A collaborative study by research groups from the University of Cologne, VIB, Ghent University, the Βiomedical Sciences Research Center 'Alexander Fleming' in Athens and the University of Tokyo identified a new molecular mechanism causing rheumatoid arthritis.
The researchers found that death of macrophages, an immune cell type, can trigger the disease.
Moreover, they discovered how the protein A20 prevents macrophage death and protects against arthritis.
These findings open up new possibilities for the treatment of this debilitating disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic and progressive inflammatory disease that affects the joints, causing a painful swelling that eventually results in bone erosion and joint deformity.
The underlying molecular mechanisms that cause the disease have remained largely unclear.