Association of complement factor B allotypes and serum biomarkers in rheumatoid arthritis patients and their relatives

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The aim of the study was to investigate the allotypic variability of complement factor B (BF) in patients and relatives with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and its association with serological biomarkers and clinical features of the disease. BF allotypes were determined by high-voltage agarose gel electrophoresis in serum samples of 180 patients with RA, 198 relatives and 98 controls from Southern Brazil. Anticyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP), antimutated citrullinated vimentin (anti-MCV) and IgA-rheumatoid factor (RF) were determined by ELISA and IgM-RF by latex agglutination in all samples. No significant differences were found in the allotypic variants of BF between patients with RA, relatives and controls, nor associations with gender and age of RA onset. BF*S07 allotype was significantly associated with extra-articular manifestations (EAMs; Secondary Sjögren Syndrome, pneumonitis, rheumatoid nodules) in patients with RA (P = 0.02; OR = 6.62). Patients with phenotype BF F had lower positivity for anti-MCV biomarker (P = 0.02; OR = 0.22) and those with allotype BF*S had higher prevalence of this autoantibody (P = 0.02; OR = 3.77). An increased frequency of RF-IgA was detected in relatives of patients with RA with BF FS07 phenotype (P = 0.02; OR = 7.78). Complement BF variability did not influence the development of RA in the studied patients, but BF variants may act as markers of disease prognosis, such as development of EAMs, corroborating with the role of the alternative pathway in the pathogenesis of RA.

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