Objectives To determine the prevalence of anticitrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs) and their association with known rheumatoid arthritis (RA) risk factors in the general population.
Methods Lifelines is a multidisciplinary prospective population-based cohort study in the Netherlands. Cross-sectional data from 40 136 participants were used. The detection of ACPA was performed by measuring anti-CCP2 on the Phadia-250 analyser with levels >= 6.2 U/mL considered positive. An extensive questionnaire was taken on demographic and clinical information, including smoking, periodontal health and early symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders. RA was defined by a combination of self-reported RA, medication use for the indication of rheumatism and visiting a medical specialist within the last year.
Results Of the total 40 136 unselected individuals, 401 (1.0%) had ACPA level >= 6.2 U/mL. ACPA positivity was significantly associated with older age, female gender, smoking, joint complaints, RA and first degree relatives with rheumatism. Of the ACPA-positive participants, 22.4% had RA (15.2% had defined RA according to our criteria and 7.2% self-reported RA only). In participants without RA, 311 (0.8%) were ACPA-positive. In the non-RA group, older age, smoking and joint complaints remained significantly more frequently present in ACPA-positive compared with ACPA-negative participants.
Conclusions In this large population-based study, the prevalence of ACPA levels >= 6.2 U/mL was 1.0% for the total group and 0.8% when excluding patients with RA. Older age, smoking and joint complaints were more frequently present in ACPA-positive Lifelines participants. To our knowledge, this study is the largest study to date on ACPA positivity in the general, mostly Caucasian population.
Bakker, S. (Creator), Dotinga, A. (Creator), Vonk, J. (Creator), Smidt, N. (Creator), Scholtens, S. (Creator), Swertz, M. (Creator), Wijmenga, C. (Creator), Wolffenbuttel, B. (Creator), Stolk, R. (Creator), van Zon, S. (Creator), Rosmalen, J. (Creator), Postma, D. S. (Creator), de Boer, R. (Creator), Navis, G. (Creator), Slaets, J. (Creator), Ormel, H. (Creator), van Dijk, F. (Creator) & Bolmer, B. (Data Manager), Lifelines, 2006