Nav: Home

Blood test that could predict arthritis risk

December 10, 2015

Scientists have found a marker that can indicate your likelihood of suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) even sixteen years before the condition takes effect. A team from the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at Oxford University found that a blood test that looks for antibodies that recognize the protein tenascin-C could reliably show those who will contract the condition.

When inflammation occurs in the body, some proteins are altered in a process called citrullination. These altered forms can prompt an immune response from the body, which can see it turning antibodies on itself - causing rheumatoid arthritis. For that reason, tests that spot antibodies to citrullinated proteins are already used to diagnose the disease. While tests for individual proteins usually have a relatively low diagnostic sensitivity, a more general test called CCP, that detects synthetic citrullinated peptides, identifies a lot more RA cases.

Lead researcher Dr Anja Schwenzer said: 'We knew that tenascin-C is found at high levels in the joints of people with RA. We decided to see if it could be citrullinated and, if so, whether it was a target for the autoantibodies that attack the body in RA. That might also indicate whether it could be used in tests to indicate the disease.

'When we looked at results from more than 2000 patients we found that testing for antibodies that target citrullinated tenascin-C (cTNC) could diagnose RA in around 50% of cases, including some cases not identified by CCP. It also has a very low rate of false positives - it is 98% accurate at ruling out RA.'

The Kennedy Institute's Professor Kim Midwood said: 'What is particularly exciting is that when we looked at samples taken from people before their arthritis began, we could see these antibodies to cTNC up to 16 years before the disease occurred - on average the antibodies could be found seven years before the disease appeared.

'This discovery therefore gives us an additional test that can be used to increase the accuracy of the CCP assay and that can predict RA, enabling us to monitor people and spot the disease early. This early detection is key because early treatment is more effective.'

Stephen Simpson, Research Director, for Arthritis Research UK said: 'When it comes to rheumatoid arthritis, early diagnosis is key with research showing that there is often a narrow 'window of opportunity' following the onset of symptoms for effective diagnosis and control of disease through treatment. Furthermore, current tests for rheumatoid arthritis are limited in their ability to diagnose disease in different patients. This latest research provides the basis of tests that could improve diagnosis and, importantly, detect disease at a very early stage, with the promise even that people at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis can be followed before the disease begins. This could have great potential to help patients with rheumatoid arthritis get the right treatment early to keep this painful and debilitating condition under control.'
-end-


University of Oxford

Related Rheumatoid Arthritis Articles:

Study examines opioid use in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
A new analysis indicates that the use of opioid pain medications in older US rheumatoid arthritis patients peaked in 2010 and is now declining slightly.
Studies examine rheumatoid arthritis patients' prognosis
What's the long-term outlook for today's patients with early rheumatoid arthritis?
Obesity may influence rheumatoid arthritis blood tests
New research reveals that in women, obesity may influence blood tests used to diagnose and monitor rheumatoid arthritis.
New tool for prognosis and choice of therapy for rheumatoid arthritis
In rheumatoid arthritis, antibodies are formed that affect the inflammation in the joints.
The promise of precision medicine for rheumatoid arthritis
In a new study, a Yale-led research team identified the mechanism of a gene that raises the risk of severe rheumatoid arthritis in susceptible individuals.
Immunotherapy reduces cardiovascular risk in rheumatoid arthritis
Weight loss from bariatric surgery appears to reverse the premature aging associated with obesity, according to research presented today at Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology 2016.
Osteoarthritis just as severe as rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatologists more likely to underestimate clinical status of their OA patients than their RA patients
Serotonin deficiency implicated in rheumatoid arthritis
For the first time, serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) has been directly implicated in the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Link between mood, pain in rheumatoid arthritis patients
Depressive symptoms and mood in the moment may predict momentary pain among rheumatoid arthritis patients, according to Penn State researchers.
Inflammation in the mouth and joints in rheumatoid arthritis
Today at the 93rd General Session and Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research, researcher Sheila Arvikar, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA, will present a study titled 'Inflammation in the Mouth and Joints in Rheumatoid Arthritis.' The IADR General Session is being held in conjunction with the 44th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research and the 39th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research.

Related Rheumatoid Arthritis Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...