Environmental risk factors differ between rheumatoid arthritis with and without auto-antibodies against cyclic citrullinated peptides.
Pedersen M., Jacobsen S., Klarlund M., Pedersen BV., Wiik A., Wohlfahrt J., Frisch M.
The aim of this study was to evaluate new and previously hypothesised non-genetic risk factors for serologic subtypes of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) defined by the presence or absence of auto-antibodies to cyclic citrullinated peptides (CCP). In a national case-control study, we included 515 patients recently diagnosed with RA according to the American College of Rheumatology 1987 classification criteria and 769 gender- and age-matched population controls. Telephone interviews provided information about non-genetic exposures, and serum samples for patients were tested for anti-CCP-antibodies. Associations between exposure variables and risk of anti-CCP-positive and anti-CCP-negative RA were evaluated using logistic regression. A series of RA subtype-specific risk factors were identified. Tobacco smoking (odds ratio [OR] = 1.65; 95% confidence interval: 1.03-2.64, for > 20 versus 0 pack-years) was selectively associated with risk of anti-CCP-positive RA, whereas alcohol consumption exhibited an inverse dose-response association with this RA subtype (OR = 1.98, 1.22-3.19, for 0 versus > 0-5 drinks per week). Furthermore, coffee consumption (OR = 2.18; 1.07-4.42, for > 10 versus 0 cups per day), ever use of oral contraceptives (OR = 1.65; 1.06-2.57) and having a first-degree relative with schizophrenia (OR = 4.18; 1.54-11.3) appeared more strongly associated with risk of anti-CCP-positive RA. Obesity was selectively associated with risk of anti-CCP-negative RA, with obese individuals being at more than 3-fold increased risk of this subtype compared with normal-weight individuals (OR = 3.45; 1.73-6.87). Age at menarche was the only examined factor that was significantly associated with both serologic subtypes of RA (p-trends = 0.01); women with menarche at age > or = 15 years had about twice the risk of either RA subtype compared with women with menarche at age < or = 12 years. Major differences in risk factor profiles suggest distinct etiologies for anti-CCP-positive and anti-CCP-negative RA.