Identification of natural bispecific antibodies against cyclic citrullinated peptide and immunoglobulin g in rheumatoid arthritis

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Abstract

Background: Previous studies indicate that natural bispecific antibodies can be readily produced in vivo when the body is simultaneously stimulated with 2 distinct antigens. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) usually exhibit persistent immune responses to various autoantigens, raising the possibility that natural bispecific antibodies against 2 distinct autoantigens might exist. Methodology/Principal Findings: We identified the presence of natural bispecific antibodies against cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) and immunoglobulin G (IgG) in RA patients' sera by means of a double-antigen sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The spontaneous emergence of bispecific antibodies was confirmed by mixing different proportions of 1 anti-CCP-positive serum and 1 rheumatoid factor (RF)-positive serum in vitro. Among the tested samples, positive correlations were found between the presence of bispecific antibodies and both IgG4 anti-CCP antibodies and IgG4 RF (r = 0.507, p < 0.001 and r = 0.249, p = 0.044, respectively), suggesting that the IgG4 subclass is associated with this phenomenon. Furthermore, bispecific antibodies were selectively generated when several anti-CCP- and RF-positive sera were mixed pairwise, indicating that factors other than the monospecific antibody titers may also contribute to the production of the natural bispecific antibodies. Conclusions/Significance: We successfully identified the presence of natural bispecific antibodies. Our results suggest that these antibodies originate from anti-CCP and RF in the sera of RA patients. The natural occurrence of bispecific antibodies in human diseases may provide new insights for a better understanding of the diseases. Further investigations are needed to elucidate their precise generation mechanisms and explore their clinical significance in disease development and progression in a larger study population. © 2011 Wang, Li.

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Wang, W., & Li, J. (2011). Identification of natural bispecific antibodies against cyclic citrullinated peptide and immunoglobulin g in rheumatoid arthritis. PLoS ONE, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0016527

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