Pathomechanisms in rheumatoid arthritis — time for a string theory?


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Abstract

RA is a quintessential autoimmune disease with a growing number of cells, mediators, and pathways implicated in this tissue-injurious inflammation. Now Kuhn and colleagues have provided convincing evidence that autoantibodies reacting with citrullinated proteins, known for their sensitivity and specificity as biomarkers in RA, enhance tissue damage in collagen-induced arthritis (See the related article beginning on page 961). This study adds yet another soldier to the growing army of autoaggressive mechanisms that underlie RA. With great success researchers have dismantled the pathogenic subunits of RA, adding gene to gene, molecule to molecule, and pathway to pathway in an ever more complex scheme of dysfunction. The complexity of the emerging disease model leaves us speechless. It seems that with this wealth of data available, we need to develop a new theory for this disease. We may want to seek guidance from our colleagues in physics and mathematics who have successfully integrated their knowledge of elementary particles and the complexity of their interacting forces by formulating the string theory.

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