Objectives: To investigate the turnover of type I and III collagen by neo-epitope markers in patients with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

Methods: Patients with PsA (n=101) or axSpA (n=110) and healthy subjects (n=120) were included. Demographic and clinical data were recorded. Markers of type I and III collagen were quantified by RIA (ICTP) or ELISA (C1M and C3M). Non-parametric statistics were applied for intergroup comparisons and correlation studies. The diagnostic potential of these marker molecules was assessed by ROC analysis.

Results: C1M and C3M, which originate from soft connective tissues, were significantly higher in axSpA and PsA as compared with healthy control subjects. CIM and C3M correlated with ASDAS and DAS28. Overall, ICTP, which arises from bone degradation, did not differ between disease versus healthy. However, ICTP was lower in HLA-B27 positive than in HLA-B27 negative patients with axSpA. There was no association between bone and soft connective tissue collagen I markers (ICTP and C1M), while C1M and C3M were highly correlated (p<0.0001). C1M discriminated between healthy and diseased with AUCs of 0.83 for PsA and 0.79 for axSpA. C3M AUCs were 0.77 for PsA and 0.78 for axSpA.

Conclusions: Type I and III collagen remodelling in soft connective tissue is increased in axSpA and PsA and associates with disease activity. Bone collagen degradation is lower in HLA-B27 positive compared with HLA-B27 negative axSpA, which may represent an aspect of enhanced enthesopathic bone proliferation in HLA-B27 carriers. C1M and C3M distinguish well between healthy and diseased individuals.

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