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Factor D inhibitors may cure rheumatoid arthritis

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Factor D inhibitors may cure rheumatoid arthritis

Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine have made interesting discoveries about rheumatoid arthritis. It looks like the knee fat cells secrete a protein called pro-factor D Called, which could be involved in rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a rare autoimmune disease that affects approximately 1% or 1.3 million Americans.

Rheumatoid arthritis is manifested by damage to the joints, especially the small joints of the hand, bone erosion, cartilage damage. It must be said that rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic inflammatory disease of unknown etiology that may have, besides joint symptoms, systemic manifestations ( pulmonary, digestive, etc). The disease can occur at any age but typically begins in 4th and 5th decades. Regarding the possible causes of the disease, there were described hormonal factors, genetic and environmental factors, such as estrogen, smoking, infection, occupational exposure to silica and asbestos.

rheumatoid arthritisRheumatoid arthritis must be differentiated from other diseases affecting joints such as rheumatic fever or arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by impaired symmetric small joints of the hand, morning stiffness, rheumatoid nodules, myalgia, asthenia, weight loss etc.. Treatment consists of analgesic, NSAIDs, corticotherapy (but in this disease it requires great care as it can worsen  bone erosions) and DMARDs (disease modifying antirheumatic drugs).

Nirmal Banda, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said that what they found in the knee joint was a protein called profactor D, which is converted to factor D, and the factor D is linked to arthritis. Experiments on rats showed that the disease does not manifest without factor D. This discovery could lead to new treatments in the future because now Banda is investigating gene therapies to eliminate this protein in localized areas. Obviously these findings will be investigated in humans. Banda added that they seek vaccines, drugs or inhibitors that stop local profactor D secretion in joints. The goal is to find a drug to stop the progression of the disease before cartilage destruction and bone erosion have occurred.

Factor D is a component of the complement system, which is composed of 40 proteins with a role in defending the body against bacteria and other microorganisms. In experiments on rats it was shown that complement pathway including factor D was related to inflammatory arthritis in mice. Banda said that fat cells have the same function in all joints (ie secret profactor D) not only in the knee-joint.