A blood test that looks for the anti-CCP antibodies (sometimes called the anti-citrullinated protein antibodies or ACPAs) is called the anti-CCP (the anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide) antibody test. These antibodies. which are produced by the immune system of the body, are known to target the tissues of the host, which the body is made of. The ACPAs would generally target the citrullinated proteins, which can be found in the joints of some people. The anti CCP test would be quite helpful in diagnosing Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA. The ACPAs are present in about 60 to 70% of people who suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis. Since not every person with RA would test positive, the doctors would interpret the results according to the context of the symptoms of the patient, along with the result of other tests. The results of the test are quite important to consider because:
- The positive anti-CCP would be significantly increasing the odds that the person might be getting RA in the future if the results are found in a healthy person without joint problems
- A positive anti-CCP would be significantly increasing the odds of developing RA in the early stages of arthritis.
- The positive anti-CCP would also be a good predictor for erosive diseases if a person already has RA. It can be an indicator of severe conditions where the bones would start to erode away.
The anti-CCP is an antibody test that would help to distinguish RA from other types of arthritis. The ACPAs are almost always associated with RA. They are not associated with other types of arthritis and it can rarely be found in other autoimmune conditions. The bilirubin test can also be performed to check the levels of bilirubin in the body.
What is the Test Based On?
The body is made from proteins and the amino acids are the building blocks of all the proteins in the body. There are 20 standard amino acids that make the various protein structures in the body. The amino acids linked together to form peptides, which are short chains and proteins, which are the larger chains. A few examples include cysteine, arginine, tyrosine and glutamine. There are a few non-standard amino acids as well. These get created by the modification of the standard amino acids. There are also many non-standard ones that exist in chemistry but can never really be found in the proteins of the body.
One of the standard amino acids is Arginine. It can, however, be converted to a non-standard amino acid citrulline with the help of an enzyme which is known as Peptidyl-Arginine-Deiminase. The resulting peptide or protein formed after arginine is converted to citrulline is said to be citrullinated.
The citrullinated proteins are known to be one of the main reasons for the immune process in rheumatoid arthritis. These proteins normally cannot be found in the body. When the proteins exist, the body starts to think they are foreign substances and they are attacked. If the citrullinated are in the joints, this would become a problem. If the immune system starts launching attacks, the joints can get involved too. The attack of the immune system is quite harsh. The anti-CCP antibodies would also damage the joints that contain the proteins. The anti-CCP antibody test would be able to tell if these antibodies are present.
The Weil Felix test should also be conducted to see if there are any bacteria that are causing problems. The test generally looks for the antibodies that try to nullify the rickettsia bacteria.
Thus, the people who have anti-CCP antibodies have very high odds of developing rheumatoid arthritis. If people with RA have these antibodies are sure to get the full brunt of this disease.