Researchers Identify New Signaling Pathway Thought To Play Role In Rheumatoid Arthritis

Science Codex—October 21, 2014

A new study by researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) identifies a new signaling pathway that contributes to the development and progression of inflammatory bone erosion, which occurs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic inflammatory autoimmune disease that affects millions of adults worldwide. Bone erosion in joints is a major cause of disability in RA patients.
The study, titled "RBP-J imposes a requirement for ITAM-mediated costimulation of osteoclastogenesis," was published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation on October 20. Baohong Zhao, PhD, lead investigator and assistant scientist in the Arthritis and Tissue Degeneration Program at HSS, and colleagues uncovered a novel signaling pathway and elucidated the underlying mechanisms that could contribute to bone destruction in RA.

Recently, other scientists conducted a genome-wide association study to identify genes linked to RA development. They discovered that a certain variant in a gene called RBP-J was associated with the development of RA, but its specific role was unknown.

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