Objective - To investigate whether autoimmunity to YKL-39, a recently cloned cartilage protein, occurs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Methods - Autoantibody to YKL-39 was assayed by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and western blotting in serum samples from patients with RA, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and healthy donors, using recombinant YKL-39 protein. This reactivity was compared with that against a YKL-39 homologue, YKL-40 (human cartilage gp-39/chondrex), which has been reported to be an autoantigen in RA. Results - Autoantibody to YKL-39 was detected in seven of 87 patients with RA (8%), but not in serum samples from patients with SLE or healthy donors. YKL-40 reactivity was found in only one of 87 RA serum samples (1%), with no cross reactivity to YKL-39. Conclusion - The existence of anti-YKL-39 antibody in a subset of patients with RA is reported here for the first time. Further, it was shown that the immune response to YKL-39 was independent of that to YKL-40. Clarification of the antibody and T cell responses to autoantigens derived from chondrocyte, cartilage, or other joint components may lead to a better understanding of the pathophysiology of joint destruction in patients with RA.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)