A study conducted by researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) highlights a new cell-signaling pathway reported to contribute to the development and progression of inflammatory bone erosion occurring in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Baohong Zhao, PhD, served as lead investigator and is an assistant scientist in the Arthritis and Tissue Degeneration Program at HSS. During the study, an HSS news release notes that Zhao and colleagues found a novel signaling pathway and outlined the underlying mechanisms that could contribute to bone destruction in RA.

The release adds that recently other scientists have conducted a genome-wide association study to identify genes linked to RA development. The scientists reportedly discovered that a certain variant in a gene called RBP-J was linked with the development of RA, but its specific role was unknown.

Zhao explains that in the current study, the researchers found “for the first time that the expression level of this risk gene in RA patients is significantly lower than the level in healthy controls, thus providing important evidence of the link between this risk gene and RA disease.”

The release notes that the scientists also explained mechanisms by which the RBP-J protein controlled excessive bone erosion through a newly identified signaling pathway. Zhao emphasizes the scientists’ excitement in this findings, as the newly RBP-J controlled signaling pathway will provide potential novel therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of RA, paving the way for both basic research and clinical care.

[Source(s): Newswise, HSS]