What does "negative for antibodies" mean?: Saw my... - NRAS

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What does "negative for antibodies" mean?


Saw my consultant yesterday and he mentioned that my blood tests show negative for antibodies and that this means I have a less aggressive form of RA.

I know I test positive for Rheumatoid Factor (and have since I first went to the doctor about joint pain) so what does the consultant mean?

It wasn't until driving away from the hospital that I wondered what he meant by it!? Anyone else know?

8 Replies

Hi Nikk,

If you type in sero-negative in the search tag (top right) then you'll see all previous posts on this, hope this helps!

Just to expand on Wiliby's steer....2 of the things that are tested in making a diagnosis are whether or not you have in your blood

a) the rheumatoid factor - and you'll be be sero-negative or seropositive, and

b) antibodies against a specific type of protein - so you'll have anti-CCP or not.

You can be negative for both and still have RA, but if you are positive for both it is more likely..... and lots of people have one and not the other. Apparently there is a relationship between these and the characteristics of your RA. So I'm sero-neg, and my rheumy said this means it could be milder but more slippery, so difficult to control with drugs. But, there's no hard & fast rule that I've heard of since this is such a variable disease and no-one really knows yet what controls RA, so these are just probabilities.



HI Nikk - I'm the same as you in that I have positive rheum factor but negative for anti-CCP which is the antibodies your rheumy means. I think it does mean that my RA is less aggressive from what I read on here that others experience - but that could change I suppose so the treatment is still aggressive because slow destruction is just as bad in the long term so they are still trying to halt or slow down the disease process whether you are sero neg or positive. I asked my rheumy if having a negative anti-ccp meant that the disease was less aggressive for me and he said well yes sometimes but it's much more complex than that. Tilda x

Oh dear! I'm positive for rheumatoid factor and anti ccp so after reading all this I'm a little concerned :-( I think I'll ask some questions at my appointment with the nurse next week. I wouldn't get too hung up on worrying about antibodies though Nikk as the rheumatologists like to look at the whole picture when treating you.

Take care

Paula x

in reply to paulywoo

Paula, don't panic, Its hard not to, I did when I heard my result for RF was 1200 when 300 is a high reading; I thought I was going to internally combust!! (here i go again!lol) I have no permanent damage and in medically induced remission :)


I'm the same as you Paula I think, but just above the norm, my rf was 40. If its the right reading my ccp was 14000. I was diagnosed with mild ra, but its since progressed to moderate ra. The disease still manifest itself mainly in my hands & knees plus, feet, elbows & right shoulder so far.

Since taking the drugs my inflammatories markers are low, as my bloods don't show the disease, but my joints clearly do! Just goes to show the variablilty of the disease.

I agree with Polly that there is a variety of presentations and that the consultants take into considerations - lots before they make their diagnosis. We don't follow a set pattern, but present with a range of symptoms, as how we respond to treatment - all differently!

Cheers Joanne

Thanks all! I'm sure the consultant would have explained if I had only asked. I seem to go into "naughty schoolgirl in head's office mode" when I go in to see the consultant and just sit nodding at whatever they say- once I get home I remember all things I should have asked!

So thank you all for your help in clarifying this one for me!


Hi Nikk

You're certainly not alone in that. I often say to people on the helpline that going to see the consultant is like going to the headmaster's office! You can easily get swayed into nodding along if they say something as if they expect you to understand it. This was a medical term, so he should really have offered an explanation without you having to ask, but sometimes they forget what it's like for lay people!

There is an article about seronegative and seropositive RA on our website, which may be of interest:


Kind regards


(NRAS Helpline)

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