This means that such blood samples could be used to predict the development of the disease and thereby make it possible to prevent the pathological process, according to an article by Umeå researcher Solbritt Rantapää-Dahlqvist and her associates in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.
Levels of inflammatory proteins, so-called cytokines, are elevated in the blood even before the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. This means that such blood samples could be used to predict the development of the disease and thereby make it possible to prevent the pathological process, according to an article by Umeå researcher Solbritt Rantapää-Dahlqvist and her associates in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.
The research team analyzed blood samples from 86 individuals who donated samples to the Medical Biobank before they developed rheumatoid arthritis. Of these, 69 had submitted samples at the time they were developing the disease. Moreover, blood samples were analyzed from 256 population-based matched controls from the Medical Biobank. The concentrations of 30 different cytokines and cytokine-related factors in plasma were measured using a so-called multiplex system.
The results show that individuals that later developed rheumatoid arthritis had significantly elevated levels of most cytokines and that these cytokine patterns distinguished them from the control individuals. There was a connection with several different parts of the immune defense and also with specific auto-antibodies, so-called anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies. The results indicate that several years before individuals develop symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system is activated and the process that leads to rheumatoid arthritis has started.
– Our findings point to the possibility of better predicting the development of rheumatoid arthritis and perhaps also of preventing the development of the disease, says Solbritt Rantapää-Dahlqvist.
Rheumathoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disorder characterized by joint inflammation that ultimately leads to the breakdown of cartilage and bone. The disease is difficult to diagnose early since its symptoms can often be diffuse at first. However, studies have shown that it is important to diagnose and treat the disease early in order to prevent severe joint damage.
For more information, please contact Solbritt Rantapää-Dahlqvist, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University.
Phone: +46 (0)90-785 17 29
Kokkonen H., Söderström I., Rocklöv J., Hallamans G., Lejon K., and Rantapää-Dahlqvist S: Up-regulation of Cytokines and Chemokines Predates the Onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2010 Jan 7;62(2):383-391
Author: Bertil Born
Tel: 090-786 60 58
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