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Frontiers in Immunology

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic progressive autoimmune disease leading to considerable disability over time. The disease can be characterized by the presence of multiple autoantibodies in the serum and synovial fluid. Microbial dysbiosis is proposed to play a role in the pathogenesis of RA. Increased systemic bacterial exposure leads to elevated levels of antimicrobial response factors (ARFs) in the circulation. In the present study, we tested whether RA patients have increased levels of ARFs by analyzing the levels of multiple ARFs in serum from RA patients and healthy age and sex-matched controls. The levels of soluble CD14 (sCD14), lysozyme, and CXCL16 were significantly elevated in RA patients compared to healthy controls. Lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP) levels remained unchanged in RA patients compared to healthy controls. A positive correlation of LBP with rheumatoid factor (RF) was also found in RA subjects. Interestingly, the levels of anti-endotoxin core antibodies (EndoCAb) IgM, total IgM, EndoCAb IgA, and total IgA were significantly elevated in RA patients compared to healthy controls. No significant changes in the levels of EndoCAb IgG and total IgG were observed in RA patients compared to healthy controls. Furthermore, lysozyme and CXCL16 levels were positively correlated with disease severity among RA subjects. Increases in the levels of several ARFs and their correlations with clinical indices suggest systemic microbial exposure in the RA cohort. Modulation of microbial exposure may play an important role in disease pathogenesis in individuals with RA.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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