Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Environmental Exposures
Gut Bacteria
Sleep Disorders


Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis. It's likely that rheumatoid arthritis occurs as a result of a complex combination of factors, including your genes, your lifestyle choices, such as smoking, and things in your environment, such as viruses. MayoClinic.

Influence of TNF–α inhibition on oxidative stress of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. The results of our study demonstrate that a good control of the disease with anti–TNF–α agents can reduce oxidative stress in RA patients. Rheumatismo, 02/11/2016.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) function in rheumatoid arthritis. Additional studies will be valuable to consolidate existing data and find consensus and also studies evaluating the impact of various HDL functions on cardiovascular disease in RA are needed. PubMed, Curr Opin Lipidol, 2016 Feb;27(1):67-75.

Pathogenesis and prevention of rheumatic disease: focus on preclinical rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This review focuses on the preclinical stages of RA and SLE, as our current understanding of these diseases can be used to present an overall model of the development of autoimmune rheumatic diseases that might ultimately be used to develop screening programmes and preventive strategies. PubMed, Nat Rev Rheumatol, 2014 Feb 11. (Also see Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Causes)


Increased circulating anti–α6–integrin autoantibodies in psoriasis (Ps) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) but not in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This study shows the presence of anti–α6–integrin antibodies in Ps and PsA but not in RA, which could indicate ongoing abnormal processes in the skin. PubMed, J Dermatol, 10/28/2016. (Also see Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis)

Phenome–wide association study (PheWAS) of autoantibodies to citrullinated and non–citrullinated epitopes in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). PheWAS identified potential significant links between variations in levels of autoantibodies and comorbidities of interest in RA. PubMed, Arthritis Rheumatol, 10/28/2016.

IL-17A: A Unique Pathway in Immune-Mediated Diseases: Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). IL-17A is either important in a subset of patients or plays a relatively minor role in inflammatory joint disease. PubMed, Immunology, 07/02/2013. (Also see Psoriasis)

Environmental Exposures

Textile workers at higher risk for rheumatoid arthritis. Breathing textile dust on the job is linked to an almost tripled risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, a Malaysian study suggests. Reuters Health, 02/11/2016.

Low vitamin D level is not associated with increased incidence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Vitamin D levels were not associated with the development of RA in this patient population with matched controls. PubMed, Rheumatol Int, 2014 Apr 19. (Also see Autoimmune Diseases and Vitamin D)


Citrullination enhances the pro-inflammatory response to fibrin in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF). Results suggest that fibrin mediates inflammatory responses in RASF via a TLR4 pathway. In this way, fibrin and particularly its citrullinated form may contribute to sustain the cytokine burst in RA. Pub Med Ann Rheum Dis, 2013 Aug;72(8):1400-6.


Evidence of ERBB3 gene association with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) predisposition. This study correlates ERBB3 gene with RA susceptibility, adding to a previous report of chromosome 12q13 association with RA liability. PubMed, Int J Rheum Dis, 2014 Dec 20. (Also see Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis)

Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC), Autoimmunity & Rheumatoid Arthritis. A better understanding of the link between these cells and their biology could be a key to developing novel MSC based strategies for therapy. PubMed, QJM, 2014 Feb 10. (Also see Autoimmunity)

Gut Bacteria

Gut bacteria linked to rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis has confounded efforts to identify its trigger and mounting evidence points to a new suspect: a disturbance in the bacteria that live in the intestines. NIH Research Matters, 11/25/2013.


The Obesity Epidemic and Consequences for Rheumatoid Arthritis Care. Obesity has been observed to be associated with greater subjective measures of disease activity and poor treatment response, and also with a decreased risk of joint damage and lower mortality. Springer Link, 01/07/2016.

Coffee or tea consumption and the risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA): a meta-analysis. High coffee consumption is associated with an elevated risk of RA development. The association between coffee and RA was found in seropositive RA, but not in seronegative RA. PubMed, Clin Rheumatol, 2014 Nov;33(11):1575-83.

Salt and smoking may interact to raise rheumatoid arthritis risk. Eating a diet high in salt may increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis among smokers, according to a large study from Sweden. Reuter's Health, 09/17/2014.

Sleep Disorders

The effect of eszopiclone in patients with insomnia and coexisting rheumatoid arthritis: a pilot study. In this pilot study of patients with insomnia comorbid with RA, eszopiclone 3 mg improved all assessed sleep and daytime function measures over the treatment period, as well as some measures of RA-associated pain, disability, and quality of life. PubMed, Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2009;11(6):292-301.

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