'Bouncer' protein prevents RA, according to scientists

Posted on 08 September 2011

A newly discovered 'bouncer' molecule may prevent rheumatoid arthritis, scientists have said, bringing hope to many paying for care with the condition.

In research carried out at Northwestern University, it was revealed that the immune cells of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis have lost their 'bouncer' protein.

This protein, known as P21, functions to keep immune cells in line, and its absence explains why the cells of those with the condition become hyperactive and attack joints and bones, according to the paper published in journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.

Lead author Harris Perlman said: "The bouncer molecule stopped the immune cells from going crazy.

"Imagine destructive customers in a bar, and the bouncer says, 'You are going to behave!' That's P21. This discovery opens up a new avenue for future therapies, which are greatly needed for rheumatoid arthritis."

Meanwhile, antirheumatic drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis may have the double benefit of also cutting heart risk, according to research published in journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.

Posted by Natalie Edwards

 

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