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.

Endothelial Alterations in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): Potential Effect of Monocyte Interaction. This paper aims to review some aspects about the endothelial activation and dysfunction in the context of SLE and RA, as well as the potential role that monocytes apparently play in this process. PubMed, Mediators Inflamm, 2017;2017:9680729. (Also see Causes of Lupus)

Interleukin-20 is triggered by toll–like receptor ligands (TLR) and associates with disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Our data showed that IL-20 is independently associated with RA disease activity and may be triggered by TLR ligands at local sites of inflammation. PubMed, Cytokine, 2017 Sep;97:187-192. (Also see Interleukins)

The role and therapeutic targeting of IL-6 in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The prospects for future applications, new therapeutic strategies of IL-6 targeting therapy and relevant issues with regard to the clinical management of IL-6 blockade in RA are discussed. PubMed, Expert Rev Clin Immunol, 2017 Jun;13(6):535-551. (Also see Interleukins)

Serum level of DNase1l3 in patients with dermatomyositis/polymyositis (DM/PM), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and its association with disease activity. A significant reduction was found in serum DNase1l3 level in DM/PM and SLE, which may associate with clinic features and disease activity. PubMed, Clin Exp Med, 12/30/2016. (Also see Dermatomyositis and Polymyositis and Research on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)

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.


Serum–soluble folate receptor β (sFRβ) as a biomarker for the activity of rheumatoid arthritis synovitis and the response to anti-TNF agents. The findings support that high serum sFRβ levels act as a predictive biomarker for the response to anti-TNF agents. PubMed, Clin Rheumatol, 2018 Nov;37(11):2939-2945.

Sputum Anticitrullinated Protein Antibodies in Patients With Long–standing Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Anticitrullinated protein/peptide antibodies can be detected in the sputum of RA patients and are correlated with the presence in the serum. PubMed, J Clin Rheumatol, 2018 Apr;24(3):122-126.

Moderate use of alcohol is associated with lower levels of C reactive protein (CRP) but not with less severe joint inflammation: a cross-sectional study in early Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and healthy volunteers. Despite the fact that moderate alcohol consumption has been shown protective against RA, and our data confirm a J-shaped association of alcohol consumption with CRP levels in RA, alcohol was not associated with the severity of joint inflammation. PubMed, RMD Open, 2018 Jan 7;4(1):e000577. (Also see Antibodies)

Autoantibodies (AAbs) against interleukin-21 correlate with disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The levels of AAbs against IL-21 correlate with disease activity, which suggests that anti–IL-21 AAbs may play a role in the pathogenesis of RA. PubMed, Clin Rheumatol, 10/10/2017. (Also see Interleukins)

Prevalence, sensitivity and specificity of antibodies against carbamylated proteins in a monocentric cohort of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune rheumatic diseases. The present study extends the knowledge of anti–CarP antibodies, confirming previous data on the diagnostic accuracy of anti–CarP in RA in a large cohort of Italian patients. BioMed Central, Arthritis Research & Therapy, 11/25/2016.

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.

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.


MicroRNA-506 (miR-506) inhibits rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast–like synoviocytes proliferation and induces apoptosis by targeting TLR4. miR-506 may be a potential target for RA prevention and therapy of RA. PubMed, Biosci Rep, 04/11/2019.

Tetraspanin CD82 affects migration, attachment and invasion of rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASF). CD82 could contribute to RASF migration to sites of inflammation and tissue damage, where CD82 keeps aggressive RASF on site. PubMed, Ann Rheum Dis, 07/06/2018.

Amelioration of Experimental Autoimmune Arthritis Through Targeting of Synovial Fibroblasts (SFs) by Intraarticular Delivery of MicroRNAs 140-3p and 140-5p. These results demonstrate that targeting SFs by IA delivery of miRNAs 140-3p and 140-5p can ameliorate autoimmune arthritis. PubMed, Arthritis Rheumatol, 2016 Feb;68(2):370-81.


Associations between CCL21 gene polymorphisms and susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis: a meta–analysis. This meta–analysis was conducted to examine the associations between CCL21 gene polymorphisms and susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis. PubMed, Rheumatol Int, 08/10/2017.

Genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics to elucidate the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. This review examines how recent advances in the fields of genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics have contributed to our understanding of rheumatoid arthritis. PubMed, Rheumatol Int, 05/10/2017.

Lack of tumor necrosis factor alpha gene polymorphism -857c/t (rs1799724) association in Pakistani rheumatoid arthritis patients. The study demonstrated -857C/T (rs1799724) polymorphism may not have influenced RA susceptibility in our study group. PubMed, Int J Rheum Dis, 2016 Nov;19(11):1119-1125.

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.


Investigating asthma, allergic disease, passive smoke exposure, and risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Asthma and allergies may be associated with increased risk of RA, although passive smoke exposure and earlier age of starting smoking do not appear to influence risk of RA. PubMed, Arthritis Rheumatol, 02/12/2019. (Also see Asthma)

Relationship Between Smoking and Structural Damage, Autoimmune Antibodies, and Disability in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients. There was no correlation between disease activity and smoking in our study and smoking does not appear to correlate with RA disease activity but it may be effective in the long–term joint damage. Archives of Rheumatology, 06/08/2017.

Could Gum Disease Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis? A type of bacteria found in severe gum disease may trigger many cases of rheumatoid arthritis, researchers reported Wednesday. NBC Health News, 12/14/2016. (Also see Periodontal Disease)

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.

Sleep Disorders

Relationship between Sleep, Pain and Inflammatory Markers in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.. Sleep pattern in RA appears to be disrupted by pain and pain severity and sleep problems can predict increasing inflammatory markers that can be a clues of intensity of disease. PubMed, J Caring Sci, 2017 Sep 1;6(3):249-255.

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