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      Rheumatoid arthritis

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          Abstract

          Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease that primarily affects the joints and is associated with autoantibodies that target various molecules including modified self-epitopes. The identification of novel autoantibodies has improved diagnostic accuracy, and newly developed classification criteria facilitate the recognition and study of the disease early in its course. New clinical assessment tools are able to better characterize disease activity states, which are correlated with progression of damage and disability, and permit improved follow-up. In addition, better understanding of the pathogenesis of RA through recognition of key cells and cytokines has led to the development of targeted disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. Altogether, the improved understanding of the pathogenetic processes involved, rational use of established drugs and development of new drugs and reliable assessment tools have drastically altered the lives of individuals with RA over the past 2 decades. Current strategies strive for early referral, early diagnosis and early start of effective therapy aimed at remission or, at the least, low disease activity, with rapid adaptation of treatment if this target is not reached. This treat-to-target approach prevents progression of joint damage and optimizes physical functioning, work and social participation. In this Primer, we discuss the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of RA.

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          Most cited references 169

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          Fibroblast-like synoviocytes: key effector cells in rheumatoid arthritis.

          Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) remains a significant unmet medical need despite significant therapeutic advances. The pathogenesis of RA is complex and includes many cell types, including T cells, B cells, and macrophages. Fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLS) in the synovial intimal lining also play a key role by producing cytokines that perpetuate inflammation and proteases that contribute to cartilage destruction. Rheumatoid FLS develop a unique aggressive phenotype that increases invasiveness into the extracellular matrix and further exacerbates joint damage. Recent advances in understanding the biology of FLS, including their regulation regulate innate immune responses and activation of intracellular signaling mechanisms that control their behavior, provide novel insights into disease mechanisms. New agents that target FLS could potentially complement the current therapies without major deleterious effect on adaptive immune responses.
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            Altered expression of MicroRNA in synovial fibroblasts and synovial tissue in rheumatoid arthritis.

            MicroRNAs (miRNA) have recently emerged as a new class of modulators of gene expression. In this study we investigated the expression, regulation, and function of miR-155 and miR-146a in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovial fibroblasts (RASFs) and RA synovial tissue. Locked nucleic acid microarray was used to screen for differentially expressed miRNA in RASFs treated with tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha). TaqMan-based real-time polymerase chain reaction was applied to measure the levels of miR-155 and miR-146a. Enforced overexpression of miR-155 was used to investigate the function of miR-155 in RASFs. Microarray analysis of miRNA expressed in RASFs treated with TNFalpha revealed a prominent up-regulation of miR-155. Constitutive expression of both miR-155 and miR-146a was higher in RASFs than in those from patients with osteoarthritis (OA), and expression of miR-155 could be further induced by TNFalpha, interleukin-1beta, lipopolysaccharide, poly(I-C), and bacterial lipoprotein. The expression of miR-155 in RA synovial tissue was higher than in OA synovial tissue. Enforced expression of miR-155 in RASFs was found to repress the levels of matrix metalloproteinase 3 (MMP-3) and reduce the induction of MMPs 3 and 1 by Toll-like receptor ligands and cytokines. Moreover, compared with monocytes from RA peripheral blood, RA synovial fluid monocytes displayed higher levels of miR-155. This study provides the first description of increased expression of miRNA miR-155 and miR-146a in RA. Based on these findings, we postulate that the inflammatory milieu may alter miRNA expression profiles in resident cells of the rheumatoid joints. Considering the repressive effect of miR-155 on the expression of MMPs 3 and 1 in RASFs, we hypothesize that miR-155 may be involved in modulation of the destructive properties of RASFs.
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              Characterizing the quantitative genetic contribution to rheumatoid arthritis using data from twins.

              Twin concordance data for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on their own provide only limited insight into the relative genetic and environmental contribution to the disease. We applied quantitative genetic methods to assess the heritability of RA and to examine for evidence of differences in the genetic contribution according to sex, age, and clinical disease characteristics. Data were analyzed from 2 previously published nationwide studies of twins with RA conducted in Finland and the United Kingdom. Heritability was assessed by variance components analysis. Differences in the genetic contribution by sex, age, age at disease onset, and clinical characteristics were examined by stratification. The power of the twin study design to detect these differences was examined through simulation. The heritability of RA was 65% (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 50-77) in the Finnish data and 53% (95% CI 40-65) in the UK data. There was no significant difference in the strength of the genetic contribution according to sex, age, age at onset, or disease severity subgroup. Both study designs had power to detect a contribution of at least 40% from the common family environment, and a difference in the genetic contribution of at least 50% between subgroups. Genetic factors have a substantial contribution to RA in the population, accounting for approximately 60% of the variation in liability to disease. Although tempered by power considerations, there is no evidence in these twin data that the overall genetic contribution to RA differs by sex, age, age at disease onset, and disease severity.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Disease Primers
                Nat. Rev. Dis. Primers
                Springer Nature
                2056-676X
                February 8 2018
                February 8 2018
                : 4
                :
                : 18001
                Article
                10.1038/nrdp.2018.1
                29417936
                © 2018
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