Little is known regarding the environmental factors at play in igniting rheumatoid arthritis (RA) autoimmunity, although an association between Mycobacteria and RA has been documented. This pilot study focused on examining a possible involvement of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) and Mycobacterium avium ss. paratuberculosis (MAP) in RA. We measured out the serum levels of IgG antibody against different mycobacterial antigens in Sardinian patients and controls, by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The population study was composed of 61 RA patients under different therapies and 52 healthy controls, whereas the antigens tested were MTB lipoarabinomannan (ManLAM), MAP heath shock protein 70, and MAP protein tyrosine phosphatase. The frequencies of anti-ManLAM antibodies were higher in the RA group (23 %) compared to the healthy controls (5.7 %) (AUC = 0.7; p < 0.0001), whereas serum reactivity to MAP antigens was not observed. ManLAM antigen was also detected in the plasma of three RA patients (which were anti-ManLAM antibody positive) by Western blot analysis using anti-Man-LAM monoclonal antibodies. The data produced corroborate the hypothesis of a potential association between MTB ManLAM and RA disease, but so far, further studies are necessary to understand its role in RA pathogenesis.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis lipoarabinomannan antibodies are associated to rheumatoid arthritis in Sardinian patients / Erre, Gl; Cossu, D; Masala, S; Mameli, Giuseppe; Cadoni, Ml; Serdino, S; Longu, Mg; Passiu, Giuseppe; Sechi, Leonardo Antonio. - In: CLINICAL RHEUMATOLOGY. - ISSN 0770-3198. - 33:12(2014), pp. 1725-1729. [10.1007/s10067-014-2678-z]