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This article is part of the supplement: Current perspectives on the treatment of rheumatic diseases with infliximab

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Autoantibodies in rheumatoid arthritis and their clinical significance

Günter Steiner* and Josef Smolen

Author Affiliations

Vienna General Hospital, University of Vienna, and Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Rheumatology, Vienna, Austria

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Arthritis Res 2002, 4(Suppl 2):S1-S5  doi:10.1186/ar551

Published: 26 April 2002


Autoantibodies are proven useful diagnostic tools for a variety of rheumatic and non-rheumatic autoimmune disorders. However, a highly specific marker autoantibody for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has not yet been determined. The presence of rheumatoid factors is currently used as a marker for RA. However, rheumatoid factors have modest specificity (~70%) for the disease. In recent years, several newly characterized autoantibodies have become promising candidates as diagnostic indicators for RA. Antikeratin, anticitrullinated peptides, anti-RA33, anti-Sa, and anti-p68 autoantibodies have been shown to have >90% specificity for RA. These autoantibodies are reviewed and the potential role of the autoantibodies in the pathogenesis of RA is briefly discussed.

autoantibodies; diagnostic factors; pathogenesis; rheumatoid arthritis