Psoriatic arthritis discovery could lead to targeted treatments
Psoriatic arthritis may be activated by the same trigger in different patients, says new research in Nature Communications.
Scientists have identified high levels of a specific receptor in immune cells from people with psoriatic arthritis, giving strong evidence of a single cause for the disease. It is hoped that the finding may lead to discovering the exact molecular “trigger” for psoriatic arthritis and gives hope for a targeted treatment in the future.
One-third of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes joints to become swollen, stiff and painful. It is a long-term condition that can get worse over time. Some treatments are available, but there is currently no cure, so it is an important area of new research.
Psoriatic arthritis has a number of genetic predispositions, one of which controls how immune cells called T cells see antigen molecules from disease-causing microorganisms. But it was not understood exactly what triggers its onset.
Now researchers have analysed thousands of individual immune cells from fluid drained from the knees of people with psoriatic arthritis and the picture is becoming clearer.
“Our data suggest that psoriatic arthritis doesn’t just appear out of nowhere,” explains Dr Hussein Al-Mossawi, who is involved in the work. “Each receptor is like a unique lock that recognises a molecular key and we discovered, that across the patients, they are recognising a common molecule. This gives the first evidence that the T cells are seeing and reacting to the same molecule, which acts as a trigger for the disease. We don’t know the exact culprit yet, but this a great step forward in understanding the disease.”
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