Insights into the study and origin of the citrullinome in rheumatoid arthritis

Justyna Fert-Bober, Erika Darrah, Felipe Andrade

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The presence of autoantibodies and autoreactive T cells to citrullinated proteins and citrullinating enzymes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), together with the accumulation of citrullinated proteins in rheumatoid joints, provides substantial evidence that dysregulated citrullination is a hallmark feature of RA. However, understanding mechanisms that dysregulate citrullination in RA has important challenges. Citrullination is a normal process in immune and non-immune cells, which is likely activated by different conditions (eg, inflammation) with no pathogenic consequences. In a complex inflammatory environment such as the RA joint, unique strategies are therefore required to dissect specific mechanisms involved in the abnormal production of citrullinated proteins. Here, we will review current models of citrullination in RA and discuss critical components that, in our view, are relevant to understanding the accumulation of citrullinated proteins in the RA joint, collectively referred to as the RA citrullinome. In particular, we will focus on potential caveats in the study of citrullination in RA and will highlight methods to precisely detect citrullinated proteins in complex biological samples, which is a confirmatory approach to mechanistically link the RA citrullinome with unique pathogenic pathways in RA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-147
Number of pages15
JournalImmunological reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • ACPA
  • citrullination
  • mass spectrometry
  • neutrophil extracellular traps
  • peptidylarginine deiminase
  • rheumatoid arthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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