by Madhumathi Palaniappan on  June 28, 2017 at 5:35 PM Health Watch
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints.
  • Scientists have found immune cell responses in the intestinal bacteria to be linked with rheumatoid arthritis.

The immune cell responses may cause inflammation and progressive damage to the synovial joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Although genetic risk factors were identified, environmental causes may also play a role in the onset of rheumatoid arthritis.

A recent study has suggested that rheumatoid arthritis can be linked to the immune responses in gut bacteria. However, how this autoimmunity of intestinal origin plays a role in RA-linked autoimmune responses was found to be unclear.
Could Immune Responses to Gut Bacteria be Linked With Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Two Proteins That Evoke Immune Response in Arthritis
The research study led by Annalisa Planta at Massachusetts General Hospital has described two proteins that are derived from common types of gut bacteria that could evoke the immune responses in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

The N-acetyl-glucosamine-6-sulfatase (GNS) and filamin A (FLNA) were found to be identified as autoantigens that could produce responses from both the type of immune cells in about 50% of rheumatoid arthritis patients. However, not on healthy controls or patients with other rheumatic diseases.

Even though the antigens were discovered in the synovial joint fluid in rheumatoid arthritis-affected joints, the GNS and FLNA proteins may show a remarkable similarity to proteins that are produced by some of the common classes of intestinal bacteria.

The study findings have hypothesized the link between intestinal and synovial autoimmunity. However, the specificity for GNS and FLNA autoantigens for rheumatoid arthritis may provide a pathway to improve the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

Immune Response that Kindles Arthritis
The intestinal microbes may be the key to understanding the triggers for rheumatoid arthritis inflammation. Around 100 trillion intestinal bacteria microbes may normally live in the gut.

The gut microbes can play a role in autoimmune diseases. They may activate the immune cells that could travel throughout the entire body, including the joints.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system of the body could mistakenly attack the joints. This could create inflammation which causes the tissue that could line the inside of the joints and cause swelling or pain in and around the joints.

  • Around 1.5 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis
  • Women are nearly three times more affected than men
  • Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at the age of 30 and 60
  • Rheumatoid arthritis risk may be due to genetic, environmental, hormonal or lifestyle factors.
  1. Annalisa Pianta,1 Sheila L. Arvikar,1 Klemen Strle,1 Elise E. Drouin,1 Qi Wang,2 Catherine E. Costello,2 and Allen C. Steere1, 'Two rheumatoid arthritis-specific autoantigens correlate microbial immunity with autoimmune responses in joints' The Journal of Clinical Investigation (2017); 10.1172/JCI93450
  2. What is Rheumatoid Arthritis? - (
  3. Can Intestinal Bacteria Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis? - (
  4. Rheumatoid Arthritis Facts and Statistics - (

Source: Medindia

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