Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene's role in rheumatoid arthritis uncovered: Findings pave way for new treatments

Date:
January 24, 2013
Source:
University of Michigan Health System
Summary:
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.

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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan Health System. The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons license. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Holoshitz, Y. Liu, J. Fu, J. Joseph, S. Ling, A. Colletta, P. Sharma, D. Begun, S. Goldstein, R. Taichman. An HLA-DRB1-Coded Signal Transduction Ligand Facilitates Inflammatory Arthritis: A New Mechanism of Autoimmunity. The Journal of Immunology, 2012; 190 (1): 48 DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1202150

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan Health System. "Gene's role in rheumatoid arthritis uncovered: Findings pave way for new treatments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130124123447.htm>.
University of Michigan Health System. (2013, January 24). Gene's role in rheumatoid arthritis uncovered: Findings pave way for new treatments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130124123447.htm
University of Michigan Health System. "Gene's role in rheumatoid arthritis uncovered: Findings pave way for new treatments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130124123447.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. 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