Background: The aim of this study was to simultaneously and quantitatively assess the expression levels of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) proteins in serum, and explore the intervention mechanism of traditional Chinese medicine.
Methods: The differences between patients and controls were investigated by Raybiotech cytokine antibody microarray. Differentially expressed proteins between two groups were then used to build receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curves. The subsequent validation with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was widened to a larger number of RA (n=40) and healthy controls (n=10).Changes of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), rheumatoid factors (RF) and anti-citrullinated peptide autoantibodies (anti-CCP) in patients were statistically analyzed.
Results: Six proteins interleukin-2 (IL-2), interleukin-5 (IL-5), interleukin-11 (IL-11), interleukin-17 (IL-17), tumor necrosis factor-β (TNF-β), cytotoxic T lymphocyte associated antigen (CTLA)-4 were significantly up-regulated in RA compared with controls, while interleukin-8 (IL-8), programmed death-ligand 2 (PD-L2) and B7-2 were significantly down-regulated. ELISA was performed to verify the three proteins with the most significant differences, and the results consistent with the antibody chip results. The highest diagnostic accuracy using a ROC curve was observed for IL-11 with an area under the curve of 1.00. Further, after treatment, IL-11, IL-17 and PD-L2 levels regulated, and compared with the herbs group (TC), xinfeng capsule (XFC) combination with herbs (UC) more regulated. The association rule results showed that the combination of XFC with herbs significantly improved IL-11, IL-17, PD-L2 and hs-CRP.
Conclusions: This study highlights the potential of antibody arrays to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. IL-11, IL-17 and PD-L2 regulated by XFC combined with herbs.