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Researchers identify genes that increase rheumatoid arthritis risk
Date:10/5/2007

1-C5 showed association not only in the samples that we did with NARAC but also independently in the Swedish group. By combining our information, we were able to make a much stronger case [for a TRAF1-C5 association]. The combined evidence was pretty impressive."

Remmers says the TRAF1-C5 region was the third of three major susceptibility chromosomal regions for RA identified by their whole genome screen. The first two, HLA-DRB1 and PTPN22, had already been well established.

She says that it's not yet known how the genes in the TRAF1-C5 region influence RA risk. Nor can scientists say which of the two genes is causing the disease. "Actually, both genes are very interesting candidates," she says. "They both control inflammatory processes that really are relevant for the disease, so we could easily envision either of them playing a role or both."

The hope is that by learning more about the genes and their role in the disease, scientists may find clues to influencing treatment of the disease. "We are hoping that we will find variants in either of the genes that will lead us to new targets for therapy. Once we understand how the RA-associated variants work, we may be able interfere with the pathways the variants are influencing and either prevent the disease or block its progression."

According to coauthor Daniel Kastner, M.D., Ph.D., NIAMS clinical director and chief of the NIAMS Genetics and Genomics Branch, "The success of the study can be attributed in part to the productive, longstanding collaboration between NIAMS intramural researchers and other scientists that the Institute supports around the country." NARAC was established 10 years ago by coauthor Peter K. Gregersen, M.D., at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, in order to facilitate the collection and analysis of RA genetic samples. Kastner was also a key early member of the NARAC, as were many other investigators
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Contact: Trish Reynolds
reynoldsp2@mail.nih.gov
301-496-8190
NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

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