in autoimmune diseases. To study the possible involvement of bacterial pathogens in autoimmune diseases, IgG and IgA antibodies against pathogenic components produced by three strains of commensal bacteria, Escherichia coli-lipopolysaccharide (E. coli-LPS), Porphyromonas gingivalis-LPS (Pg-LPS) and peptidoglycan polysaccharide (PG-PS) from Streptococcus pyogenes, were determined by an improved ELISA system for sera from two groups of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), who met rapid radiographic progression (RRP) criteria and non-RRP, and compared to normal (NL) controls. Antibody responses to these bacterial pathogens are unique and consistent in individuals, and no fundamental difference was observed between RA and NL controls. Despite the similar antibody responses to pathogens, lower IgG or higher IgA and consequent higher IgA/IgG antibody ratio among the patients with RA related to disease marker levels and disease activity. Peculiarly, the IgA/IgG anti-Pg-LPS antibody ratio resulted from lower IgG and higher IgA antibody responses to Pg-LPS strongly correlated not only with rheumatoid factor (RF), but also correlated with erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP) and disease activity score of 28 joints with ESR (DAS28-ESR) in the RRP group. In contrast, the IgA/IgG anti-E. coli-LPS and anti-PG-PS antibody ratio correlated or tended to correlate with RF, ESR, CRP, and DAS28-ESR in the non-RRP group, whereas either the IgG or IgA anti-Pg-LPS antibody levels and consequent IgA/IgG anti-Pg-LPS antibody ratio did not correlate with any clinical marker levels in this group. Notably, anti-circular-citrullinated peptide (CCP) antibody levels, which did not correlate with either IgG or IgA antibody levels to any pathogens, did not correlate with severity of arthritis in both RRP and non-RRP. Taken together, we propose that multiple environmental pathogens, which overwhelm the host antibody defense function, contribute independently or concomitantly to evoking disease makers and aggravating disease activity, and affect disease outcomes. UMIN CTR UMIN000012200.