Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Risk Factor Gene For Rheumatoid Arthritis Identified

Date:
June 10, 2009
Source:
North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System
Summary:
Scientists have identified a new risk factor gene for rheumatoid arthritis. The gene, dubbed REL, is a member of the NF-kB family. The NF-kB family seems to have a big hand in regulating the body's immune response.

Scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and a team of collaborators from across the country have identified a new risk factor gene for rheumatoid arthritis. The paper will be published in Nature Genetics and the finding brings light to the nature of the disease. The gene, dubbed REL, is a member of the NF-κB family, important transcription factors that have many roles in the body. The NF-κB family seems to have a big hand in regulating the body's immune response as well.

"The NF-κB is a key switching point for many cellular activities," said Peter K. Gregersen, MD, head of the Robert S. Boas Center for Genomics and Human Genetics at the Feinstein Institute and lead author of the study. Dr. Gregersen is part of a nationwide consortium of investigators seeking to identify risk genes for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The hope is to figure out the genetic triggers and identify treatments that block this autoimmune process. In theory, such advances can point the way to understanding other autoimmune disorders. About one percent of the population will develop rheumatoid arthritis, which can be crippling.

REL is a key regulator of CD40, which works through the NF-κB pathway.

"This paper represents the latest in a series of important publications chronicling an exceptionally productive collaboration between extramural and intramural scientists through the North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium," said Daniel Kastner, MD, PhD, clinical director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. "In describing yet another gene in the CD40 signaling pathway that is involved in rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility, this paper reinforces the possibility of targeting this pathway in selected patients with this debilitating illness."

The consortium has helped identify many genes involved in rheumatoid arthritis but this genetic finding is significant because of its key role in immune system regulation. It did not reveal itself in previous genetic studies because the sample size was just not large enough. In previous studies, genetic samples from about 2,000 patients were used to identify markers associated with risk for RA. In the latest study, the scientists analyzed samples from 4,000 RA patients and controls.

According to Dr. Gregersen, this particular genetic variant is rather common, found in about a third of people in North America. That means that it must confer an important survival advantage. That said, scientists need to figure out its role in increasing the risk for RA. Next on the research agenda is to see if they can measure how the gene is regulated under specific conditions that set the stage for RA. "There are a huge number of unknowns," said Dr. Gregersen. "These findings are clear – this pathway is involved – but there is a lot of work to be done."

Genetic differences between individuals help scientists understand many diseases. But this is just the beginning, added Dr. Gregersen. Today, most markers that are used to identify genes represent variants that occur in more than five percent of the population. The next wave in genetic screening will have to include the variants that occur in less than one percent of the population.

In addition to the Feinstein Institute, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, other centers that are part of the RA consortium include: the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center; the Genetics and Genomics Branch of the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; the Rowe Program in Genetics, University of California at Davis; the Russell Medical Research Center for Arthritis, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco; Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School; University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine; University of Nebraska Medical Center; Central Hospital in Finland; University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; University of Alabama at Birmingham; Mount Sinai Hospital; University Health Network in Ontario, Canada; and Celera.

The work was supported by grants from the US National Institutes of Health NO1-AR-2-2263 (P.K.G.), RO1 AR44422 (P.K.G.) and by the Eileen Ludwig Greenland Center for Rheumatoid Arthritis and the Muriel Fusfeld Foundation. The work was also supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and by grants from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (MOP79321) and Ontario Research Fund (RE01061) and a Canada Research Chair to K.A.S.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System. "New Risk Factor Gene For Rheumatoid Arthritis Identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609220715.htm>.
North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System. (2009, June 10). New Risk Factor Gene For Rheumatoid Arthritis Identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609220715.htm
North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System. "New Risk Factor Gene For Rheumatoid Arthritis Identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090609220715.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins