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Genome Area Linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis

DNA is involved in inflammation, immune response, scientists say

TUESDAY, Sept. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A specific region of the human genome appears to be associated with rheumatoid arthritis, European researchers say.

A team from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, and elsewhere, conducted genetic analyses of hundreds of rheumatoid arthritis patients.

They found a consistent association between the disease and one region of the genome. This region, on chromosome 9, includes two genes called complement component 5 (C5) and TNF receptor-associated factor 1 (TRAF1).

TRAF1 is involved in inflammatory response, and C5 plays a role in the complement system, involved in defending the body against foreign molecules, the researchers said.

The chromosome region in which these genes are located may be involved in the binding of a protein that modifies the transcription of genes. The researchers also found that one of the alternative markers in this region is associated with more aggressive rheumatoid arthritis.

The findings add to a growing body of evidence that this region is associated with rheumatoid arthritis, which is caused by an abnormal immune response to various tissues within the body. The condition affects about one percent of people in developed countries.

The findings are published this week in the journal PLoS Medicine.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about rheumatoid arthritis.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Public Library of Science, news release, Sept. 17, 2007

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