Rheumatoid arthritis, environmental pollutants make it worse
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks joints. It is characterized by pain, swelling and stiffness of joints, most commonly those in the hands, feet and wrists. Although symptoms can be managed with treatment, patients commonly experience unpredictable and debilitating flare-ups during which pain and swelling worsen significantly.
The likelihood of developing rheumatoid arthritis has long been known to be determined by the presence of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)’s. It has also been observed that, among carriers of the HLA gene variant, those who smoke are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis and experience more severe symptoms.
Rheumatoid arthritis, increases where there is more pollution
Living in urban areas, where there are higher levels of exhaust fumes, highlights Giovanni D’Agata, president of the “Sportello dei Diritti “has also been associated with an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. The component of environmental pollutants responsible for this increased risk is believed to be dioxin, which has already been shown to increase severity in an experimental model of multiple sclerosis (also an autoimmune disease).
Michigan University researchers studied the relationship between the HLA gene and dioxin in a mouse model of rheumatoid arthritis. They found that the combination of dioxin and HLA gene variant causes an increase in the number of overactive osteoclasts leading to excessive bone destruction.
Joseph Holoshitz of The School of Medicine
In this study we have shown that the’interaction between dioxin and the HLA gene variant activates events known to be associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
And we have shown quite convincingly that this facilitates bone destruction …Dioxin is just one of many chemicals that similarly activate this pathway.
Finding that bone destruction in rheumatoid arthritis is increased by environmental pollutants
Highlights a new potential target for rheumatoid arthritis treatments. Current interventions
act by reducing joint inflammation, but it may be possible to get more
Effectiveness with drugs that specifically reduce bone destruction.
Research team has already identified some potential candidates for drugs that block the pathway
activated by the HLA gene and prevents bone damage. These compounds have been shown to inhibit
Completely l’rheumatoid arthritis in experimental mouse models.