UCL researchers are investigating the origins of rheumatoid arthritis in the intestines.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an incurable autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means your immune system will mistakenly attack healthy cells in your body causing joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Our gut is responsible for keeping our bodies working properly and plays an important role in the immune system.
Scientists at University College London conducted an interesting preclinical study by using mouse models and patient samples. The results indicate that the restoration of the gut barrier may be a useful step in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
The proposal is based on the assumption that gut bacteria may have a role in the development of arthritis. Other factors, such as genes and environment, are very important in the development of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
In this preclinical study, scientists found that even in the earliest stages of arthritis, blood markers of intestinal damage in patients with rheumatoid arthritis are elevated. In addition, the elevation of these blood markers coincides with the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Scientists have discovered that when the inner wall of the intestine is damaged, bacteria enter the body from the intestine, thereby exacerbating inflammation that may affect joints.
The findings imply that the intestinal lining may be a therapeutic target, and preventing intestinal leakage may reduce the severity of arthritis.
There are treatments, but they cannot solve intestinal problems. It is hoped that the preclinical study can bring new treatment methods to patients with rheumatoid arthritis.