Anti-glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (GPI) antibodies (Abs) are known to be arthritogenic in mice. These Abs are elevated in several forms of arthritic condition in humans, although their prevalence in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients is still in debate. Some RA patients have increased levels of anti-GPI Abs, but their clinical manifestation and relevance to other Abs are not clearly elucidated. The aims of this study were to explore the clinical and hematological characteristics of RA with anti-GPI Abs, and to compare their prevalence in RA patients, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients, and healthy subjects (HS) in a Japanese population. Anti-GPI Abs were positive in 16 patients with RA (12%, n = 137), in 10 patients with SLE (8%, n = 131), and in 6 HS (4%, n = 139). C-reactive protein (CRP), immunoglobulin G, and the antinuclear antibody titer were higher in anti-GPI-positive patients than in those who were negative (P = 0.049, P = 0.0003, and P = 0.002, respectively). Moreover, the positivity of anti-GPI Abs was correlated with CRP more than with rheumatoid factor in RA patients. It is unclear whether anti-GPI Abs can predict the progress of disease, but the prevalence of these Abs was higher in active RA patients with severe arthritis, suggesting that anti-GPI Abs may be related to the pathogenesis of severe forms of arthritis.
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