There are reasons why certain treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis sometimes work and sometimes don’t.
Cellular and genetic processes vary in different joints in the body, explaining why treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis sometimes work and sometimes don’t, according to a study announced Friday by the UC San Diego School of Medicine.
According to results published in the online edition of Nature Communications, Wei Wang, a professor in the departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at UCSD, and Dr. Gary Firestein, a professor in the Department of Medicine, investigated patterns that impact genetic expression in cells that line the inside of joints.
The researchers discovered that DNA methylation — a fundamental, life- long process in which a methyl group is added or removed from a DNA molecule to promote or suppress gene activity and expression — varies between the knees and hips of rheumatoid arthritis patients. A methyl group is a type of hydrocarbon.
“We showed that the epigenetic marks vary from joint to joint in diseases like rheumatoid arthritis,” Firestein said.
“Even more importantly, the differences involved key genes and pathways that are designed to be blocked by new RA treatments,” Firestein said. “This might provide an explanation as to why some joints improve while others do not, even though they are exposed to the same drug.”
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