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How stopping cell death may help prevent rheumatoid arthritis

A new study in mice pinpoints a key cellular mechanism that drives forms of rheumatoid arthritis. Targeting this mechanism could prevent this condition.

Research in mice now shows that a specific cell death mechanism can lead to rheumatoid arthritis. Stopping this mechanism could help prevent this condition from developing, the authors argue.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune condition characterized mainly by pain and stiffness in the joints due to inflammation in the joint lining.

Some of the main risk factors for RA are age (people over 60 are more at risk), sex (this condition is more common in women), and the expression of specific genes.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, around 54 million adults in the United States have a diagnosis of arthritis. Other data indicate that RA affects approximately 1% of the world’s population.

Although this condition is widespread, scientists know little about what actually causes it. This means that doctors often find it challenging to suggest effective preventive strategies.

Recently, teams from numerous research institutions — including the University of Cologne in Germany, the VIB institute and Ghent University in Belgium, the Biomedical Sciences Research Center “Alexander Fleming” in Athens, Greece, and the University of Tokyo in Japan — have been looking at mouse models of this autoinflammatory condition. They have been studying a key mechanism, which, they think, may help specialists learn to prevent cases of RA.

Read on: How stopping cell death may help prevent rheumatoid arthritis

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