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Lack of 'bouncer' protein behind onset of rheumatoid arthritis

Posted On: Sept. 10, 2011

Washington, Sept 8 (ANI): Scientists have discovered the immune cells of people with rheumatoid arthritis become hyperactive and attack the joints and bones because they have lost their 'bouncer' protein.

The team at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has identified this bouncer, a protein called P21, which prevents immune cells from launching into their destructive rampage through the cartilage and bone.

When the scientists developed and injected an imitation of the protein into an animal model of rheumatoid arthritis, the disease process was halted.

They said the burly protein keeps the immune cells in line the same way a bouncer in a nightclub controls rowdy patrons.

"The bouncer molecule stopped the immune cells from going crazy," said lead author Harris Perlman, associate professor of rheumatology at Northwestern's Feinberg School.

"Imagine destructive customers in a bar, and the bouncer says, 'You are going to behave!' That's P21. This discovery opens up a new avenue for future therapies, which are greatly needed for rheumatoid arthritis," he added.

The study will be published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism. (ANI)

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