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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease characterised by the presence of autoantibodies that are used for classification of the disease. Though routine diagnostics is commonly restricted to measuring rheumatoid factor (RF) and anti-citrullinated protein antibodies, detection of RF IgM, IgG and IgA isotypes, may increase the power of RA serodiagnosis by reducing the number of seronegative patients as well as provide prognostic information. The agglutination-based RF assays, such as nephelometry or turbidimetry, are unable to differentiate isotypes. We compared three different immunoassays used in current laboratory practice to detect RF isotypes. We tested 117 consecutive serum samples that were positive for total RF at nephelometry, from 55 RA and 62 non-RA subjects. IgA, IgG, and IgM isotypes of RF were tested by immunoenzymatic (ELISA, Technogenetics), fluoroenzymatic (FEIA, ThermoFisher) and chemiluminescence (CLIA, YHLO Biotech Co.) immunoassays. Diagnostic performance differed considerably between the assays, especially with regard to RF IgG isotype. Agreement among methods by Cohen's kappa ranged from 0.05 (RF IgG CLIA vs. FEIA) to 0.846 (RF IgM CLIA vs. FEIA). The poor agreement observed in this study indicates substantial lack of comparability among assays for RF isotypes. Harmonization of these tests requires further efforts before their measurement can be used in clinical practice. © 2023 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.


Maria Infantino, Boaz Palterer, Silvia Pancani, Maurizio Benucci, Valentina Grossi, Mariangela Manfredi, Nicola Bizzaro. Lack of comparability of immunoassays for rheumatoid factor isotypes. Clinical chemistry and laboratory medicine. 2023 Aug 28;61(9):1619-1622

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PMID: 37027892

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