Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Immunology
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Researchers Uncover Gene’s Role in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Discovery may extend to other autoimmune diseases.

University of Michigan research sheds new light on why certain people are more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis – paving the way to explore new treatments for both arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.

The new UMHS research in mice identifies how a specific group of genes works behind the scenes to activate the bone-destroying cells that cause severe rheumatoid arthritis, a debilitating health issue for millions of Americans.

“We believe this could be a significant breakthrough in our understanding of why certain genes are associated with higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases – a link that has been a mystery in the field for decades,” says lead author Joseph Holoshitz, M.D., professor of internal medicine and associate chief of research in the division of rheumatology at the U-M School of Medicine.

“We hope that this improved understanding will open the door to future design of drugs to treat this crippling disease and autoimmune disease in general.”

The research appeared in The Journal of Immunology and was highlighted by Nature Reviews Rheumatology.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that damages the lining of joints and causes bone erosion, joint deformity and disability. The disease is an autoimmune disorder, characterized by the body’s immune system mistakenly attacking the body's tissues.

Researchers have long studied the phenomenon of why certain versions of an inherited group of genes known as “human leukocyte antigen” (HLA) are associated with autoimmune disorders. One subset of these HLA genes that codes a protein sequence called “shared epitope” represents the most significant genetic risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis, affecting disease susceptibility and severity. However, until now, the reason for this strong link has been unclear.

A common theory in the field has been that the association between particular HLA genes and autoimmune diseases is a result of mistakenly identifying body tissues as foreign – making the body the target of the immune system and setting off an attack on self-tissues, which results in disease.

The UMHS research challenges this long-held theory. The study shows, for the first time, how this subset of HLA genes causes arthritis – by activating inflammation-causing cells, as well as bone-destroying cells (known as osteoclasts). This leads to severe arthritis and bone erosion.
 
“We showed how the shared epitope is directly triggering osteoclasts, the very cells that are responsible for joint destruction in people with the disease,” says Holoshitz.

“Understanding these mechanisms at play could be a significant piece of future drug development. Because we now know the molecular mechanism that activates arthritis-causing cells, we have the potential to block that pathway with simple chemical compounds that could be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases.”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Breaking the Brain’s Garbage Disposal
The children’s ataxia gene problem turned out to be not such a big deal genetically — it was such a slight mutation that it barely changed the way the cells made the protein.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Scientific News
Improving Natural Killer Cancer Therapy
Vanderbilt University researchers discover transcription factor critical for NK cell expansion. Findings could lead to increased therapeutic efficacy.
Molecular Mechanism For Generating Specific Antibody Responses Discovered
Study could spur more ways to treat autoimmune disease, develop accurate vaccines.
Gut Microbiomes Of Infants Have An Impact On Autoimmunity
Exposure to pathogens early in life is beneficial to the education and development of the human immune system.
Understanding Female HIV Transmission
Glowing virus maps points of entry through entire female reproductive tract for first time.
COPD Linked to Increased Bacterial Invasion
Persistent inflammation in COPD may result from a defect in the immune system that allows airway bacteria to invade deeper into the lung.
Finding Factors That Protect Against Flu
A clinical trial examining the body’s response to seasonal flu suggests new approaches for evaluating the effectiveness of seasonal flu vaccines.
Vaccinations Are More Effective When Administered In The Morning
Research from the University of Birmingham shows that influenza vaccinations have more protective responses when administered in the morning.
Secrets of a Deadly Virus Family Revealed
Scripps Research scientists uncover the glycoprotein structure of LCMV. The findings could guide development of treatments for Lassa fever.
Cytokine Triggers Immune Response at Expense of Blood Renewal
Research highlights promise of Anti-IL-1 drugs to treat chronic inflammatory disease.
Reduced Immune Response Causes Flu Deaths in Older Adults
Yale study suggests that immune response to flu causes death in older people, not the virus.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!