Scientists find an important cause of common arthritis

Credit: Jasmin Schreiber / Unsplash

In a study from the University of Colorado and elsewhere, scientists found that a unique bacteria found in the gut could be responsible for triggering rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in people already at risk for the autoimmune disease.

They took the antibodies created by immune cells from people whose blood markers showed they were at risk for the disease.

The team mixed them with the feces of the at-risk people to find the bacteria that were tagged by the antibodies.

To further test their hypothesis, the researchers used animal models to host the newly discovered bacteria.

The team found that not only did the bacteria cause the animal models to develop the blood markers found in individuals at risk for RA; but some of the models showed the development of full-blown RA as well.

The findings confirmed that the T cells in the blood of people with RA will respond to these bacteria, but people who are otherwise healthy do not respond to these bacteria

They trigger an RA-like disease in the animal models, and in humans, the team can show that this bacterium seems to be triggering immune responses specific to RA.

If the unique species of bacteria is indeed driving the immune response that leads to RA in individuals already at risk for the disease, it might be possible to target the bacteria with medication to prevent that response from happening.

The research took five years to conduct and analyze, helped along by individuals who discovered they were at risk for RA and volunteered to support the research effort.

Eventually the researchers want to examine exactly how the bacteria triggers the immune response, as well as different methods of preventing the reaction from happening.

If you care about pain, please read studies about vitamin K deficiency linked to hip fractures in old people, and these vitamins could help reduce bone fracture risk.

For more information about wellness, please see recent studies that Krill oil could improve muscle health in older people, and Jarlsberg cheese could help prevent bone thinning disease.

The study was conducted by Kristine Kuhn et al and published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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