, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 434-441

First online:

Etiology of rheumatoid arthritis

  • T. KouriAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Chemistry, University of Turku

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Definite genetic associations with immunological cooperative HLA-D(R) antigens have been demonstrated for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Microbial etiology has not been proven, but some hope for the supporters of this view is still given by small viruses, plasmids of enteric bacteria or perhaps oncogen-like DNA-sequences. Yet, electrophoretical analysis of membrane proteins or surface glycoproteins of RA synovial cells does not show any differences compared to reference cells. Autoimmunity to several tissue elements has been demonstrated, but most of it is of secondary nature. Antigenicities of type II and III collagens are probably only contributory factors for HLA-DR4 positive individuals. Proteoglycans or minor cartilage collagens have not been extensively studied, so far. Endocrine, dietary or psychological influences might be triggering events for otherwise ‘preloaded’ individuals.

Key words

Arthritis rheumatoid cell membranes etiology immune regulation membrane proteins