Transcriptome profiling in experimental inflammatory arthritis

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that affects 0.5 to 1% of the human population. Gene expression profiling studies of tissues from RA patients showed marked variation in gene expression profiles that allowed identifying distinct molecular disease mechanisms involved in RA pathology. The relative contribution of the different mechanisms may vary among patients and in different stages of the disease. Thus, the broad goals of expression profiling in RA are the improvement of understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms underlying RA, the identification of disease subsets and new drug targets, and the assessment of disease activity, such as responsiveness to therapy, overall disease severity, and organ-specific risk, and development of new diagnostic tests. Genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development of this disease and numerous studies have indicated the participation of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II alleles and non-MHC genes. Therefore, identification of the major roles of the participating cells and of candidate genes has been an important subject of study to the understanding of RA pathogenesis.
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