Juvenile Arthritis May Be Inherited

By Lisa Cantkier

Autoimmune diseases (AIDs) affect 7–10% of North Americans and there are very few effective therapies available. They represent “a significant cause of morbidity, chronic disability and health-care burden.” An autoimmune disease develops when your immune system, which is supposed to defend against disease, identifies healthy cells as foreign ones and attacks them. An autoimmune disease can affect one or many kinds of bodily tissue and can lead to a variety of health problems.

It has long been theorized that autoimmune diseases and rheumatic disorders (disorders linked to arthritis) are inherited and that heredity is a significant factor in the development of such disorders. New research supports this theory. A recent study published in Nature Communications examined nine childhood-onset autoimmune disorders, including juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), to determine whether any of them might be inherited.

Scientists studied genes to see if autoimmune diseases do in fact have a genetic component.
In their observations, researchers found Type 1 diabetes and juvenile arthritis to be “the most highly heritable.” Another interesting finding was that environmental factors were shown to strongly contribute to disease susceptibility. “For example, host-microbial interactions have been implicated in the pathogenesis of IBD (irritable bowel disorder) and RA (rheumatoid arthritis).” The results of this research study may help professionals gain a better understanding of autoimmune disorders in children.

Read more about the study here: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/151009/ncomms9442/full/ncomms9442.html

Last Reviewed December 7, 2015

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