ELISA determined IgM, IgG and IgA rheumatoid factors in rheumatoid arthritis and in other connective tissue diseases

S. Procaccia, A. Gasparini, A. Colucci, D. Lanzanova, M. Bianchi, P. Forcellini, P. Villa, R. Blasio, C. Zanussi

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We used an adaptation of an enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay (ELISA) to determine serum levels of IgM, IgG and IgA rheumatoid factors (RF) in 50 patients with classic or definite rheumatoid arthritis (RA) according to the ARA criteria, balanced for positive or negative-routine Latex-RF reaction. A control group of 50 young normal subjects and a reference group of 44 patients with other connective tissue disease (OCTD) were also studied. We confirmed the high sensibility of the method, together with its good specificity and reproducibility. For the IgM RF a very significant correlation was found between ELISA results and Latex-RF titration (p <0.001). Many Latex-RF negative RA patients had high ELISA levels of IgM RF, suggesting that this assay reveals, at least in part, hidden or non-agglutinating IgM RF. Among the OCTD group only some SLE cases, mainly Latex-RF positive, had enhanced IgM RF on ELISA. Considered quantitatively, IgG RF did not play a significant diagnostic role for RA (p > 0.05), because they were also found, with widely dispersed values, in normal subjects, and because the mean increase in RA patients was relatively small. Interestingly, IgA RF were above the normal range in many RA patients, both Latex-RF positive or negative. The mean values differed significantly from those of controls (p <0.005), and a correlation was observed between IgA RF levels and IgA containing immune-complexes. Normal IgA RF values were observed in SLE patients, even if Latex-RF positive, suggesting that their increase in RA patients is not the mere expression of a polyclonal B cell activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-342
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Rheumatology


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