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Rheumatoid arthritis pain produced by specific antibodies according to new discovery

A group of researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has discovered that joint pains, typical of rheumatoid arthritis, can exist even in the absence of arthritis and this would be caused, as scientists have seen by performing experiments on mice, by particular antibodies.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that affects about 1% of the world’s population; it is an inflammation of the joints which can also be very painful. However, the pain can appear before the inflammation itself and can exist even after one has recovered, as reported by the same Camilla Svensson, researcher of the Swedish Institute and author together with other colleagues of the study appeared in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

This is because the body starts producing immune antibodies to counteract the immune cells that attack the cartilage and the bones of the joints in the very early phase of inflammation and this action can, in turn, generate pain. The researchers injected these antibodies into the cartilage of mice and found that rodents suffered more from the sensation of pain even before the appearance of signs of inflammation in the joint.

Following analysis, the researchers discovered that immune cells, groups of antibodies, and cartilage proteins in the joints triggered the pain cells.

The discovery that there are antibodies in the body of mice that can affect pain neurons even if there is no actual tissue damage or inflammation could help develop new therapies to reduce pain-specific neuronal activity for human patients with rheumatoid arthritis as well as other autoimmune diseases.