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Blood test can predict rheumatoid arthritis before symptoms arise
Date:1/27/2010

Researchers from University Hospital in Umea, Sweden, have identified several cytokines, cytokine-related factors, and chemokines that increase significantly prior to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease onset. These findings confirm those of earlier studies which suggest that the risk of developing RA can be predicted and disease progression may be prevented. Complete findings of this study are published in the February issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by joint inflammation involving the synovial (lubricating fluid of the joints) tissue and eventually leading to destruction of cartilage and bone. The cause leading to disease development and progression is not completely understood, although various cells of the immune system and of synovial origin are suggested to be involved. Numerous cytokines are expressed and are functionally active in the synovial tissue once the disease has developed. Now a research team led by Solbritt Rantap-Dahlqvist, M.D. has found that several of these cytokine levels spike as much as several years prior to the development of arthritic symptoms.

An early and accurate diagnosis of RA is crucial. According to the American College of Rheumatology, RA can be difficult to diagnose because it may begin with only subtle symptoms, such as achy joints or early morning stiffness. Many diseases including lupus, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, especially early on, mimic the symptoms of RA making diagnosis more difficult. Studies have shown that people who receive early treatment for RA feel better sooner and more often, are more likely to lead an active life, and are less likely to experience the type of joint damage that leads to joint replacement.

To determine whether cytokines, cytokine-related factors, and chemokines are up-regulated prior to the development of RA, and which ones are involv
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Contact: Dawn Peters
medicalnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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