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Genetic pathway responsible for link between body clock disturbance and worsening arthritis
Date:6/10/2009

Copenhagen, Denmark, Wednesday 10 June 2009: The genes that regulate human circadian rhythm, or 'the body clock', are significantly disturbed in individuals with arthritis, according to the results of a new study presented today at EULAR 2009, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Copenhagen, Denmark. Notably, a specific genetic pathway has been identified as responsible for interactions between the genes that regulate the body clock and those that may worsen symptoms of arthritis.

In a sample of 200 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, sleep was determined to be significantly disturbed in over 61%, as determined by a Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) score of >5 (the PSQI global score was 8.55 4.69). These values were shown to correlate with several measures of arthritis disease activity, including levels of c-reactive protein, swollen joint count and DAS28*.

A further element of the study looked into the expression patterns of certain genes in mice with arthritis. Here, researchers identified a novel biochemical pathway in which the circadian regulatory gene CRY was found to up-regulate expression of a gene which promotes the activation of TNF-alpha (tumour necrosis factor-alpha, a pro-inflammatory cytokine used by the body to boost the immune system) by two fold, when comparing mice with the CRY gene removed to those with a normal copy of the gene.

Professor Shunichi Shiozawa of Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine and University Hospital, Japan, who led the research said: "Our study has shown that arthritis interferes with the genetics behind an individual's circadian rhythm and, specifically, that certain body clock genes may play a part in the activation of TNF-alpha, a signaling molecule that has an important role in the inflammation commonly seen in a number of rheumatologic conditions. The identification of this curious pathway may help to explain the 24-hour symptom cycle seen by many patients who exp
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Contact: Rory Berrie
eularpressoffice@uk.cohnwolfe.com
44-078-943-86425
European League Against Rheumatism
Source:Eurekalert

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