Presence of auto-antibodies predicting the development of auto-immune disease in 40.000 participants of the LifeLines cohort
In autoimmune diseases (AID), the immune system is attacking the own body. A hallmark of AID are auto-antibodies. In this project, we are especially interested in anticitrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs), which are present in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and antinuclear antibodies (ANA), which are present in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and/or Sjögren’s syndrome (SS). It is known that years before the onset of the diseases, auto-antibodies can be present in the blood of these patients. However, it is also known that some individuals can have these autoantibodies and will never develop the disease.
Early diagnosis of AID can be beneficial for patients, because earlier treatment can prevent further damage of the RA/SLE/SS, resulting in improvement of the quality of life. However, currently the diagnosis is often delayed. It is still difficult to distinguish those individuals who will progress to AID and those who will not.