One autoimmune disease could lead to another, study finds

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In a new study from the University of Colorado, researchers discovered that having one kind of autoimmune disease can lead to another.

The scientists found that mice with rheumatoid arthritis in joints went on to develop spinal lesions similar to those in axial spondyloarthritis (AxSpA) which causes fusion of the vertebrate and curvature, or bending, of the backbone.

The results suggest that one autoimmune disease, such as inflammatory arthritis, may also lead to a secondary autoimmune disease such as AxSpA.

These same anti-collagen antibodies are also present in humans with arthritis. They directly attack joint cartilage resulting in inflammation and pain.

The team noted that every mouse injected with collagen antibody-induced arthritis (CAIA) developed arthritis and then the curvature of the spine consistent with AxSpA.

But exactly how one autoimmune disease could trigger another remains a mystery, one that the team hopes to investigate.

In the meantime, they suggested that those with an autoimmune disease be vigilant in case they develop another.

The team believes because of our changing environment, doctors are seeing a growth in autoimmune diseases.

There are already connections between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis and dry age-related macular degeneration and rheumatoid arthritis.

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The study is published in the journal Immune Network. One author of the study is Nirmal Banda, Ph.D.

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