New Insights Into the Pathogenesis and Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is erosive arthritis, an autoimmune disease that ultimately results in joint deformities and functional loss. It can also be complicated by pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, malignant tumors, and depression.

The etiology of RA remains unclear. However, infections have been suggested as environmental triggers in as many as 20% of patients. Due to its perplexing etiology, a more detailed exploration of the pathogenesis of RA has been presented in an article titled “Altered antibody response to Epstein-Barr virus in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and healthy subjects predisposed to the disease” published in Immunol. The article delves deeper into the potential connection between Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and RA, employing dependable tests that quantify antibodies directed against specific EBV antigens.

So why did the research team link EBV to the development of RA? A disease similar to RA called polyarticular arthritis is induced by various viral infections, including rubella, HTLV-1, parvovirus B19, etc. Given that EBV has been connected with other autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus erythematosus, it is reasonable to assume that this virus may also be related to the pathogenesis of RA.

Therefore, this article investigates the EBV antibody patterns in rheumatoid arthritis patients to assess the heritability of the antibody responses to the EBV-encoded EBNA1 protein, ultimately concluding that the levels of EBNA1 antibodies are notably dissimilar in RA patients compared to healthy individuals.

Nevertheless, the findings reached in this article represent just a fraction of the complex investigation into the etiology of RA. Undoubtedly, the uncertain underlying causes of RA pose challenges for accurate diagnosis. RA can affect individuals of any age, but it is most frequently diagnosed in individuals between the ages of 35 and 50. Early diagnosis of RA can help identify people at risk of RA and prevent complications and disease progression.

Modern imaging techniques, such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasound, aid in diagnosing RA by capturing images of affected joints. However, these methods are challenging for early RA diagnosis due to the similarity of early symptoms with those of other diseases. Additionally, detection methods that use serum markers, such as the anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide test in combination with rheumatoid factor, can improve the final diagnosis of patients with negative results from routine tests.

As an efficient and precise method, IVD immunological assays and test kits rely on the specific recognition between one or more antibodies and an antigen, allowing for the detection and quantification of various antibodies in different types of samples (including serum, urine, saliva, environmental media, and more).

Specifically, some rheumatoid arthritis biomarkers that have been developed for early diagnosis of RA include but are not limited to UH-RA 1, UH-RA 9, UH-RA 14, UH-RA 21, Rheumatoid Factor, 14-3-3 Eta Protein, PAD4, etc.

Not only are RA biomarkers evolving, but so are their development solutions in the following approaches:

* IVD Antibody Development

* Antibody Pair Development

* Antibody & Protein Conjugation

* IVD Immunoassay Development