BH3-only proteins in rheumatoid arthritis: potential targets for therapeutic intervention

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a debilitating disease, resulting in the destruction of bone and cartilage, and in the permanent disfigurement of joints. Although the precise cause of RA is currently unresolved, it has become clear that the damaging effects are a result of the toxic milieu caused by an influx of inflammatory cells and the resulting heightened proinflammatory state within the joint. As the amount of literature suggesting that this preponderance of cells is a result of decreased local apoptosis in the joint continues to increase, in this review, we describe how Bcl-2 family pro-apoptotic BH3-only proteins, particularly Bim and Bid, could act to protect against the development of the disease. We also suggest a role for BH3-mimetic drugs as potential therapeutics in the treatment of RA.

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