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Overview of the Anti-CCP Test

written by: Lashan Clarke•edited by: Emma Lloyd•updated: 6/23/2010

When the anti-CCP test is ordered with rheumatoid factor and both of the presence of both of this antibodies is positive, this is a good indication to the physician to be more vigilant in their treatment as the person will more likely develop or have severe rheumatoid arthritis.

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    An Overview of Anti-CCP

    Anti-CCP stands for anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody. This is an antibody produced by the body in the presence of the medical condition rheumatoid arthritis. This antibody is tested along for the presence of another antibody rheumatoid factor (RF) for confirmation that the person has rheumatoid arthritis. It is a fairly new test used in the diagnostic testing for rheumatoid arthritis.

    Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the autoimmune diseases in which the body produces antibodies against its own cells. Therefore, the white blood cells of the body will not recognize that it is destroying the person’s natural cells. In regard to this disease, Rheumatoid arthritis results in antibodies against connective tissue that make up the joints at the knees, wrists, and arms. The person will have stiffness and soreness in the joints, along with fatigue and nodules under the skin. Some rheumatoid arthritis patients may develop anemia.

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    Why Is The Test Ordered & How is The Test Performed

    The anti-CCP test results is one way for the physician to determine if a person has rheumatoid arthritis. This is one method of confirming this autoimmune disease from other autoimmune diseases, as someone may have more than one at a time.

    This test is completed on blood taken from the person’s arm using a hypodermic needle and torniquet. The sample is then sent to be analyzed by the laboratory. Previous experiments have shown that anti-CCP test levels can also indicate disease before other test markers have become positive. Thus it can also be used as an indicator that the person may develop rheumatoid athritis.

    Another reason why this test might be ordered is to measure the effectiveness of the treatment the physician has administered. If the patient is responding to treatment, then the level of this antibody should be low.

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    Blood Test Results

    A positive test result can be received for the presence of anti-CCP even if there is a negative result for rheumatoid factor. Even though rheumatoid factor is the main antibody in diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis, it is possible for some patients to have a negative result for rheumatoid factor, but have signs and symptoms of rheumatoid athritis.

    When the anti-CCP test is ordered with rheumatoid factor and both of the presence of both of this antibodies is positive, this is a good indication to the physician to be more vigilant in their treatment as the person will more likely develop or have severe rheumatoid arthritis. If the result for anti-CCP is negative along with rheumatoid factor, then the person may not have rheumatoid athritis, but this will depend on their signs and symptoms as it is possible to have negative antibody tests in a small number of people with rheumatoid arthritis.

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    References

    Print Source: Davidson, Stanley & C. Haslett. 2002. "Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine.” Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh.

    Print Source: Cotran R, Kumar V, and Robbins, SL. 1999. Robbins Pathologic Basis of Disease, 6th Ed. W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia.

    Web Source: Lab Tests Online, American Association For Clinical Chemistry. "CCP: Common Questions.” 2010. Available: http://www.labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/ccp/faq.html