What do genes have to do with arthritis? No…
not those kinds of genes… these kinds of jeans.
Genetics can explain why infections can trigger rheumatoid arthritis
Appearing in Science Codex was an article describing a new international study that
has revealed how genetics could explain why different environmental exposures can trigger
the onset of different forms of rheumatoid arthritis.
A team at the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Genetics and Genomics at The University
of Manchester published their findings in the American Journal of Human Genetics.
A proportion of rheumatoid arthritis patients test positive for autoantibodies, while 30%
remain sero-negative. In this study, the researchers have better defined the genetic distinction
between these two disease subtypes: sero-positive and sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis.
They have now established that different genetic variants of a protein that plays a vital role
in how the body’s immune system fights infection are associated with the two forms of rheumatoid
arthritis. This provides clues to the theory that exposure to different infectious agents,
such as bacteria or viruses, trigger the different forms of rheumatoid arthritis in susceptible
individuals. Dr Steve Eyre from the genetics and genomics
centre in Manchester commented: “We recognise that rheumatoid arthritis is a complex disease
that can have variable presentation and outcomes for different people, in particular in the
way they respond to treatment. These findings add to our ability to genetically define subtypes
of rheumatoid arthritis, which is an important step towards selecting the best treatment
for each patient.” Comment: Seropositive and sero negative rheumatoid
arthritis behave differently and this is an exciting discovery