Detection of citrullinated proteins in synovial fluids derived from patients with rheumatoid arthritis by proteomics-based analysis

Ann Clin Biochem 2008;45:413-417
doi:10.1258/acb.2007.007205
© 2008 Association for Clinical Biochemistry

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Original Articles


Yoko Tabushi1,
Toyofumi Nakanishi1,
Tohru Takeuchi2,
Mikio Nakajima3,
Kazuhito Ueda4,
Takuya Kotani2,
Shigeki Makino2,
Akira Shimizu1,
Toshiaki Hanafusa2 and
Takayuki Takubo1


1 Department of Clinical Pathology;
2 First Department of Internal Medicine;
3 Department of Orthopedic Surgery;
4 Central Clinical Laboratory, Osaka Medical College, 2-7 Daigaku-cho, Takatsuki-city, Osaka, 569-8686, Japan


Corresponding author: Dr Tohru Takeuchi. Email: t-takeuchi{at}poh.osaka-med.ac.jp


Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common inflammatory jointdisease. The aetiology of RA remains unknown, but autoimmuneresponses are considered to play an important role in the diseasepathophysiology. Currently available data suggests that theprocess of diagnosing RA may benefit from testing for anticycliccitrullinated peptides. Identification of the presence of citrullinatedproteins in rheumatoid synovial fluids is important for theelucidation of the aetiology of RA as well as in the differentialdiagnosis of rheumatic-related diseases.

Methods: A proteomics-based approach using electrophoresis/mass spectrometrywas applied to identify the citrullinated proteins in synovialfluids from patients with RA. Synovial fluids from patientswith RA were subjected to sodium dodecyl sulfate–polyacrylamidegel electrophoresis and Western blot analysis to detect thecitrullinated proteins. Identification bands were then subjectedto mass spectrometry.

Results: Three proteins – citrullinated fibrinogen, citrullinatedfibronectin and citrullinated vimentin – in synovial fluidsfrom RA patients were identified by matrix-assisted laser desorptionionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry.

Conclusions: Proteomics-based analysis can be used to detect citrullinatedproteins in synovial fluids from RA patients.


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