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.

Related Articles


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 December 19, 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 December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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