Navigation Links
Researchers identify new risk factor gene for rheumatoid arthritis

Scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and a team of collaborators from across the country have identified a new risk factor gene for rheumatoid arthritis. The paper will be published in Nature Genetics and the finding brings light to the nature of the disease. The gene, dubbed REL, is a member of the NF-B family, important transcription factors that have many roles in the body. The NF-B family seems to have a big hand in regulating the body's immune response as well.

"The NF-is a key switching point for many cellular activities," said Peter K. Gregersen, MD, head of the Robert S. Boas Center for Genomics and Human Genetics at the Feinstein Institute and lead author of the study. Dr. Gregersen is part of a nationwide consortium of investigators seeking to identify risk genes for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The hope is to figure out the genetic triggers and identify treatments that block this autoimmune process. In theory, such advances can point the way to understanding other autoimmune disorders. About one percent of the population will develop rheumatoid arthritis, which can be crippling.

REL is a key regulator of CD40, which works through the NF-pathway.

"This paper represents the latest in a series of important publications chronicling an exceptionally productive collaboration between extramural and intramural scientists through the North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium," said Daniel Kastner, MD, PhD, clinical director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. "In describing yet another gene in the CD40 signaling pathway that is involved in rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility, this paper reinforces the possibility of targeting this pathway in selected patients with this debilitating illness."

The consortium has helped identify many genes involved in rheumatoid arthritis but this genetic finding is significant because of its key role in immune system regulation. It did not reveal itself in previous genetic studies because the sample size was just not large enough. In previous studies, genetic samples from about 2,000 patients were used to identify markers associated with risk for RA. In the latest study, the scientists analyzed samples from 4,000 RA patients and controls.

According to Dr. Gregersen, this particular genetic variant is rather common, found in about a third of people in North America. That means that it must confer an important survival advantage. That said, scientists need to figure out its role in increasing the risk for RA. Next on the research agenda is to see if they can measure how the gene is regulated under specific conditions that set the stage for RA. "There are a huge number of unknowns," said Dr. Gregersen. "These findings are clear this pathway is involved but there is a lot of work to be done."

Genetic differences between individuals help scientists understand many diseases. But this is just the beginning, added Dr. Gregersen. Today, most markers that are used to identify genes represent variants that occur in more than five percent of the population. The next wave in genetic screening will have to include the variants that occur in less than one percent of the population.


Contact: Jamie Talan
North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System

Related biology news :

1. Researchers shed light on trading behavior in animals -- and humans
2. University of Saskatchewan and Canadian Synchrotron researchers shed light on esophageal disease
3. Faculty of Translational Medicine boosts support for biomedical researchers
4. USC researchers present diabetes findings at American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions
5. MSU researchers receive $400,000 in first wave of stimulus funding
6. Researchers engineer metabolic pathway in mice to prevent diet-induced obesity
7. Elevated water temperature and acidity boost growth of key sea star species: UBC researchers
8. Penn researchers discover genetic risk factor for testicular cancer
9. Understanding plants overactive immune system will help MU researchers build better crops
10. Notre Dame researchers describe new tool for evaluating managed relocations
11. UCSD researchers make first direct observations of biological particles in high-altitude ice clouds
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/12/2015)... , Nov. 12, 2015  Arxspan has entered ... MIT and Harvard for use of its ArxLab ... management tools. The partnership will support the institute,s ... and chemical research information internally and with external ... used for managing the Institute,s electronic laboratory notebook, ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... , Nov. 09, 2015 ... the addition of the "Global Law ... their offering. --> ) ... "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" ... Research and Markets ( ) has ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015  The J. Craig Venter Institute ... "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for ... Health and Human Services guidance for synthetic biology providers ... --> --> Synthetic ... the potential to pose unique biosecurity threats. It now ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE MKT: PIP) announced  today that its ... (Rights Plan) in an effort to preserve the value ... 382 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). ... its NOLs could be substantially limited if the Company ... of the Code. In general, an ownership change occurs ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 Studies reveal the differences ... and pave the way for more effective treatment for one ...   --> --> ... problems in cats, yet relatively little was understood about the ... have been conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. ... Gorman , President and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, will ... Conference in New York . ... visit the website approximately 5 minutes prior to the ... replay of the presentation will be available on the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... A long-standing ... Aerospace Professionals (OPBAP) has been formalized with the signing of a Memorandum of ... with OPBAP leaders Capt. Karl Minter and Capt. Albert Glenn Tuesday, November 24, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: