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      The Pathogenesis of Rheumatoid Arthritis

        ,
      New England Journal of Medicine
      Massachusetts Medical Society

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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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            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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              STAT4 and the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.

              Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease with a substantial genetic component. Susceptibility to disease has been linked with a region on chromosome 2q. We tested single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in and around 13 candidate genes within the previously linked chromosome 2q region for association with rheumatoid arthritis. We then performed fine mapping of the STAT1-STAT4 region in a total of 1620 case patients with established rheumatoid arthritis and 2635 controls, all from North America. Implicated SNPs were further tested in an independent case-control series of 1529 patients with early rheumatoid arthritis and 881 controls, all from Sweden, and in a total of 1039 case patients and 1248 controls from three series of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. A SNP haplotype in the third intron of STAT4 was associated with susceptibility to both rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. The minor alleles of the haplotype-defining SNPs were present in 27% of chromosomes of patients with established rheumatoid arthritis, as compared with 22% of those of controls (for the SNP rs7574865, P=2.81x10(-7); odds ratio for having the risk allele in chromosomes of patients vs. those of controls, 1.32). The association was replicated in Swedish patients with recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis (P=0.02) and matched controls. The haplotype marked by rs7574865 was strongly associated with lupus, being present on 31% of chromosomes of case patients and 22% of those of controls (P=1.87x10(-9); odds ratio for having the risk allele in chromosomes of patients vs. those of controls, 1.55). Homozygosity of the risk allele, as compared with absence of the allele, was associated with a more than doubled risk for lupus and a 60% increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis. A haplotype of STAT4 is associated with increased risk for both rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, suggesting a shared pathway for these illnesses. Copyright 2007 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                December 08 2011
                December 08 2011
                : 365
                : 23
                : 2205-2219
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMra1004965
                22150039
                1f5ca2a4-5149-413a-9698-6a0faf31cbf9
                © 2011
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