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Research Progress

Measles Contributes to Rheumatoid Arthritis

Jun 10, 2014

Growing evidence from epidemiological studies indicates the association between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and measles. However, the exact mechanism for this association is still unclear now. 

Prof. CHEN Zugen's group at Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences considers that the strong association between both diseases may be caused by shared genetic pathways. They performed a pathway analysis of large-scale RA genome-wide association studies (GWAS) dataset with 5,539 cases and 20,169 controls of European descent.  

Meanwhile, They evaluated the findings using previously identified RA loci, protein-protein interaction network and previous results from pathway analysis of RA and other autoimmune diseases GWAS. They confirmed four pathways including Cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction, Jak-STAT signaling, T cell receptor signaling and Cell adhesion molecules. Meanwhile, they highlighted for the first time the involvement of Measles and Intestinal immune network for IgA production pathways in RA. These results may explain the strong association between RA and measles, which may be caused by the shared genetic pathway. They believe that the results will be helpful for future genetic studies in RA pathogenesis and may significantly assist in the development of therapeutic strategies. 

The paper entitled "Measles contributes to rheumatoid arthritis: evidence from pathway and network analyses of genome-wide association studies" has been published in PLoS One. This work was supported by funding from the National Nature Science Foundation of China (grant numbers 81300945, 31200934, 31171219, 81271213, 81070878, 81271214, and 81261120404), the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (No S2012010008222), and the Science and Technology Innovation Fund of Guangdong Medical College (No. STIF 201101).

 

Interaction network between proteins encoded by RA susceptibility genes (Image by CHEN Zugen's group) 

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