Objective: To identify the predictive biomarkers for achieving remission with abatacept in patients with seropositive rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Methods: We enrolled patients with RA who were treated with abatacept. We compared the baseline laboratory results and longitudinal immune-phenotyping data between patients who achieved remission and those who did not achieve remission at 6 months according to the clinical disease activity index. Results: One hundred and twenty RA patients were enrolled. In the seropositive patients with early RA (n = 24), high serum IgA levels, anti-citrullinated peptide (CCP) titers, and neutrophil counts before treatment were predictors of remission (area under the curve [AUC], 0.659, 0.741, and 0.704, respectively). Additionally, activated Th17 (aTh17) cells and activated Treg (aTreg) cells before treatment were found to be significantly higher in patients with remission compared to those without remission (2.9% vs 1.1%, P = 0.02; 34.3% vs 17%, P = 0.03, respectively). The measurement of longitudinal cell subpopulation revealed a decrease in the effector CD4 T cell population after abatacept treatment, which correlated with anti-CCP titers and neutrophil counts, and was associated with remission achievement. In seropositive patients with established RA (n = 79), high RF titers and low IFN-γ levels were associated with the good response to abatacept. Conclusion: Our study has shown that serum IgA levels, anti-CCP titer, and neutrophil counts are predictive biomarkers for predicting the response to abatacept in patients with seropositive and early RA and may reflect the inhibition of effector CD4 T cell subpopulations by abatacept.Key Points• Serum IgA levels and neutrophil counts are novel biomarkers for predicting the efficacy of abatacept.• Those may reflect the inhibition of effector CD4 T cell subpopulations by abatacept.
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