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Overview of the Citrulline Antibody Test

written by: Harry Sylvester•edited by: Emma Lloyd•updated: 6/19/2010

The citrulline antibody test is part of the diagnostic process for rheumatoid arthritis. By learning the citrulline antibody test, you will get prepared for undergoing this test if your doctor recommends doing this test.

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    What is the Citrulline Antibody Test?

    Citrulline antibody is an immune protein or an antibody that binds to a non-standard amino acid known as citrulline. The human body makes citrulline by removing amino groups from the natural amino acid, arginine. The patient will undergo the citrulline antibody test to find if he or she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis.

    Citrulline antibody test can be evaluated with a blood test that is examined in laboratories. Citrulline antibody is also known as anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody, anti-CCP, and anti-citrulline antibody. The formal name is cyclic citrullinated peptine antibody.

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    What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

    Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that results in chronic inflammation of the joints and the tissue around the joints. Autoimmune disease might come up when human immune system strikes human body’s tissues, which can be correlated with inflammation.

    Researchers explain that protein is transformed into citrulline that causes inflammation of the rheumatoid joint in the joints of people with rheumatoid arthritis. The joint inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis can lead to stiffness, pain, swelling, and redness in the joints. The ligaments, tendons, and muscles are tissues around the joints that can experience the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.

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    How to Perform the Citrulline Antibody Test

    Citrulline antibody exists in the blood of those with rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers correlate the presence of citrulline antibodies with an inclination to develop deforming rheumatoid arthritis. The citrulline antibody test is applied to diagnose the cause of rheumatoid arthritis when the physician examines those who have previously undiagnosed inflammatory arthritis.

    If traditional blood test for rheumatoid arthritis known as the rheumatoid factor test cannot detect the substance, the citrulline antibody test will be performed. In addition, when clinical signs such as inflammation and symmetrical joint pain occur, the physician will suspect rheumatoid arthritis and recommend undergoing the citrulline antibody test.

    The citrulline antibody test is commonly ordered together with the rheumatoid factor test. The citrulline antibody test may be also performed as a follow-up test to a negative rheumatoid factor test. The citrulline antibody test is performed by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm to take a blood sample. Keep in mind there is no preparation required in this test.

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    Results of the Citrulline Antibody Test

    Once a patient undergoes the citrulline antibody test, he or she can be construed to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis if he or she tests positive for both the rheumatoid factor test and the citrulline antibody test. In addition, a more destructive form of rheumatoid arthritis might occur in the future.

    However, if this patient tests negative for the rheumatoid factor test, but positive for the citrulline antibody test and clinical signs refer to rheumatoid arthritis, the result means that this patient have early rheumatoid arthritis or this patient might suffer from rheumatoid arthritis in the future. According to American College of Rheumatology, about 95 percent of patients with a positive citrulline antibody test will have rheumatoid arthritis in the future.

    When the patient is positive for rheumatoid factor test, but negative for the citrulline antibody test, then the physician must examine some other clinical signs to decide whether or not this patient suffers from rheumatoid arthritis.

    If the patient tests negative for both the rheumatoid factor test and the citrulline antibody test, the result is construed that the patient does not have rheumatoid arthritis.

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    References

    Lab Tests Online - http://www.labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/ccp/test.html

    Lab Tests Online - http://www.labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/ccp/sample.html

    MedicineNet.com - http://www.medicinenet.com/citrulline_antibody/article.htm

    MedicineNet.com - http://www.medicinenet.com/rheumatoid_arthritis/article.htm

    MedicineNet.com - http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=24648

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    Disclaimer

    Please read this disclaimer regarding the information contained within this article.