Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition when the body’s immune system starts to attack itself. Proteins called antibodies, known as anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA), which usually help fight off viruses and bacteria, begin to attack the joints instead, according to Meagan Chriswell, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in the Conversation October 27, 2022 article.
Previous studies have shown the presence of RA-related autoantibodies years before the onset of clinical RA. Researchers studied 81 individuals with pre-RA symptoms to full diagnosis. The study found that ACPA expansion and the presence of specific cytokines, is closely correlated with the appearance of preclinical inflammation.
Scientists discovered the culprit may also be is the presence of Subdoligranulum didolesgii not present in healthy people, which activates T-cells in the body known to drive inflammation.