Recent Publications: Genetic Basis of Psoriasis
It is the nature of things: on days of action like World Psoriasis Day on October 29th of every year) reports about the topic in question and new articles and scientific studies start to pile up.
For example, several research reports on the subject of psoriasis have appeared in the journal Nature Genetics in the last few weeks; as usual, they first appeared online. Whether the approach of World Psoriasis Day was the trigger for this advance publication remains an open question. The results of a Chinese study, a study from the USA and Canada, and a very comprehensive German study all presented in Nature Genetics, which I have linked to below, are generally interesting and newsworthy. (more…)
A link between B cell receptor expression and autoantibody production in rheumatoid arthritis
By now, it is a well known fact, that B cells play an important role in the development of autoimmunity. On the one hand, they are the precursors of the antibody-secreting plasmablasts and memory cells; on the other hand they also act as antigen-presenting cells.
Various cells of the immune system express a plethora of receptors that bind to the
Fc-portion of immune complexes containing IgG (Fc-gamma-receptors, FcγR), but
B cells and plasma cells only express the low affinity FcγRIIb. This receptor has repressive functions and mediates the deletion of autoreactive B cells and the inhibition of IgG secretion, thereby helping to preserve B cell tolerance.
Human autoimmune diseases that are characterized by an abnormal production of autoreactive antibodies have been suspected to come along with impaired FcγRIIb function. Alterations of the expression of FcγRIIb on B cells have been shown for Lupus erythematosus and several other autoimmune diseases, but until now, data have been lacking for rheumatoid arthritis. (more…)
Biomarkers are the key to prevention and early detection of disease …
… of this I am convinced. And I am firmly convinced that laboratory diagnostics and the use of biomarkers will have a critical effect on the medicine of tomorrow.
Why am I so sure of this? It has already been demonstrated that biomarkers can be used to optimize treatment for individual patients with diabetes. In the future, individualized medicine (also sometimes called “personalized medicine”) will not only significantly increase the efficiency of treatment; it will also greatly improve prevention and early detection. Today it is already possible to carry out a diagnosis in the symptom-free phase of a disease by using biomarkers. This is of great benefit to the patients who receive early and targeted treatment. (more…)
Rheumatism affects more than just the joints: the heart and circulatory system are also at risk!The knowledge gradually sinks in, even for patients: inflammatory rheumatic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) not only damage the joints, but also the blood vessels. Patients with rheumatism thus have an increased risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
Why is this the case? Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) not only causes inflammation of the musculoskeletal system; it also affects the walls of blood vessels. In addition, RA patients have an increased incidence of hardening of the arteries, arteriosclerosis. “These patients have a 30 to 60 % higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.”
These figures are given by Professor Dr. med. Jürgen Braun, Medical Director of the Ruhr Centre for Rheumatism in Herne, Germany (Rheumazentrum Ruhrgebiet). (These figures and excerpts, and those that follow, were published by the German Society of Rheumatology- Deutsche Gesellschaft für Rheumatologie, DGRh, in the run-up to the 38th Congress of the DGRh (38. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Rheumatologie e.V.), which is currently underway in Hamburg.) Prof. Jürgen Braun adds, “The danger increases further when patients have elevated lipid levels, high blood pressure or diabetes, or are overweight.” (more…)
In the September issues of their journals Arthritis and Rheumatism and Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) present a new set of criteria for the classification of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Why do wee need “new” criteria for the classification of RA?
The 1987 ACR criteria have been criticised for their lack of sensitivity, especially in early disease. They rather describe the symptoms of fully developed late-stage RA. During the past decade, RA treatment has undergone dramatic changes (more…)
New ACR/EULAR 2010 Classification Criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
European and American rheumatologists have established new criteria for the classification of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The Revised Classification Criteria for Rheumatoid Arthritis will appear in the September issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism; they can also be viewed online or as a free download at the ACR homepage (accessed 23/08/2010). (more…)
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Some Facts and Figures about this Autoimmune Disorder – and quite a few Weblinks
By posting this article on rheumatoid arthritis, I start building up a glossary on the different types of autoimmune disorders. It will be quite a lot of work creating such an glossary, I’m fully aware of this, and this work has been done many times before by others on other websites and on other blogs.
Not a disease of the elderly: RA often starts between the age of 25 and 55!
But what I have in mind with this “autoimmune disease glossary project” is to exploit you the several mines of information I am using in my job routine, and the abundance of websites I am frequently visiting. In doing so, I start with rheumatoid arthritis, also called RA, as this autoimmune disease is the most common one and the most common inflammatory disease of the joints ever. As a matter of fact 0.5 to 1 percent of the population is affect in “The West” and in other industrialized countries. This means that in Germany about 800,000 individuals are suffering from this autoimmune disorder!
Rheumatoid arthritis, RA, is a form of arthritis. Main symptoms are pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in the joints. The disease can affect any joint but it is common in the wrist and fingers. (more…)
Is the Incidence of Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising?
Is rheumatoid arthritis (RA) actually on the rise? Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota say “yes”, and they presented data from a study, published in the June issue of the Arthritis & Rheumatism magazine – even though the authors themselves can only speculate about the reasons why.
Rheumatoid arthritis is on the rise, they found – is increased use of some lower dose birth control pills a factor?
In that recently published Rheumatoid Arthritis Clinical Study Elena Myasoedova, Cynthia S. Crowson, Hilal Maradit Kremers, Terry M. Therneau, and Sherine E. Gabriel from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota, expanded a previous research from 1955 to 1994, looking at the years 1995 to 2007. To augment the pre-existing study they now focused on the medical records of more than 1,700 residents of Olmstedt County, Minnesota, aged 18 years or older, who had received at least one diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Yes, RA is on the rise!
What did they find out? – From 1955 to 1994, the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis had continually been on the decline. That apparently changed beginning in the mid-1990s. When the researchers analyzed patient data from early 1995 to the start of 2005, they found that both the incidence and the prevalence of the condition were rising. (more…)
Genetics of Rheumatoid Arthritis Susceptibility
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex autoimmune disease that is influenced by genetic and environmental factors, e.g. smoking. A group of Spanish investigators around Alejandro Balsa has recently published a study about the influence of HLA DRB1 genes on the development of RA and the production of disease-specific autoantibodies (open access, free article).
They observed a dose-dependent association between SE-alleles and ACPA-titres in a Spanish cohort of RA patients. (more…)
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA): How do genes contribute to onset of this autoimmune disease? What about the environment?
Both the genetic groundwork of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and the influence of the environment on onset of the disease have thus far seen little research. One of the reasons for this is surely that JIA is a rare disease: only one in a thousand children suffer from juvenile idiopathic arthritis. With such a small number of patients, it is naturally difficult to carry out meaningful studies.
Insights and hypotheses about the epidemiology and pathomechanism of other autoimmune diseases have only in recent years begun to be carried over to JIA and confirmed for this autoimmune disorder. (more…)