Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): mechanism of action!

 | Post date: 2023/07/18 | 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disorder characterized by inflammation and joint destruction. The underlying mechanisms of RA involve a complex interplay between genetic factors, environmental triggers, and dysregulated immune responses. This abstract provides an overview of the key mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. The development of RA is influenced by genetic predisposition, with certain human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles, such as HLA-DRB1, being strongly associated with the disease. Environmental factors, such as smoking and certain infections, also contribute to disease susceptibility. In RA, the synovial tissue lining the joints becomes inflamed, leading to a cascade of events. Initially, activated immune cells, particularly T-cells, infiltrate the synovium and release pro-inflammatory cytokines like tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-1 (IL-1), and interleukin-6 (IL-6). These cytokines promote the recruitment and activation of other immune cells, including macrophages and B-cells.

Macrophages play a crucial role in RA pathogenesis. They contribute to persistent inflammation by producing additional pro-inflammatory cytokines and enzymes, such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which degrade joint tissues. Moreover, macrophages activate fibroblast-like synoviocytes, leading to synovial hyperplasia and pannus formation, a destructive tissue mass that invades and damages the joints. B-cells also participate in the pathogenesis of RA by producing autoantibodies, specifically rheumatoid factors (RF) and anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs). These autoantibodies form immune complexes that further perpetuate the inflammatory response and contribute to joint damage. The dysregulated immune response in RA is also characterized by a disruption in the balance of regulatory T-cells and effector T-cells. This imbalance results in a loss of self-tolerance and the perpetuation of the autoimmune response.
The progressive joint destruction in RA involves the erosion of cartilage and bone. Activated synovial fibroblasts and osteoclasts contribute to this process, driven by the pro-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors present in the inflamed joint microenvironment. Understanding the intricate mechanisms involved in rheumatoid arthritis is essential for the development of targeted therapies that can modulate the immune response, alleviate inflammation, and prevent joint damage. Advancements in this field have led to the emergence of biological agents, such as TNF inhibitors, interleukin inhibitors, and B-cell targeted therapies, which have revolutionized the treatment landscape for RA patients and improved their quality of life.

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